28 de set de 2010

Quick and Dirty Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop

Quick and Dirty Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: "

Looking for a quick way to transform your photos into handsome, convincing vintage art? Lots of programs offer vintage photograph filters, but these are often rough, and give unexciting, unconvincing results. With a few moments in practically any version of Photoshop, you can make realistic-looking vintage photos from nearly any picture you might have on your hard drive. Here’s how to do it.


I came across this pic of the King of Bhutan and thought it had some nice possibilities. You will, of course, be using whatever photo you want. I recommend one with high resolution, and good contrast between lights and darks. You can, of course, use any photo, but some will give you stronger results that others.


Press ctrl shift U to do a quick desaturate and turn the image to grayscale.


Then, press ctrl U to bring up the Hue/Saturation palette and set it to “Colorize” with these Hue/Saturation/Lightness values.


Go to FIlters > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the “Radius” to 1.0, or more if you want.


Our image is looking nicely sepia toned already, with softened edges from the Gaussian blur.


Press ctrl shift N to create a new layer.


Fill your new layer with black by going to Edit > Fill and tell the Fill window to “Use” Black. From there, you’ll want to open Filters > Render > Clouds to fill that layer with the texture below.


The layer of clouds should look about like this. If you used Filters > Render > Difference Clouds, it won’t look very different.


Set your Layer Effect to “Screen” in your Layers Palette. And bump the “Opacity” down to 50%.


Make of copy of the layer by right clicking and pressing “Duplicate.”


While on your new duplicated layer, Go to Filters > Noise > Add Noise and use settings similar to this. It’s important to use the “Monochromatic” setting.


This layer of noise will add a reticulation effect to your photo. It’s a little harsh, so let’s look into softening it.


Use Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur again. The same settings as last time will be fine.


At this point, you should have a pretty good look going on in your image. I decide I want some harsher values, so I want to play with my levels a bit.


Click the adjustment layer at the bottom of your layers palette to bring up “Adjustment Layers.” Choose “Levels.”


Set your levels as shown. The black arrow moves to the right, making your darks darker. Your white arrow moves left, increasing the whites in your image. You can also just copy my values if you don’t want to play with the tool (those values are 31, 1.00, 239).


Press ctrl shift alt E to make a complete copy of your image and put it on top of all your layers.


On this new layer, go to Filters > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask and use values similar to these. This will harshen a lot of your darks and lights even further.


Set this layer effect to “Darken.” From there, adjust your “Opacity” to 25%. This will add some harsh, dark values to your image.


Duplicate your layer by right clicking and picking duplicate.


Set this duplicated layer’s effect to “Lighten” with the same opacity.


Our image looks pretty good, but the color is off when you compare it to a real vintage photograph.


Go to your Layers Palette and press the adjustment layer to bring up your adjustment layers again. Create a “Hue/Saturation” layer effect on top. Use values similar to these.


You may need to change around some of the values in the filters to suit your own photo. But the basic steps can remain the same and will give you a similar look.

Image of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck by Royal Family of Bhutan via Wikipedia. My derivative image free under CC license.

Upgrade Ubuntu from 10.04 to 10.10

Upgrade Ubuntu from 10.04 to 10.10: "
If you are currently using Ubuntu 10.04 and are interested in 10.10 you have choices – you can burn yourself an ISO and do a complete, fresh installation, OR you can upgrade using apt-get without having to bother with a re-installation. Of course I should warn you that, as of this writing, Ubuntu 10.10 is still in beta. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid the upgrade. It does, however, mean you run the risk of not everything working correctly. But if you are all-too-antsy to get that precious 10.10 on your machine…the task is actually quite simple.
In this article I am going to show you how to, from both the GUI and from the command line. After you are finished, you should have a working version of Ubuntu 10.10 beta. Of course, as 10.10 comes out of beta you can continue to update and have a full released version in no time.
NOTE: You can ONLY do this upgrade from 10.04. You can not upgrade from any earlier release. Also make sure you DO back up all of your data. Even though the upgrade process has become very reliable, you never know when something could go south.
From the GUI

