Converseen – Convert And Resize Your Digital Images

Convert and resize your digital images with this convenient Windows-based tool.

converseen-24I recently got a “new” digital camera.  My father passed a few years ago, and my mother sent me dad’s Nikon D70 early last week. I’ve got another Nikon, a D3000 and a number of lenses that fit, but didn’t fully work (the auto-focus motors didn’t work with the D3000 but do with the D70. I’ve got some really nice lenses, and really enjoy taking close ups of my granddaughter. I took well over 150 pictures over the weekend in 2 different shoots.

When you have so many photos, it can be difficult to go through them individually. The amount of time required to prep that many photos for posting to the internet can require hours of work.  This is one of the reasons why I like apps like Converseen. It’s a multi-platform, batch photo editor that works on Windows.

Converseen is an open source batch image converter and resizer. It supports more than 100 image formats; and you can convert and resize an unlimited number of images to any of the most popular formats like DPX, EXR, GIF, JPEG, PhotoCD, PNG, Postscript, SVG, and TIFF.  Converseen allows you to convert, resize, rotate and flip automatically an unlimited number of images.

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Converseen can handle multiple file conversions, resizings, and compressions. It can rotate and flip images.  It can also rename a bunch of images using a progressive number or a prefix/suffix. After you get familiar with its interface, selecting a resampling filter to resize images will become second nature.
Converseen is a great app for handling batch conversions, resizings, renames or rotations. It handles the post-processing work, pretty well.  It would be nice if it also did the retouching in batch-style, but this will work very well with other, recently reviewed (as of July 2013) apps on Soft32.

download Converseen

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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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Keep your DVD collection up to date with EMDB – Eric’s Movie Database

If you’re like me, then you love movies. I’ve got literally hundreds of DVD’s in my movie collection. Some of them are physical, some are digital; but they all need organizing. This is where EMDB saved my bacon. It’s a DVD collection app for Windows and its pretty cool.

EMDB is a small utility to keep track of your DVD collection. The app allows you to keep your DVD collection up-to-date. It features automatic data import from IMDB, and can export data to csv, text or to a complete website. It also has thumbnail cover previews.

EMDB - Eric's Movie Database

The thing that I really like is its loan tracker. With it, you can keep track of which friend and relatives have borrowed which movies. Remember the saving my bacon part… ? Yeah…that was it. With such a large movie collection, I’ve got friends and relatives pulling things out of my movie cabinets all the time. With EMDB, I know who has what, and how long they’ve had it.

EMDB is a decent DVD catalog manager. The fact that it can pull all of the relevant meta data you would want from IMDB is pretty cool. It would be a winner just with that feature. Its loan tracker, however is what really attracted me to it. I’ve got people sticking their hands in my DVD collection all the time. EMDB makes it very easy to know who has what, and where I might be able to find it when it stays gone too long.

Download EMDB – Eric’s Movie Database

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CyberLink Media Suite – All You Need to Enrich Your Digital Life

CMS10If you’re like me, then you have digital media coming out of your ears – photos, music, video – and more coming nearly every day. It’s not always easy to manage when items are coming at you from all directions. That’s one of the reasons why I like CyberLink Media Suite. It’s a media management tool for Windows.

CyberLink Media Suite is a 10-in-1 software suite featuring PowerDVD for movie playback, PowerDirector for video editing, PowerProducer for DVD authoring, Power2Go DVD burner and 7 other, additional CyberLink apps, including CyberLink WaveEditor for editing your digital audio. It’s an all-in-one DVD & Blu-ray Media suite that allows users to view and work with HD content, including Blu-ray.

One of the biggest things in HD TV as of late is 3D. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of 3D content out there to be had. With PowerDVD, you can use TrueTheater 3D to transform 2D Blu-ray videos into 3D movies in real time. PowerDVD also works wonders for SD DVD’s, too. TrueTheater HD up-converts your DVD’s and vides to near-HD quality. Your SD movie collection is now free of pixilation and other distracting artifacts.

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If you have an HD video camera, PowerDVD is the ultimate media player for viewing your HD videos right on your PC. You can watch AVCHD home videos captured on your camcorder or MKV and FLV files. PowerDVD also supports two new 3D formats – MVC Transport Stream 3D (M2TS) and MK3D – in addition to MVC 1080i 3D PowerDVD also supports quality of 5.1 channels Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD soundtracks for truly HD quality entertainment

When it comes to your digital photo collection, CyberLink Media Suite has you covered there too. You can use MediaShow to organize all of your photos and home videos. You can sort items by date, album or people. MediaShow automatically organizes your photos and videos into a calendar view by the date they were shot.

Once in MediaShow, you can use its FaceMe technology to identify and tag people in your collection. The app is surprisingly accurate. Once faces are tagged, MediaShow makes it easy to locate every photo that a person appears in.

