Friday, December 30, 2011

3D Avatar Chat in Virtual Worlds

With advance of the computer technologies, the games characters more and more remind those from the real world. The graphic quality and operational speed sometimes cause you to forget that it is your computer and not reality show.

Moove is offering capabilities for advanced chat, but chat, enhanced with almost real virtual representation. Actually, Moove gives you a key to a freely customizable 3D world. You have an unlimited number of 3D rooms that you can always create anew for private communication with full control access to these rooms and your privacy. You can easily paint your rooms, furnish them with usable furniture, and decorate them with your own pictures and graphics.

The unique Actor Studio allows you to easily create your very own 3D actors (avatars). The actors' gestures and movements are completely life-like and natural - the actors can laugh, kiss, hug, walk around, jump, pull faces, and execute many more interactions and actions. All members can visit each other, chat, show their rooms, and much more!

To do this all members will get the free revolutionary software “moove Roomancer”. Note that your 3D rooms (the 3D software "moove Roomancer") is not dependant on a server and is installed on your own computer, therefore your house can be used both online and offline.

Just click a name on the member list sorted by your interests and you are coming together instantly. You can chat, laugh, kiss, hug your friends, exchange files with them, show your own pictures, marry virtually. Use cam and voice to get to know your chat partner even better. Find friends from all over the world and fall in love - "Anything goes".

Some screenshots:

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Create Funny Images with Scrapface

Scrapface, in line with several other free online services, fills a very important niche on the Web. You are able to make personalized funny images from your pictures, using readily available templates. Scrapface offers also several animated templates, which can be used for various purposes, like B-day eCard, posts on Facebook or MySpace, or just be sent to your friends by email to introduce some funny moment to the busy day.

The site has several sections to make it easy to find a right solution for your photo-joke:
  • Section Effects allows adding seamlessly you image to the attractive theme. Some of the themes are similar to those on other competitive sites, other are completely unique. The loaded image should be in one of the following popular graphic formats as JPG, GIF, or PNG, and not to exceed the size of 4 Mb. After image uploading, you may choose the best area of the picture, resize, or crop. As ready, resulting image can be downloaded on your Hard Drive or shared directly online.

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  • Section Tools offers more capabilities of enhancing your creative products. Among the tools are glitter stamps, glitter background, artistic frames, glitter or standard non-animated text, and other photo effects. The requirements for the input image are the same as in the previous section.
  • Section Magazines allows you to put your portrait, or portrait of your friend on the magazine cover.  
  • Section Faces traditionally proposes to place your face inside the other body, while multiple fictional and real popular figures are available for your manipulations. To improve the smoothness of the transition, you can drag, resize, or rotate you photo. You can also adjust brightness, contrast, hue and saturation to make your results perfect. When you are happy with the result, click button "S" and download the image on your hard drive.

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  • Ecards section devoted to the nice electronic greeting cards preparation. It is similar to the first section, but offers particularly romantic themes for your creation.

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Site is accessible with several languages, including English and Ukrainian.

If you like Scrapface, you may like the similar sites as well:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Books should be Free: Three Sources of Free Legal Audio Books

Several years ago, I got hooked on Audio Books. While my commute to work is not very long, it might be quite unpleasant due to the occasional bad traffic. But now, in a company with good book, even light morning traffic jam is not so annoying. As you think in the evening about interesting book, waiting on the pillow, the same way you will be expecting to get in the car to continue the new audio book journey.

If you love to read books, but do not have time, audio books are the nice alternative. It may not replace the book, as the genre is slightly different, and the book perception is largely depends on the reader.

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There are multiple resources on the Web offering you free and commercial opportunities to download all kinds of books recorded as audio files. Not all of them are strictly legal, so you if are law obedient citizen of the virtual world, you still may enjoy really free audio files from web sites, who offer classic and other recorded books whose copyrights have expired, including many works from popular writers as Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, H.G. Wells, Ayn Rand and more.

In this post, I would like to present three featured web sites, offering free legal audio books for downloading:

  1. Librophile (
Librophile offers a simple interface for finding audio books and eBooks for further review and downloading. You can browse the latest books, search by keywords or choose more broadly by genre. You can often listen to chapters online, download a whole book, play a sample or subscribe using iTunes.

  1. Books Should be Free (
Books Should be Free – website dedicated to offer its visitors free downloading of audio books from the public domain in mp3, iPod, or iTunes format. Public domain means that no one holds a copyright on these books and therefore anyone including is free to distribute them.

