Old Dog Learning New Tricks

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; just this past week I’ve learned ways to work with images on my computer. I don’t know how many formats images come in; but there are many that refuse to cooperate when trying to drop them into a blog article. Knowing other ways to skin a cat makes the editing process possible.

The other day I got a message from the iTune store explaining how the album I was going to purchase would exceed my balance. That didn’t make sense since I had $28 in credits and the album only cost $13.99. After a brief exchange of emails with iTunes customer service the issue was resolved; but only after they explained how I should do a ‘print screen’ of the original message which popped up to alert me of the exceeded balance.

They were kind enough to explain the steps needed to save a print screen image to file so it could be sent as a JPG image later. Computer geeks reading this are slapping me on the forehead and saying, in unison, “Well, duh”; but I never knew you could do that.

My laptop didn’t have any photograph editing programs that would crop or otherwise alter the stored print screen images and all I wanted was a certain portion of those images. I copied the images onto a flash drive, took the flash drive across the room to the other computer, used the photograph program to crop the image down, copied it back to the flash drive in its completed version, walked back to my computer, copied the image into the article being posted and, in my best John Wayne voice, “Wa ha”!

Yesterday I was in the middle of posting an article Jim Wiegand sent in, Hiding the Slaughter; but the images were formatted in such as way as to not be compatible. I remembered the trick about taking a screen shot and was able to work through the process of dropping in the image after having cropped away the unwanted areas and converting it to JPG format.

Did I mention I downloaded a free program off the internet, GIMP? It took almost ten minutes to download and once on my computer I realized you had to have a degree in computer graphics to make it work; tossed it in the recycle bin almost immediately. Back to the drawing board; there had to be an easier way.

This morning I went through a stack of old (ancient) computer programs, discs saved over the years that just might be used in case of an emergency. I found the old ‘flying toaster’ screen saver program; now that should be fun to load since it was written for Windows 3.1. Then there was the Aquarium screen saver program, U-Boat Commander, Flight Simulator, and several updates for key code programs going back twenty years; why am I keeping them, I don’t know; but I have them.

Finally I found the program I was looking for, a disc that came with an old Epson printer that had a simple photo editing program called Polaroid PhotoMax Pro. It only took a few seconds to load onto my laptop and it’s simple enough to use.

I’d used PhotoMax years ago on an older computer and I liked it, the program was designed for simple operation by an old dog like me. I’ll probably use only a small percentage of the tools offered; but I can crop a picture down to size and correct minor flaws without too much effort. I tried the fish eye lens effect; think I’ll stick to the more conventional image reproduction method.

Now I don’t have to save it to a flash drive, take it to another computer, play around with the photo, save it to the flash drive and take it back to where you started. Life doesn’t have to be that complicated and we old dogs appreciate the simple things.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”