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Edit digital images and photos with Paint.NET

I have recently been looking for a digital photo editor that is comparable to Adobe Photoshop and can read RAW format photos from my Nikon D40. But it also needs to able be to run on the Intel Atom processor in my Acer Aspire One Netbook. I found all of this and more with Paint.NET.

Paint.NET
(Screen capture from Acer Aspire One Netbook: 1024x768 dpi)

Paint.NET was originally intended as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint, the image software that comes with Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins. Here's a quote about the features from their site:

Simple, intuitive, and innovative user interface
Every feature and user interface element was designed to be immediately intuitive and quickly learnable without assistance. In order to handle multiple images easily, Paint.NET uses a tabbed document interface. The tabs display a live thumbnail of the image instead of a text description. This makes navigation very simple and fast.

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. Whether you have a netbook with a power-conscious Atom CPU, or a Dual Intel Xeon workstation with 8 blazingly fast processing cores, you can expect Paint.NET to start up quickly and be responsive to every mouse click.

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.

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.

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 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
Paint.NET includes simple tools for drawing shapes, including an easy-to-use curve tool for drawing splines or Bezier curves. The Gradient tool, new for 3.0, has been cited as an innovative improvement over similar tools provided by other software. 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.

Free!
Paint.NET doesn't cost a dime.

If your looking for a digital image editor, I recommend you take a look at Paint.NET. Just click on the image below. I also have included links to the plugins I found useful.

Get Paint.NET!
Paint.NET Photoshop Plugin
Paint.NET Raw Image Plugin

Enjoy,
Scott

Use Virtual Router Manager to turn your Windows 7 computer into a Wifi Hot Spot

I recently came across a useful application called Virtual Router over at CodePlex. It creates a Wifi Hot Spot on any computer running Windows 7 (all versions except Starter) or Windows Server 2008 R2. I installed it on my Acer Aspire One Netbook and gave it a try.

Virtual Router Manager

Virtual Router worked great. I was able to connect to it immediately. I can see using this when at remote locations with a couple of wifi enabled smart phones. Here's a quote from the project page:

Virtual Router turns any Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 Computer into a Wifi Hot Spot using Windows 7's Wireless Hosted Network (Virtual Wifi) technology.

The Wireless Network create/shared with Virtual Router uses WPA2 Encryption, and there is not way to turn off that encryption. This is actually a feature of the Wireless Hosted Network API's built into Windows 7 and 2008 R2 to ensure the best security possible.

You can give your "virtual" wireless network any name you want, and also set the password to anything. Just make sure the password is at least 8 characters.

If you are running Windows 7 (all versions except Starter) or Windows Server 2008 R2 and have both wired and wireless network adapters, you should give this application a try. It is available for download from the Virtual Router project at CodePlex.

Enjoy,
Scott

Simple drag and drop in Windows 7 with Windows Double Explorer

In this article, I'd like tell you about Windows Double Explorer, a CodePlex project. This handy program manages two or more versions of Windows Explorer in one application in Windows 7.

Windows Double Explorer

Drag and drop can be scary at times in Windows 7 with only one monitor. Windows Double Explorer makes this task simpler. You can also add your favorite folders to the toolbar for faster access. Here is a quote from the project site:

Windows Double Explorer manages two or more Windows Explorer in one application. Also you can add your favorite folders with drag and drop to the toolbar for quick access. It's easier to manage your disc structure. (A kind of Norton Commander or Total Commander).

I encourage you to give this useful application a try. It is available for download from the Windows Double Explorer project at CodePlex.

Enjoy,
Scott

CodePlex - Open Source Project Community hosted by Microsoft

In this article, I would like to tell you about CodePlex, an Open Source Project Community hosted by Microsoft. Open-source software is computer software that is available in source code form for which the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, and improve the software.

CodePlex allows developers to create new projects, join projects already in development, to use the applications created and provide feedback. Now, before you start thinking that this site is only for developers, let me tell you it is not (o.k., I will admit that I found this site looking for some C# code). This is a great place to find some really cool applications for the Windows platform. I have written several articles about the applications I have found here and keep finding more every time I stop by.

Here are some of the features of CodePlex:

  • Source Code Control
  • Project Discussions
  • Wiki Pages
  • Feature / Issue Tracking
  • Release Downloads
  • News Feed Aggregation

I encourage you to go over to CodePlex and take a look around. Maybe do a search or two. You might find a really cool app.

Enjoy,
Scott

Edit more types of text files with Textpad

In this article, I would like to share with you a handy application for text editing called TextPad. If you have ever used Notepad, you will love TextPad.

TextPad

Some of the features I like are spell checking, undo/redo capability and a great search/replace engine. Here's a quote from their web site:

TextPad® is designed to provide the power and functionality to satisfy the most demanding text editing requirements. It can edit files up to the limits of virtual memory, and it will work with the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows® 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Server 2003 and 2008.

TextPad has been implemented according to the Windows XP user interface guidelines, so great attention has been paid to making it easy for both beginners and experienced users. In-context help is available for all commands, and in-context menus pop-up with the right mouse button. The Windows multiple document interface allows multiple files to be edited simultaneously, with up to 2 views on each file. Text can be dragged and dropped between files.

In addition to the usual cut and paste capabilities, you can correct the most common typing errors with commands to change case, and transpose words, characters and lines. Other commands let you indent blocks of text, split or join lines, and insert whole files. Any change can be undone or redone, right back to the first one made. Visible bookmarks can be put on lines, and edit commands can be applied to lines with bookmarks.

Frequently used combinations of commands can be saved as keystroke macros, and the spelling checker has dictionaries for 10 languages.

It also has a customizable tools menu, and integral file compare and search commands, with hypertext jumps from the matched text to the corresponding line in the source file (ideal for integrating compilers).

TextPad is available on a try before you buy basis and is available for download at TextPad.com

Enjoy,
Scott

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