  1. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg makes audio eBooks available for some of the same great literature available in plain text. The listings are divided into two categories: Human-read ( and computer-generated ( audio books. Definitely, the computer-generated voices used in these books are similar to those on automated systems used by the blind, as well as some telephone automation systems, and not as pleasant as human voices, but these books are still free… And there are no late fees…

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

4 Free Web-Based Weight Loss and Fitness Assistants

1.      Text Weight

For those who are trying to take care of the weight issue and strive for general health improvement through various means, TextWeight may be a good solution. It provides a simple way to track and monitor your weight. You get a text message to your mobile phone to remind you to weigh yourself. When you reply with your weight, the information is sent to a graph on your personal web page that you can view at any time. Your text response is acknowledged and you get some tips to help you overcome your biggest weight management challenge. As you move toward your personal goal, you'll receive motivational messages and unlock badges recognizing your accomplishments--these can be shared with your friends and family via Facebook and Twitter.

At any time convenient, you can logon to see a graph of your weight management progress. The site says a morning reminder gets the day started right, making you more resolute to tick to your diet, not skip exercising after work, and so forth.


2.      My Fitness Pal

Study after study has confirmed the benefits of keeping track of the food you eat and the activity you do. It is simple - the more consistently you track your food intake, the more likely you are to lose weight. That's why every successful weight management program suggests that you keep a food diary and/or an activity log. But recording everything you eat without the right tools can be tedious at best or simply impossible at worst.

With a 100% FREE membership, provides a food diary, a searchable food database of over 1,200,000 items, free mobile apps for iPhone and Android, support groups, personalized diet profiles, and a system that can support any diet, such as Atkins, South Beach, and more.


3.      Fit Day

Fit Day services offer you a free online diet journal where you can start tracking your foods, exercises, weight loss, and goals. Main features:
  • Service is absolutely free
  • Track your Foods, Exercises, Weight and Goals
  • Daily Calorie Counts
  • Carbs, Fat, and Protein
  • Weight Loss and Goals
  • Detailed Nutrition for 1,000's of foods
  • Long Term Diet Analysis and much more

For those, who prefer the desktop application, linked to the online account with more enhanced reporting and capabilities, you can download the software as well, however, it is not free, but costs about $30.


Start Your Diet

Free online services from StartYourDiet offer elaborate and easy to use online planner for your diet management program.

Whether you are a calorie counter or you are watching your carbs, you can easily develop a daily meal plan that is right for you. Start by choosing a daily meal plan from the selection, then swap out the meals and snacks you don't like while monitoring your nutritional goals. Daily meals planning become really simple:
  • Plans are customized for you based on your nutritional goals.
  • Swap out the meals and snacks you don't like to customize your plan.
  • Sort meals and plans by calories, carbs and other nutritional data.
  • Print out your plan for shopping or to post on the fridge.
  • Mark your planned meals as tracked with a single click.
  • Start with a blank plan and build your own daily plan from scratch.
  • Filter out all meat selections if you are a vegetarian.
  • Construct you own meals as part of your plan.
  • Use 20,000+ item database, popular food lists and more.

Another useful option is assistance in diet planning. In about 10 minutes you'll be setup and ready for action! Answer a few questions regarding your eating habits and daily intake goals for each meal will be automatically generated. Then use the database and suggestion tools to quickly plan out your weekly meals, all on a single screen!

It is not enough just to setup your goals, you will be able to track the progress as well. Tracking calendar makes tracking your diet a snap. Simply click on a date to track your weight, water, meals and exercise. Click on a future date and plan your future meals and diet goals. Perhaps the best part is you plan and track your diet using real foods and exercises; no points, exotic equations or gimmicks.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Picfull – Free Online Photo Editor

Picfull is a free online pictures editor allowing you to upload photo from your computer or mobile device, edit it, and share with your friends. It really simple, fast, and does not require from you any web designer skills to make really artistic piece of art.

Picfull gives you visual assistance of the possible filtering effects, giving you various examples of how your photograph will look after you have used a filter or done a variation. The tool is very useful for those who find it difficult to use photo editing software, does not have it handy on the computer, or need to get fast outcomes for instant sharing. Each of the filters is highly customizable offering stronger or weaker appearance of the applied effects and flexible coloring exposure.

The good thing is that you are not required to sign up for the site to be able to use the services. You can instantly upload our picture and start working on it.

Once you have saved your photo and opened it, you can share it with your friends on Facebook, e-mail it to friends, or share it on Twitter, all with a single click.

Website access:

Picfull is rated 4 out of 5 on the Rateitall list. Feel free to browse the entire list of 67 free online image editors at the following link:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

7 GB of Free Backup for your Media from MiMedia

While I consider myself as quite advanced computer user, recently I almost lost all my pictures. My slave drive, where all pics were stored suddenly died after unexpected power outage with no signs of trouble or any warnings. Yes, I definitely has backup, but the backup drive appeared to be solid dead as well, when I tried to recover the valuable information. Statistical probability that both drives will die at the same time is quite low, but it exist as you see.  Frankly, it took me several months and multiple data recovery tools to get all the pictures back, but I learned the lesson. You need to have double and triple backup for your valuable data. And, one of the components of the secure solution should be server, located remotely and is not physically present at your home. That will preserve the information in case of fire or any natural disasters.

