7 alternatives for the almighty 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.

photo editing software


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!


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 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? (more…)

Waiting For Black Friday To Get New Tech – You Might Want To Strike Now

Decisions, decisions. Do you wait for a piece of technology to go on sale during the usual sales rushes, or do you go ahead and get it because you need to use it now? With the holiday season about to be in full swing, this is a question that more and more people are honestly asking each other. It’s not because we’re into being materialistic, but nobody wants to miss out on a good deal.

The trouble is that the typical Black Friday sales are getting weaker and weaker over time. The recession has hit retailers hard, and that means that they’re going to have to cut back on the type of inventory that gets cut. Once those doorbusters go out the window, you’re left with inventory that really isn’t all that great. Sure, there’s going to be some legendary deals to be had if you really want them, but the truth is that you’re better off thinking about the bigger picture than just more technology that you don’t need.

For example, the Kindle Fire is coming out soon — November 2011 to be exact. That’s right around the corner, and that’s something that a lot of hardcore eReader fans have been looking forward to. Does that mean that they should suddenly stop getting excited and just wait for Black Friday? Sure, the Kindle Fire might be out in time for a good BF rush, but you’re better off striking while the iron is hot — and you have the money to do so.

Why? Well, things happen. People change. Things come up. You always want to make sure that you have things in place when you want them, not when you think the price is going to go down. There’s going to be a high demand for a lot of technical gear this year, and if you don’t strike fast, you’re going to find yourself left out. And really, who wants to be -that guy-, anyway? (more…)

The New Holiday Shopping Tips for Tech Fans

The holiday season is in full swing, and we’re all counting down to Black Friday. Of course, if you’re not in the US, then Black Friday really isn’t the discount spree that matters to you. Still, many retailers are doing a lot of sales during this time of year because they know something basic: when people are in a mood to buy, they’re going to buy. They might not buy from you, but they are certainly buying from someone else. Gearing up for Christmas is very important, so if you’re thinking about getting some tech goodies for your friends and family, you need to make sure that you’re shopping effectively.

Avoiding returns and shipping costs is the name of the game. Returns tie up your money and slow you down from shopping, so avoiding returns is critical.

The best way to get your shopping is done is as follows:

First and foremost, you need to think about all of the technical gadgets you have planned to buy. Do they really match up with what the recipient of your gift honestly needs? If your granny isn’t good with touchscreen cell phones, there’s no reason to buy her an HTC Evo 4G, you know what we mean? She’s going to be grateful that you bought her something, but you’re buying her something more complicated than what she wants to use. When we give gifts, we want to give gifts that actually work out in our favor. We want to make sure that we can find something that actually handle their needs quite well. Ideally, you should be listening to them all year round to really make sure that they are using good tech and it’s fitting their lives.

technical gadgets

Of course, if you really want to give someone a touchscreen, then you can always think about who would really get a kick out of it.

Comparison shopping is honestly the name of the game now. If you’re only going to one site above all others without looking to see if it’s the lowest price, then you’re paying more. That’s just the way it is. The first site you land on generally has a higher price than others. Now, if you’re getting some whiz bang bonus, then it’s okay.

Look at free shipping deals — if you’re going to shop, bundle all of your purchases up as much as possible so that you don’t have to spend money on shipping. Believe it or not, shipping can really be pretty expensive when you have a lot of items. Retailers online have realized that people get really worked up about shipping, which means that they can offer deals to get more people interested.

Check out coupon deal sites in order to make sure that you’ve really squeezed all of the discounts out that you can. It’s possible to get some really good deals as long as you’re looking for them. Why not start shopping today?

The longer you wait to begin your holiday shopping, the more stressed out that you’re going to be. It’s better to make sure that you really are looking into just about anything and everything that you can, in order to not only save money, but give your friends and family exactly what they’re looking for this holiday season!

Discover the Latest Car Technologies

Since the inception of cars, we’ve come a long way in which we greatly evolved. Cars have lately become much more than a mere mode of transportation. Because people started travelling more and more, specialists and car designers tried to improve modern cars by creating unique technologies that would enhance their properties and features. Much more attention is being paid to safety, passengers comfort, convenience and emission control.

From features like rain sensor wipers, automatic dimming or rear view mirrors and automatically turning headlines for a better visibility to display screens, latest car technology is continually improving.

