Tag Archives: Small

Free Paint.NET 3.5.1 – Maybe Not A Photoshop Killer But…….

image This latest release of Paint.NET (October 9th, 2011), might not be quite Photoshop in disguise, but it’s a pretty serious contender.

While it can’t perform some of the more esoteric functions of Photoshop, it can certainly assist even an average photo hobbyist achieve spectacular results – results which are generally not achievable in a free photo application.

I’ve always been a big fan of Adobe Photoshop, the trendsetter/innovator for all photo editor and image manipulation software, but I stopped buying Photoshop at version 7, and in 2004 switched over to Paint.NET.

The downside of Adobe Photoshop, especially for typical users (other than its price – which is formidable), is it’s huge size on disk; it’s very challenging platform requirements, and an extreme learning curve which demands time and training.

Most of us don’t need the flexibility, or the power of a high end (read: expensive), photo editor. Instead, we’re generally looking for an application that’s small (at less than 4 MB, Paint.NET is small), fast, and free, with an intuitive interface that’s very easy to use; especially for those with only modest previous experience. Incidentally, for everyday basic photo manipulation, Irfanview gets a real workout on my machine.

image

image

You don’t have to take advantage of all of the powerful features built into this impressive application of course – see fast facts below. You can just stick to those tools you are most familiar with, including resizing, cropping, correcting red eye, flipping, and rotating. As well, you can perform a wide variety of additional image adjustments, including brightness, contrast, and applying special effects such as sharpen and blur.

image

Fast facts:

Interface – Simple, intuitive, and innovative user interface. Every feature and user interface element was designed to be immediately intuitive and quickly learnable without assistance. The interface is also enhanced for Aero Glass if you are using Windows 7 or Vista.

Performance – Extensive work has gone into making Paint.NET the fastest image editor available.

Layers – Usually only found on expensive or complicated professional software, layers form the basis for a rich image composition experience. You may think of them as a stack of transparency slides that, when viewed together at the same time, form one image.

Special Effects – Many special effects are included for enhancing and perfecting your images. Everything from blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and embossing are included. Also included is our unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect that makes it very easy to add perspective and tilting.

Adjustments – Adjustments are also included which help you tweak an image’s brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, curves, and levels. You can also convert an image to black and white, or sepia-toned.

Powerful Tools – The facilities for creating and working with selections is powerful, yet still simple enough to be picked up quickly. Other powerful tools include the Magic Wand for selecting regions of similar color, and the Clone Stamp for copying or erasing portions of an image. There is also a simple text editor, a tool for zooming, and a Recolor tool.

Unlimited History – Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody changes their mind. To accommodate this, every action you perform on an image is recorded in the History window and may be undone. Once you’ve undone an action, you can also redo it. The length of the history is only limited by available disk space.

Active Online Community – Paint.NET has an online forum with a friendly, passionate, and ever-expanding community. Be sure to check out the constantly growing list of tutorials and plugins!

Automatically Updated – Updates are free, and contain new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes. Upgrading to the latest version is very simple, requiring only two clicks of the mouse.

System requirements: Windows 2003, Vista, Server 2008, XP, Win 7 – NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (automatically downloaded with the application).

Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Spanish

Download at: Paint.NET

Plugins –  There’s a solid choice of plugins available. These plugins add new effects and the ability to handle new file types. You can check these out here.

Tutorials – Tutorials that describe the use of core features of Paint.NET such as tools, effects, and adjustments. Check them out here.

Unless you have extremely unusual image editing requirements that can only be met with Photoshop, Paint.NET should more than meet your needs, and then some.

BTW, Paint.NET v4.0 is targeted for release in 2012. Features planned for version 4.0 include a new UI, improved extensibility, revamped brushes and shapes system, antialiased selections, and adjustment layers.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Free Photo Applications, Freeware, Graphic Software, Photo Tools, Software

New Symantec Cloud Based Security Solution for Small and Medium Sized Groups Announced

image On the whole, businesses, at every level, have virtually the identical need to protect computer systems as you and I. It’s just a matter of degree.

