Flickr is now Integrated into MyBlogLog

This article was written on January 29, 2007 by CyberNet.

It was just the beginning of January that Yahoo acquired MyBlogLog for an estimated 10-12 million. We were wondering how long it would take Yahoo to  integrate some of their other acquired services like Flickr. Well, that question has been answered because Flickr has been integrated into MyBlogLog.

Now you have the option of adding your Flickr photo stream to your MyBlogLog account. Mashable also points that integration with other Yahoo services is inevitable like posting links, or even the ability to log into MyBlogLog with your Yahoo Account.

All you have to do is click on the button “click here to automatically show your recent Flickr photos” from the view/add pictures page. From there, Flickr will display your 10 newest Flickr photos(only the public photos). It’s a simple, but nice integration to get the ball rolling with Yahoo!

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Adobe Carousel Will Struggle Against Free Photo Stream

Overpriced and underpowered, Carousel v1 fails to compete with Photo Stream

Adobe has released Carousel, a suite of multi-platform apps that let you share and edit your photographs on any device you on, seamlessly. If it sounds familiar, that’s because its a lot like a pro version of Apple Photo Stream.

Carousel runs on iOS devices, as well as the Mac, with Android and Windows versions on the way. Any photo you add on any platform will be almost instantly mirrored. Edited photos are re-uploaded and then re-synced across devices.

Editing is simple and straightforward. Whilst it’s not the Lightroom Lite we were hoping for, you do get a small subset of Lightroom’s editing tools. And these are nicely organized. You can adjust a slider to change white balance, for example, but when you hit the little arrow next to the slider, you get the option to adjust temperature and tint separately.

It’s well put together for a 1.0, and does one thing that Apple’s Photo Stream can’t: delete photos.

However, it has a lot of barriers to use. First is that it costs $6 per month (there’s a free 30-day trial), compared to the free Photo Stream. Second, you have to manually add pictures to the Carousel library. Third, it’s currently JPG-only, so no PNG screenshots and no RAW files (Photo Stream does both).

Complete integration is perhaps Photo Stream’s biggest strength. Any app that can write to the camera roll automatically joins the game (even Carousel, ironically). Apple’s pro apps (I’m looking at you, Aperture) are crowded and nard to use, but when it comes to making the simple stuff easy, it’s hard for others to match the convenience.

Carousel is available now in the Mac and iTunes App Stores.

Adobe Carousel [iTunes]

Adobe Carousel [Mac App Store]

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Google Plus Adds Powerful Photo Edit Suite. Free

Google Plus has just added some pretty impressive editing tools. Photo Charlie Sorrel

Google Plus has added Instagram-like controls to its photo section. The service has always had basic editing, and because Google Plus shares its photo albums with Picasa any edits made there would propagate back from there.

But building them in makes things so much easier.

The new controls only work in the desktop version, and is accessed by pressing clicking the edit button when you’re in the full-screen light-box view and selecting “Creative Kit.” You are then launched into an editor which is powered by PicNik.

From here, you can crop and tweak your photos, but you can also apply Instagram-style filters, and perform some pretty powerful edits. The “Sunless Tan” tool, for example, does what it says. You use a brush to apply the tan and it somehow works out where the edges are and turns anyone into a Florida retiree.

Right now there is also a seasonal toolkit: Halloween. This lets you add blood spatter, gravestones, “Dracula Dermis” and other fun nonsense to your pictures.

The Creative Kit uses Flash to do its magic, so even if you manage to sign in to the non-mobile version of Google Plus from an iPad you can’t use it. If any readers have Flash-capable Android tablets, try it out and let us know how it goes. On the other hand, this is good enough to be a Photoshop replacement for many people, and that, combined with speed, may be scary for other sites like the neglected Flickr.

The Creative Kit is available now to Google Plus users.

Google+: Popular posts, eye-catching analytics, photo fun and… [Google Blog]

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CyberNotes: How to Rotate Background Wallpapers

This article was written on May 29, 2008 by CyberNet.

Tutorial Thursday

arrow Windows Windows only arrow
One of the things that I thought was pretty cool with my Mac was that it lets you rotate your desktop backgrounds at set intervals using images on your computer. That got me wondering what kind of solutions are available for Windows users that do something similar, and what I happened to stumble upon is a real gem.

