Other articles in the series Digital Cameras
- Digital Photo Goodies (10 Dec 01)
- More Digital Cameras 2000 (13 Dec 00)
- Digital Cameras 2000 (11 Dec 00)
- Digital Camera Accouterments (04 Dec 00)
- The Second Generation of Digital Cameras, Part 2 (25 Jan 99)
- The Second Generation of Digital Cameras, Part 1 (04 Jan 99)
- Pixel Perfect (15 Dec 97)
- Choosing a Digital Camera, Part 2: Which One to Buy? (08 Dec 97)
- Focusing on Digital Cameras, Part 1: Higher Is Better (01 Dec 97)
- Digital Camera Buying Guidelines, Part 1 (06 Dec 99)
- Digital Camera Buying Guidelines, Part 2 (13 Dec 99)
Other articles in the series Digital Camera Add-ons
We're wrapping up 2002 with an extra-large issue! If you're still looking for gift ideas, Arthur Bleich offers digital camera-related suggestions, and fans of wireless networking can now buy Adam's new book, The Wireless Networking Starter Kit. We also note the releases of Fetch 4.0.3 and QuicKeys 1.5.4, and look at Apple's backtracking on Macs that can boot Mac OS 9. Lastly, as your thoughts turn to Macworld Expo, take note of TidBITS-related events. See you in 2003!
TidBITS 2002 Holiday Hiatus -- This marks our last issue of 2002, and we're all looking forward to a few weeks off with friends and family during the holiday seasonShow full article
TidBITS 2002 Holiday Hiatus -- This marks our last issue of 2002, and we're all looking forward to a few weeks off with friends and family during the holiday season. As always, my heartfelt thanks to the many people who make our mission with TidBITS possible: Tonya, Geoff, Jeff, Matt, and Mark; our corporate sponsors and Internet hosts; our authors and contributors; our selfless volunteer translators, everyone who participates in TidBITS Talk, and most important, everyone who reads TidBITS regularly and thus gives meaning to our work. The next issue will appear 06-Jan-03, as many of us gather in San Francisco for Macworld Expo. Let me leave you, then, with the hope that your holidays live up to all that you wish them to be. [ACE]
easyDNS Gift Certificate Clarification -- Our apologies to easyDNS for misrepresenting the utility of their gift certificates in last week's gift issueShow full article
easyDNS Gift Certificate Clarification -- Our apologies to easyDNS for misrepresenting the utility of their gift certificates in last week's gift issue. We implied you had to be running your own servers for the service provided by the gift certificate to be of any utility. In fact, easyDNS provides domain name registration and service along with email and Web site forwarding to any email address or Web site that you might have. (And if you don't have a Web page up yet, they provide an "under construction" page as a placeholder.) So, for instance, someone setting up example.com via an easyDNS gift certificate could forward mail from email@example.com to an obscure Hotmail account like firstname.lastname@example.org, and redirect Web hits from www.example.com to www.geocities.com/joeschmoe53/. In short, an easyDNS gift certificate is perfect for any individual or small business who wants to use their own domain name for email and for a Web site. Technical skills aren't necessary, since the gift certificate comes with detailed step-by-step instructions. (And it's an easy last-minute gift for that person who seemingly has everything!) [ACE]
by Geoff Duncan
Some Macs to Boot Mac OS 9 Through Mid-2003? Although Apple has not yet made a public statement, it seems some Macs that can boot into Mac OS 9 may remain available until mid-2003, contrary to Apple's announcement in September that new Macs would stop being able to boot Mac OS 9 in January of 2003. According to News.com and MacCentral, Apple claims the move is for education users, who ostensibly are taking longer to move to Mac OS X than "the rest of us." Thus, Mac OS 9-capable Macs will reportedly include CRT-based iMacs, the eMac, and the iBookShow full article
Some Macs to Boot Mac OS 9 Through Mid-2003? Although Apple has not yet made a public statement, it seems some Macs that can boot into Mac OS 9 may remain available until mid-2003, contrary to Apple's announcement in September that new Macs would stop being able to boot Mac OS 9 in January of 2003.
