Monday, March 10, 2014

Windows System File Checker in Repair Mode - and Fixing the Pending Repair Error

If you're just looking for how to fix the "Pending Repair" error, scroll straight down.

The System File Checker (SFC) feature in Windows is an automated utility that scans Windows system files for possible corruption, and replaces damaged or missing files. Malware or even power outages can damage such files, and running the following code in the command line can sometimes be a quick remedy for BSODs (Blue Screen of Death) and other crashes.
sfc /scannow
If your machine is all good, it should display the following. If not, it should fix the problems and create a status report.
Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Panasonic Lumix - Licensed Only For Non-Commercial Use?

Patents were never really designed in the first place to restrict the user. Their job is to promote innovation by allowing their owner to be the only one to legally sell their invention, creating a monopoly or earning extra funds through patent licensing. Cars, phones, and most of the stuff we have contain patents - and they don't affect us at all. Until now.

I never looked at the manual for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 much until I happened to search for a specific feature. Suddenly, I noticed the following notice on the sixth page:


Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Manual
Source: DMC-ZS7 User Manual/Panasonic. Fair Use.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Censor An Image In GIMP

Maybe it's your license plate number. A friend who wants to keep their picture private. Someone's email address that you want to hide in a screenshot. Cropping isn't the most effective way every time, and sometimes you need to censor it neatly and unobtrusively. There's a bunch of ways to do so - I'll try to help you find the one that fits you best.

I'll use a public domain image of an F-35 with identification markings on the tail wing. Let's try to (for whatever reason) hide them. Open your image up in GIMP.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Open SVGs In Microsoft Office (Using Inkscape)

The SVG file format is an open standard for vector imagery, supported by many apps and practically all browsers. Strangely, Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint don't. I've got no idea why.

Now, many places like OpenClipArt and Clker deliver public domain (free, no copyright) vector artwork that you can use for any purpose. You might also have done some vector designs yourself and want to include it in your work.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Using An Adapted Lens On Your DSLR

Let's face it: the stock lenses on your DSLR aren't the very best. Their quality is decent for most jobs, but when you start enlarging your images to 100% resolution, you start seeing some slight artifacts and loss of detail that aren't always due to your image sensor. Megapixels aren't everything - and it's sad to see that even expensive cameras today come with a cheap 18-55 kit lens that can't really do much.

Now, some of you might have those old film SLRs at home. Or your parents might have them, gathering dust in the basement and with a bunch of different lenses included. They were quite popular in the '80s and '90s before being replaced by digital - and no one really cares much about them.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Repairing Noisy/Humming PC Speakers

When most people start getting some unbearable noise in their PC speakers, they just chuck them in the trash. It's true that you can get a new pair for next to nothing, but there's no point in doing so when you might be able to fix it for free. There's no guarantee that it'll work, but what's the harm in trying?

I've had an cheap pair of CA-2012 speakers for years, and yes, they do sound like garbage. Their quality was then affected even more when the speakers began suddenly emitting a loud, buzzing hum. The sound is similar to a 200Hz tone, but much more distorted. I remember (I was much younger back then) putting the speakers away and hooking up my computer to the AUX jack of a boombox instead. At that time, it seemed much simpler to put the problem aside and get a temporary fix. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Blogger Errors - And How To Fix Them

I've only been blogging for a while, but what really ticks me off is the annoying messages I sometimes get while trying to publish, save, or preview a post in Blogger. Maybe you've got one of these problems before:

1.  Save Error

"An error occurred while trying to save or publish your post. Please try again."
Oftentimes, getting this message meant that I had to copy all my HTML code into Notepad, sign out, close my browser, and open it again. If I'm lucky, it disappears after a browser restart. (Figure 1)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Facial Retouching With GIMP (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a series. Part 2 coming soon!

When we talk about facial retouching, Photoshop comes into mind. It's for many reasons one of the most effective suites on the market, and is favoured by many professional photographers and editors. However, many of the results created in Photoshop can also be accomplished in GIMP without too much effort.

The main topics I’ll cover include the following:
  • Removal of basic blemishes or acne (concealer)
  • Elimination of stray hair 
  • Eye retouching (removal of red blood vessels, highlights) 
  • Soft skin effect/airbrushing (equivalent to foundation makeup) 
  • Facial reshaping (nose, lips, eyes) 
  • Jaw and head structure
Let's start with a basic, untouched photograph (Figure 1). Download the source file here, and follow along with me. It’s a bit grainy (I forgot to turn down my ISO) but keep in mind that not all the images you edit will be perfect anyways.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bring Your Open Source Apps Everywhere

Face it, many people don't have your favourite open source programs installed. It's a pain to see that your school computer has the entire Creative Suite Master Collection, but not a single copy of GIMP or Scribus. Maybe you're at a friend's house and need to print a photo in GIMP's .xcf format, but they don't have the program installed. Let's just say that in this case you aren't able (or allowed) to install a copy on the spot.

I've been using portable programs for many years now, and I thought that it would be a good time to share this with you. Basically, these apps do not require installation and directly run off a USB drive. You simply click on the executable and the program starts instantly, loading itself into the RAM without writing any registry keys or traces. When you close the program, it disappears completely from the host computer. It's not in any way permanent or damaging.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Index/Sitemap

I thought I'd do a quick index containing all my posts, just to keep things organised. This page will be updated every time I write a new article.

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