Both businesses, and individuals, need protection against viruses, spyware, rootkits, spam, phishing, and other types of malware.

One major difference does exist however. You and I, at a personal level, uncomfortable as it may be, are likely to survive a malware infection with either limited, or no cost.

Not so a business. Computers, and automated business systems, have become crucial to the effective operation, and stability, of most businesses. Downtime, caused by cybercrime, can have lasting impact on a business’s long term viability and reputation.

Given the current threat conditions on the Internet, small and medium sized business, now, more than ever, need an effective cyber security plan. A plan that is relatively simple – but comprehensive, and in keeping with the realities of the present business environment – cost effective.

Based on these recognized needs, Symantec Hosted Services today announced a new cloud-based service, designed specifically with the SMB market in mind.

According to Symantec “Customers will now be able to protect their Windows-based laptops, desktops, and file servers from the proliferation and growing sophistication of threats with the simplicity and convenience of a cloud-based service.”

By taking advantage of this cloud based service, Symantec clients will realize considerable savings; since there is no need for additional hardware, or management software.

At the moment, Symantec Hosted Endpoint Protection is available only to customers in North America.

Fast facts:

Comprehensive Protection for Customer Systems: Advanced technologies for antivirus, antispyware, firewall and host intrusion prevention.

Always-on Protection for Endpoints: Automated updates occur transparently over an Internet connection to keep employee systems current and consistent with client policies when employees are in the office or on the road – even when they’re not logged into their corporate VPN.

Web-based Management Console: Administrators can access the administration portal over a supported Web-browser and corporate VPN access is not required to monitor and manage each computer. Administrators receive real-time alerts via SMS or email and can easily perform functions such as initiate a Live Update to refresh system protection levels, view history on systems and change local policy settings.

Ease of Management: Adds and manages new computers without requiring on-site management servers. Updates occur automatically and new features are introduced as they become available during the subscription period for no additional fee.

Scalable: Flexibility provided through a hosted model allows the solution to scale to incorporate new endpoints quickly and efficiently without requiring additional hardware or management software.

Fast to Deploy: Can be quickly deployed to users via standard download, an email invitation or silently pushed to the customer’s network.

To sign up for a Hosted Endpoint Free Trial visit Symantec’s MessageLabs.

About Symantec:

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.  Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available here.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Business Applications, Cloud Computing Applications, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Interconnectivity, MessageLabs, Networking, Software, Software Trial Versions, Symantec, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

AbiWord 2.8.1 – The Best Free Multilingual Word Processor?

AbiWord is arguably one of the best light word processing applications at any price. But FREE, makes installing this superb application a “no brainer”.

image I recently downloaded and installed the Beta version of MS Office 2010 for testing, and I must admit, I’m blown away. Microsoft seems to be hitting all the right notes lately with the release of a bevy of updated products, including Windows 7.

But, not many of us need the power and the amazing functionality of Microsoft Word – or, lets face it, the major expense. A free word processor, like AbiWord, will meet the every day needs of the majority of users.

AbiWord, which is an open source application, has been designed to integrate perfectly with the operating system it runs on, and there are many, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X (PowerPC).

There’s no need to worry about document compatibility issues with AbiWord since it can read, and write, all industry standard document types, including Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Office Open XML (MS Word 2007), Rich Text Format (RTF), HTML web pages, and many more.

If you’ve used MS Word in the past, you’ll encounter no learning curve with AbiWord. It features a similar looking interface to Word, with it’s basic character formatting, paragraph alignment, spell checker, interactive rulers and tabs, styles, unlimited undo/redo, find and replace, and image support.

If you’re running on an older system with limited resources, you’ll be glad to know that this application has a very small resource footprint, and that allows full functionality on systems that are not considered “State of the Art”, by today’s standards.

I find AbiWord with its surprising amount of features and simple straightforward interface, to be the appropriate word processor I need running in the background, while I’m on the Internet on one of my older systems. Its small memory footprint, as opposed to memory hogging Microsoft Word, is ideal. In fact, portable AbiWord is my word processor of choice for my portable office on my USB key.

