Take control of your digital darkroom with Scarab Darkroom

Scarab DarkroomI love digital photography. Unfortunately, I was bitten by the camera bug quite a while back, and I am constantly on the lookout for a new lens, new picture tweaking or developing software and new information to help my pictures become more professional looking. Tools like Scarab Darkroom really fit the bill, too. This Windows based app is something that most every owner of a supported camera should have.

Scarab Darkroom is a digital camera file converter with support for over 100 different camera models. Many digital cameras can take pictures and save them directly as a JPG or other compressed file format, but doing so really limits your ability with what you can do to the file, post production. Many cameras have their own native formats, often called RAW. Most image editing apps don’t support them out of the box. Scarab Darkroom does.

Scarab-Darkroom

The compression algorithm in JPG’s is popular as a storage format – files are usually small and easily transported from one computing system to another. JPG’s are also very popular with web sites like Facebook , Flickr, and Shutterbug. However, when you try to tweak a JPG, you lose a lot of information and detail.

Scarab Darkroom provides support and tools for editing RAW files directly. It allows you to edit fill light, brightness, contrast and black levels and provides a way to edit simple tone curve adjustments. You can also tweak color temperatures and gives you the ability to pick white balance from a gray area in the picture, among other editing options. When you’re done, it provides a lightning fast conversion with excellent detail rendition using a proprietary demosaic algorithm. Basic editing options – crop, resize, etc. are also supported.

Scarab Darkroom is a decent application. Its support for many RAW file formats from Nikon, Sony, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and others is something that can provide value to a great many enthusiasts. The anticipated Pro version is said to have all of the freemium features as well as others including more color controls, a grayscale mixer and noise reduction, among others. A Mac version is also anticipated next year.

Download Scarab Darkroom

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Give your digital photos the professional touch with PhotoFiltre

I’ve said this a couple of times now, but it’s very true – with the Holidays come and gone, you’ve probably taken quite a number of digital photos that you’d like to do something really cool with. I see it nearly every year. Post-holiday sales of graphic apps are generally very good for one reason: people want to retouch their photos and give them a professional touch. This is why I really like applications like PhotoFiltre. It’s a prosumer photo retouching application for Windows.

PhotoFiltre allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters to it. It’s simple and intuitive to use; and has a shallow learning curve. Its toolbar gives you access to the standard filters with just a few clicks. It also gives the application itself, a robust look.

PhotoFiltre has a wide range of filters, allowing novice users to familiarize themselves with the world of graphics. You can find the standard adjustment functions – brightness, contrast, dyed, saturation, gamma correction – and its artistic filters – watercolor, pastels, Indian ink, pointillism, puzzle effect via both toolbars and menus. The application has more than 100 different filters.

PhotoFiltre uses both automatic and lasso/polygon vectored selection methods to select objects and photo elements. Both allow you to select a customized form by drawing a shape by hand or using a series of lines. Every selection can be saved into a separate file, to be used later on.

You can further enhance your photos with PhotoMasque.  You can create advanced contour and transparency effects on your images by using preset masks. PhotoFiltre’s masks are gray scale images, where white is the transparency color.  Opacity increases as the shades of gray become darker. Black is completely opaque. PhotoMasque comes with several basic masks to inspire you to create your own.

Read full review | Download PhotoFiltre

 

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Top 11 Tips to Increase Laptops Battery Life

Tip 1. Avoid using unnecessary programs
One of the main reasons of battery life reduction is the usage of unwanted programs on the laptop which only takes in more power from the battery. Hence use only those programs which you mostly work upon. Opening limited number of programs simultaneously can help increase your battery life as well. Also use applications which consume less power.
Tip 2. Clean your Laptop regularly

Any electronic devices gathering dust or dirt generates more heat as it blocks the air-vents and with devices such as Laptops or cell phones their battery life reduces fast. Cleaning air vents from time to time and working in an open space zone which allows the air vents to breathe will help reducing the battery life and heating of the devices.

Tip 3. Genuine Adaptors

The use of cheap quality adaptors can harm the battery life of your laptop. So make sure you use the adaptor of a better quality.

Tip 4. Reduce Background processes

Background processes which are not used much should be reduced. In case of the non usage of the internet stop the other programs associated with running on the task bar something like the anti-virus program as it will also use battery to keep itself running.

Tip 5. Unplug external devices

Make sure that various USB devices such as flash drives, Wi-Fi, data cables, Bluetooth, external speakers….etc should be unplugged when not in use as they use more battery power than any other device.

Tip 6. Check the appropriate levels of your brightness

on your laptop screen. Limit the use according to your tolerate levels as it is again one of the causes of power sink.

Tip 7. Sounds to be checked

Avoid using high volume sounds of your speakers and also try muting your speakers when not in use.

Tip 8. You do not require screen savers

Screen savers suck in more battery power and are totally useless for genuine reasons. So simply avoid using screen savers for effective battery coverage.

Tip 9. Control power options

You can turn off your hard-drive or monitor for a specific time duration using Windows XP and Windows Vista that already come with advanced power management features. This can further be checked by going to control panel and clicking the ‘power options’ feature available on it.

Tip 10. Choose Hibernation mode to Standby mode

Opting in the Hibernation mode will save the battery power as it will turn the computer off completely (saving of course the current state)than choosing the Stand by option where although being in the ‘sleep mode’ with monitor or hard drive turned off the memory still remains active and slows down the CPU.

Tip 11. Go for recent modern laptops
The modern laptops which have arrived in the market have Li-ion ( ‘Li’ stands for Lithium) batteries which doesn’t affect the memory as there is no problem of ‘partial discharges’ and recharge which very much exists in laptops having Ni-MH batteries. It is therefore recommended that you buy a latest one rather than going for an older version.

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