Tag Archives: software reviews

Well I’ll Be A Monkey’s Uncle!

Picnik pioneered online photo editing, but recently closed its doors. It did not take long for another online photo editor to be developed.

PicMonkey is a  new online photo editor which does a great job, if not better than what Picnik could have done.

The user interface is very intuitive and loads fast. The features range from the basic crop and sharpen to applying advanced effects, all with a click of a button. I decided to try out this new editor to see what it can do.

This is the control panel where you do all your editing. The creative options are located on the left hand side. I loaded a photo (taken by my manager, Holly Berlin), and played with some of the features.

In the Basic Edits, I tried my hand at recoloring this photo.  I tested out the saturation and temperature feature.  Next I worked in the Effects panel, which gives you a one-click effects ranging from Urban effects to Polaroid style coloration.  I decided to work with the “Orton” effects, which gives the photo a soft magical feel.

Here is the result:

According to PicMonkey, certain features are free for the time being, but may have a cost applied to them in the future. If you would like to try out this great new online photo editor, go here: http://www.picmonkey.com/.  Tell us what you think!

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Organize Your Life with Evernote

There has been quite a bit of buzz in the air over the past year or so about “cloud computing.” What is it and how can it benefit you and me? Think of it as your own personal storage space located out there on the web; a place where you can store some of your own personal data to be accessed by your various devices from different locations other than sitting at your desk at home. There are many services using the cloud these days. I wish to discuss one: Evernote.

Evernote (www.evernote.com) is a feature-rich note-taking and storage resource. I signed up for my free account in July 2010 and have been an avid user and fan ever since. The basic account is free and the level of storage at that level is generous. Even after daily use on the job, my monthly usage is only about 2% of what I am allowed. A premium account is also available for $5.00 per month, but I find it unnecessary to upgrade in the foreseeable future.

Upon signing up for your free account, you will be able to download and install the Evernote software (again, free) on your computer (or computers – I have it on 4). The Mac or PC software is a good way to navigate and use Evernote. However, if you ever find yourself at someone else’s computer who does not have Evernote, just log in to the Evernote web site and access your notes in the cloud.

Evernote also offers (again, free… I love that word!) apps for most of the popular mobile devices including smart phones and tablet computers. So, in addition to my computers, I have the app installed on my iPad, iPod Touch and Blackberry. This is very convenient as I can now carry my notes in my pocket.

Along with your Evernote account, you will receive a special e-mail address to which you can send anything that you want imported into Evernote. The best way to tell you about all of the possibilities for its use is to just let you know how I use Evernote and hopefully that will prompt you to use your imagination to come up with creative ways to help it meet your needs.

I find that I use Evernote the most on the job at CS Technologies Plus. I have several checklists that I use when setting up or repairing computers. I store them in Evernote and they are available to me at my desk or in the field as I am working, sometimes an hour or more away from my desk. My notes are as close as the phone in my pocket or the iPad in my bag.

I also use Evernote to log my daily work activities in a journal file. This is very convenient as I can add to the journal at any time; not just when I’m sitting back at my desk. I’ve used Evernote to make lists of tools I need, music I want to check out later, and more. Lists with check boxes are easily created and maintained in Evernote. You are only limited by your imagination.

Your folders and notes can be shared with other Evernote users too! I found this to be particularly helpful as I was training a coworker to work one of our jobs outside the store. The coworker set up an account for herself and I simply sent a few key notes to her special Evernote e-mail address, then she had access to the same notes in her Evernote.

Another great use for Evernote that I am currently working with is traveling. I am planning a trip to Florida in the near future. I ordered our airline tickets online. When the e-mail confirmation came, I simply forwarded it to my Evernote address. Then, I created a travel folder in the software and placed the confirmation in that folder. Next, I reserved a hotel. Again, I sent the confirmation to Evernote. Then, I reserved a rental car and sent the details to Evernote. So now, when I travel, I will have in my pocket all of my travel confirmations.

I’ve also used Evernote when comparison shopping. I simply take a picture of an item with my phone and send it to my Evernote e-mail address. This is especially helpful if you are putting together a proposal for your workplace as you can then create a quote for your team and paste in the pictures from Evernote. Or better yet, just share that particular folder and all of your team will be able to view it.

I realize I’m sounding like a big fan. Well, that’s because I am! I could go on, telling how I’ve used Evernote to help me write sermons (I’m also a pastor) or to have a password-protected Christmas list of gift ideas for my wife, and much more. With the many uses I have found for Evernote, I am barely scratching the surface.

Want to learn more? Go to http://www.evernote.com/about/video/#zHom6bgqg9Y|1|1 and watch their introductory video. And if you really want to delve into the minds of those behind this great service, go to iTunes and subscribe to the Evernote Podcast.

Let’s continue the conversation. What uses have you found for cloud computing? Are you an Evernote user? If so, what creative way do you use the service? Do you have another application that serves you in a similar way? Tell us about it?

Your comments and ongoing discussion are always welcome.

~ Randy Kightlinger

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