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Friday, December 26, 2014

How to make a screenshot with Paint or Irfanview

If you are describing something involving the computer screen as when you are doing a post or you are asking for assistance at the Blogger Help Forum, it helps greatly to explain what you want to explain with the help of a screenshot.

One widely available software is MS Paint which is available among Accessories in all computer running the Windows OS. At the screen where you want to take a screenshot, press the Print Screen (PrntScn) key to copy image into Clipboard. Open Paint, then click the down arrow below Paste and select Paste (see screenshot below):
MS Paint, Paste from Clipboard option
MS Paint, Paste from Clipboard option

Whatever was in the former screen at which you clicked PrintScreen will appear in Paint. Save and it is done if you want the whole screen. However, if you want only part of it, then you should crop.

To crop, click the  down arrow at SELECT icon and select the shape you want - Rectangular or Free Form:
MS Paint, Select Shape
MS Paint, Select Shape

Then click the CROP icon MS Paint Crop icon

Save and it is done.

You can also easily do screenshots with the free Irfanview photo editor. Note that I like to use both PC Paint as well as Irfanview. This is because certain things which cannot be done with one can be done with the other, and vice versa.

For example, you can draw lines and shape with MS Paint to highlight certain part of the screenshot, but you can't do that with Irfanview. But if you want your screenshot to include the mouse cursor, it cannot be done with MS Paint, but it can be down with Irfanview.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

OCR Optical Character Recognition software

When you have an image file with characters (alphabets), it may be useful to convert the image to a text file. You can do this by using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software. There are both online OCR and also those you have to download and install into your computer. The former is more convenient.

I have found one particular online OCR which
. supports 46 languages including Chinese, Japanese and Korean
. convert scanned PDF to MS WORD
. extract text from PDF and images (jpg, bmp, tiff, gif) and convert to editable WORD, Excel, Text formats.

Just upload image file from your computer, select language and output format, complete a CAPTCHA to prove you are human, click CONVERT.

It was amazingly accurate with no mistakes that needs to be corrected other than when there are formatting columns, some may be jumbled up and you have to reorganize. I am saving here so I can get back to that online OCR service when needed.

This online OCR is

Monday, April 28, 2014

How to view .swf format files

SWF (/ˈswɪf/ swif)[2] is an Adobe Flash file format used for multimedia, vector graphics and ActionScript. SWF files can contain animations or applets of varying degrees of interactivity and function.
Currently, SWF is the dominant format for displaying "animated" vector graphics on the Web. It may also be used for programs, commonly browser games, using ActionScript. (Source: Wikipedia)

How to view .swf files? Simple. Just drag and drop into your web browser.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How to create and embed Google map

There would likely arise a time when creating a Google map and embedding it in a blog post would be advantages, so how do we proceed to create and embed a map?

First thing is sign into a Google account then go to Google map. At the bottom left corner there will be a small icon that looks like a gear. Click on the gear icon and click MY PLACES. See screenshot below:

Google map: My places

At the top left in the new window you should see a CREATE MAP button but I would suggest you do not click on that. Instead, slightly below the button there would be a OR CREATE WITH CLASSIC MY MAP. Click on that link. (see screenshot below):

Create with classic my map

Next, using the search box, search for the location of the place you want to create a map for.

Google map showing Googleplex location

When you have found it after clicking on CREATE WITH CLASSIC MY MAP, at the top left corner, click on that blue place marker (Add a place marker, see screenshot below)

Google map add a place marker

Click on that blue place marker then move to the location you want to mark and drop it there. Type in the map title and description in the relevant box then click SAVE and DONE.

Google map place marker title and description

At the top right, you should see an icon that look like part of a chain link. Click on that and you get a popup with 2 boxes but only the SHORT URL is not grayed out and is available to copy. Copy that link, open a different browser, paste that short url you had copied and this time at the top you would see 2 similar both but this time both boxes are not grayed out and both available to copy. Copy that code in the "Paste HTML to embed in website" and this will be the embed code you can use to paste into a post editor in the Edit HTML mode.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Skype a useful tools for bloggers

As a blogger, you will be using many different products or services. There will likely be time when you will need to contact support. Companies have various ways to provide support to their users among which will be via email, support tickets, live chat or phone with many offering toll free number.

To be able to call land lines or mobile phone you will need to add funds to your Skype account to get credit. I have done this and have been quite satisfied with it especially as the cost is way below what I will have to pay to call using my land line or mobile phone direct.

But a very good piece of information is, even if you don't have Skype credits in your account, it is still possible to call toll free numbers. The following countries and number ranges are supported and are free of charge to all users. We're working on the rest of the world:

France: +33 800, +33 805, +33 809
Poland: +48 800
UK: +44 500, +44 800, +44 808
USA: +1 800, +1 866, +1 877, +1 888
Taiwan: +886 80

For help on dialing please visit Skype user guides.