Archive for January, 2011

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Pictures Of The Egyptian Protests

Large set of must-see photos of the protests now going on in Egypt.

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‘Happy New Year’ Text Message Kills Suicide Bomber

Wired reports –

An unexpected and unwanted text message from a wireless company prematurely exploded a would-be suicide bomber’s vest bomb in Russia New Year’s Eve, inadvertently thwarting a planned attack on revelers in Moscow, according to The Daily Telegraph. The would-be suicide bomber was planning to detonate a suicide belt bomb near Red Square, a plan that was foiled when her wireless carrier sent her an SMS while she was still at a safe house, setting off the bomb and killing her. The message reportedly wished her a Happy New Years, according to the report, which sourced the info from security forces in Russia. Cell phones are often used as makeshift detonators by terrorist and insurgent groups. If true, the SMS might be the only time that a wireless carrier’s SMS message has ever been useful.

Continue reading HERE.

Things Babies Born in 2011 Will Never Know

An interesting list from Yahoo that consists of some obvious choices (video tapes, dial-up internet, CDs) and some less obvious ones (watches, forgotten friends). I agree with most of the list, but the death of a few of the items seems to be premature to me. Sure, magazines, newspapers, corded phones and watches are on their way out, but they will be around for many years. And, a few of the items are just wrong. I don’t see wires or mail or the work/home separation going away anytime soon. Lastly, certain thing just refuse to go away –  there has been no reason for fax machines to exist for the last ten years, but they’re still here. What do you think?

Read the entire list HERE.

Cool Site – DoNothingFor2Minutes.com

DoNothingFor2Minutes.com compels you to relax for two minutes. If you can sit still, without touching your mouse or keyboard for two minutes, you win.

Go to DoNothingFor2Minutes.com

 

Edison’s 1911 Predictions For 2011

Paleofuture.com presented an excellent article about predictions made by Thomas Alva Edison in 1911 concerning what he thought the year 2011 would be like. The predictions are mostly wrong, very wrong. Mr. Edison thought that the future belonged to metals; he didn’t foresee new man-made materials, such as plastics. Perhaps the most bizarre prediction was that man would master alchemy – turning iron into gold.

The house of the next century will be furnished from basement to attic with steel, at a sixth of the present cost — of steel so light that it will be as easy to move a sideboard as it is today to lift a drawing room chair. The baby of the twenty-first century will be rocked in a steel cradle; his father will sit in a steel chair at a steel dining table, and his mother’s boudoir will be sumptuously equipped with steel furnishings, converted by cunning varnishes to the semblance of rosewood, or mahogany, or any other wood her ladyship fancies. Books of the coming century will all be printed leaves of nickel, so light to hold that the reader can enjoy a small library in a single volume. A book two inches thick will contain forty thousand pages, the equivalent of a hundred volumes; six inches in aggregate thickness, it would suffice for all the contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And each volume would weigh less than a pound. More amazing still, this American wizard sounds the death knell of gold as a precious metal. “Gold,” he says, “has even now but a few years to live. The day is near when bars of it will be as common and as cheap as bars of iron or blocks of steel. “We are already on the verge of discovering the secret of transmuting metals, which are all substantially the same in matter, though combined in different proportions.” Before long it will be an easy matter to convert a truck load of iron bars into as many bars of virgin gold.

Continue reading HERE.

 

 

FreeFile Review – FotoSketcher

I’ve been a fan of  FotoSketcher for a few years and version 2.0 was recently released. This free application will convert any photo into a hand-drawn or hand-painted masterpiece. Basically, it is a Photoshop type filter that runs as a stand alone application. It does one thing and it does it well.

The installation is simple, and a portable version that doesn’t require installation is also available. The interface is very slick – pleasant to look at and easy to figure out. There are nearly 20 different drawing styles available (pencil drawing, painting, cartoon, etc.). Each of the styles has a ton of adjustments in the Drawing Parameters window. The program offers some very basic photo editing options (crop, resize, rotate), but I prefer to use other software for those operations. Text can be added and batch operations are possible.

I don’t use FotoSketcher often, but when I do, I’m always pleased with the results. Sometimes the default parameters are perfect, sometimes the parameters need to be adjusted. Don’t be afraid to play around with them, and remember that certain photos will look better with different drawing styles. Experimentation is key with this program.

Some of the more complicated filters may render slowly on older, slower computers. One thing that I would like to see changed is the Drawing Parameters window. It is currently a floating window, but I think that integrating it into the main program window would be an improvement. A larger preview window would be nice.

– – The Bottom Line – –
Very few free programs do what FotoSketcher does. It gives excellent results with a minimum of fuss. If you’re feeling creative, give it a shot.

Download FotoSketcher HERE

Visit DanKostecki.com for more FreeFile Reviews


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