In search for free, secure, and convenient backup solution, I stumbled upon the services offered by MiMedia. The free plan gives you one of the biggest complimentary online storage available among competitors – 7 GB of data. Yes, MiMedia will help you protect and enjoy up to 7 GB of your digital life - the files, media collections and important data that are invaluable to you - for free, forever, no strings attached.

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Developers claim that the data is absolutely secure on their servers - their storage system is located in Tier 1, geo-redundant data centers, which mean they maintain multiple copies of your files in more than one secure location. Their enterprise-quality servers are also built on RAID architecture, one of the most sophisticated types of protection available.

You can use your online account to backup the data from multiple computers, and access the data from any devices, connected to the Internet as well.

While I was most concerned for my photos backup, you can use your account effectively for other purposes. MiMedia elegantly presents and logically organizes your files by media type, so you can listen to your music including your favorite playlists, watch your latest videos, and view any of your photo galleries all in one user friendly location. You can also easily share photos and videos with your friends and family.

One of the main features of the MiMedia services is instant backup. Your digital life is always expanding, which means more photos, more music, and more files. MiMedia backs up your files in real time. MiMedia's backup client runs behind the scenes and ensures that new files and changes to old ones are immediately secured in your online storage account. Every time you download a song, add a picture, or save a document you are working on, that file is encrypted and backed up over your broadband connection. No more scheduling backups. It just happens. The MiMedia desktop client also appears as a drive in your "My Computer" folder enabling you to view and access all of the files which are backed up right from your desktop. The (m:) drive is an online drive that follows you everywhere. No matter where you are, you always have a secure place to store and access your important files. You can upload files to your (m:) drive or download files stored in your (m:) drive from any computer.

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Signing up for free plan is fast and easy. No credit card is required to establish your online account.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Resumizer - free online instant resume creator

You want to find your dream job? You want to find a better job to get you moving forward professionally? You want to find any job to cover your bills?

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In any case, you need one, the most important document, which will sell your valuable skills, experience, and traits to prospective employees. When the economy is not in the best shape, getting a job is not easy. And the first step is to make your resume professional and appealing. You need to get a chance, you need an interview, and without good resume that would not be possible (unless you have strong protection or internal references).

As a hiring manager, I saw multiple resumes, and I can tell you, that more than 50% of submitters did not have a single case to advance to the interview step of the hiring process. I can also assure you that percent of instantly rejected resume in the typical HR departments is much higher. Take your time, create and polish your resume to the very small details, and your chance will be much higher that you will be chosen.

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Today, I would like to present Resumizer - a free, online resume creator. You can write and print your resume in a few simple steps, with many styles, options, and tips to guide you. No fees, sign-ups, or memberships required.

The free resume creator offers several resume layout styles, with provisions for your educational and employment history, and sections to enter your skills and qualifications. Selections are available for your choice of typeface, text color, and accent color. Resumizer free resume creator allows you to preview your resume at any point in the creation process. Editing your free resume can be easily performed at any point in the creation process. Upon completion you can print your resume online or download it to print copies as needed later. free resume creator online

Aside from our free resume creator, you can get valuable help and tips that show how to write a resume, the use of action verbs, the proper format, and printing tips.

The best part of the Resumizer resume maker system is that you can return later to edit your resume should your information change or new information need to be added.

Main Features
  • No cost to use, no membership is required, there is no need to join, just come and use it whenever you wish.
  • There are many options available to you to customize your resume. Use the options you like; leave the others blank. See tips and suggestions on best practices of resume writing.
  • There are many popular layout styles to choose from, and you can choose one, which fit your expertise, line of business, and personal preferences.
  • The type face, text color, and accent colors can all be selected according to your taste.
  • Each section has extra space for you to add anything special that you require.
  • You can easily preview your resume as the creation process progresses.
  • The finished product can be printed immediately or downloaded and printed later.
  • Your cell phone number, email address, and webpage address can all be included if you desire.
  • You can return at any time and load your free resume into the system to be edited and updated as needed.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

BillGuard - Free Monitoring for your Credit Card Transactions

Growing amount of the financial transactions, people are doing online and through the phone with their credit cards is steadily growing. In parallel, goes up the volume of the financial fraud associated with this kind of activities.  Since credit companies usually safeguard you, and mostly themselves from the money losses associated, the account monitoring is always enabled through the special professional groups. You get alert every time, when the suspicious transaction is noticed, and you have a chance to confirm or reject it promptly.

But, if are still paranoid on the possible negative consequences, or you want to be absolutely in charge of what is going on your credit cards accounts activities, you can add an additional level of security on top of the one, credit companies are already providing. This additional level of security can be spelled as BillGuard.

BillGuard is a free personal finance security service that alerts you to unwanted and unauthorized transactions on your credit card and debit card bills. Here's how it works.

