Yesterday I posted about Zoom and the critical flaws in the program. I tested out a couple of programs yesterday, but ultimately, decided to post a link to an article with a list of similar apps and programs. Make Use Of is a tech website that I've used for a long time for instruction and suggestions. I trust them and their suggestions.
I tested FreeConference.com and Jitsi yesterday. Both are good. Especially Jitsi. I've also used FreeConference.com in the past and it is also reliable.
I used Skype in the long ago past, but it's part of the Microsoft Office suite, so it is boring, but functional and reliable.
Then there's WebEx. It's reliable. I hate it, but it's for personal reasons. Your mileage may vary. Many, many people love it.
I'm told that Telegram is able to do video calls and group chats, but at this time, I'm unable to figure out how to do it. And I'm a regular user of Telegram and love the program. If I figure out how to do it, I'll post it here with download instructions.
Meanwhile, go read the list from Make Use Of and read the comments as well. I can't personally vouch for the safety or security of the recommendations in the comments, but they are often worth exploring.
Ever want to colorize an old photo? There's a real art to doing it, but it takes a lot of skill and it's not easy. Using layers and getting the colors right can definitely be tricky. I've done it and it takes hours to get it just right. (And even then it can still look wrong.)
If you want to do a down and dirty colorization of a black and white photo, you can do it online at ColouriseSG. It's not going to be a detailed colorization and sometimes the colors will come out faded and looking a bit grungy, but it serves a purpose if you don't want to spend hours picking out the details and using masks and layers to do it yourself.
Pictures with a clear contrast and photos of people work best as you can see on the example below. Architecture and other man made objects fare poorly. But, the people in the picture look very good. Facial tones come out well.
The program uses AI to colorize, so it is bound to get better over time. It will be interesting to go back in a year and try a same photo again. As you add pictures to it, it is learning.
Before uploading pictures, please read the TOS and Privacy notice. The site is run by the Government Technology Agency of Singapore.
It's Friday! Here's a bit of free stuff!
I found a cool little site that makes monograms. See the attached coolness for what you can do! You can print it on some stationary, scrapbooking paper, make it sticky back put it on a pillow - There are a lot of possibilities here!
You have to give them your email address, but I've been part of the site owner's mailing list for a while now and they are good about unsubscribing and subscribing. Otherwise, just use a throwaway account.
Enjoy using Monogram Maker!
Have you ever tried to upload a photo or other image only to have them rejected because of size? I certainly have. It's annoying.
There's a remedy for that at Online Image Compressor.
It's super simple to use. Just drop your image or images into the area marked "Drop Your Files Here" or click on the button "Upload Files" and let the image compressor do the magic. When it is done, you will see a comparison of the original and compressed images. You will have a choice of redoing the compression or uploading a zip file of the image or images that you've compressed.
When you are happy, upload the images and unzip them. They should be small enough to share them on the website of your choice.
I was able to reduce two images of over 8mb to around 430K. There was color loss and some edges were jagged, but it was more than acceptable for the reduced size!
The ZIP file went through a VirusTotal scan before being opened and came back clean. It contained two images, which was exactly what I expected.
The website has a couple of sane, still advertisements and no pop-ups on Firefox with no adblocking. The instructions and site tools are clearly separate from the ads.
Today's software is GeoGebra. It's a collection of free software and online math tools for Graphing Calculator, Geometry, 3D Graphing, Augmented Reality, Graphing, Spreadsheet, Probability, CAS (A software program that facilitates symbolic mathematics - Yes, I had to look it up.).
I was amazed by everything that you can download and do at the website. All of it for free. There are lesson plans for teachers from Elementary grade level to College Prep and College level. There are fun exercises.
The FAQs, User Help and User Forum are all up-to-date, easy to navigate, and well done. As a person who deals with a lot of Linux software sites, I was incredibly jealous of their FAQs and User Help. If GIMP was that organized Photoshop would be out of business.
Go to the GeoGebra website or click on the FB link and check them out. You will be amazed at what they have available for free.
It's Friday and I found a nifty freebie for you!
Have you ever wanted to send a large file to someone but your email service shook a finger and said, "No-no-no!" We've all been there.
That's where Smash comes in. It's a file sharing service with no file size limits. It's also anonymous. There's no registration required. It's a simple site to use. The files stay on the site for 14 days - Plenty of time for retrieval. You can also password protect your files. Recipients can preview the content type of the files before they download.
There are also no ads on the site. That made me side-eye a bit, but they offer a premium service (that's dead cheap) to continue hosting content for retrieval for 1 year. It also offers a customized, branded service with prioritized routing and a tracking and history dashboard. That explains the lack of ads. A site that's crammed full of ads rarely grabs the attention of people who want customized services.
Smash is one for the bookmarks for sure.
This is just a reminder to resist buying deeply discounted online services:
From Krebs on Security:
"Buying heavily discounted, popular software from second-hand sources online has always been something of an iffy security proposition. But purchasing steeply discounted licenses for cloud-based subscription products like recent versions of Microsoft Office can be an extremely risky transaction, mainly because you may not have full control over who has access to your data."
Read the rest of the article at the Krebs website.
It's Friday and it's the Solstice. Tomorrow the days begin to get longer and the nights shorter. Plus it's the Friday before the long Christmas weekend! So, Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas!
Today is just a web site. While most people are flocking to Spotify and Sound Cloud for their music online, there are other forms that have existed for much longer and they often cater to very specialized audiences.
I've been a listener of Shoutcast streams for a long time. They have a plethora of Old Time Radio broadcasts that I absolutely love and they give a variety of ways to listen. It's a matter of searching and trying different terms and keywords until you come up with the right station.
At this time of year it's easy to find streams for seasonally themed streams of all kinds! Most can be played on your desktop in whatever media app you are using. Or you can just use the web site.
And it is free. Just click the logo below!