According to News.com and MacCentral, Apple claims the move is for education users, who ostensibly are taking longer to move to Mac OS X than "the rest of us." Thus, Mac OS 9-capable Macs will reportedly include CRT-based iMacs, the eMac, and the iBook. It's not clear whether these systems will be available to the general public or just to education customers. However, Apple apparently also plans to continue selling a dual 1.25 GHz Power Mac G4 configuration which can boot into Mac OS 9 for professionals who need applications like QuarkXPress which aren't yet available for Mac OS X. (TidBITS confirmed that Quark has contacted some of its customers to inform them machines capable of booting Mac OS 9 will be available through mid-2003.) This high-end configuration is also of interest to music and audio professionals, most of whom have been unable to move to Mac OS X due to lack of drivers and host applications. [GD]
QuicKeys X 1.5.4 Improves Menu Selections -- CE Software has released QuicKeys X 1.5.4, which reportedly improves the macro utility's capability to select menu items as part of your shortcuts (though it unfortunately still can't select menus in Eudora)Show full article
QuicKeys X 1.5.4 Improves Menu Selections -- CE Software has released QuicKeys X 1.5.4, which reportedly improves the macro utility's capability to select menu items as part of your shortcuts (though it unfortunately still can't select menus in Eudora). QuicKeys 1.5.4. is a free update, requires at least Mac OS X 10.2, and is an 8.9 MB download. [ACE]
Fetch 4.0.3 Chomps Bugs -- Jim Matthews of Fetch Softworks has released Fetch 4.0.3, a free update to his popular FTP client that fixes numerous bugs and provides improved compatibility with Mac OS X 10.2 JaguarShow full article
Fetch 4.0.3 Chomps Bugs -- Jim Matthews of Fetch Softworks has released Fetch 4.0.3, a free update to his popular FTP client that fixes numerous bugs and provides improved compatibility with Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar. Specific areas receiving improvement include AppleScript, SOCKS gateways, and Kerberos. Despite these modern improvements, Fetch remains compatible with all versions of the Mac OS back to System 7.0. Fetch 4.0.3 is free to registered users of version 3.0.3 and later; new copies cost $25, although free licenses are available to educational and charitable organizations. A 15-day trial version is a 1.2 MB download.
In an interesting move for software distributed on the Internet, Jim has also set up an affiliate program with online software sales service eSellerate, so if you were to register Fetch using the link below, TidBITS would earn a 10 percent commission. I haven't noticed small software vendors using affiliate programs in the past, but such programs could be a useful tool for attracting additional sales. [ACE]
The future of the East Coast Macworld Expo trade shows was called into question by the recent dispute between Apple and IDG World Expo, and the cancelling of Macworld Expo Tokyo in 2003 added to the uncertaintyShow full article
The future of the East Coast Macworld Expo trade shows was called into question by the recent dispute between Apple and IDG World Expo, and the cancelling of Macworld Expo Tokyo in 2003 added to the uncertainty. And yet, Apple released a statement saying "Apple will continue to participate in Macworld San Francisco in January" without specifying a year. So even though it sounds like Macworld Expo in San Francisco has a future, it also seems likely that the world of Macintosh trade shows will see radical changes in 2003. If you're planning on attending, make the most of this year's show.
We've heard of almost no public events this year, but Ilene Hoffman is just about to start updating the Robert Hess Memorial Events List for this show, so it's worth checking the list before the show for parties to attend.
TidBITS Events -- A number of TidBITS staff members, including myself, Jeff Carlson, Matt Neuburg, and Mark Anbinder, will be at the show and speaking on a variety of topics. We certainly hope to see the regulars, and if it's your first time at Macworld Expo, be sure to stop by and say hello, since we have a few of the coveted TidBITS t-shirts to hand out to Macworld first-timers.
On Tuesday, January 7th at 3 PM, Glenn Fleishman and I will be talking about troubleshooting wireless networks at the Aladdin booth (#1407). Bring your questions!
On Wednesday, January 8th, I'll be chatting with user group members about Apple's show announcements and more from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the User Group Lounge, which is room 250/262 (West Mezzanine in the South Hall of Moscone, one level above the show floor). After that, from 1:15 PM to 2:30 PM, I'll be giving a Macworld Users conference session entitled "Getting Started with iPhoto" in room 301. I plan to do an overview of iPhoto with tips and tricks. From 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM in Room 120, Matt Neuburg will be delivering a Macworld Pro conference session entitled "Taking Control of Mac OS X." Matt always puts on a great show, so if you've been wondering about how to automate applications like FileMaker Pro, Eudora, and Microsoft Word in Mac OS X using tools like QuicKeys, BBEdit, Script Debugger, REALbasic, and Cocoa, don't miss him.