You part is simple and straightforward. You register all your credit cards on the site, and let service to monitor them real time.

BillGuard scans your card activity daily for hidden charges, billing errors, forgotten subscriptions, scams and fraud, and alerts you via email when your attention is required. Each new transaction is analyzed by over 100 automated tests. BillGuard also scours the web for complaints posted by others about similar charges and merchants that appear on your bills.

A scan report is emailed to you monthly, providing a quick overview of BillGuard's findings and an indication of how clean your cards are. Alerts are emailed immediately, giving you the peace of mind to use your cards freely. Reviewing and verifying questionable transactions makes BillGuard smarter
and better at protecting you and everyone else.

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The advantage of having the BillGuard online account is not limited to the monitoring for fraud and illegal transactions, but that will also keep your financial activities all together, helping to located legitimate, but unneeded charges, you may not be noticing, like for 24-hours Fitness you stopped attending, or subscription for American Baby Magazine, started when your teenager son has just been born.

But you want to ask how secure is your data at BillGuard? You do not want to add one more leak source for the private financial information, in any case. BillGuard assures that your data privacy and security is our #1 priority for the service activities, and always will be. BillGuard has been engineered from the ground up to comply with and even exceed the industry's highest security standards for financial data. BillGuard makes money by providing card protection services to banks, so I guess, it is reasonably safe to assume that your data will be safe there.

BillGuard utilizes bank-level AES 256bit encryption for all communications and all data processing is performed on servers isolated from direct access to the Internet. The systems are monitored by our own security staff 24/7 and audited daily by Verisign and McAfee HackerSafe. Regular penetration testing is performed by Security-Art.

Also, when you register a card with BillGuard, you provide site servers read-only access to your credit/debit card statements online. This is required for BillGuard to monitor and protect your card activity daily. Even in the unlikely event that someone would hack into your BillGuard account, they would not be able to transfer money or make any changes to your financial accounts.

BillGuard does not store your credit/debit card account login credentials or ask for any personally identifiable information beyond an email address (for alerts) and your zip code.

Experts agree on the site reliability and safety. Just recently BillGuard got Best of Show at Finovate 2011!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

8 URL Expanders to View and Investigate Shortened Links

Several years ago, I have posted the presentation devoted to the URL shorteners, and offered there some examples of when and how they can be potentially useful for the Internet users. However, there are opposite cases, when you get short URL might hide spam link or direct you to the fishing sites in order to capture personal information, or even worse, can redirect you to malicious web sites containing dangerous malware, which is unhealthy to your computer.

If you are not sure, what can be hiding behind the short URL, and you want to expand it to the real URL address, which will allow you to make more informative decision, if you want to go there, as usual you can get help from the free Web services. These services will uncover the original links, when you submit the questionable shortened URL.

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This is a short list, selected by the platform.

Web-based Services

  1. LongURL.
  2. URL  X-ray.
  3. Clybs.

Firefox Plugins

LongURL Mobile Expander.
Google Chrome Plugins

  1. Tactical URL Expander.
  2. ChromeMUSE. This plugin presents the possibility to expend the short URL, or shorten the real URL, working both ways.
  3. Miniscurl Universal URL Shortener/Expander. The same as previous service, can offer both links shortening and expansion.

Android Smart Phones

Long URL Expander.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows OS

The industrial software application, running the operation for the complicated piece of equipment, I support on a daily basis, Optical Surface Analyzer, is based on the Windows XP 32-bit Operating System. The application is extremely memory consuming, requiring saving huge amounts of data in one process and guaranteeing smooth operation of the automatic robotic laser-based tool. Sufficient memory is essential for that, but developers reached the limit of the memory limitations of the Windows for a single process (which is 2 GB), and even sophisticated manual rebase of the drivers to free the virtual memory interval does not help. Customers are curious how this limit can be pushed forward to expand the tool capabilities. Multiple tests proved that no logical steps in the current framework, like increasing RAM or managing better the virtual memory, can help.

But, there is solution – transition to the 64-bit Windows OS. What is absolute necessity for the industrial professional applications, might not be so critical for the computer home users, unless you also use the heavy memory consuming programs, like games, graphic utilities, or video editing applications. In any case, Windows 64-bit slowly but steadily makes it way to the consumer market.

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So, let’s review what the difference is, and how you can benefit from using this next generation OS in in brief questions and answers session:

  1. What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows?
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer's processor (also called a CPU), handles information. The 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system.

  1. How can be the difference explained a simple way?
Think of your computer as a series of tubes that can either be 32 or 64 bits wide. When you have the smaller 32-bit size, there is more potential for bottlenecks to occur. Bottlenecks slow down your system because one process has to wait for another to finish before it can begin. But if you want to have 64-bit wide tubes, your computer needs to be thinking in 64-bit so your software and hardware all need to support 64-bit.

