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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:19 pm 
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Since on a fairly regular basis the Giveaway Of The Day site has photography related freebies it might be useful to reserve a thread for reporting on these instead of posting a new thread every time as I have done a few times before. Most people use the function "View posts since last visit" to view the recent postings (don't you?) so as soon as a new offer is reported the thread will be bumped to everyone's attention.

Today there's another photography related freebie at GOTD ( www.giveawayoftheday.com )

It's "Artensoft Photo Mosaic" which allows you to make composite images made of a mosaic of your photos. You know the principle.

The offer expires tomorrow 31-7-2001 08:00 GMT DST.

It likes quite a bit of processing power. Especially building the database of 'tiles' from your photos will take some time. I installed it on a not too fast computer and let is scan a part of my photos. It took about 3,5 hours to scan 1933 mostly 9MP photos (although half of that time it was doing other CPU intensive stuff too). Creating the mosaic requires a lot of computations so that takes a while too. You'll want to install it at least on your fastest computer.

It goes through four steps. The third in which it excludes neighbouring duplicates takes the longest. During the fourth step in which it corrects the image the mosaic is redrawn several times giving the impression that the programme is stuck in some sort of loop, but it isn't. It appears to depend on the amount of detail in the image you are using as the "Master Image" how many times this redrawing is performed. Just wait a bit and it will stop.

You can select the size of the output to a maximum of 82.16 Mp (10400x7900) and its default setting is 24,85 Mp (5720x4345) so if you want to make big poster prints that shouldn't be a problem.

Especially the selection of which photos to use for the tiles database could be more refined but the basic functionality is there. For a gift horse you can't complain really.

Enjoy.

Ben
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:55 pm 
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Thanks for sharing! It's a great website.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:56 pm 
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Thanks for the link. I really need to visit that site more often!

Playing with it now. How long will it take to index 18k photos... at least it wont complain about lack of source!

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3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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 Post subject: Photo-Colorizer 2.0
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:27 pm 
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Today there is another photo related giveaway. It is such a shockingly bad piece of cringeware that I wouldn't have bothered you with it here if it hadn't been for the fact that someone on the comments page has actually discovered a use for it that might make you want to try it. Read on...

It's called: Photo-Colorizer 2.0 and is supposed to be used to colourise (old) B&W photos. Which would be nice if it weren't for the fact that even the most basic photo editor would be better suited for such a task than this little application. It's size, installed less than 1,5 MB, is one of its best qualities.

When I watched the video on the maker's site I thought: What! Is that all? Surely there must be more. So I downloaded and installed it only to discover there isn't more.

Apart from the colour preset buttons just about every basic photo editing software can do better than this.

No undo (unbelievable). Only a laborious 'erase' function.
No intelligent selection of areas (like a 'magic wand' type selection etc.).
No way to click on multiple/additional areas (like faces) which it would then automatically select and colourise.

There is no built-in 'intelligence' to help you with speeding up the colouring process whatsoever, while frankly this would be the main expectation I would have of software intended for this purpose. It's also terribly slow. There's also no quality setting when saving the JPEG and it strips the EXIF but you can save to TIFF and several other formats.

However.....

You can use it to achieve a quick colour-pop effect. This is not what the person in comment #11 suggested but when I read it I realised it could be used for this in addition to the effect he/she described. A little test confirmed it.

For this you open a colour photo (no drag-and-drop!) and press the "Greyscale" button. Then click the "Erase" function and you can restore colour to the parts that you want. Since the zoom function and basically the whole navigation through the photo is cumbersome I cannot recommend this for extensive colour popping but if you only want to use it on a single not too complex object this works quite well.

Final tip. If you want to apply its effect for whatever purpose to a large area, it's slow when dragging the 'brush' which gets very much worse with increasing brush size. Horrible lag. Best when using a larger size brush first fill most of the area in with consecutive overlapping single clicks. This works better. Then do the edges with a smaller brush which you can drag with reasonable speed.

The offer expires tomorrow 22-8-2010 08:00 GMT DST.

Ben
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:03 am 
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Today on Giveaway of the Day is: Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder Standard 6.0.0
Well it's actually version 6.0.1 which probably just indicates a special GOTD build.
You can get a key code here.

It seems to be a fairly feature packed slideshow video maker and although I have hardly had a chance to use it there are a few bits of confusing information and niggles I've encountered so far.

1. During installation it tries to contact the internet (firewall popup) five or six times(!). I very much don't like that so I disallowed it. The installation then continues and apparently finishes normally.

2. When you click on the link to get the registration code in the installed Start Menu shortcuts it doesn't use the system default browser (Firefox) but forces the use of IE. It shouldn't do that. It's just plain annoying. It does that with all links to the internet.

3. At start-up you get to choose between 'Standard' and 'Advanced'. When you click "Learn more about Advanced Mode" it takes you to a page where the Standard and Deluxe version are compared side by side. Apparently this Advanced mode is only part of the Deluxe version.

It's a page that's not on the wondershare domain but on ourpix.com
Oddly enough that comparison is very different from the one you can find on the Wondershare site.

What's up here? I mean..."Set Photo Duration" is not available in the Standard edition? That's just about the most basic feature I'd expect in any slideshow software. The day before yesterday that feature was also missing in the Flip Book Maker software. I commented on this (#73, #101) and one day later the developer had added this feature. Apparently he realised too it really had to be there. Basically the lack of that feature was partially responsible for me not mentioning it here. If it will get a Re-Run I'll surely mention it.

Is that a special comparison table which compares not the regular Standard version but the GOTD Standard version?
The absence of 100+ Transition Effects is mentioned twice on that ourpix page which is sloppy. And these effects seem to be present in the GOTD version or aren't they all functional? I haven't had the opportunity to try everything so I can't give you a definitive answer on this. I've posted these remarks on the GOTD site but at the time of posting this here it hadn't yet appeared there.

In spite of these niggles I think you'll find it worth checking out.

The offer expires tomorrow 11-9-2010 08:00 GMT DST.

Enjoy.

Ben
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:29 pm 
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Although today's giveaway is not photography related I think many of you might have a use for it so I'll mention it too.
It's Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal Special Edition. Available in 32 and 64 bits versions. You can get your registration key here.

It can not only copy your hard drives but also change them into a virtual machine that you can run in MS Virtual PC, VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion.

Here's the list of key features: (P2P=Physical to Physical disk and P2V=Physical to Virtual Machine) from the GOTD page.

* Windows 7 Support (32/64-bit). Accomplish any operation under Windows 7
* Copy Features. Copy a full hard disk or a separate partition, and resize a partition while copying
* Scheduling for copy operations. Set up a timetable for copy operations with new flexibility.
* Refined User Interface. Improved two-level user interface (Easy/Advanced) to satisfy the needs of every customer.
* Support for major virtual machines. MS Virtual PC, VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion.
* Now support for Linux ExtFS, Apple HFS+.
* Wide migration options. Migrate to another hard drive, migrate to different hardware, migrate to virtual machine, migrate your Apple hard drive.
* P2V Copy. Migrate a Win2K+ physical system to a virtual environment.
* P2P Adjust OS. Make OS start up after unsuccessful migration with 3rd party tools.
* Simple Backup and Restore Wizard. Make the process of adding new drivers even more smooth and easy.

3 steps to make your system mobile with Drive Copy 10 Personal Special Edition:
1. Create a virtual clone on your PC. Including operating system, drivers and settings, all your applications and files.
2. You can choose the format of your virtual environment. Choose format you prefer –VMWARE or MS Virtual PC. New users can download a virtual player from the official site of preferred vendor for free.
3. Save a virtual clone of your PC to a USB hard drive. Save a virtual player on the same disk as well and use your PC anywhere.

Your PC is in your pocket now! Use Drive Copy 10 Personal Special Edition and easily migrate to new hard drive or even different hardware without reinstalling, create backup images of your hard drive, and perform basic partitioning operations and even more!
---

Check it out. The offer expires tomorrow 17-9-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT DST.

Ben
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:37 pm 
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Today on GOTD a simple little app ExifCleaner 1.4 that can (batch) strip EXIF metadata from your images if you want to do so. It's not an EXIF editor, it just strips. You can choose to strip all or selected EXIF tags.

This function will be present in photo editing software but if it's not in yours or you just don't want to have to start up a large program simply for this function it might come in handy. It's small in size and there is also a link to a portable version on the GOTD page. That portable version is only 637KB in 8 files.

The makers have some thoughts on the matter written down on this page with some educational info on how photo editors do (or do not) update thumbnails.

If you think you might have a use for it it's available until tomorrow 19-9-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT DST.

Ben
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:13 pm 
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OK the link to photography isn't very strong but today's Giveaway is a screensaver that basically sets your monitor on fire and has the option to use your own JPGs as background that will appear on fire on your screen. It has quite a bit of configurable options and is visually not bad at all. It has an optional 'Agent' icon that sits in your system tray and starts the screensaver when you double-click it. It can loop through different images automatically (I've set it to the shortest option of 30 seconds) and you can change things through keys that remain active and won't cause the screensaver to exit. It can also play music of your own choice.

The download in only 5,6MB.

It's called Fantastic Flame Screensaver and it will be available until tomorrow 20-9-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT DST.

Ben
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:43 pm 
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Here's how the CL front page and forum look 'on fire' with today's Giveaway. :twisted:

Image

Image

Ben
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Can-I-Am - Perhaps, as this is a tongue-in-cheek "funnies" thread - I can mention Linux, here?

I just did a System and all installed Applications, Tools, Utilities, Games, etc - weekly Update on my (PCLinuxOS) install.

Synaptic (GUI frontend for Apt-get) Installer-Uninstaller - tells me that our Repository has 12,403 of the types of items just mentioned. Those are all 24/7/365 OpenSource "freebies".... :D

Most of those aren't "free software" - they're under the GPL or GPL2 (etc) licences.

After 11 years as a Windows Technician (suburban dealerships, building, updating, repairing, Windows PCs, not Commercial) - and about the same time using Linux - since 1999, last 5 years Linux only - I've learned that no O/S, including Linux, is "Perfect".

None of them, Windows, Mac, Unix, BSD or Linux, is going to "do everything for everyone".

Until 4-5 years ago, Windows and Mac did have better high-end Main Applications, at a price. That's no longer so.

Like any O/S, Linux certainly has its "cheering fanboys" - I'm not one of them, I'm a realist. Not all of those 12,000+ apps, tools, utilities, etc, are "really good". Some can be rather "Beta" - or just "not well done"

But if you stick mainly to the excellent "top 10%" - and the pretty-good "next 10%", you have several thousand items to choose from.

With Synaptic you can (over the secure Repository link) - install 5-10-20 new, or just-updated - items in a few seconds, try them out, then uninstall the 3-8-16 you don't like, also in a few seconds - no 'reboots' either way.

The Linux "fanboys" claim that Linux is "utterly invulnerable" to "Nasties on the Internet".... I worry for such folk - because that is mostly NOT true!

The "true" part is that Linux isn't troubled by Viruses and Trojans - not unique to Linux - Unix and BSD aren't, either. Only because Viruses and Trojans just don't run in any Unix-based system.

The "NOT true" part is that "Linux is invulnerable on the Internet" - it isn't - it can be badly hit by Worms, Rootkits and Hackers. Those things are "usually" aimed at Linux Servers and Networks - but not always.

