Welcome to the 420th 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!
It isn't over yet, but 2006 is already a record year when it comes to security
There is, however, a silver lining: A smaller chunk of the flaws are high
Last year, researchers at Internet Security Systems identified 5,195 vulnerabilities
in software. On Monday, the count for this year stood at 5,450, according
to the Atlanta-based company's survey, and the projected total for the whole
of the year is almost 7,500 bugs.
Those predictions that Google's stock would hit $600 aren't looking quite
so outlandish any more. Not after a blockbuster third quarter and optimism
that buying video downloading site YouTube will help Google conquer a whole
new area of Internet search. The stock price has surged 11% in the past five
days alone, closing at $473.31 on Oct. 24.
Still, there's reason to ask exactly what's driving the stock and how much
further it has to go. After all, Google, valued at about $145 billion, dominates
a market-online advertising-that will generate only $16 billion this year.
Is it important for IT to be environmentally friendly?
Green issues are climbing the IT agenda as power costs escalate and legislation
such as the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive begins to
bite. IT professionals were this week in unanimous agreement that green IT
is important, both commercially and environmentally.
A report by technology analyst firm BroadGroup highlighted power costs as
a high priority for IT. It said power was now accounting for 30% of datacentre
operating costs on average, following the recent sustained rise in electricity
Are your Web surfing fingers getting tired?
There may be a reason. Netcraft, an Internet monitoring company that has
tracked Web growth since 1995, says a mammoth milestone was reached during
the month of October.
There are now 100 million Web sites with domain names and content on them," said
Netcraft's Rich Miller.
Within that, there are some that are busy and updated more often, and that
represents the active sites, which are at about 47 or 48 million," he
Bloggers, small businesses, and simplicity have combined to create the dramatic
growth of sites, much of it just in the past two years.
The Orton Effect is named after Michael
Orton who first used the technique is a sandwich of two images, one in
focus the other out of focus. Freeman
Patterson and Andre Gallant have
both used the technique successfully in their work as well.
The Orton image has traditionally been done using slide film with the first,
sharp, image overexposed by two stops and the second, out of focus image, over
exposed by one stop. It is important to use a tripod for this type of work
to ensure your photographic elements remain in register on the film. The shots
were then sandwiched together in single slide mount to produce a beautiful,
impressionistic image. We are beyond that now and with so many things in the
world of digital photography, we can now duplicate the same effect in multiple
For purists, you can use the same technique as with film, two images, overexposed
the same way, and in your image editing program place your out of focus image
on tip of your in focus image as a layer and choose multiply as your blending
mode. Of course this means always taking at least two images of your scene
and always using a tripod. Another method is to use a single image a create
a layer, now opening up the effect to any image you have in your collection.
I will be using the new Adobe Elements 5 for this tutorial and a photo of
a Wake-Robin I shot this past spring..
Open your image (Image 1)
Duplicate the background layer (Right click on the background layer and
choose duplicate) and name that layer Sharp
Create another duplicate of the background layer.
Change the Blending mode of the Sharp Copy to screen
With the Sharp Copy layer selected, right click and choose
Merge Down (Image 2)
Right click on the Sharp layer, choose Duplicate and name
this layer Out of Focus
On the Filter Menu, choose Blur - Gaussian Blur (Image 3)
Depending on the resolution of the image you are using, the amount of blue
needed will change. Use enough that the shapes are still visible, but detail
is not. For this 6.1 Megapixel image, a value of 15.9 was sufficient.
Change the blending mode of the Out Of Focus layer to Multiply. (Image
Final image including levels adjustment and cropping
Once you are complete, you may find it necessary to adjust the opacity of
your Out of Focus layer and/or apply a levels (or curves)
adjustment layer to the Sharp layer if some tweaking is necessary.You
can also adjust the amount of blur you apply to the out of focus image, as
well as adjustments such as level, brightness and contrast and it is good practice
to apply sharpening to your image Sharp layer. (Image 5)
Not all images work well with this effect, but digital photography makes it
easier to try it out on wide range of photos. I have included a few examples
here of other photos with the Orton Effect applied, though the effect is lost
on the small images. You can view another on my
personal site, or view the Orton
Until next time, happy shooting.
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 email@example.com.
Microsoft has quite a few products that they are beta testing now, or have
just recently come out of beta. I came across one that I don't remember hearing
about before (I must have missed it). Microsoft
Expression isn't a single product, but a suite of products that let's
you work with graphics, create web pages, and other applications.
I've tried the Web Designer application, and it was quite impressive. It
seemed to have every option available for viewing your designed page in different
ways. It seems to need a lot of system resources to run, but ran well enough
on my system. If you've got a system with enough power, you might want to
give it a try.
Do you use batch files at all to copy files from one place to another? If
so, you know that you can use copy, xcopy, xcopy32, and other commands to
do this. In the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools there was also a utility
called Robocopy. The latest edition of TechNet
Magazine talks about this utility, and a new GUI front end to help you
use the utility.
Some people prefer the command line and for those people, the Robocopy
tool as it ships is great. However, others are more point-and-click oriented,
and for that crowd, there's Robocopy GUI. This welcome add-on to Robocopy
comes to us from Derk Benisch, a systems engineer with the MSN Search group
at Microsoft. Derk's utility allows users to customize their Robocopy scripts
using a simple and very familiar-looking graphical interface.
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.
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