New version X3 for Paint Shop Pro Photo

Posted January 28th, 2010 by momhere

Okay, so I was determined to dislike this because it’s all about photos and there doesn’t appear to be much improvement on other tools, so that was that.  Then while discussing the latest output of Corel, one of the Mods over at EZ sent this to us about the new Smart Carver tool.  Sigh, I will be now forced to check this out.  I’ll let you know my thoughts once I’ve played a bit…in the meantime go try it yourself with the trial at Corel.

Freeware games

Posted January 26th, 2010 by momhere

Okay so while making my new computer subservient to me I was suddenly and rudely kicked out of the SolSuite card game that I’d purchased in 2008 by a cranky code number.  I wrote the author’s contact well over a week ago and have had no response.  Last time I changed computers I had the same issue so I’m done.  I just like playing solitaire games while trying to crack open these peepers (I am NOT a morning person even though I am up early) and Microsofts’ pre-installed versions are rather poorly done in my opinion (even in Win7).

Being a freeware junky has many pros and cons.  The biggest con is that it’s a time killer going through proggies to see what works and what doesn’t, and sometimes you have to go through a restore when it screws up your computer….but every once in a while you grab a freebie that is a “have-to-have” proggie, like Iceows, RevoUninstaller or IrfanView, ya know?  So to help others avoid some of the hassles, I’m going to document my results with the games I tried to gather.

Note:  I am using a Dell Inspiron 1545 built for Windows 7 but installed with Windows XP Home Edition with all updates applied.  The computer has a T4300 Dual Core @2.10GHz with 3.46GB RAM.  I am currently not using a different display but do have an external hard drive and usb hub installed with trackball and keyboard usually applied.  Instead of giving links to all the freebies, I will give you links to the freeware sites I made the searches in…you never know what goodies you’ll find.  Yesterdays’ stroll brought me to SourceForge, FreewareFiles, and FreewareGuide.

Card Games:   I downloaded 123 Free Solitaire 2009, AS Solitaire, Big Solitaire, Free Spider and Royal Solitaire.  I noted that both Free Spider and 123 Free Solitaire 2009 are made by TreeCardGames, the same company that sells SolSuite.  AS Solitaire is okay, and there is a way to create your own cards and backgrounds – which sounded perfect for me.  But it’s hard to understand unless you read Dutch, although there is an English translation.  As it is I found the interface too busy and the numbers too small for my early morning ventures.  Big Solitaire was my next trial as it’s advertised as being larger for those hard of seeing (which I’m not anymore, but we’re talking early mornings, eh).  The play goes well, however there is only one game-type and there are no options.  Royal Solitaire has 6 different card games, but has a very clunky interface that someone supposed was clever and 3d.  I get irritated with it as there are several clicks to get to the actual game, and then you have to re-motivate it to be easy for you to see and use.  It’s also not user-friendly as you have to use the escape key to get the exit interface since I’ve not found any link on the interface area.  The play itself is fine although a bit slower than it would be if the interface wasn’t 3d I’m thinking.  To be frank all of the TreeCardGame softwares were the best, even though I was trying to distance myself from them.  I don’t like being taken advantage of and that is what I feel like when I purchase something but am not able to re-install it easily to my new computer.  The freeware versions do not have as many games, options and won’t allow undo/redo as it gives a little popup to remind you of that every time you hit the button.  I say they shouldn’t have the undo/redo button if it’s not going to work, eh?  So I suppose I’ll use 123 Free Solitaire 2009 and I’ll continue to revisit this type of software search until I’m truly satisfied or TreeCardGames get off their position of treating customers in a non-satisfactory way.

Tetris games.  Yes, I’m old, and love to play Tetris….I started out with the Dos (my fav os) version after my kids had introduced it to me when Nintendo was first out, so it’s hard to break away from it.  In my search I tried ClickTris, Tetris Unlimited and Arcade Classic which all promised a great Tetris game experience.  ClickTris has fine play options, however the graphics are quite garish so it hurts my morning eyes too much for comfort.  Tetris Unlimited will not run in my computer other than show the splash screen, so it quickly came out.  Then I tried Arcade Classic which has several old time games as the title indicates.  This wound up to be my choice as it’s play was actually closest to the original and it has several of the other games I truly miss like Invaders, PacMan and Pong, oh yeah!  The graphics in this is just mildly better than the original games but I think that’s part of the charm…yeppers, I’m old-school for sure.

