Monthly Archives: September 2009

Paint.Net v3.5

paintnet

Paint.net is an application I’ve found myself using on a day to day basis over the last couple of years. In my opinion it’s a perfect bridge between the ridiculously simple but underpowered ‘Microsoft Paint’ that’s bundled with Windows and the powerful but expensive to buy and difficult to learn ‘Adobe Photoshop’.

The majority of users will find the features of Paint.NET more than enough for day to day photo manipulation however, also thrown in to the mix, are a number of extremely powerful tools.

Firstly, the application has layers; unless you’ve ever used layers it’s difficult to explain in words exactly what they are and how they can help you. The simplest way to explain them would be to think of them as a number of transparency slides, which when all stacked and viewed together form the basis of a whole image. If you change one of the individual … Read the rest

ISO Format

isoformat

One of the most common file types used in the distribution of software over the Internet is the .ISO format; these single files contain within them an exact copy of an entire CD or DVD disc. They are ideal because rather than having dozens, hundreds or even of thousands of files to transport you only have one.

There are of course other methods of achieving the same goal; some of you may be familiar with .zip or .rar files which have the added advantage of being able to not only take many files and store them temporarily as one but also compress the data, making the total file size smaller. Unfortunately, when using this method on a media disc you strip out important characteristics of the original such as boot code, disc structures and file attributes which can often prevent an application from running.

As a result of this exact … Read the rest

The iPod Effect

apple_ipod_nano

In a time when everybody suddenly seems to be looking to Apple for the next exciting piece of new technology, I’m forced to look back and wonder when everything all of a sudden started to go ‘right’ for them.

Things haven’t always been this rosy for Apple; back in 2001 the ailing technology company posted a year loss of $25 million on revenues of $5.3 billion however, just 7 years later, they posted a $4.8 billion profit in 2008 based on revenues of $32.5 billion.

Such a turnaround is quite remarkable and seems to coincide very much with the release of the iPod; a revolutionary portable media device which enjoyed its first full year of sales in 2002. Initially released in October 2001, the iPod was easy to use and included a large hard drive which had an incredibly large storage capacity compared with the flash media based players of … Read the rest

802.11n Wireless Networking

wifi-n

It’s been years in development but this September it looks like 802.11n Wi-Fi will finally become a standard… well, an official standard anyway.

Presently the majority of the wireless hardware you will buy (routers, wireless network cards, printers etc) will use a networking specification called 802.11g which has a maximum speed of 54Mbps. This maximum speed is being increasingly seen as inadequate as applications become more complex and require more bandwidth.

The successor, 802.11n is being ratified to increase both the speed and range of wireless devices however it should be noted that due to the time the IEEE Task Group n have been arguing about the intricacies, equipment manufacturers got bored and decided to run with the draft specification. As a result, the fact that 802.11n is becoming ‘official’ is unlikely to change a great deal as hardware utilising the new standard has been available for some time now. … Read the rest

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