Google Tools: Picasa

As an author or photographer do you ever get stuck in the middle of a project, and your technology stops you dead in your tracks? When my Photoshop Elements 10 program crashed and gave me an “I’m corrupted now.” message, I was in the middle of a blogging resurgence, trying to get my stats out of the single digit range again after being offline for six months. To solve the problem, I researched free editing programs, and several search referrals pointed to Picasa. I have Picasa with my Gmail account, but I couldn’t add a watermark or signature, crop, resize or make any of the changes I needed to make in order to blog to my satisfaction, so I was confused.

To solve my immediate need, I took an entire month to tryout and learn the newest version of Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. There were just enough similarities between the new Photoshop, my old Photoshop program online, and my old Elements program to lull me into thinking I knew what I was doing, then I would try to do something familiar like process a batch of photos, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I searched Google for the answers to several how to glitches I found, but sometimes those videos were out of date. I could grow to love both programs, but they cost between $9.99 and $49.99 every month because they are online and are constantly upgraded. When my trial ran out last night, I ordered a downloadable copy of Photoshop Elements 10 on Amazon, then checked out Picasa again.

First of all, don’t be fooled like I was thinking that if you have pictures stored online on Picasa through your Gmail account, that you have the editing program. You have to download Picasa 3. I did that, and the program immediately started scanning every photo I have in my computer ending up with a complete copy of all the photos I have in my pictures files, which I can download to my blog and the iPhotos files, which I can’t download. I’m not sure where all these pictures are stored, but you can upload them to your Google account. since I have so many, I didn’t do that.Picasa Screen shotWhile it scanned my 9,000 photos or so, I experimented with the tools. Interestingly, it is simple to process so that you can publish quickly. Picasa Screen Shot 2Simply double-click on the photo and the tools appear on the left. I haven’t worked with it much, but you can even change the type of file. For example a screen shot is a tiff, which you can’t use in WP. In Picasa you can click “save as,” and get a jpeg copy, which WordPress recognizes. Below is a picture I processed. After I added the text, I found that I could even add a watermark easier. Because this photo was not for a professional blog, I just left both. I also still have the original photo.Hawaii 2016 KBC Manny4 3264x2448In the past year I have worked extensively with Google Docs, and I find it more user-friendly than either Word or Excel. I think Picasa may be the same for simple photo processing. For more artistic work, I will need a program like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. To work up a quick post, Picasa will work well, and is actually easier to learn than Photoshop.

Reviewing Books – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Thanks to ShareChair I ordered several classic books along with their audio books for free from Amazon.  You really do need to check out her blog.  It’s all technology, and incredibly organized, every article practical or thought-provoking.

taken from an excellent review of the book –

Back to books, I just finished my third book from this classic find, and I thought that the least I could do would be to offer a review, something new and fresh.  My review for David Copperfield evolved naturally, and I didn’t search the internet first.  However, before I started writing my next remarkable review I decided to search the internet to find out what others said about  The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

I started with Wikipedia, which offered a complete background of the controversy that surrounded the book, the author,  and the characters.  The next site suggested by Google was Sparks Notes.   This was even more complete, but not as easy to stay awake while reading.  It included famous quotes, as well as someone’s explanations to those quotes, study questions and answers.  By this time I was getting so sleepy that I nodded off in the middle of reading, and the page disappeared.  I was ready to finish my search for other reviews – especially since I am not actually having to write a paper or participate in a class discussion.  But I am persistent, I plodded on and looked at the third review source, Goodreads.

I’ve seen the Goodreads sign in the side banner of some websites, but haven’t seen the benefit of them yet.  From the Goodreads reviewers of Dorian Gray I learned that many of them enjoyed Oscar Wilde’s humor in this book.  I am not the fastest reader, but I may be the most distracted one.  This book took me less than a week to finish, as I was reading 2-3 others, but as I read the reviews, I realized that I hadn’t caught some of the nuances that other readers had noticed.