The following graphic shows a previous review of AbiWord written on this application.

abiword 1

Fast facts:

Multi Platform

Internationalized

Advanced document layout options

Tables, bullets, lists, images, footnotes, endnotes and styles

Available in most common, and many not-so-common languages

Spell checker

Dictionaries for over 30 languages

Supports right-to-left, left-to-right, and mixed-mode text

The above feature allows support for languages like Hebrew and Arabic

Mail Merge capabilities

Powerful collaboration capabilities – allowing multiple people to work on one document at the same time.

Integrated with a new online web service called AbiCollab.net, which lets you store documents online, allows easy document sharing with your friends, and performs format conversions on the fly.

System requirements: Most UNIX systems, Windows 95 and later, QNX Neutrino 6.2.  A Mac OS X native port is also available.

Download at: Download.com

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Beta Software, Business Applications, downloads, Free Word Processors, Freeware, MS Word Alternatives, Portable Applications, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Paint.NET v3.5 – Photoshop in Disguise?

image This latest release of Paint.NET (November 6, 2009), might not be quite Photoshop in disguise, but it’s a pretty serious contender.

While it can’t perform some of the more esoteric functions of Photoshop, it can certainly assist even an average photo hobbyist achieve spectacular results – results which are generally not achievable in a free photo application.

I have always been a big fan of Adobe Photoshop, the trendsetter/innovator for all photo editor and image manipulation software, but I stopped buying Photoshop at version 7, and in 2004 switched over to Paint.NET.

The downside of Adobe Photoshop especially for typical users (other than its price – which is formidable), is it’s huge size on disk; it’s very challenging platform requirements, and an extreme learning curve which demands time and training.

Most of us don’t need the flexibility, or the power of a high end (read: expensive), photo editor. Instead, we’re generally looking for an application that’s small (at less than 5 MB, Paint.NET is small), fast, and free, with an intuitive interface that’s very easy to use; especially for those with only modest previous experience. Incidentally, for everyday basic photo manipulation, Irfanview gets a real workout on my machine.

image

image

You don’t have to take advantage of all of the powerful features built into this impressive application of course – see fast facts below. You can just stick to those tools you are most familiar with, including resizing, cropping, correcting red eye, flipping, and rotating. As well, you can perform a wide variety of additional image adjustments, including brightness, contrast, and applying special effects such as sharpen and blur.

image

Fast facts:

Interface – Simple, intuitive, and innovative user interface. Every feature and user interface element was designed to be immediately intuitive and quickly learnable without assistance. The interface is also enhanced for Aero Glass if you are using Windows 7 or Vista.

Performance – Extensive work has gone into making Paint.NET the fastest image editor available.

Layers – Usually only found on expensive or complicated professional software, layers form the basis for a rich image composition experience. You may think of them as a stack of transparency slides that, when viewed together at the same time, form one image.

Special Effects – Many special effects are included for enhancing and perfecting your images. Everything from blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and embossing are included. Also included is our unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect that makes it very easy to add perspective and tilting.

Adjustments – Adjustments are also included which help you tweak an image’s brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, curves, and levels. You can also convert an image to black and white, or sepia-toned.

Powerful Tools – The facilities for creating and working with selections is powerful, yet still simple enough to be picked up quickly. Other powerful tools include the Magic Wand for selecting regions of similar color, and the Clone Stamp for copying or erasing portions of an image. There is also a simple text editor, a tool for zooming, and a Recolor tool.

Unlimited History – Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody changes their mind. To accommodate this, every action you perform on an image is recorded in the History window and may be undone. Once you’ve undone an action, you can also redo it. The length of the history is only limited by available disk space.

Active Online Community – Paint.NET has an online forum with a friendly, passionate, and ever-expanding community. Be sure to check out the constantly growing list of tutorials and plugins!

Automatically Updated – Updates are free, and contain new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes. Upgrading to the latest version is very simple, requiring only two clicks of the mouse.

System requirements: Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, Windows 7 – NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (automatically downloaded with the application).

Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Spanish

Download at: Download.com

Unless you have extremely unusual image editing requirements that can only be met with Photoshop, Paint.NET should more than meet your needs, and then some.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, Graphic Software, Integrated Photo Applications, Multimedia Tools, Photo Tools, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

The Best Free Word Processor – AbiWord – Multilingual MS Word Alternative

A friend called me recently and wondered if he could “borrow” my copy of MS Word so that he could update a saved copy of his resume in Microsoft Word format. It seems he no longer had access to Word.

I pointed out to him that he could simple download any one of the many free alternatives to Word that are available for download; most of which “save” and “open” in Word’s .doc format. It surprised me to learn that he was unaware that there are free alternatives to Word, of which, AbiWord is arguably one of the best of these light word processing applications.

AbiWord has been designed to integrate perfectly with the operating system it runs on, and there are many, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X (PowerPC), ReactOS, and BeOS. This great application has been written to take advantage of the functionality provided by the system it runs on, such as image loading, or printing capabilities.

AbiWord is no slouch when it comes to being able to read and write all industry standard document types, like OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Rich Text Format, HTML web pages, and many more.

There’s no learning curve involved with AbiWord since it features a similar looking interface to Word, with it’s basic character formatting, paragraph alignment, spell checker, interactive rulers and tabs, styles, unlimited undo/redo, find and replace, and image support.

AbiWord has a very small resource footprint, which allows full functionality on systems that are not considered “State of the Art”. For those users with underpowered systems (by modern standards), this alternative light word processors should prove to be ideal.

I find AbiWord with its surprising amount of features and simple straightforward interface, to be the appropriate word processor I need running in the background while I’m on the Internet. Its small memory footprint, as opposed to memory hogging Microsoft Word, is ideal for most of my day to day work. In fact, portable AbiWord is my word processor of choice for my portable office on my USB key.

As you can see from the picture below, this article was written on AbiWord.

Features:

Multi Platform

Internationalized

Advanced document layout options

Tables, bullets, lists, images, footnotes, endnotes and styles

Available in most common, and many not-so-common languages

Spell checker

Dictionaries for over 30 languages

Supports right-to-left, left-to-right, and mixed-mode text

The above feature allows support for languages like Hebrew and Arabic

Mail Merge capabilities

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Freeware, Mobile Applications, MS Word Alternatives, Open Source, Portable Applications, Productivity Software, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

AbiWord – Free Multilingual Word Processor for Windows, Linux

Recently, I got a call from a friend who had saved his resume in Microsoft Word format, but who no longer had access to Microsoft Word. As a consequence, he could not update his resume. He wondered if, he could “borrow” my copy of Word to install on his computer so that he could revise his resume. It struck me that he, like many computer users, was unaware of the many free alternatives to Word that are available for download, most of which “save” and “open” in Word’s .doc format.

AbiWord is arguably the best of these in the class that I refer to as, light word processing applications. AbiWord has been designed to integrate perfectly with the operating system it runs on. It will take advantage of the functionality provided by the system, such as image loading, or printing capabilities.

As important, AbiWord is able to read and write all industry standard document types, such as OpenOffice documents, Microsoft Word documents, WordPerfect documents, Rich Text Format documents, HTML web pages and many more.

AbiWord has a quite small resource footprint, which allows full functionality on systems that are not considered “State of the Art”.

I find AbiWord with its surprising amount of features and simple straightforward interface, to be the appropriate word processor I need running in the background while I’m on the Internet. As stated earlier, its small memory footprint as opposed to memory hogging Microsoft Word, is ideal for most of my day to day work.

In fact, as you can see from the lead picture, this article was produced on AbiWord.

Quick facts:

  • Multi Platform
  • Internationalized
  • Advanced document layout options
  • Tables, bullets, lists, images, footnotes, endnotes and styles
  • Available in most common, and many not-so-common languages
  • Spell checker
  • Dictionaries for over 30 languages
  • Supports right-to-left, left-to-right, and mixed-mode text
  • The above feature allows support for languages like Hebrew and Arabic
  • Mail Merge capabilities

Download at: Abisource

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Filed under Free Word Processors, Freeware, MS Word Alternatives, Open Source, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools