Life in the Days of Corona
We have been home for quite a while now with the exception of going to the local CVS to pick up our prescriptions. Jan continues to take Karma for walks several times a day if the weather permits. But in any case, they walk at least two or three times. If the weather is opportune, I take short strolls in our quiet neighborhood taking photographs.
The other day, I noticed a small cluster of crocuses blooming, took my camera and snapped a few photographs. Seeing them so lively was rejuvenating in some ways. We will blossom once again, soon. Yesterday, Jan and I got in our car and I drove us around for about forty minutes to an hour. We remained in the car with the exception of getting out in the empty parking lot of Rhode Island Mall. It was a bit eerie with only one car parked its owner recharging the batteries of his electric car. I am sharing some photographs from our quiet neighborhood and the empty parking lots. Past the photographs, in the second section of this article, I will share some programs and some Windows 10 tips that may help in your work, at least they may keep you busy a little longer!
Some Useful Tech Tools
Social distancing can be a challenge. But, if you have a hobby, consider yourself lucky. And, most of the readers of this site have a very engaging hobby and I am sure you are all going through old photographs, printing some, snapping new ones, etc. I want to share a few things that may help you pass time and make some of your work a bit easier. I will share some applications that offer good benefits and will help pass time just trying them out. Please keep in mind that most of the applications below are for Windows although some may have a version for the Mac platform.
Sharing and Syncing
You may already be using DropBox to share files with others and synchronize folders on multiple computers. DropBox is a very good service but its free version limits your storage to about 2GB which you can increase by inviting others to join the service. However, if you want to start with a good chunk of free cloud storage, try Mega.nz. They start you with a whopping 50GB of free cloud storage and there is a desktop application that can synchronize the files between your computer and the cloud. Fifty gigabytes will go a long way!
Search Your Computer
Although Windows has a built-in search capability in its file explorer, Everything is a program that does this very quickly. It can even search for documents or e-mail that contain particular words. The last feature can be very slow if done as a computer-wide search but can be limited to a particular folder for faster response. Download it from the VoidTools site and install it. The initial indexing may take a little time but still very fast.
Take a Quick Look
When you browse folders full of files, you may wonder what may be inside a particular file. There are a variety of viewers for different kinds of file formats. Here is one that will give you a quick look into many different file formats from Acrobat to ZIP and many in between. Just press the spacebar to show what is inside the highlighted file, press it again to close it. That’s all it does and does it very well. Get QuickLook from the Microsoft store.
View Your Images
For many years I used and recommended FastStone image viewer. Since I started scanning old photographs, I ran into two problems with FastStone. First, it cannot properly display 16-bit grayscale Photoshop files although it can handle the same in TIFF format. Second, despite 3-4 support e-mails I sent to them I have not received any kind of reply.
So, I switched to what I used to use before that, XnViewMP which is also very good and has several advantages of FastStone. First, it can display the same 16-bit grayscale Photoshop files with no problem at all. Second, it renders color more accurately than FastStone’s for images with wider color spaces. Third, if I ask a question on XnViewMP forum I get a response in a reasonable time frame. Download XnViewMP from their site and give it a try, you may like it very much.
I have a few more things for you to try, but I will save it for another article in a few days. Stay tuned! And remember, we will blossom once again, soon! Patience is part of the prevention and part of the cure against this virus.