Take Screen Captures on Windows 8 With Free Software

Since Windows 8 supports touch-screen inputs, a screen capture software that works on say Windows 7 might not be suitable. I personally use Skitch for Windows, as it is free. Today, I tried out Windows Screen Capture Tool, which is a portable software that works on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Windows Screen Capture

Windows Screen Capture Tool Features

  • Install the software from this download link (.zip file). It is portable and needs Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 on your computer.
  • The Screen Capture tool is metro styled and allow a range of options from full-screen capture, area capture, adding a watermark and Window Capture
  • There is support for keyboard short-cuts but with touch-screens for Windows 8, they might not be used as much.
  • The software allows insertion of text based watermarks on images.
  • The really nice feature of this software was that I found useful was that it could take screenshots with or without the cursor.
  • The only downside of this screen-capture tool was that it does not have a time-lapse feature that takes a screen-capture after say five or ten seconds.

If you have a Windows 8/7 desktop and need a portable software that works with metro UI, then try this one out.

Download Link: Windows Screen Capture Tool

(via TWC)

Create and Share Free Public Charts and Diagrams with Creately

Creating and sharing charts or diagrams online is a great way to collaborate while planning a project. Workflows and simple diagrams are great too but a impressive chart actually helps people understand a lot more in very little time. I have used Lovely Charts and even Google drawings. This time I tried out Creately.com, which is a pretty decent one if you are comfortable creating diagrams or charts which are saved publicly.

Create Charts and Diagrams - Creately

Creately Features

  • Creately allows free users to create and share charts and diagrams. Users can sign up with their Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts.
  • You can invite more collaborators to create the charts and also save your chart as an image.
  • I found that it has a huge directory of images or objects and pre-defined charts, flowcharts and even infographics, which really helps bring to life a chart.

The free version of Creately does have some limitations, mainly users can only save upto 5 diagrams at one point of time. Also saving the chart as an image is not possible without Creately’s watermark.

Do try out our Creately and drop in your comments.

Link: Creately

Software – Compress and Convert PNG Image Files

Yesterday, Joshua wrote a nice tutorial on how to disable small Gravatars in bbPress for better performance. The idea behind the post was if the images did not load up, it could improve the load time of the page.

In tech blogging, sometimes a good detailed flow of screenshots can explain things a lot better than words can. So images are unavoidable but it never hurts optimizing your images so that load time of the web page improves.

PNGGuauntlet is a free software which works on Windows and Mac platforms. It allows users to quickly reduce the size of PNG image files.

PNGGauntlet Features

  • The software allows reduction of file size without losing on image quality.
  • It can be used to optimize and overwrite the files directly. It basically means it can keep the original file name intact.
  • The image tool can be used to convert BMP, JPG, GIF and TIFF file format images  into PNG file format.

If you found this PNGGuantlet useful, you might also like checking out Photo Magician, which is a free software to resize images in a batch.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: PNGGauntlet

Online Tool to Create Facebook Cover Image with Instagram Photos

Instagram is a great photo app, which allows users to take photos from their smartphones and stylize them. On Facebook profiles, a large interesting image can occupy the top of the profile page. Such images are called cover photos.

InstaCover is an online tool that mashes the two together. It allows users to use publicly shared Instagram photos to create a collage for their Facebook cover image.

Instagram photos for Facebook Cover

InstaCover Features

Users will need to authorize their Facebook account for the app to work. This will authorize it to create and store the Facebook cover photos in an album.

Photos from Instagram can be looked up randomly or by simply with the use of a Instagram user ID. This means we can create a cover image with any publicly shared photos.

Why did’nt Facebook think of this?

When I used InstaCover, I found the idea quite neat. Instagram photos are usually full of emotional sentiment and having a collage of them as your Facebook cover seems to make sense.

As Facebook has acquired Instagram at a hefty price tag of $1 billion, I was wondering why the company is not introducing interesting ways to integrate Facebook and Instagram like for instance InstaCover.

Do try out InstaCover and drop in your comments.

Link: InstaCover

Online Tool to Compress and Optimize Image Files from Browsers

Images can take up a lot of bandwidth while being viewed on a website. It could also affect the loading speed for your website, if it has many large sized images. Also if you are into web designing, then you might like downloading all images from a particular page you are viewing.

Kraken is a free online tool that has mixed both features and allows users to download all images from a webpage and while doing so also optimize them with resizing.

Karken_image_compress

  • Visit Kraken.io  and upload any of the files you want to compress and optimize.
  • The image files can be dragged and dropped and a smaller version without loss of quality is made available.
  • It also removes strips all meta data from the images that have been uploaded.

Using Kraken on your Browser

If you like to download all files from a particular webpage and want them automatically optimized or compressed then Kraken has some handy browser tools.

Download Chrome Extension or the Firefox Addon to easily download all images from a particular page. You might also like using this free software to resize a batch of images.

Do try out Kraken and drop in your comments.

Link: Kraken

Google Decides to Shutdown Popular Image Editing Tool Picnik

If you are fans of Picnik, the online image editing tool, here is some bad news for you. Picnik will be shut-down from April 2012 onwards. Picnik made this announcement in its blog.