  1. What is the difference in terms of the memory management?
On a 32-bit operating system, you are restricted to a maximum of 4 gigabytes of RAM. On a 64-bit operating system, you really do not have a limit. Normally when you exhaust your physical RAM on a 32-bit system, it has to use virtual memory or hard disk space to pick up the slack. On a 64-bit system, you can install as much RAM as you can to cover your overhead.

  1. What are the main advantages of the 64-bit Windows?

        More RAM. 64-bit versions are theoretically capable of supporting a little over 17 billion GBs of RAM due to the spacious register system. Realistically, Windows 7 64-bit Home editions are limited (because of licensing issues, not physical limitations) to 16GB of RAM and the Professional and Ultimate editions can be extended up to 192GB of RAM.
        Increased efficiency. Not only can you install more RAM in your system (as much as your motherboard can support) you will also use your installed RAM with greater efficiency. Because of the nature of the 64-bit address system in the register and how Windows 64-bit allocates memory you’ll see less of your system memory consumed by secondary systems (like your video card).
        Virtual memory allocation. Your computer will be able to allocate significantly more virtual memory per process. Under 32-bit architecture Windows is limited to assigning 2GB of memory to an application. Modern games, video and photo editing applications, and other memory consuming applications like virtual machines, need a lot of memory each. Under 64-bit systems they can have theoretically up to 8TB of virtual memory. On top of the more efficient use and allocation of memory, applications optimized for 64-bit operating systems, such as Photoshop and Virtualbox, are super fast and take full advantage of the spaciousness of the processor and memory afforded to them.
        Advanced security features. Windows 64-bit with a modern 64-bit processor enjoys additional protections not available to 32-bit users. These protections include the hardware D.E.P., as well as Kernel Patch Protection that protects you against kernel exploits, and device drivers must be digitally signed which cuts down on the incident of driver-related infections. 

  1. What are the main disadvantages of the 64-bit Windows?
        Need dedicated 64-bit drivers. You may not be able to find 64-bit drivers for older but critical devices on your system. For small things that are easily replaced or need to be upgraded anyway, this isn’t a big deal. For mission critical and expensive hardware it is. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the upgrade cost and tradeoffs are worth it.
        May need a new Motherboard.  You may have a motherboard, which will not support 64-bit processor, or will support an early 64-bit processor but not support more than 4GB of RAM. In this case you’ll still get some of the benefits of a 64-bit processor but you won’t get the benefit that most people crave: access to more memory.
        Old software issues. Some older software, developed for 34-bit, cannot be easily used on 64-bit. Also, unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 7 64-bit has no support at all for 16-bit applications. If by some chance you’re still using a really old legacy application for something you’ll need to either virtualize it or forgo an upgrade. Also, just because an application itself is 64-bit, it doesn’t mean that all plugins and extensions for it are 64-bit as well.

64-bit Windows looks really good, isn’t it? But that does not mean that you need to scrap or upgrade your existing computer immediately. Frankly, it all depends on what are you using this computer for. For general day-to-day applications, your hardware and software fill your needs perfectly well. However, if you are computer user, suffering from the memory deficiency, there is solution, and this solution is Windows 7 64-bit.

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Sources and Additional Information:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Symmetrical Face: Funny Online Images Generator

You want to investigate on how symmetrical is your face? Or you just want to have some image fun with no substantial time and thoughts investment? Come to PicHacks and give a try.

The idea is quite simple and straightforward. Simply upload any digital image and PicHacks splits the photo in two pieces and joins the halves for a "Chimera" creation, duplicating the right part, making symmetrical image, and then left part, making one more symmetrical image. So, from scientific point of view, you can see exactly how symmetrical your face is. From pure fun perspectives, you can get quite unusually funny creations. Operations do not require registrations and login, and take less than a minute of your time.

If you want to see how symmetrical your face is, use a forward facing picture with your head held perfectly straight. When placing the midline try to position it directly in the middle of the nose. If you want funny results, experiment with different angles, tilted heads, and placing the midline in different places. Play around with it and have fun.

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For purpose of illustrating the service performance, I have located face picture of Angelina Jolie. An original image and two aftermath images are provided below.

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If you like PicHacks, you may like the similar sites as well:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to prevent Repetitive Stress Injury while working on computer long hours?

Last year, I posted an article on this blog How to keep your eyes healthy while working on computer long hours?, which drew much attention from the blog readers. Per one of the visitors’ request, I am would like to continue investigation the topic of the proper ergonomic arrangement, while working on the computer. Impact on your eyes is just one of the negative factors, you are experiencing, while working on your PC for long hours. How to minimize it and make your work environment as safe as it can be?


Average computer user performs 50,000 to 200,000 keystrokes a day. Making so many repetitive movements can contribute to the related health issues, and even lead to the significant health impairment in some cases. Uncomfortable seating and awkward wrist movements can also add to overuse injuries. These injuries take time to develop, and extensive computer use can hasten them. Symptoms may include numbness, soreness, pain, fatigue, discomfort and eyestrain.

