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Photo Editing
Author: Tim Taylor

Photobot
www.photobot.com

It's summer time and alot of us are taking vacation pictures, summer fun with special events and the kids doing thier special tricks in the swimming pool. But what happens when you take that great shot and eyes are red, or the picture is too dark or too light or the color is off.

Now there is software that fixes your photos automatically. Our computers do a lot of things in the "background." These housekeeping functions endeavor to keep our computers running more smoothly and efficiently. Your computer's operating system is rife with activity of which you are not aware and that's a good thing. Because if you had to do them manually, chances are you wouldn't do them at all. There's also a slew of utilities and applications that work in the background. Backup software is a good example.

Take digital photographs for example. There are more photo-manipulative applications out there than you can shake a stick at. Adobe's Photoshop continues to be the $695 gorilla at the top of the heap. But even the most simple of consumer-orientated photograph software still requires you to first run it, then load in the images you want to enhance or fix and then you have to probably read the manual on how to operate it no matter how simple the user interface is. But most digital camera users don't want to mess around with their photos. They just want their photos to be the best that they can be without having to do anything more. So wouldn't it be nice if there was a background application that would just go and find every digital photograph you have on your computer's hard drive and go about fixing them all without you doing anything? Well, there is now.

Photobot is billed as the world's first "Zero-Click" picture correction software. It works by doing everything in the background. After you install Photobot, you just go about whatever it is you normally do on your PC. Whenever it can, Photobot will seek out all of your digital photographs and begin to make them better. By better I mean fixing them in three categories of correction. They are red-eye reduction, brightening dark pictures and color correction. With most red-eye correction applications for example, you first have to identify each eye with some type of perimeter tool and then apply the correction. Photobot automatically identifies faces and corrects any red-eye problems.

The process of brightening images and color correction is done by examining the information in every pixel in the photograph and making tiny adjustments in each of them. This is a far more sophisticated and complex process than just applying a blanket of lightening and darkening which is how so many of the other photo-manipulative applications do it. The same holds true with color correction. When a shirt is purple but it comes out brown in the image, the shirt color is corrected back to purple without effecting the skin tones of the person wearing it. So the higher the megapixel count, the better the results will be with Photobot.

Again the concept here is automatic photo correction while you do other things. When you finally look at all of your images on the computer, they will just all look better and more natural. People will use this because they don't have to do anything. It just works. Photobot is squarely aimed at everyday, casual digital camera owners who just want the best pictures possible without having to do anything. Just off load the pictures from your digital camera to your computer as you normally do, but now they will all just look a whole lot better.

You don't burn any bridges with Photobot since it also automatically makes backups of the original images just in case you don't like something it did. Simply right-click on any image and Photobot will undo that image to its original state. You also see a before and after image to compare.

Finally Photobot is including a free "Swiss Picture Bank" feature that uploads your images to the same secure data facility that provides data storage services to Swiss banks. If you lose a photo, you can easily reclaim it over the Internet.

Photobot sells for $29.95 and currently is available for Windows platform only computers.

www.photobot.com


Recent surveys show that less than 4 percent of us systematically perform backups.

Yet we all know that if a disaster strikes, we'll be cooked but we still don't backup our computers. However, backup software that works in the background is becoming more and more common because software developers now know that we are willing to backup if we don't have to bother with it manually. Anti-virus software publishers knew about this a long time ago so that's why most AV utilities work in the background. But what about more mainstream applications that work in the background? They're beginning to surface as well.

Go to this site to learn more:
www.Carbonite.com


Risky Search Terms
Author: Tim Taylor

 Sites that you should not search for in your web browser.

Ringtones
Wall paper
BearShare
LimeWire
Kazaa

You run the risk of opening a pipeline that will capture your email address and start sending you spam mail or viruses.

Search terms related to music and technology are most likely to return sites with spyware and other malicious codes. Some 42 percent of the results using the term "screensavers," for example, led to sites flagged with a "red" warning or a cautionary "yellow" by McAfee Inc.'s SiteAdvisor service.

In many cases, the programs come bundled with adware and toolbars McAfee considers unwanted.

Nonetheless, McAfee found it slightly safer to use search engines overall. Although about 4 percent of search results lead to sites deemed risky, that's down from 5 percent a year ago.

"We've seen some incremental steps in the right direction," said Mark Maxwell, senior product manager for SiteAdvisor. "But the average Joe user should be aware there's still plenty to be concerned about."

Risks are greater when clicking on keyword ads that make up much of search companies' revenues: According to McAfee, 7 percent of such links produce risky sites, down from 8.5 percent a year ago.

SiteAdvisor rates sites based on whether they result in spyware, viruses, excessive pop-up ads, junk e-mail or other threats. The study was conducted by running about 2,300 popular keywords through the top five search engines - Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN, Time Warner Inc.'s AOL and IAC/InterActive Corp.'s Ask.

Search companies have taken steps to mitigate the risks. Google, for instance, sometimes flags links to sites it deems risky, and McAfee found a notable drop in risk when using Google, AOL and Ask. Ask and AOL gets search ads from Google, and AOL uses Google to power regular search results as well.


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