John’s Background Switcher is a free application that does exactly what you would expect it to, but likely goes a step further than anything you’ve seen before. It’s not only capable of grabbing images directly from your computer, but it can also interact with multiple online services including Flickr, Phanfare, SmugMug, Picasa, and Yahoo. What’s really nice is that it even supports retrieval of your private images for nearly all of the online services either through authorization or by providing your username/password. Heck, you can even mix and match the sources you want to pull images from. Neato!

Need a calendar on your desktop? No problem! Background Switcher has an option to display a monthly calendar directly on your wallpaper, and it will highlight the current day. Now how convenient is that?

Oh, right, but you use multiple monitors. Yeah, it supports that, too. You can have it show the same picture on each monitor, one picture for the entire desktop, different pictures on each monitor, or only show one picture on the main monitor. I think you get the point… this is a very full-featured background rotation utility.

background switcher.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

One thing that I do want to point out is that you can obviously specify the interval that the backgrounds will rotate, but it can also be done manually. To do that just double-click on the System Tray icon, and it will immediately begin processing a new background to use.

–Very Impressive Layouts–

Not only can this flip through your images, but it can also take multiple photos and lay them out in a way that is sure to make your friends go “wow.” Take the “Snapshot Scrapbook” mode for example, which takes a handful of your photos and lays them out in a polaroid fashion. It also takes one image and converts it to black and white to be used as the background. The number of images shown on the screen at any given time are dependent on your monitor’s resolution, and here’s what it looks like using images tagged as “flowers” from Flickr:

Note: The application does place some text in the upper-right corner of the background with the program’s name. I didn’t see any option to eliminate this.

snapshot scrapbook-2.jpg

If you want to see more images at a time just switch over to the mosaic mode where it will grab a lot of thumbnails, and then tile them on your desktop. Here’s what that looks like once again using images tagged as “flowers” from Flickr:

mosiac background.jpg


One of the questions that I frequently get asked when writing about apps like this is what kind of performance hit a PC will take for running this. As you can see above there are a handful of multi-image layouts that you can choose from, and Background Switcher has to generate the background each time the wallpaper is switched out.

On my Vista machine the memory usage for the app sat around 13MB when idle, and 21MB when hard at work. The processor usage obviously spiked while putting together the background, but the highest I saw it go was 65% (it only did that for a split second, too). That’s not all bad for what the program accomplishes.

The nice thing is that Background Switcher is actually a performance-conscious app, and offers several different settings to make sure it doesn’t interrupt your work. Here are some of the things you customize:

  • On start up don’t switch the wallpaper for a specified number of seconds. This gives the rest of your apps a chance to finish loading before it starts working on the background.
  • Stop switching the background when the screensaver is running.
  • Stop switching when running over terminal services (ex. remote desktop).
  • Only switch when the system has been idle for at least 15 seconds.
  • Stop switching if any programs you specify are running. Great for games or applications that require extensive use of your computers resources.


To be honest I haven’t gotten this excited about an application in a long time. The interface is very intuitive and simple, but at the same time there are tons of things you can customize. And the fact that it supports so many online photos services is astounding. Plus it’s free! The developer is even very active in the support forum in case you need help using it, or just have a feature request. It’s not often that you see an application and developer of this caliber that doesn’t charge a dime.

Get John’s Background Switcher

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So Shallow: Big Lens App Blurs Backgrounds in Cellphone Photos

A pair of jugs. Left shows the mask, right shows the rather nifty result

Your new iPhone 4S camera might be the best phone camera you ever owned, but there are still a few things it can’t do. One of those is that, thanks to its tiny sensor, it can’t throw a background out of focus whilst keeping the subject sharp.

These days, it’s the fashion to take shots with a super-shallow depth-of-field, and Big Lens is an app that will let you do that with your phone. Kinda. What Big Lens does is post processing, blurring the background and making the subject pop out. It works like this:

First, snap a photo (or open one from your photo library). Then paint over the subject roughly with your finger. Then hit the “auto” button, and Big Lens will attempt to make a mask that perfectly matches the edges of the subject.

Its success depends on how well the subject is separated already, but if the contrast and colors are fairly different, it works very well indeed. You can fine tune the selection manually with brush and eraser tools (hint: zoom in for fine detail control).

