Welcome to the 410th issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly
of news and tips. There is something for everyone, and if this is your first
issue, I'm sure there will be something for you. If you give me two or three
issues, I know that you will come back for more!
Chris has part 3 of his series on black and white photography in this issue
of PCIN. These are great tips, and I hope that everyone reads them. Even if
you don't fully understand them, you're bound to get something out of it.
Last week I mentioned that I didn't understand the appeal of all-in-one media
devices. Long-time subscriber Dan emailed me:
I recently installed a TV card in my PC, along with a 250Gb external HD...the
purpose was to turn the PC into a PVR as well as a PC...I am more than happy
with the results. I now have all my media in one place, and although it might
seem somewhat extravagant, it simplifies life for me. I don't have to run
from PC to VCR to DVD...it's all in one spot!
On Sept. 13, 1956, an IBM lab at 99 Notre Dame Road in San Jose began shipping
a product that changed history.
It is Silicon Valley's unsung hero, though it taught us bits and the mega,
giga, tera, peta and exa bytes. Dubbed RAMAC, or Random Access Method of
Accounting and Control, it was the original hard drive, a funny-looking giant
machine with 50 spinning, 24-inch-wide disks covered with red paint.
It cost about $50,000 a year to lease in 1956 dollars -- equivalent to nearly
$350,000 today -- and had 5 megabytes of information, about enough space
to store one song on an iPod.
Dell, Sony discussed battery problem 10 months ago
Dell and Sony knew about and discussed manufacturing problems with Sony-made
Lithium-Ion batteries as long as ten months ago, but held off on issuing
a recall until those flaws were clearly linked to catastrophic failures causing
those batteries to catch fire, a Sony Electronics spokesman said Friday.
Spokesman Rick Clancy said the companies had conversations in October 2005
and again in February 2006. Discussions were about the problem of small metal
particles that had contaminated Lithium-Ion battery cells manufactured by
Sony, causing batteries to fail and, in some cases, overheat.
As a result of those conversations, Sony made changes to its manufacturing
process to minimize the presence and size of the particles in its batteries.
However, the company did not recall batteries that it thought might contain
the particles because it wasn't clear that they were dangerous, Clancy said.
Black and White from Colour Images - Part 3 - Digital Photography
Tip of the Week
week I continued my discussion of black and white digital photography
and the topics of using grayscale and saturation to convert you colour photographs
to black and white. This week I discuss using the channel mixer in order
to create pleasing and dynamic monochrome photographs.
A digital photograph consists of three colour channels, red, green and blue.
Each of those channels is a separate, monochrome image. Displaying each channel
individually will show this (and also presents another method of converting
to black and white, using only one colour channel). Using the channel mixer
though, we can control just how much of each colour channel we use when creating
our black and white images.
To open channel mixer in Adobe Photoshop
CS2, click on Image => Adjust => Channel Mixer. Whenever possible,
using adjustment layers is the best way to make corrections to your photograph
as they can be re-edited later on. To make an adjustment layer for channel
mixer, click on Layer => New Adjustment Layer => Channel Mixer. The
dialog box you will see next has 4 sliders, one for each colour channel and
one for constant. The next step after opening channel mixer is to click on
the monochrome check box at the bottom of the dialog box.
You can now slide each of the sliders back and forth to increase the intensity
of each channel. Results are best when the total of all three channels equal
100, though sometimes a little over or a little under will work as well. The
constant slider is used to lighten or darken the whole image by a constant
amount across each colour channel.
Converted to Grayscale
Settings used for above Channel Mixer Image
As you can see by the examples, simple black and white conversions often lack
punch and drama that black and white photography has been known for. Controlling
each individual colour channel during the colour to black and white conversion
allows you to make more dramatic black and white photographs from your colour
Next week, I will conclude my series on black and white photography
by touching on a few other, less seldom used methods of converting to black
The digital photography tip of the week
is written by the PCIN Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long
time photographer and is currently the President of the Niagara Falls
Camera Club. You can see more of his photography at his Photo
of the Day website.
If you have a tip to send Chris, or a question about digital photography
he can address in the newsletter, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, we have finished inviting everyone who's been patiently on
the waiting list, and have reopened registration to the public. If you
haven't already, now is the time to sign up for the Writely beta!
So if you're interested, head on over to Writely and
I don't usually pass along "good deals". There are lots of other
sites that do that. But this one is really quite exceptional. Crucial
Technology has a promotion (it ends September 1) where you can get a
512MB Compact Flash card for only $1.99 after rebate. The card is $26.99
with a $25 mail-in rebate. There is free shipping when you spend $40. So
you could buy 2 cards for $53.98, get free shipping, then get $50 in rebates,
and end up paying only $3.98 for 1 GB of cards. Not Bad.
You can learn more about the deal on the Crucial
web site. If your camera, pda, or other digital media device uses these
cards, it's a great deal. If only they had this deal on SD cards!
UPDATE: Apparently it is only 1 rebate per customer.
So in order to get free shipping, you'll have to order something else as
well to get your order total to $40. Domestic shipping is very reasonable.
It is only $3, so if you still went ahead with it, you'd end up with a 512
MB CompactFlash card for $4.98. Still quite a good deal...
PCIN is brought to you by Graham Wing. The opinions expressed are those of
the Editor, Graham Wing and the Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Graham Wing
and Chris Empey accept no responsibility for the results obtained from trying
the tips in this newsletter.
If any of the links are too long to fit on one line, you may have to cut
To subscribe another address or unsubscribe, please visit http://PCIN.net/ and
follow the appropriate links.