Picnik_closing

Picnik’s editing tools will still be available within Google+ images in the form of Creative Kit. But not all Picnik tools will be available. Even if Google does bring in all of Picnik’s image tools into Google+, that would mean users will need a Google+ account to use it.

A silver lining to Picnik closing down in April 2012 is that its premium features will be free to all users until it actually closes down.

I have always considered Picnik to be the best online tool for editing images. Picnik was bought by Google to improve its online image editing options. I was so impressed with this new acquisition from Google, that I wondered if Google might use this along with Picasa to challenge Flickr.

Google’s Clean up act

I guess this is part of Google’s clean-up act which has seen a host of not so popular products being canned. It first shutdown a host of services in September 2011 which included Google Toolbar and Aardvark. The in November 2011, it shutdown even more services like Google Friend Connect, Google Wave, Google Gears and others.

Usually most of these shutdown announcement have included more than just one or two services and I guess we might wait for a couple of days to see if Google will be phasing out more services.

What are your views on Picnik being closed down? Do drop in your comment.

Google+ Introduces Adding Funny Text to Photos

While Facebook has moved at a snail’s speed to roll out their new Timeline design across the world, Google+ has been quietly adding more features and integration to other Google products. I do not remember where I read this before, but it is said that the best social networks are the ones that allow users to waste time efficiently and have fun in the process.

Facebook does that with status updates, games and photo sharing features. Google+ actually has pretty much the same features as Facebook and it has been careful on online privacy.

Google+ now has a really cool feature. It allows people to add photos along with text within the image.

Gplus_Text_Image

How to Add Text in Google+ Image

  • When you upload an image on Google+ to share with your friends, it will show up a new option to add text.
  • Click on it and you will get the interface to write in text into the image as in the above image.
  • Click on save and share the image with your friends.

Note: Once this process is done, you cannot remove the text so be careful about typos. :-)

I think Google+ is really putting together a lot of neat features. All of them seem to make that push for interactivity. For instance this new feature of inserting text into images to make posters could really begin a lot of photo memes on the internet.

What are your views? Do try it out and let me know through your comments.

Related: Move your Orkut Albums to Google+

Browse Through Flickr Photos in 3D – Tag Galaxy

If you are a photography fan like I am, you will probably have a few favourite websites to explore new photos. One prominent favourite is Flickr.

I came across Tag Galaxy which allows users to look up and search for Flickr photos in a 3D layout.

Tag_galaxy_flickr_tags

Tag Galaxy Features

  • Just search for a tag on the website and related tags show up as if exploring a planetary system in 3 dimensional space.

explore_tags_flickr

  • Then click on other related tags and after a few combinations, look up the relevant images which are displayed super imposed over a globe.
  • The website works Flash Player installed on your system for it to show the 3D animation.

The 3 D format of browsing photos on Flickr could be  fun way to introduce kids to photography and Flickr. For Flickr aficionados, it could be a nice way to look up photos taking into account multiple tags.

Do try it out and drop in your comments.

Link: Tag Galaxy
Related: Share Flickrs photos and view them with friends in real-time

Free Software to Resize Images in Bulk

When I use my camera to take pictures, I often find that the images are far too large to be shared on social media websites. Most times I ended up resizing these images individually. Recently, I found a useful free software called Photo Magician which helps resize images in a batch within no time.

Photo Magician Features

  • The software is a free and can be downloaded from Softpedia. Once you install the software simply add the folder which contain the photos that need resizing.
  • I could even specify which folder the resized images went into.

Resize_Image_Tools_PhotoMagician

  • I found it very convenient that I could even set the default file-type, I wanted to convert my photos into.
  • I could choose to overwrite the original images or exclude certain images which were smaller in size.
  • Also another nice feature converting all the images into ‘Grey Scale’ or ‘Rotate’ them all in bulk.
  • Finally once the photos were converted, I could directly share them on Facebook or upload it to a FTP server from the software itself.
I tried Photo Magician on Windows 7 and it does support XP and Vista too. Try it out and do drop in your comments.

Link: Photo Magician

Twitter Add Photo Sharing Service: Competition to TwitPic and yfrog

If you are on Twitter and ever shared an image on it, chances are you used TwitPic or yfrog. These are third-party apps which help Twitter users to share photos.

Today, Twitter has introduced a new feature which allows users to upload photos.

Twitter_add_photo_feature

This would probably worry TwitPic and yfrog. It also is another case of Twitter replicating what 3rd party developers created.

Twitter’s history of borrowing ideas

  1. Retweet Option: The Retweet feature was not exactly a 3rd party developer’s idea but this idea came from the Twitter users themselves. Just adding an ‘RT’ in front of the tweet allowed people to give credit to the original tweet. Twitter then included this as a new feature in their interface itself.
  2. Tweet Counter: Webmaster usually used retweet buttons on their website with Tweetmeme. Twitter then also did the same thing, possibly making people forget all about Tweet Meme service.
  3. Tweet Deck: This was the most expensive deal for Twitter. It did not have a great platform like TweetDeck and before UberMedia could buy it, it bought TweetDeck. Chances are TweetDeck will rust away over the new few years.
Do try out Twitter new add photo option on their website. Do let me know if you would use that or stick with a 3rd party service.