Figure 1
Let’s tackle this task from the GUI tool first (as that is how most will want to do this anyway). The first step is to open up the update manager in in “development release” mode. To do this hit Alt-F2 and type update-manager --devel-release and hit Enter. When you do this the update manager will open with a new addition – the Upgrade button (see Figure 1).
Before you actually hit the Upgrade button, you MUST install any and all updates for your system. If there are none listed click the Check button first. If you see any updates go ahead and click Install Updates and allow those updates to finish. NOTE: If the updates require a reboot, do so BEFORE you continue on to the upgrade.
Once you have completed all updates it is then safe to click the Upgrade button. Walk through the steps for this upgrade (they are very straight-forward) and reboot when completed.
From command line
Believe it or not, upgrading from command line is just as easy as it is from the GUI tool. The first step is to update your system. So open up a terminal window and issue these two commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Of course, you will have to enter your sudo password for the first command. Once that is complete you may need to restart your computer (depending on if the kernel is updated or not). After that, you are ready for the upgrade. The first step is to issue the following command:
sudo apt-get install update-manager-core
Now we need to make a simple edit to the /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades. This file determines the default behavior for the release upgrader. The line you need to change is at the bottom of this file. Change it from:
Save and close that file and then issue the command:
sudo do-release-upgrade -d
When prompted, click Y to continue on with the upgrade. Once the upgrade is complete, you will need to restart you computer.
Final thoughts
Linux does make it easy to upgrade from release to release. I have run these upgrades many times and only rarely have I encountered a problem. Does that mean they are 100% guaranteed? No. Things happen…so please, make sure you backup all of your data before attempting this process.

© Jack Wallen for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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Here comes LibreOffice -- an Oracle-free fork of OpenOffice

Here comes LibreOffice -- an Oracle-free fork of OpenOffice: "
Filed under:

First it was OpenSolaris, now it's OpenOffice. Yes, another previously-Sun-led initiative is being forked as a 'thanks-but-no-thanks' response to the arrival of Oracle on the scene.

The freshly-formed Document Foundation is being created to further the goals and aspirations of OpenOffice.org, and will produce LibreOffice -- a more community-focused project. Initial supporters of LibreOffice include the FSF, OSI, Canonical, and the GNOME foundation. Oracle has been invited to the party as well, though they've yet to RSVP.

As The H points out, there's some uncertainty about Oracle's commitment to OpenOffice development, hence the desire by a certain group to fork. The Document Foundation hopes that LibreOffice's independence from Oracle will attract more contributors and lead to an even better, more popular product.

Xmarks Bookmark Syncing Service Shutting Down in January 2011 [Bookmarks]

Xmarks Bookmark Syncing Service Shutting Down in January 2011 [Bookmarks]: "

Xmarks, the bookmark syncing service formerly known as Foxmarks, announced today it will close its doors and delete its users' data on January 10, 2011. The always-free, cross-browser syncing service couldn't find a business model, it seems, especially among newer auto-syncing browsers. More »


Boot CD os canivestes suiços da informática

Dica: Devido a constante necessidade de actualizadas destas ferramentas (actualizações das definições de antivirus, novas versões de software etc) em vez de gravar em CD-R é preferível gravar em CD-RW ou então passar o ISO para uma pen USB
  1. Hiren boot CD. Provavelmente o melhor CD de boot que se pode ser. Desde anti-virus, soluções de backup, recuperação de dados ou verificação de hardware, este CD tem tudo. Altamente recomendado
  2. 911 Rescue CD. Foi durante bastante tempo o meu CD preferido, mas ao que parece o seu desenvolvimento parou. Grande colecção de ferramentas
  3. System Rescue CD. Baseado em Linux. Muito útil para reparar sistemas linux
  4. Trinity Rescue Kit
  5. Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (UBCD4WIN).Grande variedade de ferramentas 
  6. Ultimate Boot CD. Boa variedade de ferramentas
  7. Knoppix. Distribuição live CD com algumas funcionalidades para realizar recuperação/reparação de sistemas
  8.  SARDU 
BartPE Builder. Não é um boot CD mas sim um ferramenta para criar CD Live de Windows (mais info aqui). Com esta ferramenta podemos fazer os nossos próprios CD´s com os nossos programas preferidos. Existe vários sites e foruns com lista de pluggins que se podem usar, por exemplo este

