Technology, Gadget, Computers

Latest news and reviews about technology

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7 alternatives for the almigthy Photoshop

Adobe’s Photoshop is definitely the number one photo editing software on the market, and the latest version CS5 brings in so many more features, you’ll simply remain amazed at what it can do. Even though all of this means the interface is a bit cluttered, that is nothing compared to the possibilities it gives to photographers and other people whose profession includes editing any kind of images.

Of course, web designers, who have to work with websites that are composed of 50% images every single day, couldn’t just look from the side and got in on the action. And guess what, Photoshop can easily accomplish all of their tasks, too! If you’re striving to become a professional web designer or photographer, you’ve most definitely already been told to acquire a version of this wonderful software.

But the main problem with it is that it costs quite a lot of money, and if you’re just starting out or are simply an amateur that needs to do a couple of edits per month, you may not want to shell out those money.

With that in mind, a lot developers got together to create free alternatives to Photoshop, some of which accomplish the same things at the same quality, and yet are completely free. Here is a list of the most popular Photoshop alternatives that you can find on the Web.

GIMP.

GIMP is the most popular free alternative to Photoshop, and I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of it until now.  It’s got every feature that Photoshop has and therefore, can accomplish any image editing task you throw at it. From simple effects to editing huge photographs with dozens of layers and masks, GIMP can do it all. The only gripe of most new users is the unfamiliar interface, which is pretty hard to use. But now, this can easily be fixed using the open source and free GIMPShop, which transforms the menus to be exactly like those in Photoshop. Install them both and you practically get a free clone of Photoshop!

Paint.NET.

This application, built on top of Microsoft’s abandoned Paint.net project, is a wonderful photo editing tool that can do 90% of all tasks you may need. It’s got advanced support for layers, a ton of tools to modify your pictures, a lot of integrated special effects and a nice interface that is pretty easy to use – if you’re an amateur or moderate user, this is everything you’ll ever need.

Picasa.

Picasa is a much lighter alternative to Photoshop and the above two apps. It is free, it’s made by Google, it looks gorgeous with all the AJAXy special effects, and it lets you do any kind of basic edits on all of your photographs – what else do you need?

PhotoScape.

PhotoScape is a great free photo editor that is very similar to Picasa, except it has a relatively uglier interface and it doesn’t come with an integrated photo viewer. But for the main task of editing images, it’s pretty good: it gives you all the basic features like resizing, cropping, drawing, adjusting gamma and color levels and other things, plus a couple of unique features like the batch editor, which lets you quickly resize or otherwise modify dozens of picture with just a few clicks.

VCW VicMan’s Photo Editor.

Vicman’s Photo Editor may look a bit old, but it is still a very nice image editing tool for Windows. It has all the basic features you may need (similar to Picasa or Photoscape), and the only thing that is bad about it is the old-looking interface (which is understandable, as its code dates back to the days of Windows 2000).

Pixlr.

Pixlr is an amazing display of new technologies, and Software as a Service in general. It is an online photo editing application that has a very Photoshop-like interface and allows you to do most of the things you need when editing any image. You get layers and masks, a clone tool, color correction tools, brushes for drawing, a text tool and a lot of other useful stuff. The only bad thing about it is that it needs a speedy Internet connection to work smoothly, but if you have anything more than a 1Mbit upload and download connection, you can easily use it without problems.

Photofunia.

Photofunia is not technically a photo editing service or application, but it is worth mentioning because it has quite a lot of great and fun special effects. You just upload a photo, select a special effect (like putting your face on posters in a city, with famous persons, on various currency bills, and other similar stuff), wait for the service to process your picture (which takes only a few seconds), and then download it to your computer with the effects applied. It’s very interesting to use and you can print the photos as posters or share it with your friends on various social sites (which is how Photofunia actually became popular).

You can save quite a lot of money by choosing to go with any of the above apps for your photo editing needs instead of buying a full copy of Photoshop or even Elements. Using a couple of them together will certainly give you all the features and possibilities you may need.

By admin

5 great Drupal modules you should install

Drupal is an excellent Content Management System for any kind of website. Webmasters use it for blogs, e-commerce and membership sites, forums, video streaming sites and a lot of other purposes. There are also a lot of plug-ins (called modules) available that can extend a site’s functionality to great levels and it’s very easy to create your own (which a lot of companies using Drupal actually do).

Drupal is easy to manage and update, and the only bad thing about it is that there are very few good themes available for it, because of the mixed code used which web designers don’t like. Joomla is much better in that regard. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great Drupal theme. On the contrary, you can create any kind of theme, with beautiful navigation and graphics, but you’ll need some time to learn the coding method. A lot of the companies using Drupal (and those are big companies, for example, Warner Bros, MTV UK, Sony Ericsson and others) use their own, custom built themes and modules, and it’s very hard to see they run the Drupal core underneath all of those things.

But if you’re just starting out, you can easily get one of the free themes or buy one of the premium ones (which are more beautiful and with more features), and make a great site using additional modules.

Here are some Drupal modules that any owner of a site using this CMS must use to get the best possible experience:

WYSIWYG.

