July 25, 2007

Photoshop Accessories

Posted in Commentary, OSX Software at 10:32 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

Like the camera, Photoshop almost requires you to have various accessories. In my case, I bought a color coded keyboard cover from zCover which has a thin skin cover with keyboard shortcuts printed on the top. Its nice but hard to read at times and hard to type on as a touch typist. Yes, you can peel it off but that got old quickly since I tend to have several windows open plus email even when I’m working with Photoshop. So then came the keyboard caps from World Tech Devices. These are replacement keyboard caps for the Apple USB and wireless keyboards. They are very good for the typist but the symbols are not as clear as zCover’s. I know, I just complain and complain. But I was a WordPerfect freak and I love keyboard controls over mouse clicks so I will put in the time to learn the commands. The quality of the WorldTech caps is ok, I say OK because two of them would not fit right on the keyboard and jammed in the depressed condition. But the rest went on fine.

keycaps.jpg

keyboard.jpg

The cool red installer tool is a keeper.

Other treasures is Avenir, The Writers Workshop which is a tool for those of us who either write fiction or wish to write fiction. It gives you a controlled place to write chapters, keep track of tasks, actors, scenes, locations and research. One of the two templates is for the “snowflake” method of writing a book and if you have not heard of it, you should go to Advancedfictionwriting.com and read what Randy Ingermanson has to say about it. I was very interested in it after being a published author of several technical books and I could see right away the logic behind it. I find that Avenir is a good tool for myself, not maybe the best tool but it cheap and it works for me. So check it out and you might find it works for you too.

Other cool stuff around here has been a way cool web based photo editor. Yes, I know that in the past these sort of things really sucked but this one is “cool”, almost “Google cool” but since they have not been bought yet, they are not. They are called “Picnik” and it is one of those things that just works, even with Safari. They have hooks to Flickr and Picassa Web albums so they can grab the image from Flickr for example, and edit the time and put it back. Very nice with the editing tools complete with a basic histogram, exposure, highlights, contrast, color, red eye and the ever popular “automatic” setting.

And with the release of the final Harry Potter book and audio CD, I finally got to test a fun 10 dollar app called “Audio Book Builder” which will rip the audio Harry Potter CDs, add cover art, convert it to a bookmarkable format and break it into sections automatically. When this cool app is done, you can not see any difference between your ripped CDs and the books you get from Audible or other Books on Tape type of sellers. It will even drop it into itunes for you and itunes in my case, dropped it right in to the audible book playlist. So now I have my new Harry Potter CDs on my Nano and it works just like the other books I have bought directly in the ipod format. Nice since Audible.com does not have ANY of the Harry Potter books yet. I’m not sure what is going on there since the CDs are available and have been for a few years now. Jim Dale does an outstanding job as the narrator for the series.

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