On Thursday, January 9th from 12:30 to 1:15 PM, Bob LeVitus, Ted Landau, and I ("The Mad Dogcows") will be taking on Shawn King, Chris Breen, and Andy Ihnatko (the "X.F.L. Team") in the MacBraniac Challenge Macintosh trivia contest, hosted by David Pogue. We're already in the lead on the basis of having a better name, but be sure to come to the keynote hall to find out which team can pull more useless Macintosh trivia from their brains. From 2:00 to 3:00 PM I'll be at the Peachpit booth to talk about iPhoto, and from 5:00 to 6:00 PM I'll be back at the Peachpit booth with Glenn Fleishman to turn you on to all the latest and greatest happenings in the world of wireless networking.
On Friday, January 10th at noon, come listen to Jeff Carlson and a panel of authors at the Peachpit booth talk about digital video and how to get the most out of that digital camcorder you received for Christmas.
Netter's Dinner -- Sure, it may be formulaic, but it's a formula we like. For the 17th straight year, the annual Netter's Dinner will take place Thursday, January 9th at the Hunan at Sansome and Broadway, where the hot and spicy Chinese food (vegetarian dishes are included too) costs $18. You must register by 07-Jan-02 via Kagi - use the link below. As has happened the last few years, the booming voice and Hawaiian shirt of our fearless organizer, Jon Pugh, will once again be absent, so I'll be moderating the boisterous raise-your-hands survey. Help me avoid sounding unprepared on stage by sending me suggestions for questions, and when you're yelling suggestions from the audience, yell loudly!
As in previous years, meet at the top of the escalators on the south side of Moscone at 6:00 PM and be prepared for a brisk, sometimes damp walk that snarls traffic throughout downtown San Francisco. I may show up a few minutes after 6:00 PM, but we'll leave no later than 6:30 PM for the restaurant.
At the beginning of 2002 in TidBITS-612, I wrote "Peering Into 2002's Tea Leaves," an article that made some general predictions about which topics would garner the most attention this yearShow full article
At the beginning of 2002 in TidBITS-612, I wrote "Peering Into 2002's Tea Leaves," an article that made some general predictions about which topics would garner the most attention this year. In it I said, "it's clear that 2002 will be another step on the ascendence of 802.11 wireless networking." It's somewhat ironic that while I can certainly move that prediction into the "Win" column, at the time I had no idea how involved I'd become with wireless networking later in the year by co-authoring my just-released book, The Wireless Networking Starter Kit (Peachpit Press, ISBN 0321174089).
Late one night at MacHack in June of 2002, I was talking about book ideas with my friend Richard Ford, who used to be the Open Transport product manager at Apple and is now a product manager in charge of the PacketShaper network management device at Packeteer. I'd recently finished my iPhoto Visual QuickStart Guide, and we were sitting in the lobby of the MacHack hotel with our laptops connected to the Internet via the wireless network that was being shared at all hours of the day and night by nearly every attendee of the conference. Given the way wireless networking had become ubiquitous at MacHack, Richard made a suggestion bordering on the painfully obvious - that my next book should be about wireless networking.
He had a point. In fact, MacHack was the second of three conferences around that time where wireless networking played a major role. A month earlier, aboard ship on the MacMania Geek Cruise, most of the speakers and a number of the conference attendees gathered each night in the ship's library to soak up the 2.4 GHz radio waves and surf the Web while chatting with one another. And a month after MacHack, at Macworld Expo in New York, I broke one of my cardinal rules of trade shows and carried my iBook on the show floor every day, since it was so much easier to check email via one of the many accessible wireless networks at the Javits Convention Center than via phone from my room at the Paramount Hotel.
So when Nancy Ruenzel, Peachpit's publisher, asked me at Macworld Expo in July what book I'd like to write next (publishers love to ask that, and I've learned it's best to be ready either with a proposal or a good excuse), I floated the idea of a book about wireless networking that I would co-author with my friend Glenn Fleishman, who was making a name for himself as the publisher of the popular 802.11b Networking News weblog. As soon as I mentioned wireless networking, Nancy launched into a story about how she was having trouble setting up an AirPort Base Station to work with her husband's PowerBook and... Clearly the book was a go.