Once you have the mask, move on to the next stage. You can choose the aperture of the notional lens being used, and also the shape of the out-of-focus highlights (“bokeh”). And what photo app would be complete without Lomo-fication filters?

These filters can go one better, though. Because the app knows what is background and what is foreground, it can darken or lighten them separately.

The results are pretty great. Above you see a snap I took of a water jug in my office, using the terrible iPad 2 camera. I hand-tweaked the mask and added the “Lomo” filter. Now it’s ready to be sent up to Instagram.

The best part is that Big Lens costs just a dollar. If you are the kind of person that likes to play with their photos, you should go buy it now.

Big Lens product page [iTunes via iPhoneography]

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Start Migrating Your Yahoo Photos

This article was written on June 14, 2007 by CyberNet.

Back in the beginning of May, Yahoo announced that they would be closing down Yahoo Photos, a process that would occur over several months. Those who have photos stored on Yahoo have been given a few different options as a replacement service, and yesterday marked the day that Yahoo made the tools available so that users can begin the process.

Flickr is the first choice that they are giving users, seeing as they are owned by Yahoo. Afterall, they’re closing Yahoo Photos so that they can focus all of their attention and efforts on Flickr. Flickr isn’t for everybody though, so they have given a list of other alternatives.  All you have to do is log into your account to see the options available.  According to a recent posting on the Yahoo Blog, it’s a one-click process. Thankfully they made it easy!


Other then Flickr, options include(notice there’s no Google Picasa?):

  • Kodak Gallery
  • Shutterfly
  • Snapfish
  • Photobucket
  • Download your photos
  • Buy an archive CD

If you want to download your photos, buy a CD, and move your photos to another service, you’ll have to do the downloading and make the purchase of the CD first before transferring all of the photos over to the new service. The CD is $6.95 for 700Mb (About 350–400 photos) and is being offered through Englaze.

I was curious what Yahoo Photo users think of the change, and so I turned to the comments on the Yahoo blog announcement. Overall, it doesn’t seem like people are too happy. Change usually doesn’t go over well with people in general, and this is no exception.

  • “I just converted to Flickr and now I’m pretty annoyed. My other yahoo sites that relied on yahoo photos are no longer working. This includes content that I pay for, such as Personals. How do I go about getting this fixed?”
  • “Why are you doing this mistake?”

  • “Words are not adequate to express my profound disappointment with Yahoo – as a yahoo user and (very small) shareholder. The company appears to be abandoning everything that works and works well for flash-in-the-pan features … some sort of Web 2.0 run amok frenzy, I guess.”

As mentioned, this is a process that will take place over several months. There’s no need to rush because you have until September 20th to get your photo situation taken care of.   And as points out, look at your options carefully. Some are offering incentives, and others will work much differently than what you’re used to. Check them all out and then decide which will be best.

Thanks for the tip Cory!

Copyright © 2011

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Free Bulk Image Compressor for Windows

This article was written on July 05, 2011 by CyberNet.

Image compressor

arrow Windows Windows only arrow
Personally I’ve never needed to compress a large number of images before, but if I did I’d definitely be using Caesium. The interface is easy to understand, and the dual-pane previews along the right side make it easy to see the before/after comparison so that you can get the right compression ratio.

As you can see in the screenshot above the compression ratio turned out to be pretty good for the sample images I was working with. However, I had the compression quality set to 80% which may be lower that some of you may want to go. Even at 100% quality I did see the file size drop 25% lower than it started, which is still good.

Here’s a rundown on some of the features:

  • Portable version requires no installation
  • Resize your pictures up to 90% preserving the file format
  • Batch processing
  • Quick zoomable preview of the output
  • Picture-by-picture compression level
  • Compression level can be set with an easy slider
  • Metatag information support
  • Drag and drop pictures directly into the list
  • Rename all files with a custom suffix

Caesium Homepage (Windows only; Freeware; Portable)

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Get $20 Million for your Yahoo photo!

This article was written on March 06, 2007 by CyberNet.

YahoomoneyNo, this isn’t going to be about a Yahoo photo contest with a $20 million dollar prize. Instead, it’s about a woman who gathered up a legal team to take on Yahoo and sue them for $20 million dollars. I’m sure you’re thinking that it’s a lot of money for a photo, and it is. The woman discovered that Yahoo was using one of her photos for their sign-up confirmation page for their email system, without permission.