However, that’s not all. There are many interesting and unique features out there that hit the headlines recently. The following are considered the most important car technologies in recent years.

- Economy mode: car manufacturers have decided to come up with something similar to the power saving option most appliance possess today. The economy mode is able to help you save more fuel by switching off features like light, radio or air-conditioner, when they are not required.

- Navigation system: one of the best features by now, being used in several parts of the world.

Brands like BMW or Toyota have already started to implement this feature to their new models. A modern navigation system is composed of an LCD found on the dashboard that functions as a map. More recent systems also have a voice feature built-in, guiding you step by step and giving you verbal direction on what route to follow in order to get to the destination as fast as you can. The navigation system can be easily connected to your PDA or Smartphone, enhancing the guiding process.

- Run-flat tires: engineers thought about creating a better version of today’s tires, a version that would allow drivers to continue their journey, even if one of their tires has been deflated.

Car Technologies
This feature could prove extremely useful, especially if you’re late on an important meeting or you have to go to the hospital because one of your kids had an accident. A run-flat tire allows you to go for another 100-150 miles at a maximum speed of 120 mph.

- Self-parking: another advanced feature that gives you the peace of mind you won’t need to spend precious time parking. If your car has this feature, all you need to do is to is to get off the vehicle a few seconds before it needs to be parked, and then press a button and the car will be automatically parked. This feature is extremely convenient, especially in those tight parking spaces.

- Electrical power supply: this 40-volt electrical system helps you use various electrical devices and is a very practical technology.

- Programmable vehicles: probably one of the most beneficial car technologies lately.

With this feature, you can change the mode in which you want to drive your car. For example, you can choose between sporty, urban or luxury drives, just to name a few. This will enhance new features and will change the interior of your car, according to the mode selected.

Google Calendar – Adding Birthdays

So, you just moved to Google Calendar to organize yourself better and are having a hard time to start off. Here are some quick tips to get your birthdays fixed in your Google Calendar, really fast.

Adding your facebook friends’ birthdays

There is a nice little application called FB Cal to automate this. It requires access to your facebook account both online and offline, but it gets the job done. You will get a new calendar in Google Calendar after the application has done its magic. Even your new friends get added into your Google Calendar perfectly, so you just have to set it up once and forget about it.  Neat and small!

Google Calendar

Adding your Orkut friends’ birthdays

Okay, this one is really easy, since Google owns Orkut. Just click on the “view your friends’ birthdays in Google Calendar’ link below the birthday reminder widget and you will have all the friends’ birthdays in your Google Calendar in a breeze.

Importing from other sources

Google supports synchronizing your Google calendar with Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird. Just go the Sync tab on the top right and look up the method for each of the above applications respectively.

Once you have your birthdays sorted out, you need a reminder set up. Easy again. Just go the settings of your Birthday calendar and click on Notifications. Then you can add reminders for each of the events.

So, no more belated birthdays. You have successfully saved yourself for embarrassment. Have fun and don’t forget to leave comments!

3 Ways to Diagnose and Eliminate Spyware from Your Computer

In this age where your computer can be one of your best friends, it´s one of your biggest responsibilities to ensure that you give it the best type of protection that you can offer, especially when it comes to spyware. These are malicious programs that are installed in your PC without your knowledge and of course, without your consent. They can either be used to keep track of your Internet use or to steal any important information that you may be keeping in your computer. With spyware, you have to ensure that you have your spyware remover running. But then again, never settle for just a spyware remover alone.

Here are 3 ways to diagnose and eliminate spyware from your computer:

1. Verify the infection.

In case you don´t know, it´s not only spyware or any other kind of malware that can invade your PC. Absolutely, you have viruses, such as worms and Trojan horses, which can be equally harmful to your computer. What´s more, there are some problems that could have not been caused by spyware. A very good example is the error messages that you might be getting. Though adware can actually alter the settings of your PC, even remove some of its important components, you can still be able to receive pop-up error messages when you install incompatible programs. Another will be when your PC starts to run slow. Perhaps it´s only because you have been opening too many applications simultaneously, or you´re keeping huge files in your hard disk, such as videos and music files.

To determine if it´s actually spyware that´s causing numerous problems in your PC, you need to run your spyware remover. It can basically search every nook and cranny for any adware. The most powerful ones can even reach registries, which are also perfect hiding places for these malware.

