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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Friday, April 5 2002

New computer 3: Software

The new computer and the high-speed Internet access are big improvements over my old system. Microsoft's latest Windows version, XP, has received good reviews, and it looks better and seems less buggy than Windows 98. Its main downside is that, unlike the previous versions of Microsoft Operating Systems, you can't buy it once and use it over again as often as you like. When it's registered, if you get a new computer you have to get a code key from Microsoft to port it from the original computer to your new one. If there are a half dozen computers in the house (or, more likely, the office) they cannot be upgraded to the new system from one CD. This signals a definite shift in Microsoft policy, and one that tends to underpin the charges of greed often lobbed at the company. I haven't been one of those critics, preferring to remember that if not for Microsoft's generosity about a decade ago I might never have had my first real computer and made steady progress in my employment situation (I wouldn't have been able to afford the more pricey computers from Apple and IBM in the days when "clone" had a positive ring to it).

The second major complaint about the new XP system is that unlike all the other versions of Windows I've had, it is incompatible with many earlier software applications. My computer came with many good standard things, like Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader (which is free at Abobe's website anyway), and my webpage application still works under XP. But the next-most important application does not. That's my photo editing software, Lview16. I can't fault Microsoft too strongly for having moved beyond Lview16, since the Lview company itself doesn't even list it as an available product on its website. They have moved from the best slickest photo editing package to a clunky, slow moving, hard-to-learn substitute called Lview Pro, which I own but hardly ever use.

I've used Lview16 on just about every photograph on the Nanty Glo web site, and there are thousands of them. Properly installed, you just click the name of any photograph in the computer directory list and it opens immediately in Lview16. You can crop, enlarge, reduce, copy, improve its highlights, and other basic editing processes in seconds. The most highly rated photo "suite" software, Adobe's Photoshop, can't even open itself in the time you can open and edit photos in Lview16. I've tried installing it under XP, but it causes the computer to crash.

The second best photo editing program I've used is a Microsoft application called Image Composer. I've used it to create most of the "artwork" on the Home Page...the page logos, animations, and numerous additional little items that combine text and photos or what is generically referred to as "graphics." Like Lview, Microsoft no longer markets Image Composer (which came, originally, as a free add-on on what was one of the best webpage software packages five years ago, Microsoft Front Page). I searched the web for information on simple photo editing applications. The best freeware one is IrfanView; you can download it without charge, but I've given it many trials and find it can't match the simplicity and yet versatility of Lview16. The best reviewed "simple" photo editing package is another one from Microsoft, Picture It! Unlike most of the competing apps, it isn't available for free evaluation download; you have to move on it in faith.

I ordered it today in the hope that it preserves the best aspects of Image Composer without becoming too unwieldy. The reviews were compelling. I'll let you know what I find out. Meanwhile, the Old Workhorse and Lview16 are on the job in tandem with my new system.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Male and female

Readers were asked to assign a gender to nouns of their choice and explain their reason. The best submissions:

SPONGES: Female, because they are soft and squeezable and retain water.

WEB PAGE: Female, because it is always getting hit on.

SHOE: Male, because it is usually unpolished, with its tongue hanging out.

COPIER: Female, because once turned off, it takes a while to warm up. Because it is an effective reproductive device when the right buttons are pushed. Because it can wreak havoc when the wrong buttons are pushed.

ZIPLOC BAGS: Male, because they hold everything in, but you can always see right through them.

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

Many Christians are tempted to downgrade themselves too much. I am not arguing against true humility and my word to you is this: Think as little of yourself as you want to, but always remember that our Lord Jesus Christ throught very hightly of you—enough to give Himself for you in death and sacrifice!

If the devil comes to you and whispers that you are no good, don't argue with him. In fact, you may as well admit it, but then remind the devil: "Regardless of what you say about me, I must tell you how the Lord feels about me. He tells me that I am so valuable to Him that He gave Himself for me on the cross!"

—Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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