Welcome to the 373rd 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!
I'm trying to put in a built-in dishwasher in my kitchen. I'm not much of
a handy man, so it may take me a while, but I hope to have it in by Christmas.
It only took my 3 years to finish my front walkway, so a few weeks for a dishwasher
will be a record :-)
Lastly, be sure to check out the twoposts I
made recently about Christmas.
Fatal1ty and Vo0 stood on opposite sides of a darkened theater while an
announcer boomed their introductions to an appreciative crowd. Their faces
magnified on giant overhead monitors, the two stared straight ahead while
artificial smoke swirled around them. They met at center stage and shook
hands before starting what the announcer called their "grudge match."
The victor of the match, which took place last month at the Nokia Theater
in Times Square, left with $150,000, while the loser earned $100,000.
Despite the size of the purse, the two rivals weren't athletes, at least
not in the traditional sense. They call themselves "cyber-athletes" and
their match, which was broadcast on MTV and followed online by thousands
of fans, took place in a violent videogame called "Painkiller."
The event, dubbed the World Tour Grand Finals, was one of 10 contests in
nine countries organized by the Cyberathlete Professional League, or C.P.L.
In the last year, the tour has given away $1 million in prize money. The
C.P.L. is one of several leagues worldwide attempting to turn a popular pastime
into a spectator sport.
It's six hours before a performance of the new Cirque du Soleil show, "Corteo," and
backstage, computers are controlling a series of dollies hanging from two
giant arched tracks bridging the stage.
Hanging from the dollies are three massive chandeliers from which acrobats
are practicing gyrations and twists.
The dollies are the kind of rigging gear seen in just about any circus or
theater with acts that require people or props to be elevated far above the
ground. But the system running the dollies' deployment--a crucial element
of the show, since nearly every act involves one or more performers flying
or leaping high into the air--is entirely automated, something that would
have been unheard of to Cirque du Soleil's progenitors and that is rare even
in some of the Cirque's other shows.
Nearly a fifth of the US online buying population accounts for nearly half
of total US online spending, research published today has revealed.
Research firm Nielsen//NetRatings said that these buyers, dubbed 'Most Valuable
Purchasers' (MVPs) spend more dollars online and make more purchases on the
internet than the rest of the online buying population.
If you happen to find yourself looking to remake your leftover Altoids
tins, the company that makes the mints says the creative bar is a whole lot
higher than an ashtray or a trinket box.
Earlier this year, Altoids invited customers to enter its Tin Million Uses
competition. The idea? Challenge people to come up with the most innovative
way to reuse the ubiquitous tins.
Over time, we've noticed that Altoids mint aficionados don't stop once
the mints are gone," said Chris Peddy, general manager for Altoids. "They
reuse their tins for anything from baking cookies to making musical instruments."
After receiving nearly 200 entries, the company decided to award the $1,000
grand prize to Jon Lennon of Ithaca, N.Y., for the theremin--an electronic
musical device whose pitch is determined from light--that he built inside
a tin of ginger Altoids.
Other top choices were Kenneth McCall's wintergreen tin that switches his
music from PC speakers to headphones, Burt van der Klute's Morse code reader
and Marcy Merill's pinhole camera.
Last week I reviewed Adobe
Photoshop Elements 4.0, a must have for amateur digital photographers.
This week I will discuss white balance, how it will affect your photos, why
it does, and how you can take advantage of this feature in your camera.
Light as wee see is is typically white. That is because our brains are able
to process the colours of the light and adjust what we see to what we are expecting
to see. A good way to test this is to put on a pair colour tinted sunglasses.
After a few minutes, the colour cast we saw when we first put the glasses on
will have disappeared as your brain adjusts for what we know to be true colour.
Unfortunately, film, and digital camera's cannot be so lucky. They see the
colours as they are. The following photo shows very well how the colour of
light can affect a photograph.
When I looked at the scene, the street lights all appeared to be the same
colour, but on the photograph, the colour of the lights were varied, orange,
yellow and green. This is the colour shift due to the colour temperature of
the lights. Morning light and late evening light is typically a warm light,
while mid-afternoon light is usually cooler. Daylight is usually balanced to
between 5000 and 5500 °K (degrees Kelvin). Light bulbs are usually warmer,
producing a orange glow in a photo, while fluorescent tubes produce a green
cast to the photo. With film, a variety of filters were needed (and a variety
of films) in order to properly correct colour. Now though, digital cameras
can adjust for white balance within the camera.
Most digital cameras will have an AWB setting (auto white balance) along with
several other settings, usually daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy
and sometimes there may be a few more options depending on your camera. By
adjusting this setting for your light conditions you can get more closely match
the colours of your scene with those of your photograph. There is something
else you can do as well though. Try to change the colour balance in your camera
to something other than what you are shooting for a different effect. The most
useful change is to set your camera for cloudy conditions when shooting people
in sunlight. This will warm the light a little, producing an effect much more
like morning light, provide a slight tan for your subjects and overall make
a more pleasing image. The image below I shot using window light filtered through
white curtain. The Auto White Balance setting is on the left and is a little
cool. (The camera determined the colour temperature was 4350 °K). I then
adjusted the photo for daylight and the more pleasing image is on the right.
This would be the same as shooting in daylight, and adjusting for cloudy conditions.
Many cameras also have a method to adjust the white balance in your scene
manually. Check your instruction manual for further instructions related to
your particular camera.
Next week I will discuss using a different aspect ratio on your
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 vice-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.
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or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. All those mails will arrive
in your mail box. Don't worry, this won't cause your mail to go another
GMail user, because when you subscribe your GMail Account, Google verify
that every combination with dots are not already taken.
Ever had such an annoying message given by Windows? It has many other
Cannot delete file: Access is denied
There has been a sharing violation.
The source or destination file may be in use.
The file is in use by another program or user.
Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file
is not currently in use.
Unlocker is the solution!
If you've used Windows, then you've seen those errors. Well, I downloaded
(it's freeware) and tried Unlocker,
and it seemed to work just as advertised. It claims you can delete the index.dat
files from the Temporary Internet Folder. It worked! I also was trying to
delete a folder that Windows said was in use (even though it wasn't, and
Of course, remember that Windows gives you these errors because it probably
is being used by something. And terminating that program or unlocking the
threads may cause problems, so you should be careful. But it is a cool utility!
Back in January I contacted Makayama Interactive to review their
DVD to Pocket PC 2.0 software. I played with it when I first got it, but then
months went by without even looking at it. I recently started to test it again,
and discovered that version 3.0 had been released. Makayama Interactive sent
me an upgrade key, and I tested the latest version. As I explain in the full
review, the software is a great idea, and when it works, I loved it, but
it rarely worked. Here are a few excerpts from the review:
Handheld devices are more than just portable calendars. They
are increasingly becoming an entertainment platform. It's easy to transfer
music to your handheld device, but how do you get movies to it? Aren't
they too big? Well, this is what Makayama tries to overcome with DVD
to Pocket PC 3.0...
The concept behind the software is great, but unfortunately I just ran into
too many problems running DVD to Pocket PC 3.0 to enjoy it...
I would definitely recommend that you try the 30-day trial to see how it
works for you before you purchase it.
Many of the frustrations can probably be overcome, and I assume will
be in future versions. Only time will tell.
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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