Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Free copy of Opera!

The folks behind the Opera web browser are celebrating their 10th anniversary by providing free registration codes. The free version of Opera is ad-supported and the paid version normally costs $39. As of Wednesday morning, the registration codes are still free.

I got mine last evening.

Update (9/01/05): The free offer has expired!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunflower picture

I'm having some fun taking a color photo, changing it to black and white and then creating spot color by restoring the original color by "erasing" the black and white information from the picture. It can be done in both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro 8 which I have at home.

Here's how it's done in PSP according to a recent forum posting:
A very simple method is to make a duplicate image (layer) of your photo...In PSP 8, activate the top layer and go to ADJUST -> Hue and saturation -> Hue/Saturation/Lightness and move the left slider all the way down to make a B&W image. You now have a B&W image on top of the color image. Make the top image active and use the ERASE tool to remove the B&W data from the areas that you want to be colored.
You can then save the file "as-is" in the PSP file format or flatten (merge) the layers and save it as a JPG file.

The above steps can also be followed in Photoshop. The wording is slightly different, but you go to Layer -> Duplicate layer (accept the default background layer name) and then IMAGE -> Adjust -> Hue/saturation and then follow the rest of the above steps. (Tip: use a small brush to "color" the outside edge and a larger brush for the inside.)

It sounds more complicated than it really is. I tried it out on this sunflower photo from a couple of years ago.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I went to a baseball game yesterday...

I went to a baseball game at Wrigley Field yesterday. This was my second Cubs game of the season and the second time I’ve seen them lose this year. The Braves beat the Cubs 3 to 1 -- yet another loss in yet another season without a World Series championship…or even a World Series appearance. (The Cubs last played in the 1945 Series and last won the Series back in 1908.)

It was a beautiful day. The kind of day that the chamber of commerce people like to crow about. The sky was blue with just a few feathery clouds. The temperature was in the mid-70s with a low humidity reading.

I went with a friend from work. We met a colleague from a company subsidiary and a prospective vendor who was our host. We had a nice lunch and then walked across Waveland Avenue to Wrigley. Our tickets were in the far right field corner, but we had an excellent view of the playing field and could see every play. An added bonus was we were out of earshot from the PA system so we missed all of the commercials between half-innings! The only problem with that is that we missed pitching changes and pinch hitters. It was still refreshing though.

There was a reminder that it is late summer because shadows caused by the 3rd base side of the grandstands started coming into play in the 8th and 9th innings. It's hard to believe that it's almost September.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Babes of Flickr

You knew it would happen eventually!

There’s now a site that posts pictures of, uh, healthy young women from the Flickr photo-sharing site. “Babes of Flickr” is now available. (I may have to bookmark it for further study!)

New Blogger add-in

I’m trying out a new add-in for Blogger. This entire post has been created in Microsoft Word and I’m finding it very easy and convenient to use. I have a pretty extensive dictionary saved in Word and I’m finding it much easier to conduct my spell checks from within Word before posting to Blogger. In fact, I just had to educate Word that “Blogger” is the correct spelling.

The new Word add-in can be found here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Today is my birthday!

It's fun to go back and figure out what news events occurred on the day you were born. Retrosheet has the boxscores for the baseball games played on my birthday. I was born on a Tuesday and both the White Sox and Cubs lost.

Like that's never happened before!

Happy birthday to: Porter Wagoner, Buck Owens, George Hamilton, Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), Pat Metheny, Pete Sampras, Matt Clement, Antoine Walker, Plaxico Burress and Dominique Swain.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Meteor shower Friday and Saturday

The best North America viewing on Friday is, unfortunately, during daylight hours. The alternative is to watch early Friday or Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sunflower collage

I'm having some fun this Wednesday evening playing with a sunflower photo I took in summer 2002. I created some dramatic effects using a plug-in filter in my Paint Shop Pro 8 software and then created this collage using Picasa 2. There are a total of 13 images in this collage -- the original photo in front and then 12 variations of the same photo. The whole set is viewable here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Discovery photos

NASA has some great high resolution photos taken during Discovery's recent successful voyage. They are available here.

This is my favorite shot taken when the shuttle was nearing the International Space Station. [The orientation of the picture is correct. A number of news organizations ran it top-side up.]

Here's another photo.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

I HATE summer colds!

I caught a cold over the weekend and it's still with me. I absolutely HATE summer colds! Nothing makes you more uncomfortable than a cold in the middle of summer. In Chicago we're in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures in the 90s and the heat index is above 100 -- so, of course, I have my cold.

I think I caught it at work. Our building is kept very cool, but last week I noticed that I was getting a chill. I normally like cooler temps, but when I start getting a chill, I know something's wrong. I probably should have worn long-sleeve shirts earlier.

I had to work a golf outing on Monday because my company was a sponsor. I was miserable! Fortunately there were enough volunteers there so I could leave early. I stayed home from work on Tuesday but am back at work today. I'm still not feeling great, but I am feeling better.

Did I mention how much I detest summer colds!?