A Linux PC - Hacked and used as a 'redirect' - can be disastrous. No, I've never been "hit" by anything, in over 10 years of Linuxing. But that's not "just Linux or Luck" - I run Shorewall, probably the best of the Linux software firewalls - and my Internet cable connection goes through a hardware encrypted firewall router....

I still help many friends with their Windows PCs, mostly XP-SP3 at present - those boxes - using mostly Zone-Alarm and either Avast or AVG - and also behind hardware firewalled routers - are about as secure as any Home-User PC is going to be.

So Systems are very much "horses for courses", and none of them "suit everyone". I just happen to like one with 12,000+ pre-checked items to install and try - and 6 or 8 (can have up to 20, actually) - Desktops to work multiple applications-etc, across.

And no, I certainly don't try to get the - 8 families and 2 singles / 31 PCs - friends in "our bunch" using Linux. They just love their mostly now XP-SP3 Windows boxes... So I secure those PCs as well as I can - they have very little on-Internet probs - so they're happy... And why not...? :D

Regards, Dave.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:07 pm 
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Today again a non photography related but useful Paragon giveaway.

Paragon Backup and Recovery 10 Home Special Edition. It's a 188 MB download with both 32 and 64 bits support.
You can get a registration key here.

From GOTD's page:

All-in-one solution for data protection! Whether you want to simply save your data or create complex backup routines – this package of useful tools covers all your needs.

This solution quickly backs up these files and folders: My Documents, My Media Files, My Email Folders and easily secures valuable data without additional configurations. Backup & Recovery Home has an improved user interface with special wizards that ensure ease-of-use, even for novice users. It’s ideal for the comprehensive security of your home PC and data.
Key and New Features:

* Windows 7 Support. Enjoy full-fledged support for Windows 7
* Smart Backup Wizard. Quickly backup following files and folders: My Documents, My Media Files, My Email Folders and easily secure valuable data without additional configurations
* Backup and Restore to or from FTP. Offload backup images to offsite storage for an even higher level of protection if disaster strikes
* Scheduling for File-level Backups. Schedule any file-level backup task according to your requirements and obtain a new level of flexibility
* Selective Restore. Extract individual files and folders from an archive without restoring an entire image
* Next Generation of Adaptive Restore. A powerful and unique technology that restores any version of Windows (since Win2K) to completely different hardware

Get it while you can if you think you can use it. The offer expires tomorrow 30-9-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT DST.

Ben
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:07 pm 
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Today's giveaway allows you to add animated effects and animated objects to your own photos and use them as a screensaver. It's quite nice although it has a few annoying qualities too.

1. Every time you start the program my firewall pops up telling me x:\Program Files\Common Files\Thraex Software\AutoUpdator\AutoUpdator.exe wants to contact the internet, which I obviously disallow. There is no option to disable this behaviour as is customary in well-behaved software. I, for the moment, had to rename the file in order to get rid of that. I prefer that over having my firewall blocking it by default just in case I would start it while having my firewall temporarily disabled. I very much dislike such behaviour in software and I know I'm not the only one. It would probably have no detrimental effect on the software's functioning to delete this directory with that file.

2. At start-up it always maximises itself and it doesn't 'remember' its last exit size/location as it should.

3. The Add Animation window is annoyingly small causing the need to use a scroll bar when I have a huge screen that would allow a much bigger dialog window which would allow me to select an animation without having to use a scroll bar. I don't understand why developers don't understand this should be done differently.

4. When saving the screensaver it would save a lot of clicks if there were a few buttons selecting the directory where the .scr file should be saved. "\Windows\system32" would be one for instance since that is where screensavers usually reside. Another would be a user-definable default path which you should be able to define in some options window. I mean... really... no 'Options' or 'Settings' window?

5. The created screensaver's animation stutters even when CPU use is modest and the 3D accelerated graphics card in the system I installed it on can handle animated screensavers which seem to be much 'heavier'.

