sumo, ergo bloggum (delta)

December 14, 2006

Photo Manipulation Software — Help!

Filed under: Photography,Software,Technology,Tools — Rob @ 12:12 am

For about 2-1/2 years now, I’ve been using Canon’s ZoomBrowser EX to download photos from my Canon PowerShot S500 camera to my computer. This would basically happen automatically whenever I’d stick my Compact Flash (CF) card into the multi-card reader. The photos would automatically be grouped in folders that were automatically named with the date on which they were taken. It was all very nice and neat and even I was able to follow what was happening and, more importantly, locate the photos later on.

About a year later, I bought and installed Adobe’s Photoshop Elements (PSE) 2.0. This had no effect on the previously described download process. But, after downloading images, I was now able to open them in PSE and do minor manipulations. One thing that was hard to do, however, was to remove red-eye from photos. Then I heard that PSE 5.0 has an automated red-eye corection feature, so I bought and installed the upgrade.

Well, things haven’t been the same since. Now when I install either a MicroSD card (from my LG VX8300 camera-phone) or a CF card into my multi-card reader, both Canon’s ZoomBrowser EX and PSE 5.0 simultaneously, it appears, prompt me to allow them to automatically load the pictures to my computer. I basically say “yes” to both prompts because I prefer the way the ZoomBrowser EX organizes the photos into new folders and, at the same time, want to be able to edit the photos in PSE 5.0. Only now the photos are not going into new folders. Instead, it appears they’re being appended to the last folder that was created before I downloaded PSE 5.0. Either that, or they go to a new folder I recently created expressly for camera-phone photos.

Now I’ll admit I haven’t RTFM yet. Just no time and I also find some of it hard to comprehend. But it seems to me that I should be able to designate one of these programs as the default program for downloading photos, right? If so, then, in simple language, how is it accomplished? Any advice, suggestions, etc., would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Update (1/23/08): I finally figured this out — sometime ago, actually. The programs use different file naming schemes and that’s what caused the confusion. Turns out I had duplicates of all my photos. So now I just use the Adobe Elements scheme to simplify photo-editing — though I still prefer Canon’s naming scheme for organizing files.

December 13, 2006

LG VX8300 Cell Phone – Update

Filed under: Communications,Photography,Technology — Rob @ 11:43 pm

I’ve been making progress with my phone.  This may not be a big deal to most folks but it’s huge to me.  I got a 512 Mb MicroSD card (~$35 @ Best Buy), formatted it and set-up the camera to record pictures directly to the card (rather than the phone’s memory).

The upshot of this is that I no longer have to pay Verizon for each photo that, previously, I would send from the phone’s memory to my email address.  In the last billing cycle I was charged ~$10 to email 42 photos (mostly hi-res) to myself.  So you can see that once I’ve recorded another ~120 photos, my MicroSD card will essentially have paid for itself.  Thereafter I’m in the clear.  Ain’t that cool? 😉

November 27, 2006

Dell Computer – Defective USB Ports – Update

Filed under: Computers,Technology — Rob @ 6:07 pm

Well, it’s been six months since my USB ports crapped-out on me. I bought an internal hard drive from Best Buy so that I could easily copy the data and applications on the current hard drive before reformatting it.  You don’t want to know the gory details but basically the ribbon cable I was hoping to attach the new drive to was actually connected to the Zip drive and there wasn’t an available ribbon connector for a new hard drive. At least not one that I could locate.

So I took a different tack and installed a board with 5 USB ports on it (this took less than one minute) and, presto! I now have 5 new working USB ports  (Yea!!!) in the rear of my computer despite the fact that 6 of the original 8 USB ports are still dead. The really good news is that I can now use my multi-card reader to upload photos from my digital camera to my computer.

Still, the 6 dead ports continue to piss me off. So the revised plan is to exchange the unusable internal hard drive for an external hard drive that connects via USB. Then I’ll copy my data and applications to the external unit. Once that’s all good, I’m going to contact Dell again to have them help me reformat my original hard drive and reinstall the OS, etc. That should fix the defunct USB ports. If it doesn’t, then Dell’s going to have to send out a tech.

October 4, 2006

Oh, No! Not ‘Best Buy,’ Too!

Filed under: Blogging,Opinions,Rants,Technology — Rob @ 11:03 pm

I recently wrote a short post about my very negative experience with Dell technical support and at the end of the post recommended that current potential computer buyers forego the extended warranty and just call in the Geek Squad if and when necessary.

And then this evening, while perusing some Lifehacker.com posts, I stumbled across this:

http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/best-buy/welcome-to-best-buy-how-can-we-steal-your-computer-today-205101.php

So be very, very careful out there and above all, back-up your data!  Sheesh!

September 27, 2006

Technorati

Filed under: Blogging,Technology — Rob @ 1:59 pm

Hey, I just registered this blog with Technorati. So now what? Something about badges? Or RSS feeds? 

Dell “Support” Sucks!

Filed under: Opinions,Rants,Technology — Rob @ 1:08 am

I’m just a little pissed at Dell. I have a two-year old Dimension 8300 and have lost the use of 6 of 8 USB ports — 2 in the front and 4 in the rear. They just died one day. Only my keyboard is operating on the remaining good port. If I hadn’t been able to borrow an old PS2 mouse from work, I’d be up the proverbial creek.