Yahtzee:  Love to play this game whether in real life or on the computer….although it’s great to be able to turn the sound off with this one, ya know?  I tried Yahtzee2, Yatzay, All Five and Yahtzee 123.  I quickly uninstalled both Yahtzee 123 and Yahtzee2 as I found both to have real basic graphics althoughYahtzee 2 played alright.  I was okay with Yatzay, but it was a bit basic as well, but wound up uninstalling it once I tried All Five.  All Five gives a smooth interface, easy to see everything you need and is quite user-friendly…it’s my pick.

Mahjongg:  Here’s another classic that I really enjoy.  I currently have a super Mahjongg game called Ultimate Mahjongg 5 created by Gunnar Games and produced by ValuSoft.  I picked it up in a $5 bin somewhere and just happened to get lucky.  Problem is that the video graphics on it are resetting my settings to use it, and I’m not sure if the updated version works the same as there isn’t a free trial period.  So let’s see what freebies I can scrounge up.  I found and tried two of them, Mahjongg 3d and Mahjong Champ 3d.  Mahjongg 3d worked in a very erratic manner and the link to the website was a dead link…so out it came.  Mahjong Champ 3d works okay, however there are no options to change the tilesets and they are hard to see.  Many of the tiles look very similar and it soon gets frustrating.  So for now, I’ll be continuing my search and using my old standby.

Other types:  Okay, so while scoping out the freeware sites I frequent looking for solitaire I came across other games that I wanted to try.  Here are the rest.  I tried Frozen Bubbles, TouchMeGames, Monopolie, Super Othello, Bomber Bay, Alien Under Attack, Asteroid ES, dxBall and aMaze.  Frozen Bubbles had a confusing and incomplete setup…out it came.  TouchMeGames was a joke.  It first of all calls home to play, then the graphics are horrific and to make matters worse there are no games that work…LOL…outta here!  Monopolie just really got my curiosity up because I have one son who made us play Monopoly incessantly.  While this isn’t really my style of game I must say that it was really pretty cool.  The graphics are not in 3d but are true to the game, even down to the player pieces.  It was easy to use except for needing to pay careful attention to the popups (like community chest and such) as they are for faster readers than I.  While I may never play it again, I’m sending it to Jeremy to see what a fan thinks…LOL.  Super Othello is awesome….but I have to put it away sometimes because I get angry at the computer when it wins all the time.  The graphics are not 3d but the play is simple and fast.  Bomber Bay is a game I thought would be perfect…it’s advertised as a game to shoot up your monitor….and considering what I have gone through and do regularly when my computer doesn’t behave I assumed it would be a great stress reliever.  Not sure if the graphics is wrong for XP or my display but it didn’t work right at all so it’s gone.  Alien Under Attack came out and I unfortunately can’t remember since my notes simply say “forget about it”.  Sorry I can’t be more specific.  Asteroid ES is a great old-style asteroid clone.  The only drawback is you have to be a lot more coordinated than I as I lose as frequently as I did with the original.  Now I have had and thoroughly enjoyed dxBall, but when I attempted to install it I couldn’t get it to work now.  I see there is a pro version which should work and I may save my nickles for that one since I loved the freebie so much before.  It’s a breakout-type game and the graphics and play were pretty good.  There wasn’t an installer with aMaze so I was too tired to mess with it.  It was advertised as a maze game.

So there you have my freebie search from yesterday.  Oh shoot….forgot about Wink, but it wasn’t a game.  Wink was advertised as a quick way to create flash tutorials from your screen.  Run don’t hide as it was more of a development tool experiment than a program that was user-friendly.  I couldn’t believe it really was that bad.  Okay, now on to today’s venture, I just never know what that’s going to be.

Part of Lesson 1

Posted January 22nd, 2010 by momhere

Month’s work: make new computer mine.

HP SimpleSave Review

Posted January 3rd, 2010 by momhere

Okay, so I’m no expert, but thought I’d share what I’ve learned since buying my new external hard drive…or should I say what I thought was my new hard drive.  I am going back to using a laptop, and have learned that external hard drives are invaluable for back ups and extra storage for most data.  So when I purchased my new computer, I also purchased a larger new external hard drive.  It is a 1T HP SimpleSave.

First thing I noticed was when I turned it on there was software that was backing up my computer automatically.  I am not a fan of automatic anything, but when it was supposed to be a backup I figured I might actually like it.  Wrong.  It does not just back up the hard drive, oh no.  First it only backs up the files it thinks it should, not a true mirror.  Then on top of that it does not save it in the same directories so you never have a clue what really has been backed up (or not).  Then when it performs the next back up (every time you plug it in) it creates a new image.  But that is only a partial…eegads, impossible to actually figure out what’s in your backups without spending a ton of time.  Not my idea of efficiency at all.