6. I wanted to use the "Import image" option to add an image of the moon that I wanted to drift slowly across the sky. Unfortunately you don't seem to be able to set a fixed level where the motion should occur resulting in the moon crawling over the foreground objects in the bottom of the screen or wherever it likes. This option should be added.

7. It would be nice if you could constrain certain animations to certain areas of the screen. Also a few more animations would be nice. Butterflies and hopping and pecking birds for instance. For such birds an area constraint would be necessary.

So: Nice... but still with ample room for improvement.

It's called Animated Screensaver Maker and will be available until tomorrow 4-10-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT DST.

Enjoy.

Ben
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 pm 
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Today another photography related Giveaway. It's Wondershare Flash Gallery Factory Standard 4.8.0. You can get an activation key here. You can enter any e-mail address you want in the program when entering the key.

Here's the info from the GOTD page:

* Combine photos and music into a dynamic flash slide show just as easy as 1-2-3
* Ready-to-use flash photo slideshow templates for birthday, wedding and any holiday including Halloween, Xmas…
* Bring your photos to life with 100+ transition and motion effects, such as 3d tile transitions, wipe transition, and flash fade effect…
* Enhance superb picture quality with built-in photo editing tools
* Allow you to edit and trim music with built-in audio editing tools
* Enable to set photo duration, add captions, description & hyperlinks for each individual photo
* Support to customize color, font, size and even motion effect for texts
* All various output formats such as SWF, XML, HTML, EXE, Email and Screen Saver
* Quick and helpful online support

The SWF and EXE formats allows you to easily run the slideshow locally.

What I like about the program is its amount of control it offers in using Ken Burns style motion effects where you can define exactly from where to where the panning and/or zooming moves. I also like how you can use two instances of the same photo and by using the option "Set start position to be the same as end position of the previous picture" making it possible for instance to pan across a photo to a part of a photo in the first instance of the photo and zooming in on that part in the second instance.

The download is 76MB in size. Check it out to see whether you like it.

The offer will be available until tomorrow 29-10-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT DST.

Enjoy.

Ben
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:14 pm 
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From the same makers as the giveaway on 3 October and very similar is today's "Animated Wallpaper Maker v2.5.0".
That previous one was an Animated Screensaver Maker. The principles are the same but the image you create with this application will be constantly visible on your desktop.

Here's the info from the GOTD site:

"Breathe new life into your desktop! Animated Wallpaper Maker will help you turn your static photos into animated pictures and set them as your desktop background. You can animate any photo you have. Really! You don’t need expensive, complicated software anymore. You can create your own animated wallpaper in just a few mouse clicks. Load a picture, adjust animation parameters, and place the result on your desktop.

What’s new:

* Icon transparency now supported in Windows 7.
* MP3 support was implemented. Now you can add background music into your animated wallpapers.
* New “Ghost”, “Gold Fish”, “Fog”, “Magic dust” and “Leaf fall” objects were added.
* Option to import your own object was added.
* New stationary objects were added.
* New “Matrix Code” effect."

You can make the animated images change if you want to create a constant slideshow on your desktop.

It's available here.

The offer will be available until tomorrow 11-11-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT DST.

Enjoy.

Ben
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:24 pm 
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Today's Giveaway is a little utility (3.5MB) with only one purpose. Resizing images.
We all already have (several) ways to resize our images but because this little app is dedicated to this task it has some nice features. It has predefined profiles and you can define your own, allowing setting of image dimensions, compression quality and file size amongst others. It can also add a logo and works primarily through drag-and-drop. You might want to check it out.

It's called Quick Image Resizer and you can find it here.

The installer is the same as the trial you can download from here. To make it a registered version you'll need to run the Activate.exe file contained in the GOTD download. If you know how you can make it 'last' ;)

The offer will be available until tomorrow 20-11-2010 08:00 UTC/GMT (forgot to remove the "DST" last time). :oops:

Enjoy.

Ben
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