Why Wireless? Seeing a lot of people using wireless networking wasn't sufficient reason to write a book about the topic. The most important fact about wireless networking, from my point of view, was that it is utterly cool. Even though I've had a wireless network in the house from just a few months after Apple introduced their AirPort technology, I still get that little thrill of "Wow, this is neat!" every time I use my iBook to access the Internet via a wireless network, either at home or on the road. I'm also reminded of it every time I come up the driveway and see the 24 dB parabolic antenna attached to the side of our house, since it makes it possible for me to pick up a 1 Mbps Internet connection from several miles away. And the news stories that Glenn covers in his weblog every day run the range from soap opera (Intel, AT&T, and IBM backing a startup called Cometa that intends to install thousands of public wireless hot spots across the country by 2004) to science fiction (Vivato's phased-array smart antenna, which promises to increase the range of wireless networks to entire buildings or portions of a city). It's an exciting world.
But I find lots of technologies cool, and you don't see me writing a book about how to use a TiVo, for instance. What sealed my decision to write the book is that wireless networking is easy enough to attract users, but suffers from plenty of gotchas that can make even people experienced with computer networks want to pull their hair out. It might be easy to connect your Titanium PowerBook G4 to your AirPort Base Station, but getting it all to communicate via your cable modem is another story. And why can't you pick up the signal from the kitchen table, whereas your next door neighbors have no trouble accessing it and sharing your Internet connection, even when you don't want them to? And after you locked down your network with a password, why doesn't that password work for your sister when she visits with her PC laptop?
How Does It Help? Not since I wrote Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh back in 1993 did I feel that I had an opportunity to help so many people. And that, more than anything else, is why I drive myself for weeks or months to add writing and editing a book to all the other work I do. Here's a look at how each chapter can help anyone who wants to understand, use, create, expand, or improve wireless networks.
Chapter 1 is an introduction to what's neat about wireless networking to help readers get as jazzed about the topic as Glenn and I are. It's also a good set of stories that can help convince your spouse, parents, office mates, or CEO that there's utility in adding a wireless network for your personal or professional life.
Chapter 2 barely touches on wireless networking, but instead provides a crash course in the basics of traditional wired networking. Understanding how networks work makes troubleshooting much easier, not to mention the fact that setting up a wireless network still requires a good deal of traditional networking to connect your gateway to your Internet connection and to older computers.
Chapter 3 looks at how wireless networks actually work, from the basics of radios to the hardware you'll need to set up and connect to wireless networks using different types of computers.
Chapter 4 offers step-by-step instructions on how to configure your computer to connect to existing wireless networks. We cover both Windows and Macintosh in this chapter (and throughout the entire book) because wireless networking isn't just platform agnostic, it's also a great way to connect the PC laptop the office gave you with your iMac at home.
Chapter 5 provides similar step-by-step instructions on how to set up an entire wireless network, but also gives you a detailed approach for planning out your network before you accidentally buy unnecessary hardware. Also included is information on how to connect two networks, such as might be in two buildings separated by an alley or even several miles, via cheap wireless bridges.
Chapter 6 looks at the complex topic of wireless network security and makes practical recommendations about the level to which you should be concerned about someone eavesdropping on your wireless traffic and what to do about it. We also talk about a new, improved security standard that should be available by next summer.
Chapter 7 helps you learn how to find and use wireless networks while you're traveling. Finding wireless networks is the hardest part, but we also offer some hard-won advice on the best ways of using wireless networks on the road.
Chapter 8 contains all the information I wish I'd known when I set up my long-range wireless Internet connection. We don't expect all that many people will want to connect two wireless networks over distances of many miles, but those that do have a lot of learning in front of them, and this chapter provides everything you need to get started, along with some pictures of my setup. This chapter might also open your eyes to creating short or long hops for wireless networks that you wouldn't have considered. For example, when TidBITS Managing Editor Jeff Carlson moved closer to the office he shares with Glenn and others, he and Glenn looked at topographical maps to see whether spanning the 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to his new home was practical. (It wasn't.)
