Welcome to the 461st issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly
of news highlights 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!
My gadget-crazed sisters are at it again... this time it is my sister Julia
who bought a laptop from Dell. She had previously bought 2 GPS units (to see
which one she liked best), but ended up taking them both back. Oh, to have
more disposable income :-)
The newsletter is a little short this week. There just didn't seem to be much
worth sharing. We'll wait and see what the coming days and weeks bring...
Make batteries by printing, says Rensselaer research team
U.S. researchers printed, yes, printed a battery and they're looking to
scale up the process to run devices from pacemakers to pickup trucks with
batteries printed on a printing press. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's
team published a description in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences of how they've printed a foldable, rollable, cuttable paper battery
a little bigger than a postage stamp that stores enough power to run an LED
Content online is king. Internet users spend nearly half their time online
viewing news or entertainment content, surpassing activities such as sending
e-mails, shopping or searching for information, according to a study released
by the Online Publishers Association on Monday.
The four-year study, conducted by Nielsen/NetRatings, tracked a 37 percent
increase in amount of time spent viewing content such as online videos or
news, surpassing a 35 percent rise in using search engines like Google Inc..
In politics, every serious candidate for the White House has a health care
plan. So too in business, where the two leading candidates for Web supremacy,
Google and Microsoft, are working up their plans to improve the nation's
By combining better Internet search tools, the vast resources of the Web
and online personal health records, both companies are betting they can enable
people to make smarter choices about their health habits and medical care.
Watch your Elevations - Digital Photography Tip of the Week
When I was younger, still in high school, I spent a lot of time learning photography,
not unlike today. I read all the books I could, I talked to the guys in the
local camera shops and most importantly, I shot a lot. However, back then my
choices were all film based which was expensive. I also learned how to bulk
load my own film (in rolls of 39 or 40!), develop and print in my own darkroom.
Doing this enabled me to shoot much more than I otherwise would have been able
to as the do it yourself approach was more cost efficient. One of the things
I did as a printer to enhance my final work was to burn my edges in order to
draw the viewer into the photo.
Burning the edges of your image refers to the process of given more exposure
to edges of the print during the printing process to darken them. Even though
I am all digital now, I still do this on my competition, presentation and many
There are many ways to burn your edges. One simple one that is non destructive
and adjustable is to create a levels adjustment layer and move the grey slider
to the right. You will see your image darken as you do this. Don't worry too
much about the amount of darkening, you can adjust it later. Next, select black
as your colour and with the paint bucket, fill your adjustment layer with black.
Switch to white and choose a large brush with a very soft edge. On a 6 MP image
I use a brush about 200 pixels. Now, paint the edges of your frame using only
half the brush. This will give you a nice, soft transition in the darkening
of your edges. This process works in all recent versions of both Adobe
Photoshop and Adobe
If the edges are too dark, you can either double click on the adjustment layer
and move your grey slider back toward the left a bit, or you can lower the
opacity of the adjustment layer. It may take a little bit of fine tuning, but
you are looking for a subtle burning, not a drastic one.
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.
I heard about this on Download
Squad. I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds interesting.
While it can't bring back the quality to a heavily compressed JPEG image,
JPEG Enhancer can smooth out the artifacts and make a much nicer-looking
image as a result. It's so easy to use, it's ridiculous; simply open a
JPEG image that you would like to fix, set the filter slider at the bottom,
and press the Process button to see the results. Once you have it set to
your satisfaction, save your new image and you're done.
JPEG Enhancer recently became a free download, so what's to lose?
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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