Wildflowers are Here

poppies

If you live in central Texas this is the best time of year. Indian Paint Brushes, Poppies and Bluebonnets to name a few are in abundance on the highways and in the pastures.

Even if you have hunted down the perfect flower last year, this years crop is different.

For poppies right now, Georgetown and Castroville are in full bloom. Tips on cameras- this one was taken with a phone. Get close, push your finger on the focus spot, wait and then either use a voice command or your ear buds to remotely take the snap.

Here are a few sightings from readers to a site called http://texas.wildflowersightings.org/sightings/202

  • I-20 and Hwy 67 west to 408 – Duncanville, TX
  • Just South of Waxahachie on 287 – Hillsboro, TX
  • TX 16 between Fredericksburg and Llano – Willow City, TX
  • Willow City Loop seems to be spotty at best

TX 16 is on fire according to a report on Facebook

Facebook Wildflower Page

  • Roadsides just before Babyhead Mountain were covered with a mix of bluebonnets and paintbrush. This has expanded over the weekend to include all the way down to the intersection with CR-215.
  • Farther south of Llano along Texas 16 to RR-1323 there are now numerous long stretches of roadside fairly covered with either bluebonnets or a mix. 

Camera Settings

  • When you photograph flowers, shoot in Aperture Priority mode. This enables you to control your depth of field. When you’re shooting lots of wildflowers, you have two options: You can create a photograph where every flower is in sharp focus or where the flowers in front of the scene are in focus and the rest of the image is a dreamy blur.
  • To create the first type of photograph, use a small aperture and focus one-third to halfway into the field of wildflowers. This ensures that the entire field of flowers will be in focus.
  • Create a dreamy look by shooting with a large aperture (small f-stop number). Focus on the flowers nearest the camera, and the distant flowers will be a creamy blur.
  • Use a fast shutter speed as the wind is always blowing and you can stop the action.
  • Bring a prop.chair

Or better yet, take a seminar in the Shooting of Wildflowers on

April 25th http://www.agecomputer.org/seminars0/wildflower.php

See you in class after you go out and about and enjoy our spring.

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Windows Tips

Happy Springtulip

There are a few novelty tricks from former versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems that are still worth resurrecting even if you are using Windows 10. It is nice sometimes to know more about the simple things like folders and shortcuts on your PC.


More Send To Options

If you wish there were more Send To options when you right-click a folder, try this trick.

Sometimes you want to send the file to Dropbox , Google Drive or Evernote. Your options need to be expanded. sendto1

First hold down Shift on your keyboard; now right-click the folder in question and select Send To from the context menu.

sendto2


 

An Old XP Trick

An old-fashioned version of Alt + Tab.

This delves into the realm of silly tricks, but it still works in Windows 10 (and earlier) at this writing. You know when you hold down Alt + Tab to cycle through open windows on your desktop? Well, how would you like to go old-school and use the Windows XP version of Alt + Tab even in Windows 10 or 8.1?

To do this, hold down one of the two Alt keys on your keyboard and don’t let go. Now, tap the second Alt key once then tap Tab.

Besides the novelty factor, some people might actually prefer this version to the more modern approach, which features a thumbnail image for each open window.

The XP version shows just the icon for each window, as well as a brief text description of the file or open web page.

There you have it. These simple tricks that can save you a little time (or provide a bit of novelty) when you need it.alt tab


 

If you are a beginner on your computer or just want to understand it better, we have an excellent class Understanding Your Computer, run every other month. Look for it in April.

Also on March 8th Windows 10 Beginning and March 15th , Windows Advanced will be offered. There are so many exciting features we haven’t explored yet! See you in class.

Windows Tips

Happy New Years from our lab to your office!Happy-New-Year-2016-Wallpaper

It might be time to refresh our memories on some quick tips that makes running Windows more enjoyable. These tips come from our computer IT department at www.AGEComputer.org

  1. Change computer time: Right mouse click on the clock in your system tray (lower far right) or right click in system tray and choose “adjust date and time”.
  2. To save a picture/image from a web page, right mouse click and choose “Save Picture As”. You can rename it at this time too.
  3. To see how much hard drive/hard disk space you have left, do this: Double click My Computer. right mouse click on your C drive (or any hard drive) and chose properties.
  4. Most common image formats are JPG, GIF, BMP and PNG. Most common image format exported from a digital camera is a JPG.
  5. If you accidently delete a file, click Control key + Z to bring it back instantly. You can also look in your recycle bin if you don’t realize it until later, then just right click on the file and choose “restore” and it will go back to where it came from.
  6. If you hold the shift key down when deleting a file, it bypasses the recycle bin. Control Z will still bring it back.
  7. If you occasionally see a red X instead of an image on a web page, it is not a setting problem with your browser. It usually means the webmaster who made the page put in a bad link.
  8. F1 key opens Windows Help quickly!
  9. You can quickly maximize a window by double clicking the title bar of the window… this is the big long blue area at the top of your window. Double click again to bring it back to the size it was prior to maximizing.
  10. Alphabetize the items in your start menu by clicking Start, Programs, and while hovering over any program, right mouse click and choose Sort by Name.
  11. Quick View of your System: If you hold the Alt key down while double clicking My Computer, it will open System Properties Window. This is where you can find your computer’s name, system restore, auto updates, hardware, and more. The first screen “general” will show you a lot of information about your system such as what version of Windows you are using, who the computer is registered to, how fast your CPU is and how much RAM you have.