The major nuance should have been as obvious as an uprooted tree lying across the road resulting from Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.  I somehow missed Wilde’s humor entirely in this story about a hedonistic, homoerotic, narcissistic young man, Dorian, and his older guide, Harry, who actually lived the cleaner life.  Actually I missed most of the nuances.  I didn’t notice the fact that he had opium at home, but had to go to the opium dens after he killed his friend, the artist, and had his chemist friend destroyed the body which indicated the depths to which his depravity hit.  I failed to see the symbolic colors used in the novel.

Not only did I overlook the language arts nuances, I failed to note many redeeming historical analysis skills that could be gained from reading this book.  Because psychology is one of the social sciences, a pitch could be made to read this book as a study in psychological disorders.

At the same time I was reading Dorian, I finished the In Search of Bill Clinton:  A Psychological Biography, by John Gartner, the story of another charmingly engaging fellow.  I couldn’t help but compare the two personalities, since both have narcissistic traits.  Clinton managed his, and poor Dorian did not have his skills or moral balance to do the same.  The fictitious character, Dorian Gray, had a true malignant disorder, whereas Clinton was diagnosed as having hypomanic traits which were not malignant.

In spite of all the literary connections which I didn’t recognize, I enjoyed reading the book, and I would recommend it to those who love classics, and a touch of what I would classify as very early science fiction.

I would not recommend it as a literary classic that meets Common Core Standards, AND the standards for History-Social Studies.  Since English teachers only get 50% literature, and need to focus the other 50% of their time on expository reading, I would not waste the student’s precious literature hours on this book.  They can read it when they are on their own as part of a life-long learning program.

I am trying to develop a schedule to my posting, so I write the day before, then polish in the morning before I post.  As I was looking for a good picture this morning, I came across this excellent review o a WordPress site where I got the picture I used.  Click here to read that review.  ShareChair must have inspired many people to read this book because I found several other reviews that have been done in the last month or so, which I included below.  Who knew Dorian would be making such a great come back?

Questions I Have About Doing WP


I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to problem solve using the tools that companies – open source or otherwise – give their customers to take care of their products.  My problems never fit within the normal range – ask Steve Woods,a tech expert at TCOE, who cringes to see me coming.  (I’m taking his Photoshop class tonight – get ready Steve.)

So I am still trying to check out why I’m being so spammy, because I responded to several sites from my reader, and my comments after the posting sign finished, the comment disappeared. I have posted on that site many times!!!  I went to a WordPress forum.  I get distracted on that website when I notice that lots of people have listed their websites for the WP folks to go visit.  Then they type a problem they are having in the subject line.  I think I’ll do that.  But first you have to answer questions and fill in forms.  One of the first questions you have to answer is, “What version of WordPress are you using?”  How would I know that?  I have looked on every page in my menu, and there is nothing about versions.  So I resigned that for now.

Next, I saw that there are WordPress camps around the world where you can go learn about WordPress.  That was cool.  The ones on the west coast were in August ad September.  I think I’ll wait for the Paris trip.

Accidentally I saw a way to get your site maximized on google searches.  You had to verify your site by placing the google meta code on your home page.  So I opened up my pages in the dashboard, and the home page didn’t show in the menu.  Then I went to the menu, and clicked home, and it still didn’t show.  The google instructions were pretty clear as to where to paste the meta thingy, but I couldn’t find my home page in order to paste anything.  Of course, I could go to the home page as an outsider, but that didn’t help me paste the meta code.  The dashboard seems to be synonymous with home page, but I couldn’t find the areas that looked like what was so clearly listed by the Google experts.

The result is that I am totally frustrated which I don’t blame on WP.  I had a similar problem already this morning trying to do online bill paying with B of A.  After explaining it to three customer service representatives, and being disconnected twice, and disconnecting myself after the chatter person didn’t chatter for a long time, I disconnected myself.  So I’m starting my own help page.  I ask the questions.  Someone knowledgable sees them, and writes me a decodable answer.