The result? She wants a $20 million paycheck for violating her right of publicity. As Techdirt points out, last year NFL quarterback Tom Brady sued Yahoo for the same reason. The differences being that they were using his photo for Yahoo Fantasy Sports. Because he’s “famous” he wanted to collect endorsement fees.

Where they got the photo from is a good question, and one I haven’t found the answer to. While I think she should get some compensation for Yahoo using her photo,  $20 million is on the high side and she’ll be awfully lucky if she ends up with it.

Source: Download Squad

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Microsoft’s Photosynth Project Launches to the Public

This article was written on August 21, 2008 by CyberNet.

It was just a few days ago that we got an idea of where Microsoft’s Photosynth technology could potentially go in the future thanks to a project called “Finding Paths through the World’s Photos.” In the article, Ryan mentioned that the project involved some pretty awe-inspiring technology, which reminded him of Photosynth, another project by Microsoft. He pointed out that it has almost been a year since we have heard from the Photosynth team, and what do you know, a couple of days after he says that and the Photosynth team has spoken. The big news from them is that Photosynth has gone public!

We first wrote about Photosynth for the first time way back in August of 2006. Over two years ago. Since then Microsoft has been working on the project one step at a time. As a refresher on exactly what Photosynth is, it allows users transform their digital photos into a three-dimensional, 360-degree experience. Microsoft calls each experience you make a “Synth” and they are now free to create.

Over the last two years while they were working on the project, the Photosynth team made examples available (check them out here) for people to explore to get an idea of what it was all about, but now today, people can use their own photos to create their own synths to share with family and friends and the public..

An obvious area of improvement is shown in the screenshot below:


Yep, no Mac version quite yet, but hopefully soon. Another thing we’d like to see them do is integrate a way for collaboration to take place. If you were trying to create a synth for say, a landmark like the Eiffel Tower, wouldn’t it be great if you could collaborate with complete strangers who have also been there and took some great photos?

We have yet to try Photosynth for ourselves, but Josh Lowensohn over at Webware has and points out how fast it is. He also mentioned the fact that users get 20GB of free online storage for the Synth’s that they create. Now when visitors go to the Photosynth site, they will be able to download a plug-in that allows them to both view synths, but also create them. The plug-in comes with a desktop uploader and works in both IE 7 and Firefox 3, nice.

If you are using IE7 or Firefox 3 on your Windows PC, checkout Photosynth and let us know what you think of the process of stitching your photos together to create a 3D environment. Your computer does most of the hard work, by processing all of the images. It will take very little effort on your part to create something amazing, assuming you are able to correctly take the photos so that Photosynth has an easier time stitching them together.

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Use Fotowoosh to Transform 2D Photos into 3D “pop-ups”

This article was written on April 16, 2007 by CyberNet.

Soon you’ll be able to transform your standard 2D outdoor images into a more lively 3D image with Fotowoosh, a new service that’s just getting started. What’s great about it is that it only requires one image to get the 3D end result, unlike other services that typically require multiple photos.

Fotoswoosh Fotowoosh

Right now, the only way you can get your foot in the door at Fotowoosh is by signing up for a beta invite (here). All you have to do is enter in your name and an email address.  From there you’ll get an email telling you that when it’s launched, you’ll  get an invitation into the beta program.

For now you’ll have to be satisfied by their sample collection. In order to view the 3D models, you’ll need a browser plug-in because it uses VRML (explanation here) so that you can interact with the photos.

Also interesting is that this originally started out as a project of Derek Hoiem who’s a PhD candidate at Carnegie Mellon University. His project page actually made the front page of Digg 174 days ago. Hoiem explains it as a system that:

“automatically constructs simple “pop-up” 3D models, like those one would find in a children’s book, out of a single outdoor image. The system labels each region of an outdoor image as ground, vertical, or sky. Line segments fitted to the ground-vertical boundary in the image and an estimate of the horizon’s position provide the necessary information to determine where to “cut” and “fold” in the image. The model is then popped up, and the image is texture mapped onto the model.

I’m not sure how fast this technology will take off in it’s current state.  If a method is created where people can interact with these photos without any additional plug-ins for the browser, that would definitely help.

Source: TechCrunch

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