Rescue CDs: Tips for fighting malware

Rescue CDs: Tips for fighting malware: "
Using rescue CDs to ferret out malware is a great idea, in theory at least. Getting them to actually work is another story. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.


Malware is sophisticated enough to manipulate the host computer’s operating system to help it hide. That’s why rescue CDs are becoming the go-to malware detection and removal technology.

What is a rescue CD

Anti-malware rescue CDs are bootable operating systems that take control of a computer’s hardware. Since the computer’s operating system is inactive, so is any installed malware. That’s where we get the upper hand; malware can’t activate any defense to avoid being detected by the anti-malware program installed on the rescue CD.

A stumbling block

Before, I present the rescue CDs I reviewed, I want to point out some mistakes I made when using rescue CDs. One embarrassing mistake happened during a visit to a client. It was the wrong time for me to realize that certain versions of rescue CDs require a new .iso file to get the latest signature definitions.

After that oops, I made sure I used rescue-CD applications that can download and incorporate the latest signature files without needing to rebuild the CD.

That brings me to my next mistake. I typically don’t give much thought to whether the network connection is hard-wired or Wi-Fi. I assumed rescue CDs would be able to update using either. That’s not always true. In some cases, rescue-CD apps will not recognize the wireless network adapter.

Here they are

The following rescue-CD applications always get good reviews and do well in independent testing. And, they are all capable of updating their signature database via an Internet connection:

AVG Rescue CD

Base: Linux (77 MB)

Configured to create either a bootable CD or USB drive

Signature Update: Online update or downloaded signature file

Avira AntiVir Rescue System

Base: Linux (47 MB)

Signature Update: Downloaded signature file

BitDefender Rescue CD

Base: Linux (228 MB)

Signature Update: Online update or downloaded signature file

Dr.Web LiveCD

Base: Linux (65 MB)

Signature Update: Online update

F-Secure Rescue CD

Base: Linux (155 MB)

Signature Update: Online update or downloaded signature file.

Kaspersky Rescue CD

Base: Linux (103 MB)

Signature Update: Online update

Norton Recovery Tool

Base: Windows Vista PE (241 MB)

Signature Update: Online update

Best at detecting malware

Avira’s AntiVir Rescue System is consistently on top when it comes to malware detection. Virus Bulletin is a well-known test house for anti-malware, and they place AntiVir Rescue System first (registration is required).

A close second is BitDefender Rescue CD. To many system admins being second is not an issue. That’s because BitDefender Rescue CD has many attributes that make their job easier.

Most features

BitDefender Rescue CD outclasses the entire group when it comes to features. That’s in large part due to BitDefender using Knoppix, a well-thought-out Linux distro. It has many third-party apps such as ChkRootKit, Nessus Network Scanner, Partition Image, and GtkRecover. One additional convenient feature is the inclusion of the Firefox Web browser.

Create a rescue flash drive

Most rescue CD applications require converting an .iso file to make a bootable CD. If that seems confusing, this link to the Petri Web site will help explain. With netbooks becoming popular, using a rescue CD isn’t an option. One way to resolve that is to use UNetbootin. It is an application that will create a bootable flash drive from any of the above rescue-CD .iso files. I have to admit though, it’s a cumbersome process.

Thankfully, AVG Rescue CD has an alternative answer. Simply download the rescue file specifically developed for flash drives, extract the contents of the file to the flash drive, and click on makeboot.bat. That’s it. You now have an AVG Rescue Flash Drive.