What is Repetitive Stress Injury?

Repetitive Stress Injury is a kind of catch all phrase for many conditions. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tenosynovitis / DeQuervain's Syndrome, Tendonitis, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Trigger Finger, Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Chronic Sprain / Strain are some of the actual diagnosis that be diagnosed among computer users.

All of these conditions are serious and in many cases can cause great pain, permanent disability and sometimes loss of employment.

Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) occur from repetitive movements involving a specific set of muscles and joints. RSI injuries are the result of an accumulation of stress and strain that causes irritation, inflammation, and eventually pain or other disability. Initially, RSI affects the soft tissues of the involved joint(s). Soft tissues include muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons. However, if left untreated for long periods of time, the involved joint can become arthritic and form bone spurs resulting in permanent damage to the joint.

The constant demand of keyboarding and mousing combined with the postural stress of confinement in an office chair with one's neck and back held in prolonged fixed positions has resulted in an epidemic of injuries that includes hand pain, wrist pain, arm pain, neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain.

Common Symptoms

The brief list of the common symptoms, associated with RSI, caused from computer use:
  • Tightness, discomfort, stiffness, soreness or burning in the hands, wrists, fingers, forearms, or elbows
  • Tingling, coldness, night pain or numbness in the hands, especially around the base of the thumb
  • Clumsiness or loss of strength in the hands
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, wrists, hands or back that is associated with using the computer

Computer Ergonomics

The work place is often seen as the place with the lowest risk of injury; as opposed to injuries from outdoor activities like basketball, tennis, skydiving etc. This could not be further from the truth. Musculoskeletal disorders that cause great discomfort can develop if the proper ergonomic guidelines are not taken into consideration.

Desktop Ergonomics

If you use a desktop, these are the computer ergonomics factors to consider such as visibility, chair, monitor, desk, keyboard, mouse, for maximum ergonomic benefit.

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1. Incandescent light is preferred over fluorescent lighting (less strain on the eyes)
2. Glare on the screen and the rest of the environment is not recommended
3. Task lighting is not recommended for computer use.


The most suitable chair is the one that allows the user to adjust to his/her ergonomic sweet spot. Ensure the following,
1. Backrest or ergonomic back supports provides support for your lower back (lumbar area).
2. Seat width and depth accommodate the specific user (seat pan not too big/small).
3. Seat front does not press against the back of your knees and lower legs (seat pan not too long).
4. Seat has cushioning and is rounded with a "waterfall" front (no sharp edge).
5. Ergonomic-Arm-rests, if used, support both forearms while you perform computer tasks and they do not interfere with movement.
6. Thighs have sufficient clearance space between the top of the thighs and your computer table/keyboard platform (thighs are not trapped).
7. Legs and feet have sufficient clearance space under the work surface so you are able to get close enough to the keyboard/input device.
8. A Footstool is used if your feet are not touching the floor, when your knees at a somewhat right angle

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1. Top of the screen is at or below eye level so you can read it without bending your head or neck down/back. Place the center of the screen at a 15 degree down angle from your eyes
2. User with bifocals/trifocals can read the screen without bending the head or neck backward.
3. Monitor distance as far away as possible but still allows you to read the screen without leaning your head, neck or trunk forward/backward.
4. Monitor position is directly in front of you so you don't have to twist your head or neck.
5. Glare (for example, from windows, lights) is not reflected on your screen which can cause you to assume an awkward posture to clearly see information on your screen. Position the monitor to minimize glare by placing it at a right angle to light sources or windows.
6. Set the refresh rate at a minimum of 70 Hz to limit flicker.


Sufficient space is allowed to easily read hardcopy material close to you while working with the computer.


1. Keyboard/input device platform(s) is stable and large enough to hold a keyboard and an input device.
2. Wrists and hands do not rest on sharp or hard edges.
3. The keyboard should be positioned at or below the elbow to keep the wrist aligned with the forearm or at a slightly negative angle. Keyboard tray is recommended for such purposes.
4. Keep your fingers relaxed while typing. Use a soft touch on the keyboard instead of pounding keys with unnecessary force. Relax your fingers and hands between bursts of typing.
5. Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts for applications you regularly use (to avoid overusing the mouse).


1. Input device (mouse or trackball) is located right next to your keyboard so it can be operated without reaching and at the same level as the keyboard.
2. Input device is easy to activate and the shape/size fits your hand (not too big/small).
3. Wrists and hands do not rest on sharp or hard edges.