This happened back in early June and things still aren’t fixed. I got the extended warranty (thinking it meant something) and still have 2 years of coverage but am just not able to get results from Dell’s technical people. I’ve had 3 chat sessions with them, after each of which I had to perform some procedures that they outlined for me. They wanted me to print their instructions but, yes, you guess it, my printer’s not working either. Of course, to perform the procedures, which I copied in longhand from each emailed chat session log, I had to logoff and break my connection with tech support. Needless to say, all the tests I ran (which I think I ran correctly — no one to check with since I had to logoff, duh!) showed everything to be working properly and none of the procedures restored the ports.

My last attempt was via a phone call. I got some guy I could barely understand. I know he was speaking English and doing his best but his accent was so thick I just couldn’t get past it to the content he was trying to impart. It was maddening! I gathered that he wanted to walk me through reformatting my hard drive and then reinstall my OS and other software but that was/is just overwhelming to me. The prospect of reinstalling two year’s worth of security patches, etc., is incredibly off-putting. And everything would have to be backed-up onto CDs or DVDs and that whole Roxio formatting thing just makes me nuts.

So clearly, part of the problem is me. I just haven’t got the heart or stomach or liver for going over all the hurdles that it’s going to take — especially when there’s no guarantee that doing so will produce the desired result. In addition to lack-of-requisite-vital-organs, I haven’t got the time for this either. I have all I can do to just use a computer. I never signed on to be a repair guy.

I wish they’d just send out somebody to troubleshoot and fix the damn thing. Or at least install a menu on the phone support number that allows me to select a native English speaker. Or had a warranty policy that stated, for example: if our suggestions for you to fix the problem yourself are beyond your tolerance or ability, we will come out and fix the problem (because we don’t want you to think you paid good money for a worthless warranty).

I’m going to take a day off work in early October to give this one more go — and after that, I don’t know what…. My brother swears by Apple — has a laptop (MacBook Pro ?) he loves. Maybe that’s where I’ll end up.  Or maybe I’ll just crack my case and install a board with USB ports.  I think Best Buy sells them pretty inexpensively.

A bit of irony: I work for the government and do a bit of procurement. Not just the buying but the actual selection and justification for purchasing. In the past six months I’ve purchased over $25,000 worth of Dell computer products. Unfortunately, I can’t use the tech guys at work to repair my personal equipment (possible ethics violation). But it sure is tempting. 😉 

In the meantime, my recommendation to new buyers is: don’t get the extended warranty. Save your money and then, if necessary, call the Geek Squad to fix any problems that may arise.  Or maybe just go with an Apple. (See 10/4/06 post)

August 21, 2006

LG VX8300 Cell Phone

Filed under: Opinions,Ramblings,Technology — Rob @ 10:16 pm

Well, my grace period has expired and I’ve mailed-in my rebate offer, so it looks like I’m stuck with my LG VX8300 phone for the next couple of years.  But at least this unit didn’t die after three days.   Reception seems to be fine in the places I make or receive calls — not that I’m a frequent phone user or anything.  I haven’t tried it in the Metro tunnels yet, or at work (two floors underground).  And I haven’t used the micro drive either — and probably never will.

The major thing that stands in the way of my (and perhaps many others in my demographic) using all the features is the inability to make the alpha-numeric readout twice as large as it is.  I have to wear glasses for anything close and it’s just a pain in the ass to constantly be putting them on and then taking them off whenever my cell phone is involved.

 I don’t do text-messaging but actual voice calls sound fine on both ends — no volume complaints from me or the other parties, so far.  I got a headset for using it in the car but haven’t tried it yet.  However, I did wrap the headset cable around a little ferrite bead plastic doo-hickey that’s supposed to absorb radio frequencies (though not EMFs) emitted from the cell phone.  It’s sold on Dr. Mercola’s website for about $15 (http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/health/ferrite_beads.html).  However, using your phone in speaker-phone mode is even better as it keeps the EMFs out of reach of your brain.

One thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to send a picture from my phone to my email address.  If anyone can tell me how to do this I’d really appreciate it.  (See Comments)

I can send pix from my phone to a friend’s phone okay — just can’t get them to a platform where I can upload’em to Flickr.  Yeah, I found out too late that ShoZu doesn’t support LG phones yet.  I should have checked before I bought.  I almost traded for a Motorola Razr in the last couple of days of my grace period but got lazy.  Now I wish I had because ShoZu supports the Razr and a few other Motorola models.  It also supports a slew of Sony-Ericsson phones but Verizon wasn’t offering any models of that brand when I made my purchase.  It seems I learn a little bit each two-year cycle but never quite enough or soon enough to actually make a significant techological leap forward.

July 26, 2006

Cellphones: LG VX8300 vs. Motorola Razr

Filed under: Technology — Rob @ 12:14 pm

Just got an LG VX8300 flip-phone with a 1.3 MP camera (and flash) on 7/19.  For no apparent reason, it upped and died on 7/22.  Predictably, I had already deleted all my contacts from my old phone.  So when Verizon swapped it for a new unit on 7/24 it was impossible to copy any contacts to the new unit. 

Now that I’ve manually entered in about 40 contacts, I’m already thinking of switching to a Motorola Razr.  I have until 8/3 to make up my mind.  I guess I’m deliberating more about the size (flatness) of the phones, method of carrying (belt-clip styles), VZ Navigator capability and whether (or not) Verizon will exchange my LG accessories for Motorola equivalents.  Am not too concerned about SIM card capability.  But that’s probably because I don’t know much about it and have never in my life downloaded music from anywhere to anything.

If anyone stumbles across this and would like to weigh-in on the pros & cons of these two phones I’d certainly appreciate reading your views.  I’m particularly interested in their comparative reliability and sturdiness.

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