OS boot sequence

One other consideration that needs to be addressed is the boot sequence of the computer being worked on. If you are using a rescue CD, the CD drive has to be moved to the top of the list. If you are using a netbook, more than likely the USB drive will already be first on the list and not a problem.

My rescue-CD wish list

Many things have to go right for rescue CDs to work. It doesn’t have to be that way. All it would take is the following:

  • Make it simple to create “rescue flash drives.” Why? They can be easily updated without involving access to the computer’s operating system or having to recreate the CD.
  • Make sure the BIOS software recognizes USB drives in their boot sequences.

Final thoughts

Rescue CDs and rescue flash drives will become more important as malware writers figure out better ways to obfuscate their code. Rootkits come to mind as they are the forerunners of deception.

If you prefer a rescue-CD application not listed here, I would appreciate learning about your experience.


Advanced BAT To EXE Converter

Advanced BAT To EXE Converter: "
Converting bat files to exe is likely not a very popular topic, even though you find requests by users occasionally that want to perform those conversions. As to the why; There are usually two reasons for converting bat files to executables. The first are programs that can load executables but not bat files, backup software or shutdown programs come to mind that offer to load another executable before the process finishes.
The second reason is distribution and perception by users. Most batch file to exe converters are shareware or commercial applications with limited trial functionality. Not so Advanced Bat to Exe Converter, a free program to convert any batch file to executable.
Bat files can be loaded via the file menu from the local system. Their contents are displayed in the program interface once they have been successfully loaded. It is then possible to edit the batch file in the interface, and save it again to the local PC.
advanced bat to exe converter
advanced bat to exe converter
The application works as a basic bat file editor as well, with an advanced command wizard that can be used to add commands to the batch file that are not supported by default.
The File > Build Exe allows the user to quickly create a standalone executable file that offers the same functionality as the batch file. A dialog window with exe options is displayed upon selection. This can be used to select an icon for the executable, add version information, dependency files and password protection. Finally, options are provided to make the program execute invisibly with no console window.
exe options
exe options
Advanced BAT To EXE Converter can only be used on one computer. A Pro version is offered by the developers for users who need to distribute their converted batch files to other computer systems. The software is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system. Downloads and instructions are provided at the developer homepage.

© Martin for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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Microsoft acaba com o Live Spaces e migra usuários para o WordPress.com

Microsoft acaba com o Live Spaces e migra usuários para o WordPress.com: "
A família de produtos Windows Live tem produtos muito bons, mas o Spaces, definitivamente, não é um deles. Esse serviço de blog é bastante limitado quando comparado com outras soluções, apesar de contar com cerca de 30 milhões de usuários. Talvez seja esse o motivo que fez a Microsoft anunciar hoje que o Spaces deixará de existir da forma que está e que todas as contas cadastradas no serviço serão migradas para o WordPress.com.

Windows Live + WordPress.com

Na verdade, a migração não será obrigatória. A Microsoft dará seis meses para que o usuário possa decidir. As demais opções são a de eliminar completamente o conteúdo até então existente no Spaces ou fazer download de uma cópia completa desse material.

Caso o usuário opte por migrar, todos os seus posts serão transferidos e o endereço anterior no Spaces será redirecionado automaticamente para o novo em WordPress.com. Em breve, todas as pessoas que tentarem criar uma conta no Spaces verão uma tela para fazê-lo na nova casa.

Para deixar os novos usuários mais à vontade, o WordPress.com passou a ter suporte ao Messenger Connect, recurso que permite a divulgação automática de atualizações do blog entre os contatos do Windows Live Messenger.

É possível ler uma mensagem de boas-vindas no blog do WordPress.com.

Referências: TechCrunch, Blog do Windows para o Brasil.
Notícias relacionadas:
  1. Microsoft lança app do Windows Live Messenger para iPhone
  2. Microsoft disponibiliza beta do Windows Live Messenger 2010
  3. Microsoft anuncia nova versão beta do Windows Live Essentials 2011
  4. Integração do Windows Live com o Twitter é suspensa
  5. O novo Windows Live Essentials vem aí