Try them all or just a few. Don’t forget to bookmark this.  See you in the lab for classes especially on Windows 10 in January.

Click, Save, Share
Windows 10 (January 21)
Windows 10 (January 28)
iPhone iOS 9

 

Fun with Words

There are many sites available to make your favorite activities or words into a logo or graphic. It can be really a fun graphic for your kids and families to do for their holiday cards. Let each child give you three words and incorporate all of the grandchildren wishes or sayings.

Recently I wanted to emphasize the number of software photo related classes we held last year at the lab. I just typed in the words and they created it in the shape I selected. tree lab

Several of the sites do not work on different browsers proving more work than I wanted to spend. www.wordclouds.com  This site worked and had the most features. Free of course.

In the snapshot of the work space, “flatness” means width. I found that 20% made the tree a little wider and more to the shape I had in mind. Try it.

Follow the order on the menu task bar. menu bar

tree2

Cheers and Happy Holidays from AGE Computer Lab.

 

Navigate and Search the Real World…online and off

It’s official. Straight from the Google Blog on November 10, 2015. You can now navigate and search the real world…online and off.

Roughly 60 percent of the world is without Internet today, and even where online access is available, it can still be spotty. That means that quick and easy access to information is still not possible for a majority of the population. This is a huge problem, especially as people attempt to navigate and explore the world around them, so Google Maps is taking steps to help people across the globe find directions and get where they’re going, even when they don’t have an Internet connection.

Now you can download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity—whether it’s a country road or an underground parking garage—Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly. Whereas before you could simply view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings.

product-offroad-setup-v1-r2

You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping “Download” on the resulting place sheet, or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button.

Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.

By default, we’ll only download areas to your device when you are on a Wi-Fi connection to prevent large data fees.

Offline Maps How it works

Google first previewed these new capabilities during Google I/O in May, and they’re gradually rolling out the first set of these improvements with the latest version of Google Maps on Android (coming soon to iOS). Over time, they’ll be introducing even more offline features to help you find your way—even when you can’t find a connection.

Posted by Amanda Bishop, Product Manager for Google.

Re-posted for all our seniors at AGE Computer Lab who spend time traveling the world with their phones.

Photography and Color

So much of what we photograph depends on our eye for composition, our knowledge of the camera or phone art-factory-color-wheel that we are using and something inside that “pleases” our soul.

Color, subconsciously or not, plays a very important role in why we stop and take the shot. On the Daily Infographic newsletter,there was a  good analysis of color and emotions and what it says about us. “Color is one of the most powerful forms of non verbal communication.” This is all very informative but how can I take that to my photography.

Simple, ask yourself, why did I stop and shot that flower or that scene while I walked past others that were similar?

Give yourself a challenge and each week pick a color. Start with the primary colors, red, blue, yellow

Now combine the colors with their opposites or complementary colors. I found an excellent color wheel from the Art Factory.

red and green

Red and Green

blue and orange

Blue and orange

purple and yellow

Yellow  and purple

All of these can be found readily in nature. Walk around your yard. That is where I found these. Study artists in a museum, buy a book on birds and look at their coloring, buy flowers in the store, which ones did you pick up first? That is your color attraction talking.

If possible make your own color wheel from your photographs. It a perfect rainy day project , well not in Texas where we are experiencing no rain at the moment.

See you in class with your camera, phone and photographs for fun in the post processing arena.

Best new app for iPad -iColorama.

A Few Google Tips You Didn’t Know

Millions of people use Google to search everyday but what if you could learn a few tricks to make the search faster and easier. Here are a couple. Don’t like typing? Try using the microphone.

Find weather and movies

Type “weather” or “movies” followed by a zip code or city and state to display current weather conditions or movie theaters in your area. For example, typing weather 78730 gives you the current weather conditions for Austin, TX.weathermovie

Typing movies 78730 gives you a link for show times for movies in that area.


Definitions

Pull up the definition of the word bydefine typing define followed by the word you want to define. For example, typing: define hyperbole would display the definition of that word.


Calculator

Use the Google Search engine as a calculator by typing a math problem in the search. For example, typing: 100 + 200 would display results as 300.


Stocks

Quickly get to a stock quote price, chart, and related links by typing the stock symbol in Google. For example, typing: msft displays the stock information for Microsoft.

Don’t forget to come to class and get many more tips and tricks on how to effectively use your PC. AGE Computer Lab