Editing Photos with IrfanView

February 18, 2008

I spent a couple of hours yesterday updating my publicity photos for 2008. If you must, you can see the new ones at Gaskin.com> Press Materials > Photos. At least now my photo includes the shirt I wear onstage.

Getting ready for this onerous job (who really likes to look at pictures of themselves for a couple of hours? nobody I know) I checked out PCWorld’s roundup of 14 Downloads for Digital Photography. As nice as the roundup is, I didn’t download anything. I already have The GIMP on the Linux systems I’m running now, so I have no need to download the Windows version. None of the others did jobs I really needed doing, so I passed on all of them.

I am curious why PCWorld left out IrfanView, my favorite photo viewer and editor. Everything I needed to do when taking a large digital file (the original photo) and cropping it for head shots, then for little mini-photos to post on the Web page, I did with IrfanView. Crop, resize, save – all with IrfanView in amazingly short time.

Now IrfanView plays movies and music, too, which surprised me with the new version. It’s almost to the point that any file you click can display or stream through IrfanView. Highly recommended.

Swag Shop Now Open

February 16, 2008

I’ve had multiple requests for t-shirts and assorted other swag with the Technology Is Broken logo. Now I proudly announce the opening of the Technology Is Broken Swag Shop, ready for business.

There are two slogans along with the Technolog Is Broken logo: “Cuss. Kick. Reboot.” is the first, while the second is “…and I know who to blame.”

If there are other items you’d like, let me know and I’ll set them up quickly. If you have other slogan ideas, let me know, and I’ll send you a free t-shirt or cap of your choice if I use your idea.

The goal here isn’t to take over the New York fashion world, but to have a little fun. This also makes it easy to get one or two t-shirts for giveaways when I make appearances.

Broken Technology Bling. I wonder if CafePress does gaudy jewelry?

Expensive Liquids

February 14, 2008

What is the most expensive liquid you buy regularly? Most people say gasoline immediately, but that’s not even close. The gallon of milk in your fridge costs more than the gallon of gas in your car.

Being Valentine’s Day, you might think of perfume, and that’s a good guess. But look around your office, and you’ll see the answer. Hiding inside your inkjet printers is a cartridge containing liquid that costs you more than $5000 per gallon.

Read all about it from The Grouse at one of my favorite magazines, Popular Science. While the grousing is fun (don’t you visualize an old man yelling at kids to get off the lawn?) the takeway for this article is that prices have shifted. If you’re big into printing photos, your own inkjet may cost you far more per print than much better photos that last longer from various places.

A subject for another day is how kids today never print photos. Don’t believe me? Ask someone 25 or under the last time they actually handed someone a physical photo, rather than showing them an LCD screen on a digital camera or phone, or sending them a link to FaceBook. Then let me know if they’ve done so in the last year.

Laptop Safety Seminar Coming to Indy

February 13, 2008

My partner Kim Brand just signed the contract for our Laptop Safety Seminar in Indianapolis on April 11th. We’re doing this as part of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce series of presentations for their members and others in the community.

We’re working with Cap5 in Houston to present a seminar there, and may do it the first week of April. When we nail down those details I’ll let you know right here and on the Laptop Safety Seminar site.

If you want a Laptop Safety Seminar in your area, let us know. If you’re a dealer like Cap5 and want to partner with us to reach out to a new universe of prospects, we are ready to help.

Disk Deals

February 12, 2008

I’m not sure why, but Iomega’s offering some outstanding deals on some popular storage systems. I got this deal via e-mail today.

Prices here are lower than the same products at NewEgg.com, and they include free shipping. I’ve tested Iomega drives before, including here, and have always been impressed. Sometimes I thought they priced themselves a bit above the market, but these deals certainly turn that around.

Nag alert: Always remember to add data backup capacity when you add storage capacity. People with lots of storage and only a little backup get really, really sad now and then.

Hot Spots

February 11, 2008

I just read where computer processors generate more heat per surface area than stove tops. Think about that for a moment. Now approach your servers with crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, and make s’mores.

No, wait, bad advice. I meant to say approach your servers with oven mitts, and rearrange your future server plans. If you’re like many small businesses, you put servers here and there, until one day you realize you should gather them in one sport for easier management. That may be a table, a corner or a closet today. Tomorrow, that should be a server rack.

You may be thinking that buying new servers in a rack will just concentrate the heat now spread around, making heat management more difficult. True to a point, but racks have better heat management tools than individual servers. If you go to blade serves, the heat per server drops more. Since all the hot servers are now conveniently located in the same spot, one cooling system handles the entire rack.

If you’re still in the one to three server stage, this won’t matter much. When you start talking about a half dozen servers, the price point makes blades or rack servers about the same money for equivalent server horsepower.

While you don’t save much at the half-dozen mark, you can manage heat dissipation easier with the server enclosures than with multiple servers sitting on a table. Server concentration also helps management and troubleshooting when necessary.

Refurb Yourself

February 8, 2008

Profit increases come from more revenue or less expense. One way to save money on computers? Check the refurbished sales from major vendors. PC Magazine has a great article on this called Refurb Madness (and double points for cute wordplay).

Kim Brand of FileEngine sends customers looking for inexpensive computers to Dell.com and their refurbished units. PC Magazine agrees, at least to the point of listing Dell first in their list of where to shop. They then continue to on to Apple, HP, IBM/Lenovo, and Gateway. The article also mentions that TigerDirect sells tens of thousands of refurbished units per month, so third parties also get into this game. I’m a big fan of uBid, where they sell tons of refurb and off-lease systems for wonderfully low prices (more on this topic later).

For general office computing, you can’t beat the deals on refurbished systems if you want a fairly new computer. You can beat those prices for general use computers with the off-lease deals from places like uBid.

When you need serious horsepower, get a new system you can customize, or better yet, work with a local reseller to get better service and more control over the contents. But if you need systems for people needing a general office system, save yourself some money and look in the refurb bin.