Download CyberLink Media Suite

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Achieve the highest level of LEGO design with LEGO Digital Designer

With the LEGO digital designer, users can play with LEGO without the hassle of actually buying it. Really, this nifty little program links to the online store, providing a complex and engaging way to design and build. The digital designer is a graphics-rich, feature-filled program which doesn’t leave you bored for a minute.

The package includes basic bricks, infrared sensors and model jet engines. The user feels in control of his creation as he zooms in and out freely and with ease. You can place bricks together, rotate them, and generally master the object you are, bit by bit, piecing together. All bricks are held together in the Brick Palette – providing an easy way to keep track of your building materials. On top of this, there are included seventeen prebuilt models for those just starting out.

When you’re happy with your design, you have the option of taking a screenshot of the finished piece – with the extra-fun bonus of placing it in front of the background of your choice. You then have the option of submitting it and sharing it with Lego.com, taking it apart in seconds, or watching a detailed video of how to build/rebuild whichever design you wish.

This program makes for a highly effective online alternative to LEGO bricks. The program’s complexity is a delight. As an added bonus, it’s entirely free, meaning that it’s definitely the best decision if you’re not looking to pay for the unique designing experience of LEGO.

download LEGO Digital Designer

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Convert your photos to the universally accepted DNG raw format with Adobe DNG Converter

The Adobe DNG Converter 7.2 is a free service that allows you convert files from over 350 different types of camera into the more usable DNG format.

DNG, or Digital Negative, is a photo format that was created specifically for the purpose of providing photography buffs with a universal single format that can be read on any machine. Having this simplified format allows pictures to be archived and documented all the more easily, while keeping them more secure.

The converter comes with an easy-to-navigate interface that allows for the simple transfer of photos from one format to another. It can also be used with a range of camera and photo files, meaning that all of your pictures, no matter what format they are in, can be protected and stored.

The Adobe DNG Converter 7.2 is an unbelievably useful tool for converting and protecting different types of photo. Yes, at the moment the device only supports 350(!) types of camera, but this is still quite a lot and future updates may include additional camera support. Considering the converter is free, it really is the best tool you can use for editing your photographs into a simpler, easier to use and more secure type of file.

download Adobe DNG Converter

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Artweaver – a simple freeware program for creative painting

Available since 2009, but only recently issuing a first stable release Artweaver 3.0.2 is a painting application addressing the needs of beginners and advanced users alike. Similar to Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint, it is a joy to work and play with.

It comes in two versions; the freeware version, for non-commercial use, contains cut-down functionality and is available for two weeks. Artweaver Plus costs 29€ and includes many more features, in particular around customisations and configuration. Both versions include saving and playing back events, which is a great way of recording and playing back your greatest brush strokes.

There is something very attractive about this product: you can record all your steps and replay them afterwards or provide them to other users.

Painting and drawing is great fun with Artweaver and its comprehensive digital toolset. It is easy to work with and low cost. We think the authors have got it right and that the free version will draw new users into buying Artweaver Plus, even though there great competitor freeware artwork packages out there.

Download Artweaver

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Keep your PC safe with this industry leading malware tool – ESET NOD32 Antivirus

I had a friend of mine come to me and tell me of a malware infection he caught over the weekend. It happened because he was sent a piece of email, that he did NOT open; but the message hit his inbox and created a huge amount of havoc anyway. The virus got around his AV scanner.

Having the right AV scanner for your system is important, as my friend is likely going to have to completely blow his system and rebuild it from scratch. This is one of the reasons why I like ESET NOD32 Antivirus. It’s a professional malware prevention application for Windows.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus intercepts and eliminates viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and other Internet threats with their proactive, heuristic technology. ESET NOD32 Antivirus protects you from known and emerging threats. It offers a simpler, more secure digital experience; and its accompanying Internet security training teaches you how to avoid cyber threats, scams and hackers to make your online experience even safer.

Its New, Enhanced Interface allows you to manage functionality efficiently with intuitive controls that includes access to Most Frequently Used Actions from all its screens. It also enables easier navigation of the advanced setup tree, including its customized, behavior-based HIPS to improve your PC’s security by specifying rules and permissions for the system registry and active processes and programs.

In today’s information-centric communities, ESET NOD32 Antivirus helps protect your data and your PC when you share files.  Not all computer threats come through the Internet. Removable Media Control protects you from potentially infected files exchanged through USB flash drives, CDs and DVDs. Its Cloud-Enhanced Whitelisting allows you to scan faster using its Cloud-Powered Reputation engine that compares your data to trusted files compiled in ESET’s Live Grid database of over 100 million ESET users.

Read full review | Download ESET NOD32 Antivirus

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