So I went searching out how to uninstall this software, figuring I’d prefer to do my own back ups and then use the drive as a normal external to put all my data on.  To my dismay many before me have attempted to do this and even a reformat of the entire drive did not relieve the software issue.  Are you serious?  Okay, now I’m about agitated.  Then I read a forum where one person bought the drive, then sold it on eBay before the day was out because a reformat didn’t rid the drive of the software….eeekkkk.

Bottom line is, this is not a good choice for a backup drive if you want a mirror image.  Also you are unable to rid yourself of the software.  You are able to disable the drive from backing up, however, it still keeps part of the drive for that purpose so you cannot use the entire drive.  In addition, if you plug it into another computer, you must again disable it on the new computer….what a pain.  The only plus is that it is extremely quiet.  If I had known this I wouldn’t have purchased this unit.  I just wish that software and hardware companies would recognize that most users would like to have it work their way….sigh.

PSP X2 ultimate and Windows 7

Posted December 27th, 2009 by momhere

Just thought I’d keep you all abreast about how it goes with Win7 and PSP playtime.  It is rudely cutting in to playing around, and MOST of the filters I have don’t work, including two I’ve purchased, Filters Unlimited 2 and Super Blade Pro.  I’m thinking I don’t know where to put the dll’s in this OS, so off to find out more info since both companies recently updated the files.

PSPPX2 does seem to work fine in Windows 7, although I’m constantly having to go find out why pieces and parts I’m using don’t work right.  If you start with a new image and create and don’t use filters you are smooth as glass.  Now if they only had the browser like version 9’s I’d be set.

Another thing I noticed today was that when you go to save in a format prior to 9, you get a notice stating you need to give permission to change this file….every blasted time!  Okay, now that seriously undermines the frivolity of playing around you know?

My Windows 7 experience

Posted December 22nd, 2009 by momhere

Okay, I have been waiting for a very long time to upgrade computers.  The reason is one I’ve heard many folks discuss…Vista stinks.  The only reason I haven’t gone to either a Mac or *nix system is because of the investment I have in software.  I simply can’t afford to rebuy all those softwares that have become such a part of my everyday computer life.

So when I recently had learned that my sis has cancer and I’d be making several trips out of town I decided that now would be the time to go back to having a laptop and upgrading to Windows 7 – especially since I’d heard you could run your old software in Windows XP mode.  I knew that email was destroyed, but thankfully I already had been using Mokum Mail for pop mail and I knew it ran in Vista and 7, so no worries there.

On the 17th my new laptop arrived.  Problem 1 was to remove Windows Live Mail…I don’t do webmail if I can avoid it and this bloatware is no exception..~..besides the fact that I had long ago abandoned my hotmail and msn accounts (I would have deleted them if I’d known how) because they were intrusive and bulky.  I also do not want to be signed in to any irc or messaging system automatically.  Fortunately for me I’ve relied on RevoUninstall, but unfortunately the freeware version isn’t compatible with windows 7 ~ so I downloaded the Pro trial (which I will purchase if I keep Win7).  It effectively ridded me of the regular bloatware put on by Dell as well, like a 60-day trial of Office.  Dear Lord, why do they do this?

So then I installed my email client, which works fine, thank you Joop!  I had purchased two other programs that were Windows7 compatible but wasn’t happy with them so will discuss them at a later date.  After getting this done I began to install browsers.  I normally use foxfire, but also like to have Opera and SeaMonkey on board for testing website viewing.  So far so good and I thought I was about to be a smiling gal.

I have a bunch of graphics softwares that I use on a daily basis.  Some of them were produced by companies that have since folded or worse have been “updated” by companies that have bought them out, so no new updates on those are available.  Much to my dismay I was unable to get my Jasc Paint Shop Pro versions to not have issues, including the annoying habit of completely disappearing along with the saved document (I could find that later, but obviously only good to the last time I remembered to save it, eh).  So I decided to install my later version, X2 produced by Corel that says it’s Win7 compatable – and boy oh boy is it slower than a 7-year itch.  Okay, so not being happy I proceed to figure that I’ll install Corel Painter.  Only I have a little problem.  My Painter 11 is an upgrade, which needs X to substantiate that it’s not a pirated copy.  So I proceed to install X first….nope, nada, not going to work.

