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Messages - digitalzen [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Posture in sitting/standing ideas, tips & tricks
« on: September 12, 2008, 08:12 PM »
One of the most important things in posture is good tone in the stomach muscles.  Most people have overdeveloped back muscles, which shortens the muscle and causes reverse curvature that puts stress on the vertebrae.  Toning up the gut creates a gentle, constant counteraction, and the knee lifts or crunches help stretch the back muscles.  Back stretches complete the process.

Remember in all stomach exercises to keep your hips firmly on the ground and your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, otherwise the downward pull on the spine can damage discs.

Living Room / Re: Laptop or Desktop — which are you?
« on: November 20, 2007, 09:38 AM »
I built my own computer (Intel 945, 3.2 Pentium D, 4 GB RAM, 2 x 250 HDD, etc.) because the prices on machines that would handle the huge RAW and video files I play with were outasight. 

I briefly considered a laptop because I figured it would be handy when I travel, especially for downloading images off the cameras and cards, but didn't want to deal with hauling additional equipment nor the additional security.  If I ever do begin traveling out of the country again, I'll probably go that route because of lack of access to other means.

Should I go with a laptop, it would primarily be for storage and uploads to my server, so it wouldn't have to have all the power of my desktop.  No way I'll be replacing the DT.  I like being able to upgrade and troubleshoot the guts of the machines I own, and laptops are simply too much trouble to work on.  Then there's the problem of when they're broken, they're broken.  I can't get another (whatever) overnighted from Tiger and have it back up in two days.

Apples and oranges, really.

It's been at least a year and a half since I used a desktop program for anything substantive except photo and video editing.

I was an early beta tester of Gmail, and have continued to use it ever since.  I back it up onto my 320 GB USB hdd using Thunderbird, just for the sake of having it there -- no good reason, really, but there's plenty of room. Apart from the backup, I haven't used a desktop mail client in over three years.

I have backed up everything I've written on the Web (probably 800 columns for various sites over the years) onto Google Notebook.  I now do virtually all of my writing in Google Documents, storing it on their servers to back up the servers on the posting site.

When I need to open a .ppt file, I do it in Firefox.  It's safer, and I never want to keep the damned things anyway.  It's always cute kittens or purple sunsets, it seems.  If I want to create a .pdf, GDocs will do it for me.  Same goes for other formats.  The only complaint I have about Documents is it doesn't have margin control.  That's not critical for the kind of thing I do 99% of the time, but I do keep Abiword around in case I need to format a formal letter.  I have OpenOffice on the #1 drive if I have to get complicated with something, but I tend to forget it's there.

About the only thing I use the PC itself for on a regular basis, outside of being a vehicle for Firefox and Web applications is for photo editing.  There are no competent online photo editors, and I doubt that there will be for a long, long time due to the extreme data crunching needed.  I'd use Google for storing images, but I don't like their interface.  I use SmugMug for serious display.

It's going to be a long time before I discard my PC (or the coming Mac) completely, because of the image and music editing (I know you can do it in Linux, but I'm 63 years old and don't want to bother),  but as far as the other stuff is concerned, I might was well have a high-speed pipe, a simple OS, and a lot of RAM.

I used all the Zoho products, and they're great.  Too slow on a dialup, however, which I have to use often enough to make it a problem.  Takes 'em forever to load and react.  Google's slow enough.  If I ever solve that issue, I might give them a serious try.  I also like the fact that my stuff is on (arguably) the biggest server farms in the world.  If Google loses my stuff, we've got other problems too. 

And no.  I don't worry about security.  There's no security on the Net anyway.  If I want to be secure, I use strong encryption.  So far, over the years, I've accumulated about 250 KB of encrypted data, so that gives you an idea of how much I worry about that stuff.  Of course, others may have bigger things to worry about.  I'm a pretty boring guy.

I also use Carbonite for backup.  I could literally go to China, buy a new computer, and set up shop online.  I'd miss a lot of my stuff, but nothing I use to make money.

(Isn't that also an intrusion of not only your computer, but your privacy as well? undecided)

How can it be an invasion of your privacy when it's on their server?  You choose to go there.  They don't come calling.

Personally, I think we should eliminate all advertising.  That would enhance the quality of the Net now, wouldn't it?

Silly whining.  If you want to use other people's sites for free, install an ad-blocker by all means, but don't try to justify it by implying that the site owner is infringing on your rights.

Since I use Picasa2 for indexing, I tend to use it for simple editing if it's open (love that straightening tool) or FastStone Image Viewer, which is my default viewer.

Beyond that, I've tried the Gimp, PhotoFiltre, Paint.NET and the free version of Serif Photo Plus (v. 5, I think).  I'd be inclined to stick with Picasa if it had a cloning tool, except for the very rare occasions when I need layers.  However, I find that for "serious" editing PhotoShop Elements suits very well.

People assume that Elements is simply a dumbed-down version of PS, intended to hook users for upgrades.  That's not the case at all.  PSE is a full-featured program that will do 99% of what amateurs and casual pros need, and the learning curve is nowhere near as steep as PS itself.  It even has a few features that haven't made it into PhotoShop yet.

It's not freeware, but given that it's available all over the Web for under fifty bucks and retails for under a hundred, it kicks a lot of butt for the money.  I do some fairly serious stuff with RAW, etc. and occasionally layers, and I haven't found anything yet that it won't handle easily.  The auto adjustments, BTW, are spot-on with my Epson printer.  I rarely do manual tweaks any more.

I'm a professional writer.  I used to use OpenOffice, but now I do nearly all my writing in Google Docs and Spreadsheets.  I tried literally more than a dozen journaling apps, but kept going back to Wordpad and an encrypted file. 

Now I use a <a href="http://www.moleskine...catalogo/default.htm">Moleskine</a> and Mont Blanc.  Much more satisfying.

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