Category Archives: Tech News

Phinally: Photoshop Express Online

Adobe did some things good with the release of Photoshop Express. It’s a free web-based editor that offers tools for one-click cropping, color adjusting, and sharing. Pretty much, that’s all you need most of the time, and I hate to think how many pirated copies of Photoshop are out there causing the Adobe execs to lose sleep at night.

All that’s required is a login to the site. Adobe hopes to tap the shutterbug crowd posting images to Flickr and Facebook and lure them to their site as a way to share their photos. We’ll see how it goes, but it looks promising. I can’t tell how many times I’ve needed to do some basic photo editing while on the road, and it just can be painful to try and find some cheap tools to do basic editing.

What Adobe did WRONG was to put in some fine print that said that Adobe basically would get to do whatever they want with the users’ photos. Watch out! Read the article on CNET:
Complaints trigger rewrite of Photoshop Express terms. Well… I’m gonna wait for the legal @!^%-storm to pass before trying this out.

UPDATE: Adobe dropped those nasty legal terms. “If you decide to terminate your Photoshop Express account, Adobe’s rights also will be terminated.” See CNET.

How DIGG Changed My Life

Almost exactly one year ago, I became a member of the Digg community. My life was perfectly fine beforehand, or so I thought. To me, Digg was just another news site, and I suspected I would occasionally scan it for interesting articles and then be on my merry way, giving Digg no more than five minutes of my time per day. Boy was I wrong!

Now, my life is forever changed. My eyes have been opened. I’ve swallowed the “red” pill. Before my Digg addiction, I was a happily married man in the early stages of my career, a fairly-devout Christian, a Windows-using Republican, and a technology enthusiast. I’m still a technology enthusiast, but since Digg overtook my life, a few things have changed.

For starters, Digg taught me that Microsoft Windows is a crap operating system, and Bill Gates is the anti-Christ. Or was it Steve Ballmer? One never knows…. So, I switched to Linux, but not just any Linux. The collective wisdom of the pre-pubescents who populate Digg informed me again and again that Ubuntu is the best Linux. Naturally, whenever I see any word resembling Ubuntu in an upcoming story, I froth at the mouth in a rabid digging frenzy! Ubuntu = Dugg. No other Linux matters.

With a change to my operating system came a change to my religion. Though I always had a few uneasy questions about Christianity, my faith was pretty solid. However, roughly 3 minutes after I joined Digg, I quickly learned how foolish I had been for ever believing in the possibility of an all-powerful divine force. On Digg, atheism runs rampant, and is growing in popularity every day. Soon the government will have to give us tax-exempt status as a bonafide religion! Oh wait.

Anyway, the strong faith in atheism at Digg has caused me to toss my old faith aside. I mean, that many utterly life-inexperienced 12-year-olds must be right. Right?

Additionally, the collective wisdom of the 12-year-old diggers emphatically informed me that Ron Paul is the savior of America. At first it seemed like Obama would be the choice, but the far-from-voting-age experts showed me time and again that Ron Paul would save me from the Neocons who want nothing more than to use me as cannon fodder in Iraq. Or was it Iran? One never knows…, but thank science that Digg showed me the “light” (or should I say “electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength?” One never knows….).

After a few months as a Digg member, I suddenly found that my attention span had shrunk to a maximum of about 4 seconds. More and more, I found that I could not concentrate on tasks at work, and found that my main work productivity included 4-second skims of articles on Digg (plus the subsequent digg, of course). Nevermind that I could never read entire articles – I could rely on the intelligent and profound Digg comments to give me the facts.

These mental changes took a toll on my life. First of all, I was fired from work. Apparently reading Digg doesn’t benefit the company. It doesn’t matter – they’re all a bunch of Giuliani lovers, I bet). My wife left me soon after that. Apparently she was incapable of understanding my lifelong goal of “digging” for 22 hours a day. She didn’t like my newfound faith in atheism either, but it’s her loss.

With my lost income and lost wife, I decided to move back into my parent’s basement. I feel comfortable here, and no one persecutes my faith (or lack thereof). Sure, I miss my wife at times, but I can always rely on Digg to comfort me. There, see! There’s a video of Israeli women in bikinis! I digg Kosher babes. Ah, Digg, I can always count on you. Seeing a video of a woman is almost like being with a real woman, provided that I shut my eyes and… pretend.

Finally, I live in constant fear of taser-happy police, feel that the US will become a “police state” in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…, unless Ron Paul can valiantly charge in and save us. My newfound anxiety keeps me from leaving the comfort of my parent’s basement without carrying a video camera at all times. You never know when those bad cops are waiting to pounce (or is it Pownce? One never knows….)!

That’s ok. I really don’t mind my self-imposed, jobless, womanless, solitude. After all, I still get plenty of excitement just by hanging around Digg. There’s enough stories about Linux, atheism, and Ron Paul to keep me dancing, drooling, and writhing in a Bacchic fit for hours. Plus, all the old internet jokes and pictures are cool again!

Thanks Digg! Kevin Rose is my hero!

If you cannot tell, this article is a complete satire, a fabrication, a creative indulgence. Or, to put it into Digg-speak: FAKE!!!!11!!! Its teh shopped!!!!

Oh, I really do like Ron Paul, though. Promise. 🙂

Get OpenDNS

A few days ago I found out about OpenDNS – it’s one of those services that once you start using it, you wonder how on earth you ever got along without it before.

In short, it’s a FREE Domain Name Service (DNS) that you can tap into on a specific computer or router level. I simply logged into my Linksys WRT54GL router, entered two server addresses, and rebooted. That’s it.

What can it do for you? A lot! 🙂

opendns_specs.png

Anti-phishing

For starters, it protects you from “phishing” sites, such as attempts to steal your PayPal passwords and bank account information. This alone is enough reason for anyone to use it. Also, it corrects common misspellings and re-directs to the appropriate site. For instance, if you type “craigslist.og,” it will redirect you to “craigslist.org.” Pretty slick.

Also, it’s supposedly faster, though I haven’t noticed much difference. It certainly did not slow my internet connection in any way.

Keyword Shortcuts

If you create an account, you have even more tools at your disposal, such as keywords. If you have a commonly-used long URL, you can easily create a shortcut it. For instance, if you find yourself navigating to the Wikipedia article on J. S. Bach a lot, you can create a shortcut to take you to that page just by simply typing “bach.”

opendns-shortcut.png

Adult Site Blocking

If you feel the need, you may also block all “adult” sites very easily, which is sure to cause the 14-year old in your life much despair. 🙂

opendns-block.png

For best results, set up OpenDNS on your router, not just on your computer. That way, everyone else on your network can take advantage of its benefits.

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Google adds themed homepages

I admit: I’m a fan of the Google homepage. I use it to organize and keep track of a lot of information, including my calendar, e-mail, weather, To-Do list, bookmarks, and more. I love the slick ability to simply drag elements around on the page, or the option to create additional tabs with more information.

This morning I noticed a new option: the ability to select a theme. There are currently seven themes available, and my favorite is “Tea House.” After you select a theme, you can enter your city/zip code to enable slight changes depending on the time of day. It is currently evening here, and my theme reflects it (see screenshot).

tea-house_theme.png

Nice! I wonder if Google will allow for user creation and customization of themes. In a way, I hope not. Most people have horribly bad taste anyhow, if Myspace custom pages are any indication. Anyway, the changing Google themes are a welcome aesthetic touch to an already functional homepage.