Drupal comes with no integrated visual editor (like TinyMCE) by default, and you have to install one manually if you want a god way to edit your pages. You probably don’t want to edit all the code in a page (including simple HTML tags like <bold> and line breaks) manually unless you’re a hardcore programmer or designer. The WYSIWYG module gives you the ability to install and use any visual editor (even the new CK editor) you want, so it’s definitely a must have plugin.

Views.

You’ll need this module if you want your site to be more than just a collection of plain-looking pages. It’s definitely a must for any complex site, as the default page and node structure is hard coded in Drupal, so you have to use external code to modify and customize the look and feel of any page. You can also set different views and sidebar items for different pages, insert social bookmarking icons and do a lot of other things using the Views module.

XML Sitemap.

This is a great module for SEO and a must have if you want your site to rank high in any search engine. It allows you to create sitemaps of your site and submit them to Google and other SE’s. As you may know, this is a good first step to get all of your pages found and indexed by those search engines, and it should be done regularly, at least once a week or month, depending on how often you update your site with new content.

CAPTCHA.

Spam is an important issue for every website to consider. If your site has the possibility to post user comments (which equals 99% of all sites online) and guest posts, you must have some sort of protection or you’ll get bombarded with thousands of spam comments and emails (using your contact form) every day. The CAPTCHA module is the first line of protection, and one of the most effective ones. You probably know what it is (an image with scrambled letters that only a human can read), but you should also remember that they can and are frequently cracked, so you have to always keep this module up to date.

Bad Behavior.

This is another great Drupal module to combat spam. It works by analyzing all of the incoming HTTP requests and rejecting the ones that seem like spam (contain many links to bad sites, contain unrecognized words, come from bad IP addresses, etc.). It is very effective, and if used together with the CAPTCHA module, can stop 99% of all the spam, with the remaining 1% being manually posted spam by hired people, which is impossible to stop by automated means and needs to be moderated by a person.

These modules are a must have for any Drupal site owner, and probably the best thing about them is that they’re compatible with over 95% of any other modules, so you don’t have to worry about incompatibilities. Even if there is an incompatibility, you can easily fix the problem by deleting the module using FTP. Check them out and be amazed by the power of Drupal!

By admin

Gears of War 2 – Xbox 360 game review

This game is a jewel among third person shooters/action games for the Xbox 360. In single player, you will be amazed at the attention to detail as you see the armor load, the landscapes spread before you, and the bullets fly, making holes and ricocheting off of metallic surfaces. Marcus Fenix and his partner Dom, straight from Gears of War 1, return to battle round 2 with the Locust Horde, who is now threatening to destroy the last human stronghold, Jacinto. The story pretty much picks up where Gears 1 left off, and you join Marcus and Dom in Jacinto the day before the invasion of the locust home world, the underground. Read More

By admin

Windows 7 follows up on Vista

What we all have been waiting for is finally coming with Microsoft’s debut of Windows Seven. On October 28, 2008, this next generation operating system was presented by the senior Vice President of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, at the Professional Developers Conference at Los Angeles.

Below are some screenshots of Windows 7 version presented at PDC conference:

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By admin

Spy With Messenger Detect

Trace all MSN chats, AOL (AIM) chat, Yahoo chat, ICQ chat, and Google Talk on your Local network automatically and secretly with this amazing new software .

Do you want to know what your employees talk on instant messengers during the office hours? Are you worried about what your spouse talks on instant messenger? Do you want to check your kid’s IM chat?

If yes, Messenger Detect is for you. Messenger Detect can sniffer and record all MSN chats, Yahoo chat, AOL (AIM) chat, and ICQ chat on your Local network. It works secretly without need to install any client software
on the target computers. It’s safe to use because accessing and setting are all protected by your password.

The chat logs are saved as the same format as you see in the messengers and classified by date time. You can search and edit them directly in the Messenger Detect, and export then to a RTF file. In addition, Messenger Detect provides 15 color themes, and reading mode as well. Try Messenger Detect now, and you will be convinced!

Free to download and Free from any spyware or adware. Enjoy!

Please go to: http://www.formessengers.com/mdetect.htm and download it for free.

By admin

Silently Record Sms messeges and Call History

Mobile Spy is a hybrid software/service which allows you to monitor your smartphone in real time. This unique system records the activities of anyone who uses your compatible Windows Mobile or Symbian OS smartphone. You install a small application onto your phone. It starts at every boot of your phone but remains stealth and does not show up in the running process list.

After the software is setup on your phone it will record an array of phone activities and then silently upload the data to your private Mobile Spy account using the Internet. When you want to view results, simply login to the Online Control Panel from any computer and enter your username and password to proceed.

Smartphone Requirements

Any compatible Windows Mobile or Symbian OS based smartphone including many models by Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC.

By admin

Adobe Photoshop CS4

The creative suite from Adobe is a widely used set of design, editing and development tools for images, video, audio and web pages. As a follow up to CS3, Adobe Photoshop CS4 is fresh out of the beta testing and is now available for purchase. CS4 is Adobe’s biggest release to date. The software took a little less than 15 million man hours to develop. Read More