When the mouse is being operated at a distance that makes the operator reach, the shoulder extends forward and the shoulder blade abducts (rotates forward). This position stretches the muscle groups that connect the medial portion of your shoulder blade to your spine and the superior portion of your shoulder blade to your neck. In the short term, this stretch aggravates the affected muscle groups causing spasm, fatigue, headaches and stiffness in the neck and shoulder. In the long term, this position creates a condition called a "stretch weakness" resulting in muscular imbalance, trigger points and chronic variations of the conditions listed in the prior sentence.

Placing the mouse too far away, too low, or too much on one side can cause shoulder, wrist, elbow, and forearm discomfort. When the operator is forced to reach for the mouse, his / her body weight shifts forward and ultimately results in weight bearing stress on the extended arm. Spending prolonged periods of time leaning on an extended arm is an unnatural and destructive posture that will eventually lead to the development of a repetitive stress syndrome; likely resulting disorders would include tendonitis of the wrist, elbow or shoulder.

Computer Posture

Get a suitable, height adjustable, chair.
  1. Sit far back in with your back touching the back support.
  2. Adjust the height of your chair by its function such that when you 'type' your elbows are at a right angle.
  3. Check your feet. Make a right angle with your knees. Are your feet touching the ground? If not, get a foot stool to adjust your foot rest until your knees make a right angle like your elbows.
  4. Look straight and your computer monitor screen should be at eye level or slightly under eye level to prevent neck strain.
  5. Adjust your monitor's height.
  6. Practice good posture; do not slump in your seat.

Frequent Rest Breaks

The body is not designed to sit still, even in correct position, for long periods of time. Some individuals find that using a computer extensively can cause discomfort, so regular pauses are not a waste of time. Change your seated position occasionally, stand up or stretch whenever you start to feel tired. Depending upon your work and environment, you may want to take breaks. It is generally recommended regular breaks from working at your computer for a few minutes at least once an hour.

Basic stretching exercises can help keep limber the joints and muscles you use when you sit at a computer. Some examples:
  • General: Stand up and stretch your arms over your head.
  • Neck: Tilt your head to one side (ear to shoulder); hold; relax; repeat on other side.
  • Shoulders: Slowly bring shoulders up to the ears and hold briefly.
  • Wrist: Hold arm straight out in front of you; pull hand backwards with other hand, then pull downward; hold; relax; repeat with other hand.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Free Online Service for Spell, Grammar, and Style Checking and Correction

The name After the Deadline is inspired by the NY Times after Deadline blog, and the service is suppose to benefit everyone, who needs to create well-written text documents online, with no text editing software available. Besides the Web interface, the developers offer additional plugins and bookmarklets for various platforms. The list of these plugins can be reviewed on the developer downloading page:

Main Features

Checks Spelling

After the Deadline's spell checker recommends the correct word 9/10 times. It looks at submitted context and uses artificial intelligence to make smart recommendations.

Detects Misused Words

A common error is writing one word when you mean another. Most spell checkers assume any word in their dictionary is correct regardless of context. This means all misused word errors go unnoticed. The online database includes 1,500 commonly misused words. It checks automatically each use of these words for a better fitting word. If such a word is found, the misused word is marked as misspelled and the correct alternative word spelling is promptly suggested. Note that no other web based writing improvement solution has this feature.

Checks Style

After the Deadline helps you write clearly and concisely. The style checker has thousands of rules and uses context to choose the best suggestions. The rules come from a style known as Plain English.

The style checker allows to:
  • Find complex phrases and suggests simple ones.
  • Locate passive voice.
  • Root out hidden verbs (also called abstract nouns, nominalizations).
  • Search for redundant phrases and suggests what to eliminate.
  • Find cliches and bias-language.

Checks Grammar

The grammar checker in After the Deadline protects you from common writing errors. It has a database of rules that look at entire phrases and parts-of-speech to find errors. After the Deadline uses statistics to automatically find exceptions to its grammar rules, making it one of the smartest grammar checkers around.

The grammar checker allows finding:
  • Confused words (a/an, it/it's, there/their, to/too, you/you're, etc.).
  • Repeated Words.
  • Auxiliary Verb Agreement Errors.
  • Determiner Agreement Errors.
  • Wrong Verb in Infinitive Phrases.

Explains Errors

After the Deadline will make you a better writer as you use it. The misused word detector, grammar checker, and style checker explain the mistakes and suggestions to you. You can click an error and choose the "Explain ..." option.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Make Funny Collages Online with FancyPix

I am occasionally checking the popularity of my posts to understand what is drawing the biggest public interest on this blog. One topic, which has the obvious leadership in amount of the unique visitors, is the funny online image editors. When I need to prepare fast fresh collage or greeting card, I am frequently use these service myself, so I can share this fascination of what can you do with your own picture with no slight experience with graphic editing, and in matter of minutes. Developed technology helps to improve the quality and speed of picture rendering, and multiple competing sites drive the developers’ efforts to offer fresh insight and new backgrounds.

