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Tricks & Tips

Archive for December, 2008

Easily Re-Size Photos

December 30th, 2008
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If you need to re-size your photos before emailing, or before posting online, here are two easy ways to get it done:

1.  Download free tool, Image Resizer PowerToy.  This method is simple and fast.  Find the image, right click, and choose Resize Pictures.

2.  Install Windows Live Photo Gallery (screenshot above).  This tool boast many other free tools for editing your photos within a few clicks.  It’s also a great, must have viewer if your still running Windows XP.  Tag, crop, adjust color, remove redeye, and of course, re-size.  After you install using the link above, run by right clicking on your photo, choose Open With, click Windows Live Photo Gallery.
Note:  when installing Photo Gallery, uncheck all the extra applications it shows you can install (Toolbar, Writer, etc).

Want to share your photos online at Flickr?  Windows Live Photo Gallery can upload directly for you.  Run Windows Updates after installing to ensure you have the most recent version.

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Courtesy Tech Support

December 23rd, 2008
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DWZ is offering courtesy tech support for any new tech toys you receive this Christmas.  =) If you have a quick question we can answer in 5-10 minutes, we’ll be glad to help out. 

Examples… How do I connect my new camera to my computer?  What’s the best way to get the most of the batteries in my new GPS?  How do I install my new software?  Etc, etc….  we’ll be there for you.

How to ask your questions:

  • Preferred: Ask in the comments here, so everyone can read and learn.  We’ll post right back and send you an email so you get fast answers.
  • Call us at 864.993.4336.

*This offer is limited to existing customers only, via phone or remote support, through the end of 2008.

Ask your questions now ->


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family – From all of us @ DWZ! =)
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Christmas Giveaway Winners

December 18th, 2008
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First, thanks to everyone for all the kind comments! Your persuasive words and efforts to influence the contest almost worked. 😉   I struggled, but kept the drawing random:

And the winners are….

  • First place – Mr. Jim Walter
  • Second place – Ms. Cynthia Brewer, North Side Baptist Church
  • Third place – Mr. Lary Davis, Greenwood RE/MAX
  • Forth place – Ms. Denise Brown, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection

Consolation…
I hate that anyone be left out.  To those that entered, but didn’t win, please mention this giveaway Tip on your next visit and we’ll take $10/hour off your next support service (one time use only).

Need a real tech tip today?
See all the ones you might have missed online at www.digitaloffice.com/tips.  We appreciate your comments or questions on all Tips.

Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy New Year from all of us at Digital WebZone!

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10 Tips for Better Holiday Photos

December 16th, 2008
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By guest contributor, Kendall Adams.

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1. Plan ahead for your photographs – make sure you have everything you need when taking your photos. Fresh Batteries, extra digital storage cards, flash, lenses etc. Oh yes….and the camera! Many holiday memories are lost because the batteries died, you ran out of storage, or you just forgot the camera!

2. Yes. There are rules but sometimes they need to be broken! Don’t always stick to the rules – sometimes a slight blur or movement of the camera can give a soft holiday glow to your pictures. Try zooming the lens during a long exposure. Change your cameras settings to accentuate the movement or the focal point of your photo.

3. Use Flash outdoors to add just a little bit of extra sparkle to the eyes and to fill some of the shadows that might be on the face of your subjects. Try to use natural lighting indoors to add warmth to your photos and eliminate the dark backgrounds that your flash can create. If your camera has a fill-flash feature try to familiarize yourself with it. If you have to use flash indoors this feature can be a life-saver!

4. Move in closer! Almost any photograph can be improved by moving in a little closer. This can add emphasis to your subject and may also eliminate any distracting background clutter.

5. Look for unique viewpoints – take an extra minute to really look at the scene you are photographing. Are there bright colors, interesting items you can use in your composition, or reflections? Consider using any or all of these elements to add interest and help tell the story.

6. Use your cameras digital LCD to preview your photos. There isn’t a better way to see if you got their photo or not. Most of today’s cameras offer a zoom function on the preview. This will allow you to check exposure and focus. If you don’t like what you see – shoot it again!