Eliminate Spyware

2. Delete cookies in your browser.

What are cookies? These are actually files that tell you of your Internet browsing habits: the websites you´ve visited, when, and even the username and password that you have utilized. Numerous spyware can get in touch with your cookies and thus steal whatever they can from them. Without you knowing it, scammers or spyware operators have already been checking your mails or monitoring your Internet trends, to see what kinds of websites you´re opening and how many times you´re visiting it. You´ll then be presented with pop-up ads that you thought are related to the websites, only that they´re spyware, just waiting to be installed.

It´s recommended that you delete your cookies and cache once you´re done browsing the World Wide Web. If you want to visit the site again, or there´s a huge chance that you´ll be checking it more often, bookmark it.

3. Monitor the signs of spyware.

Prevention is always better than cure, even if you already have a spyware remover installed. Thus, check for any sign of spyware infection. They can range from changes in your desktop and Internet settings. Avoid opening websites and attachments that you find suspicious. Most of all; run your firewall and antivirus program along with your spyware remover.

Data Center Administration VMware Certification for vSphere 5

Documenting your expertise in Data Center Administration establishes your level of competence beyond a shadow of a doubt. It validates your advanced knowledge of the platform, and achievement of the Advanced Professional certification from VMware in the discipline is a powerful professional development step, whether you are happy with your current employer or looking to expand your options in the job market.

The vSphere 5 Data Center Administration Advanced Professional certification from VMware is the VCAP5-DCA. The exam by the same name is the required test for earning your certification. You must however, also hold prior certification from VMware before registering for and taking the VCAP5-DCA test. Certifications that satisfy this prerequisite are: the VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, VCP-Cloud, and the VCAP4-DCA.


In addition to the prerequisite professional level certification, VMware also highly recommends focused training in the VSphere 5 platform, including the Optimize and Scale, v 5.x and the What’s New with VSphere v 5.1 courses.

Whether you decide to pursue formal training or not, you will want to ensure that you dedicate ample time and resources to your exam preparation activities. Self study programs, online tutorials, and practice exams, like those found at examtrace.com, are all prep modules to consider for your pre-test knowledge acquisition and refreshment.

The VCAP5-DCA exam is presented in lab format and tests your knowledge of all areas of the vSphere Data Center and administrative requirements. It validates that you possess the skills and knowledge to install, configure, implement and administer complex, large-scale virtualized environments.

R4 – making your life easier

People of all ages, especially youngsters, sometimes have an obsession for electronic games and enjoy adding gadgets to their computers or gaming machines to provide electrifying graphics and sounds which enhances the amusement. The hottest innovation for flash cartridge technology of a DSi is an adaptor which functions using a micro SDHC, with massive storage capacity of around 32 gigabytes and can be used to watch blockbuster films, play your favourite music, look at family pictures and read e-books of your choice. The R4 does exactly this and is easy to use as it sustains HC memory cards and supports various accessories which enhance the performance of the device in order for you to have hassle free and smooth functioning, as well as being really compact in size. It will also make your machine perform to the best of its ability and will offer optimum performance, increase its desirability tenfold while transforming your games machine into a wonderful multimedia system.

All of the added usage may drain valuable battery output, so make sure you have an adequate power source to ensure longevity of playing games or any other functions. Searching online will assist you in buying wisely from a reputable source and if you stick to a recognised brand you will be rewarded with both quality and a nifty little R4 high performance adapter. The question of price is of course very important and you will be surprised to find this gadget is very reasonably priced and is affordable to almost everyone. With this adapter being able to store masses of information and if, for instance, you are going to purchase a new or used car, there are many websites available which offer car finance packages. Finding a great car deal does not have to be difficult and with the help of the extra storage on an R4 to view the many car loan sites, you will find that even if your past credit rating is poor or you have no credit history, your individual circumstances will be taken into consideration.

You can apply online to make an appointment with a friendly consultant who will help you to choose the right deal for you at the lowest rate possible based on your personal requirements whether you wish to buy a new or used vehicle. Sometimes on offer are no quibble guarantees and often cash back if you apply online as an internet customer. The R4 really comes into its’ own if you work from home or are an everyday user, perhaps your laptop or PC is being repaired and you are left high and dry without a multi media device, you can simply plug this adaptor into your DS or DS lite and you are up and running again. It is essential to make sure any adaptors or batteries you buy are up to your requirements and it is advisable to seek the help of R4 consultants who will be able to advise you of the best purchases.