Today, I would like to present FancyPix, one of the sites, offering you funny collage making opportunities. Authors present about 100 standard templates you can use for the picture modification, including animated themes; several advanced tools, like butterfly on the picture or animated text; section, featuring magazine covers; and about 50 face recognition templates.

While the variety of the standard templates is not outstanding, the picture operation is simple and gives several features, not available on some other sites: you can easily crop, rotate, and resize the image to choose the suitable scene to be inserted. Two examples:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The face recognition section also offers some nice opportunities for the original image manipulation: you can drag, resize, and rotate you photo. You can also adjust brightness, contrast, hue and saturation to make your photo look more authentic. Here are two examples. They are not perfect, but I did not spend more than one minute for each of these experiments.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

You may want to register for the site to save your creations online, but that is totally optional, since you can always save the resulting images to your Hard Drive. One more good thing, I can say about the service – when you load your picture, it will be preserved in site memory, so you can try multiple effects without its reloading, which saves time significantly.

If you like FancyPix, you may like the similar sites as well:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to create your own Internet Radio Station?

Who needs the Internet Radio Station?
  • Artists, who would like to promote their audio tracks among their friends and general public.
  • Website and blog owners, who would like to publish the favorite songs, related to the particular posts.
  • Music fans, who want to have instant access to their music library and be able to share it with their friends.

If you belong to one of these categories, you might be interesting in promising free service, called Radionomy. Radionomy is a web platform hosting personal internet radios with no charges.

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Radionomy provides individuals and organizations with the tools, infrastructure, and content libraries to create real radio stations broadcasted on the web and accessible anywhere. It's now the biggest webradio network in Europe, with more than 3000 internet radio stations spreading over all kinds of music genres and cultures.

The name Radionomy comes from two concepts: Radio + Autonomy.

The developers believe that today’s Internet users should be completely free to create their own radio stations. Freedom of choice: they provide track libraries and lots of audio content. Freedom of expression: the ability to add content at will. Financial freedom: they pay for everything including royalties and broadcast fees.

Developing your own station is fast and easy. You need to create an account and register the new station name. When you create a radio, it will automatically be registered on your portal of radios with the address Then you download the free software to manage your audio tracks library.

After your station is published, all visitors of the Radionomy website will be able to listen to the Radios proposed by the creators of radios by connecting directly to the radio address, by searching for a radio using multiple criteria or by following the selections proposed by the Radionomy team (top-ranking radios, new ones, etc.). You can send the URL created by Radionomy to your friends, or embed it to your website or blog with provided code.

Note that Radionomy broadcasts radio in streaming. The auditors can listen to a radio but without being able to download all or part of what is being broadcast.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ICANN supports unlimited imagination in choosing Top-Level Domains

The Board of ICANN, which controls top-level domains and Internet connectivity, has voted to allow for expansion of new top-level domains (TLDs) to include an almost unlimited number of broad, unlimited strings as new dots, including "almost any word in any language" and even using Facebook Emoticons like musical notes.

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That is going to versify enormously the web addresses structure, as currently there are only 22 TLDs, giving amazing chance to improve branding opportunities. But… not for everyone!

 A factsheet released by ICANN says the evaluation fee is approximately $185,000 and applicants will have to pay a $5,000 deposit per requested application slot when registering. ICANN says the fee is set to recover costs associated with the program to ensure it is fully funded and revenue neutral. According to the application guidebook, "this deposit amount will be credited against the evaluation fee for each application. The deposit requirement is in place to help reduce the risk of frivolous access to the online application system."

Also, the application form will be quite complicated and is expected to be 360 pages long.

So brands like Coca-Cola could ask to create “.cola” or “.coke” and Intel might request “.intel” TLD. That would be almost personal domain, but the biggest interest might be in getting attractive generic TLDs, like “.cafe”, “.bank”, or “.store”.

“ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination," Rod Beckstrom, president and chief executive officer of ICANN said in a statement. "Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind."

Just reminding to all blog readers, that three months ago, ICANN approved new specific top-level domain “. XXX” for sites with pornographic content after long, full of controversy, debates.

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Sources and Additional Information:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Funny Photo Effects from PicJoke

I always like these opportunities to create funny pictures from the available photos, making festive atmosphere during a party or allowing to prepare amazing outstanding greeting card.

PicJoke will do most of hard work for you. Choose a nice template to start your transformation. There are so many readymade templates, that you can definitely fine one suite your needs. Click on the dates in the left side bar. Each date represents unique collection of the templates, loaded at this date.

You may do photo collages with the photos of yourself, your family and friends, children,  and even your boss. Maybe, creating your boss picture in the special funny matter will help you to survive at work, reducing negative emotional perception.

As your funny picture is ready you can share your masterpiece with your friends - send the link by mail, through social networks, or publish your work in your blog.

Access website:

Some Samples:

Funny Pictures

Funny Pictures

Funny Pictures

If you like PicJoke, you may like the similar sites as well:
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