Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Joy of Free Stuff

I realize it's been a long haul between posts, but I had been recently crippled in the computer area. I was limping through life, praying day by day that I'd be able to get where I needed to go before the virtual world collapsed in around my ears. Update my blog? Nay nay! I can't take the chance that one random auto-save might cause the whole motherboard to fry. (And it wouldn't do the fatherboard any good either...)

But now I'm all updated with 21st century technology and surfing like a muthafuggah. However, upon unpacking I realized that I didn't get what I thought I was getting. Where's my Word program? Where's Excel? Helloooooooo.....

At first I was sad when I discovered that my updated hardware didn't come with all the usual bells and whistles generally bundled with a Windows OS. I didn't read the fine print which is my own damn fault. No worries, thought I, I'm sure the old discs from the old 'puter will show up and I can yank 'em off of there. Because things just show up around here eventually.

In the interim, however, I was in need of your basic functions but not all that keen on paying for them. What to do, what to do?

Free stuff makes me leery. (Not weary. You're thinking of leery or wary...don't combine them. Weary means tired. You're not tired. You're apprehensive. Christ, learn to speak English.)

I've always held to the adage "You get what you pay for." In general, free stuff is generally the equivalent of crap. The less it costs, the worse it works, right? It's true of cars, mattresses, shoes, Mexican pool boys, and anything you purchase at the dollar store. "Hey, this toilet cleaner isn't getting rid of the hard water stains!" Well, you paid a BUCK for it. What were you expecting?

It has been my experience to date, however, that the opposite seems to be true when it comes to software. So far I've downloaded free virus scan software, a free office suite, a free browser (coming to you live via Firefox with a custom Family Guy skin!), and my latest acquisition: Photoscape.

I take a shitty photograph as a rule. Not my fault, usually. My house is abnormally dark if you ask me, sunlight is unpredictable, and I find most light sources give things a yellowish cast. Now that's annoying enough when you want to take pix of your kids or their toys or your two-count-'em-two-Christmas trees, but unthinkable when you're photographing knit items to sell. Folks want to know that the colors are true. It's my Achilles heel.

I've been using the photo editor that came with the old 'puter and was happy. But I'll tell you what, there's no keepin' me down on the farm now that I've seen Paree.

This program is fan-freaking-tastic. Check out my etsy shop if you don't believe me. Look at how good my stuff looks! I'm not taking my pix any's still mostly a crapshoot as to what I'll get when I upload the pix. But I can fix anything with this program.

Case in point: check out this photo. Larry took it today. No flash, gray and rainy and dark as a tomb in the living room, kids against a navy couch and Larry was across the room. Here is the un-retouched version.

Now look what I did to it in no less than three minutes flat!
I improved the color, brightened it, cropped it, added a kicky frame and some words there, sharpened it right up suitable for framing! I could have really tightened it up if I'd been inclined!

Photoscape...ask for it by name!

(Especially if you're like me and are *ahem* photographically challenged.)

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