At this point in the dilemma I decided I needed to figure out what the WindowsXP Mode I’ve heard so much about is for.  First I found out that you cannot get it without first upgrading your computer.  Now I’m very irritated with my computer company who has not revealed this to me.  So I look and find that I can upgrade for the sweet little price of $89 to the professional version….and THEN I can install Virtual PC and then Windows XP from Microsoft.  Then SOME and only SOME Windows Vista compatible software can run effeciently….none of the products guarantee that you will be able to use any or all of your warehouse of software.  It would easily cost me $5400 to replace my stockpile – without getting the $700 for Photoshop.

ARE THEY SERIOUS????????

Okay, my blood pressure is raising with every little thing I find out.  Perhaps some of you prefer to buy new software every time you purchase a computer, but I can’t afford it….and that is just reality.  Even if I could afford it (which I could when I was working) I would not want to purchase newer versions of software because so many of them aren’t as good as older versions.  Case in point, I much prefer version 9 of Paint Shop Pro to any other version (I have from 6 through X2).  I personally need to be able to run all the versions of PSP for my graphics group and begrudge having to jump through hoops to do so.

So then I think I need to choke on it and upgrade, so I check the system requirements…..OMG, you have to ALSO buy more ram?  The Operating system requires 2 and the winxp mode another 2 and we all know that you need way more than what they say to actually not have to wait for things to work…sigh.   Okay, that’s it.  So I checked into purchasing WindowsXP and found I could do that, and depending on the version it would cost the same or a little more than the upgrade in Win7.  So I chatted with tech support at Dell to find out if the hardware in this laptop is compatible with WinXP and would have available drivers needed.  I was informed it would, but that my software warranty would be null and void if I did that.  I left the chat session dying laughing.  I don’t think I’ve seen one software warranty in current years that was anything but a joke….especially if you have opened the disk and it’s been 7 days since purchase…eeegads, they really are something.

Now I have a decision to make – either buy an upgrade to Win7Pro, then fiddle with XPmode and pray my software works, OR get a software that will allow a dual-boot of WinXP and Win7 on this computer, OR reinstall WinXP after purchase and ditch Win7.  Great options on a new computer, huh?

My advice about Windows 7 is that you may enjoy it significantly if you are in the position to repurchase all the software you intend to use.  I can say that if I’d known this before I think I would have bought a mac or linux machine and bought software then.

Kate Freeman’s artwork

Posted December 16th, 2009 by momhere

One of the super things about PSPMadeEZ learning group is that I’ve gotten to know a lot of folks from all over the world and shared with them over time.  Many of them are great artists and super folks.

Kate Freeman is one of those members.  She does phenomenal work with Paint Shop Pro, but does so much more.  Some of her other artwork is displayed at ArtWanted here and I thought I’d share it with you all.  You won’t be sorry you visited.

It's on the way…woohoo!

Posted December 15th, 2009 by momhere

Oh I have had excitement in my head all day.  This morning I got the news my new computer is FINALLY on it’s way out to be delivered…I am so very excited.  This one I’m using dies about every half hour from heat exhaustion and since it’s 8 years old I am not going to fix it.  Isn’t that sad.  I really think they should be able to do more than that with computers at their cost, but there it is.

So now I must learn more about the new operating system which will be Windows7.  I had refused to get Vista, so I’ve got a bit of a learning curve to plow through.  If any of you have any sage advice about this new OS I’d love to hear it.

Technical updates

Posted December 13th, 2009 by momhere

Good that I have to be on the computer finishing classwork today since it’s STILL snowing here in Durango!  My claim code is ZUYVXSX7U7AX and that should prove who I am to inquiring minds.

Also attempting to empty out this computer since the new one is actually supposed to ship out in the next day or two.  Whatever did we do before external hard drives?  Amazing how far we’ve come in such a short time, but I would still love to have a small truly wireless environment that was able to connect no matter where I went.  Ah, but that must be in my dreams only.

Tutorial dilemma

Posted December 11th, 2009 by momhere

Once I finally wrote the PSP tutorial, and have had it tested and edited, I was ready to post it.  However, I’m stuck trying to decide the format.  I’m not sure if I will write many or a few as there are only a few ideas running through my brain cells. 

Most sites for tutorials are in a website format and not a blog.  An example is here at Suntiques.  While it’s clean and I love the look, I’m not sure I can keep up with the website coding for updating.  Another tutorial site I enjoy is here that is in a blog instead.  It also is great, but you sometimes have to search a while to find the exact tutorial you want to use.  I know it took me a while to find the list of them towards the bottom on the side.  If I use a page that could become cumbersome if there are more than a handful of them.

So, page or post, this is the question.  Hopefully I will decide by tomorrow and get ‘er done!