Reviewing the hottest tablets on the market

With the overwhelming success of earlier models, several major companies recently launched new-and-improved tablets. Consumers are constantly looking for more ways to stay connected, and tablets are a perfect hybrid of mobility and functionality.

Even major Internet service providers recognize this movement, and have ensured their networks are compatible with the newest tablets.

Now, without further ado, here is a look at some of the hottest tablets on the market today:

iPad with Retina Display
Price: $499.99- $829.99

Specs: 9.7″ Display (Retina); 1080p HD video; 16GB, 32GB, or 64 GB options; Available with or without cellular data option.

The Scoop: As the name suggests, the graphics are simply stunning. Incredibly easy to sync with other Apple devices. With Apple, you know the creative applications – video, photo, music, etc. – will be outstanding. Extremely functional for both business and personal use.

The Downside: It’s going to cost you. If you want the biggest, baddest version, be prepared to open your wallet.

iPad mini
Price: $329.99 – $659.99

Specs: 7.9″ Display (LED-backlit); 1080p HD video; 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB options; Available with or without cellular data option.

The Scoop: As you can see, the iPad mini is very similar to the iPad with Retina Display. The differences, of course, are the size and type of the display. Still, it is an exceptionally functional, versatile tablet.

The Downside: Once again, you should be ready to pay top dollar for such a quality device. Is it worth paying so much for a device that’s several inches smaller than the average tablet? That’s for you to decide.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Price: $499.99 – $549.99

Specs: 10.1″ Display; Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS; 16GB or 32 GB options;

The Scoop: Wonderful for both business and recreational use; the S pen is a nice touch, giving it a more business/academic feel to it. Good display, great speed.

The Downside: Unlike Apple’s newest tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 does not have a cellular data option. Therefore, your Internet usage will be limited to normal wireless networks.

Microsoft Surface
Price: $499.99- $699.99

Specs: 10.6″ HD Display; USB and video out ports; 32GB and 64 GB options

The Scoop: For starters, they win the award for Best TV Commercials. You know you secretly want to buy one just to spin it down a long table; Advertisements aside, the Surface has some unique features. A competitively-sized screen, easy keyboard attachment, USB and video out port make it an intriguing option.

The Downside: As the newest entry in the tablet marketplace, the Surface doesn’t have as robust an app store as the iPad or Android tablets. Also, like many on this list, price could be a concern.

Kindle Fire HD
Price: $199.99-$599.99

Specs: 7″ or 8.9″ display; 32GB or 64GB options; 4G LTE available with some models

The Scoop: Probably the most affordable tablet on this list, the Kindle Fire HD could be a great value, especially if you’re a frequent Amazon customer. Great for watching movies, reading books, and browsing the web.

The Downside: Is it quite as functional as the iPad, Galaxy, or Surface? That depends on what you want to accomplish. The Kindle Fire HD is more about consumption and less about production. So if you want to get some work done, maybe look elsewhere.

Should You Really Buy a Tablet?

Tablets. No, we’re not going back to the Stone Age here. We’re just talking about the latest and greatest technology circling the market. A lot of people have heard of the Blackberry Playbook, the Apple iPad (and now the iPad 2), as well as the Galaxy Tab which is an Android product. So there are a lot of choices out there, and that means that you actually need to think about a little more than just the super cool, super shiny factor that comes with just about any tech gadget on the market. When it comes to hold hard cash being on the line, you need to really think about a few things.

One of the first things people think about is the e-reading experience, and there’s definitely a reason for that. The rise of the Kindle has reminded people that they can indeed read in pleasure on the go, but that doesn’t meant hat you want to do nothing but read. Tablets do make great e-readers, and the text is very legible. A lot of people would rather read a PDF on a tablet than on a BlackBerry, and we really don’t blame them.

Another target group that loves tablets right now are traveling businesspeople, like salespeople and other folks. It’s easier to lead a customer through a presentation or show off a website with a tablet, not to mention looking at calendars and photo slideshows.

Replacing an old laptop with a tablet that can go wherever you need to go can be a good thing, but if you type a lot you’re still going to be better off with a regular laptop for travel than a tablet. Yes, you can type of a tablet but you’re going to be working with a virtual keyboard. If you’re a writer, that’s going to be headache waiting to happen. You’re still better off going with the traditional over the shiny new technology. It’s just about knowing what you want and need in a system, and going for that system. (more…)