Chapter 9 could be the most useful chapter for many people, since along with the general troubleshooting guide that I published back in TidBITS-652 and TidBITS-653, it offers numerous suggestions and tests for solving common wireless networking problems such as your wireless network adapter not connecting, poor signal strength, intermittent signal, inaccessible locations, no Internet access, and more. We anticipate expanding this chapter over time as we hear from more users via the new Wireless Starter Kit Forum on our Web site.
Chapter 10 wraps up the book with brief looks at a number of the pie-in-the-sky technologies (or more accurately, blimp-in-the-sky technologies) that could change the face of wireless networking in the future.
For more details, you can download a 1 MB PDF that has the first chapter and eight additional excerpts containing 60 pages from throughout the book (which is a total of 336 pages).
Buying Details -- When writing this article, I was amused to see what I'd written when first announcing Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh in TidBITS-195 from September of 1993. Given that Amazon didn't exist yet, ordering online was possible only through email, and it seemed extremely cool that Hayden offered a 20 percent discount with a special coupon code.
You can still buy my new book from your favorite local bookstore (though probably not in time for Christmas), but ordering online has become far easier, cheaper, and sometimes faster. For The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, I've negotiated with Peachpit to provide a 30 percent discount to TidBITS readers (use coupon code PE-Y2AK-TIDF during checkout on the Peachpit site via the link below to get the discount), and they're even offering free UPS Ground shipping at the moment. You can also order from Amazon if you want to make the book part of a larger order. Either ordering directly from Peachpit with the special coupon code or using the Amazon link below works through our affiliate program, so Glenn and I make a few bucks more per book than through other channels. (Note that Peachpit is still working on getting their parent company's backend database to use the correct cover art: the orange and green radio waves were a placeholder cover that we replaced with illustrator Jeff Tolbert's excellent cityscape.)
If any questions or problems arise surrounding purchasing from Peachpit, just let me know and I'll see if I can track down an answer for you.
If you'd like to help me out, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the book to others involved with wireless networking. Make sure to give them the Peachpit discount code so they can get the book cheaply too. If you'd like to review the book for a publication, let me know. And if you know of anyone who might be in a position to sell or recommend the book, such as people who work in an Internet cafe, coffeehouse, or ISP that does wireless, have them send me email at <email@example.com> and I'll see what I can do to set them up with special discounts or other deals.
Frankly, I'm extremely happy with this book. I think Glenn and I did a good job of including all the information anyone short of a wireless network engineer would want. From what I'm seeing, wireless networking is in certain ways where the Internet was back in 1993. The title of The Wireless Networking Starter Kit isn't an accident - this book really does follow in the footsteps of Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh in many ways. I can only hope it helps as many people.
Digital cameras remain one of the hottest pieces of hardware in the technology world, with ever-higher resolutions and ever-lower prices. However, the vast number and variety of digital camera models means you're best off reading reviews and comparing models at one of the digital photography Web sites listed belowShow full article
Digital cameras remain one of the hottest pieces of hardware in the technology world, with ever-higher resolutions and ever-lower prices. However, the vast number and variety of digital camera models means you're best off reading reviews and comparing models at one of the digital photography Web sites listed below. When it comes time to purchase, it's worth shopping around since prices vary widely. All the digital camera review sites offer price comparison services, as does TidBITS sponsor dealmac, with their new dealcam site. That said, make sure to buy from a reputable retailer and avoid "gray market" cameras that lack the manufacturer's warranty. Sometimes those incredibly low prices really are too good to be true.
So this year I want to focus on some useful accoutrements that make taking and working with digital photographs easier, plus some that can help you get even better results from your existing camera.
Show Your True Colors -- To match your printer's output to the image on your monitor, you first must make sure your monitor is accurately displaying your original photo. Your printer can't see what's on your screen; it prints from the image file on your computer. If that file doesn't display properly, making changes to it in your imaging program is like shooting in the dark - you won't know the results until you see a print. ColorVision's Spyder colorimeter (with PhotoCal software) is a device that automatically calibrates your monitor in a few seconds so it'll display your camera originals properly. The result? Prints that match what you see, and enough savings in ink and paper to pay for itself quickly. Calibrate periodically to correct for color shifts as your monitor ages. A model for CRT monitors only is $160; one used with both CRT and LCD monitors is $288.
