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Found Deals and Discounts / ConceptDraw MindMap 'v5'
« on: October 17, 2008, 03:49 PM »
Looks like you can get ConceptDraw Minpmap v5 for a limited time.

Important, this is V5 and the current is V6

The auto-generated licence key only works with the standalone version of ConceptDraw MindMap 5, and the version currently hosted on the ConceptDraw web site is version 6. If you don't mind being a version behind, you can download the Windows version here and the OS X version here.

Then you need to sign up for a registration key (not a hack, ConceptDraw's web site)
Get Rego Key for ConceptDraw v5

I downloaded (28mb) today, entered name and email, received my rego number immediately on website and email. All good.

screenshots from website (v6)
Large Screenshot (400k)

ConceptDraw programs tend to be of very high quality and design.

Other members feedback welcome, and could someone post when this offer expires.


Living Room / How many countries represented here on DC ?
« on: September 09, 2008, 04:27 AM »

DC is a truly a international site.
Each reply should list their resident Nation in nice bold letters on the first Line, nothing else.
If your country is already replied for, please do not post again, this way we should see just how many Countries are represented here at DC.

Remember, we need to try and avoid duplicate nominations

(of course a moderator could probably run a query, but where is the fun in that)

Mini-Reviews by Members / Mini Review - Helicon Filter - photo editor
« on: September 07, 2008, 01:23 AM »
App NameHelicon Filter
App URLHeliconsoft
App Version Reviewed4.88
Test System Specsxphome, 2.33Ghz Duo, 2gb Ram
Supported OSesCompatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Vista x64.
Support Methodsforum, email
Upgrade PolicyNumber of options, 1year, lifetime see web site
Trial Version Available?30 day trial, reverts to free version
Pricing SchemeFree version, Pro $75(plugin&multiprocessor),  Home $60, v4xx options, 1year option
Reviewer Donation Link Donate to Brett, the Review Writer
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product REVIEWER: No relationship with Helicon other then a registered Pro user

Helicon Filter is a complete image editing solution for the digital photographer.
Pro Version used in review, but there is only minor difference for most users.
HF 1.png

Who is this app designed for:
Originally I thought this was a fantastic easy to use program for the average photo taker that wants to perform some improvements to their photo's.
But after using for a while you will find that there are some unique and Power user options, tools that Photoshop find difficult if not impossible are a breeze in Helicon Filter.

The Good
Fast, Fast, Fast.  If you need to improve some photos quickly, turn out some work that is presentable, this is it. Make some adjustments, save the adjustments and apply them to other images or batch process a whole folder.

Simple, even your mother could use this. (my mum could not use Photoshop)

Powerful, there are some features that are unique, but you have to poke around to find them (especially in Pro)
Easy frame tool, reduce noise by colour, side by side comparisons, noise and sharpening maps, blur/sharpen brush, eyedropper white balance, Image stacking HDR, etc.

The needs improvement section
Programmers probably take for granted what a new user does not understand, the tutorial/help section is good, but you need to read it over and over.
Some buttons and sliders are available, and you will need to dig to learn what they perform.
No layers or masks.

Why I think you should use this product
Cant afford Photoshop, PSP, etc. The free version has more then enough, and the Pro version adds a few power tools.

How does it compare to similar apps
It is hard to compare because Helicon Focus Filter uses a different approach.
I originally found Helicon Filter in a post here at DC. Since then I have become a fan of its simplistic design and layout, its ability to perform some very powerful features, and its editing workflow.
So how does it differ from other photo editors, best put by other comments elsewhere on the web.
Helicon Filter is Task based, and other editors are Tool based.
Photoshop might have 100's of tools, but does not lead you in what to use first or how.
Helicon Filter lays out a series of tasks, with tools for each task.
The advantage is that your workflow becomes fast. I have both PS elements 6 and Helicon Filter (also Lightroom2) and if time is a factor, I reach for Helicon Filter.

Quick example (reduced size 800w 100%jpg)
I was happy with the original photos composition, but the photo feels flat and washed out.
Sanddune original.jpg
A quick run along the tabs adjusting
contrast, highlights, shadows for sand highlights
Dull and Bright colors, add some richness.
reduce a little noise
Sharpening, heaps of edge sharpening
Add a frame for presentation
(workflow time from start to finish, around 4mins)
Sanddune edited.jpg

I still use PS elements and Lightroom, just not very much.
This is not a full replacement for high end photo editing as it does not support layers or masks.
But if you have never used Layers or masks, then Helicon Filter will be more then you will ever need.
(The pro version has a PS plugin )
and if you need speed, its stunning.

Overall, free version is great, that great I paid for the Pro.

Post New Requests Here / Looking for a group 'notice board'
« on: January 22, 2008, 03:53 AM »
I have searched google for a few days and have come up empty.

I am on the look out for a group notice board that does the following
- Is used on a network (although web based would be very good)
- Allows me to post a notice that is allocated to 'xyz' in the group. select by tickbox
- when 'xyz' has ticked that they have read this notice, the message is auto deleted.

bonus points for
- history that it has been read
- replies, or added content
- needs to be very simple

typical eg
- Bill rang and said 'thanks for all your hard work'
- There is a lunch at 'The Railyard' be there at
- Reports due on friday, dont be late.

I currently use 'Stickies' to send messages between PC's but it does not match above, (but is sensational software)

closest match so far has been 'Pink Notes Plus' that turned up in a google search.
It is a 'sticky notes' application that allows acknowledge of note sent.

I really dont want to use all the might and power of M$ and outlook to have invitations and acceptances. just a simple 'have you read this' style notice board.


GOE 2007 Challenge Downloads / Evaluweight - GOE Challenge 2007 Entry
« on: December 04, 2007, 05:36 AM »
Having trouble justifying a decision,
Stop procrastinating and start using Evaluweight !

This started out as a little fun and bit of effort to scam mouser of one of the legendary Cody Mugs.
In the end it is a interesting insight into how we come to a conclusion.


Each decision you make, is a 100 percent commitment. Therefore, that decision can be broken down into categories,
and each category represents a part of that 100 percent commitment.
So "evaluweight" lays this all out in a nice and easy grid format.
Simply give each category/feature a percentage mark of how it would impact your total commitment.
Now add the product that you want to compare, and in each category, mark that product out of 10 on how it meets your expectation.

Evaluweight will produce a score at the bottom of each row.

The screenshots will enlighten a little more.

Some notes
- This is a very basic script designed to con mouser into giving me a Cody mug.
- This is a very basic script that could be improved
- This is a very basic script that provokes the mind
- It is a standalone script, no installer, portable. (AHK source provided)
- Saving is very basic, it saves to the same directory as the file.
- Data is saved in a small csv text file.
- Can be used in making or justifying any decision.

More on the thought process
After using this for a few projects I was surprised to find that Money is not the major influence in a purchasing decision. If the product does not do what I want, I really dont care how much it costs. So rarely was money more then 20% of the factor, mostly around 10 and sometimes less then 5.

Suggestions, Critics, Applause and Rock Throwing all accepted.

The files
A Zip with the four examples above
The AHK Source file


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