7. Compose your photos well! Try to keep your subject slightly off center. Look for distracting background items that can ruin your photos. Make sure you have everyone’s head and body parts in the photo. Use elements in your shots to add interest and a sense of place. A chair, a window, a plant, almost any item found around your subject can be used to add interest.

8. Take LOTS of Photos! When taking pictures of family and friends, especially in groups, there will always be someone who either closes their eyes or does not smile. Increase your chances of success by taking more photos than you think you will need. Better safe than sorry!

9. BE PREPARED! If you don’t have the camera ready you will miss the shot. Baby’s first Christmas gift, the children’s surprise as they see what Santa left, even Dad snoring after Christmas dinner. Try to have the camera close by. Make sure you are familiar with the cameras controls. Be ready to shoot!

10. Use your photos as gifts! Everyone loves to get a great photo of their family and friends. If you have shots that you are particularly proud of print them and put them in a nice frame. This is a great gift that someone will treasure and always remember you by.

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If you, or your friends, haven’t registered for the DWZ Christmas Giveaway, this is your last chance!
We’ll pick four random entries and announce the winner in Thursday’s Tip!
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Before purchasing new gadgets, consider the following:

  1. Look for non-proprietary hardware. Meaning, you want to use it when, how and where you want without hardware restrictions of that manufacture.  When looking for an MP3 player or cell phone, look for devices that have standard USB ports, standard 3.5mm stereo jacks, etc. That way, if you misplace a cord, you can use one from another device.  Or, you won’t have to buy a separate car charger for each device.
  2. Look for built in wireless, or Bluetooth. Laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, electronic book readers, even memory for digital cameras, and much more, are including wireless or Bluetooth built in.  This means the manufacture is keeping up, and also means you’ll have more options for connecting with fewer cables.
  3. LCD vs. Plasma alone can be a confusing decision.  Here’s a great guide we found online that breaks down the differences and makes some recommendations.
  4. Search reviews online. If you’re not familiar with what you’re considering purchasing, check it out online.  There’s power in numbers and you want to know what they say about your product.  Head over to CNET.com, type in the name or exact model information, and you’ll hopefully have tons of reviews to let you know the good and the bad.

Have a gadget buying tip of your own?

Share with me and the rest of our readers by posting in the comments here.

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Open this complete list in a new window here.


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Enable your photos to see this!

Weather you’re having a a gathering or simply want a soundtrack for your family’s celebrations, streaming Christmas carols and holiday music will add just the right touch.  Of course you can build your own play list of MP3s, or let the few songs of a CD loop or you can try the following:

  1. Visit http://www.last.fm/listen/globaltags/christmas to start popular holiday music playing live.
  2. Use a male-to-male stereo cable, like this one (can also purchase at Radio Shack or Office Max), to connect the audio out from your laptop to your home entertainment system or stereo.
  3. Ensure your laptop won’t go to sleep, turn it up and enjoy!

You could also use the stereo cable above with a MP3 player, or iPod (adapter may be required) to play music through a larger stereo.

Another site to stream holiday music is http://www.accuradio.com/holidays/ – You have a bit more control over your play list, but they have a small credits section between each song.

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DWZ Christmas Giveaway!

December 2nd, 2008
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I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving and weekend.  I’m thankful for you all reading our Tips & Tricks, for telling your friends about us, and for participating in the community by leaving your comments.

As a way to to say thanks,  we have 4 prizes to give away: (enter drawing below)

1st Gift
2.0 MegaPixel Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000
2nd Gift
DWZ gift certificate
for one hour of remote or onsite support or training

3rd Gift
$50 gift certificate to Pascal’s Cafe & Grill in Greenwood, SC

4th Gift
Dozen DWZ branded Top Flite golf balls

– How to Enter the Drawing

  1. Post a comment, about anything, at the Tips & Tricks blog (you can remain anonymous)
  2. Everyone is eligible;  Forward this email to your family and friends
  3. Look for wining details in a future Tips & Tricks email later this month

!! UPDATE:  Let us know in the comments what you’d like to see in future Tips & Tricks!

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