The Incredible Shrinking Reflectors -- Are your outdoor portraits plagued with deep shadows or burned out highlights? Reflectors can easily solve those problems and an ingenious solution is PhotoFlex's MultiDisc 5'in1 that compresses five 32-inch (81 cm) reflectors into a zippered container just 12 inches (30.4 cm) across and weighing less than two pounds. Kids love to watch them expand - it's pure magic. For $115 you get five of the most popular reflectors used in the photo industry today: gold, soft gold, silver, white, and translucent. They'll fill in shadows, cut harsh sunlight, and much more. Need smaller or larger sizes? They're available, too. And they're just as useful when used indoors with PhotoFlex's new digital photography lighting kits or your own source of light.
What's a Podmatic? Tripods are a pain to tote around. If you just need to steady your camera, the Podmatic will do as well or better. This is the best monopod in the world - an improved version of the famous German Linhof Monomatic that sold for several hundred dollars until it was discontinued. Demand was so great, photo retailer Adorama decided to make their own ($90) and it's a dandy - only 14 inches (35.6 cm) collapsed and 58.5 inches (148.6 cm) when extended. It's perfect for steadying your camera at those slow, "iffy" shutter speeds when the light is low or when you're at full zoom and a shaky hand can ruin your shot. You'll also want to add a Slik Compact Ball Head ($25) for even more versatility.
More Power To You -- If your camera takes AA batteries, you can extend your shooting time with a Quest Q2 Platinum Charger Kit ($50), that comes with four 1800 mAh, Platinum NiMH AA batteries. Each battery is charged on a separate circuit and then supplied with a trickle of current to keep it up to snuff until needed. For industrial strength power, Unity Digital has three, lightweight power pack models ($70) that will keep most any digital camera juiced up for a full day (or more) of continuous shooting (you'll run out of energy before it will). Each model comes with a charger and the appropriate cable for your camera. And if you have a camera that uses a Lithium Ion battery, Maha Energy has a new line of replacement batteries in various sizes and voltages, all of which are less expensive ($30 to $40) than the original manufacturer's batteries and last a whole lot longer.
Adobe Has You Covered -- Okay, so you have a great camera and some nifty accessories but what about a versatile image editing program to do some photo-fixing and fiddling? Tasks like removing backgrounds, darkening and lightening areas, correcting bad color, trimming, sharpening, and eliminating that satanic gleam called red-eye used to take hours in a darkroom (if you could do it at all). Now it's just a matter of minutes at your Mac in either Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X. Photoshop Elements 2.0 ($100) is easy to learn and loaded with features specifically developed for photographers. It's probably all you'll ever need in an imaging program, but should you decide to step up to the big guns - the $600 Photoshop 7 - you'll have all the basics already mastered.
The Miraculous AutoEye -- AutoFX has some amazing filters that do, well, amazing things. They wisely designed their AutoEye ($130) program to work as a plug-in to popular imaging programs or as a stand-alone application; it can miraculously (well, almost) ferret out lost detail and color in your images to transform dull and dingy pictures into absolute stunners. AutoEye uses a totally different set of adjustment methods that don't rely on standard curves and histograms to correct the entire image. Download a trial copy; once you see for yourself how easy it is to make these high quality image enhancements, you'll be asking "How'd they do that?" Use code #88991 and get $30 off.
Sharp as a Tack -- Most people discover that using their imaging program's unsharp mask feature to sharpen images can drive them crazy. Although it gives far better results than a generic Sharpen command, unsharp masking involves setting three variables (amount, radius, and threshold) that can be confusing especially to those who don't use the feature regularly. Nik Sharpener Pro! Inkjet Edition ($170) is a plug-in for most imaging programs that knows all this stuff and automatically matches the degree of sharpness exactly to the desired print size of the image and your inkjet printer's resolution- there's no guessing. Nik Multimedia also has a complete line of other imaging effects filters that are tailor-made for photographers.
Chameleon Software -- Ever want to change one color in a picture without going through the hassle of laboriously using a selection tool to outline the portion you want replaced? Digital Light & Color's $50 Color Mechanic Pro lets you do this with just a couple of mouse clicks and doesn't affect any other colors in the image- only the one you want changed. This powerful color correction plug-in works with Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and most other imaging programs. It's a great tool to use when you want to change a red car to a blue one or Junior's sweater from putrid green to cheerful yellow. And it's far more precise than other methods that only give limited adjustment. You won't believe how easy this is to do!
Actions Speak Louder -- Most full versions of Photoshop can play back pre-recorded commands in an Action palette; once you get a sequence down pat, you can repeat it exactly again and again. Fred Miranda has developed some actions that would normally take you hours of experimenting to come up with (assuming you could do it at all). His actions reduce noise, give soft-focus effects, get rid of unpleasant artifacts, emulate infrared (and black-and-white) pictures, and more. One of the most innovative actions increases the dynamic range of your pictures so that details can be seen in both the darkest shadows and brightest highlights - better than Ansel Adams could ever do. The actions are priced at $8.50 and up.
Rabbit Round-Up -- Digital photos tend to proliferate faster than rabbits and before you know it, they're all over the place. Extensis Portfolio is a slick, powerful, image-cataloging program that will quickly organize and keep track of where they are. You'll never again have to search through nested folders to find the photos you need- they'll always be at your fingertips, even if they're in different locations. And you can also rename, categorize, and copy photos directly from your camera's memory card in one easy step. Order before 01-Apr-03 using the second link below to get $100 off the regular price of $200! Extensis Portfolio works with Mac OS 9; a preview for Mac OS X is available.
Greeting Cards on the Cheap -- If you haven't noticed, the cost of greetings and postcards have risen like flu fever. Red River Paper has a remedy for that - make your own custom cards for under a buck apiece! You supply your own images and messages and they supply cards and envelopes in different sizes (up to 5 by 7 inches). The cards are pre-scored (for easy folding) and come in gloss, matte, or watercolor paper with clear, pearl, or rainbow "see-thru" sheets and elegant white, eggshell, or brilliantly colored envelopes. Postcards allow you to do small, targeted business mailings without having to pay for large minimums you'll never use. You can order a sample set for $5.
Stripping the Light Fantastic -- Test Strip is derived from the age-old darkroom technique of printing variations of the same image on a small piece of paper to see which looks best before committing to a large, final print. Test Strip is a plug-in for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements under Mac OS 9 that shows you a comparison preview of your image - adding or subtracting colors, density, contrast, or saturation. You can easily change the orientation and the number of strips that are displayed and then print a test proof. If you've had trouble matching your printer output to what you see on the screen, just print out a test strip, pick the image that looks the best, and then select it to print out at your desired size. Order the Show Special and get $100 off the regular price of $200! Mention Digital Camera Magazine if asked.
Crash Parachutes -- If your digital camera's memory card goes south with priceless images on it, all's not lost. Don't reinitialize it! Just call Southwest Stars Data Recovery for a quote and then send it to them for resurrection. If they can't bring it back to life, bury it.
Learn, Baby, Learn! Plenty of knowledge is available out there that can bring you up to speed on digital photography. VTC has a huge library of training CDs that you can buy or subscribe to. For only $25 a month, you can browse any title at any time of the day. Web sites also abound; go to my Digital PhotoCorner site to get a listing of the best. While you're there, look in on the Digiphoto 101 online class to see if you might want to enroll. For more personalized instruction, think about attending a Workshop At Sea, where you'll learn about digital photography, imaging, and printing while you cruise to exotic ports, enjoy the company of fellow enthusiasts, and have the time of your life.
Books Are In -- Here are a few titles that stand out among the many. A classic that's still in print, Essentials of Digital Photography by Akira Kasai and Russell Sparkman, is filled with vital information that clarifies difficult concepts. Real World Digital Photography by Deke McClelland and Katrin Eismann is another oldie-but-goodie that's great for beginners to intermediates. Ben Long's Complete Digital Photography is loaded with excellent information for more advanced photographers who want to make the transition to digital. Creative Digital Printmaking by Theresa Airey and Michael J. McNamara is a fine mixture of creative and technical information about inkjet printing. Finally, Photoshop Elements 2 Solutions by Mikkel Aaland is a "must have" to keep at your side (if you use a full version of Photoshop, you probably already have a groaning shelf filled with Photoshop-related tomes).
[Arthur H. Bleich is a photographer, writer, educator, and feature editor of Digital Camera Magazine. He lives in Miami, does assignments for major publications both in the U.S. and abroad, and conducts digital photography workshop cruises.]
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