Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Recap of August 2006 A.B.A.C.U.S. Meeting

A quick recap of our August meeting: Warren started the meeting with a Web-based animation showing a standing lenticular cloud. He did this because the desktop picture on his computer shows a spectacular lenticular cloud over Japan's Mt. Fuji. Roger then pointed him to a Fark.Com Photoshopping contest that used that very picture. Warren also showed a site called Gmaps Pedometer, which lets you calculate distances on a Google map by drawing a line over your route.

Roger then directed Warren to look at a Web site called Blogging Baby. Roger is now blogging there for money! (Don't quit your day job, Roger.) Warren used this as a cue to start a short discussion of blogging services, as our newsletter editor, Del, wants to stort his own weblog. Warren followed this with a quick and incomplete demo showing how he uses a post editor called Ecto to post entries to ABACUS's weblog.

This was followed by the main event where Warren showed Photoshop Elements 4.0, with emphasis on two new features, the Magic Selection Brush and the Magic Extractor. Both tools allow you clip out parts of a digital photo so they can be rearranged or pasted into another photo (as in the Fark.Com contest mentioned above). He had some trouble with this demo (SOP for an ABACUS presentation) because his mouse was misbehaving. Roger saved the day by loaning Warren a very nice Logitech Trackman trackball to replace the ailing mouse. In response to a question by Phil, Warren also repeated part of a previous demo on how to assemble a panorama from several digital photos, with tips on how to get the different photos to line up properly.

After he completed the PE 4.0 demo there was still plenty of time left, so Warren showed several tunes he had composed using Apple's GarageBand software. This led into a discussion of music videos, which led to a discussion of YouTube, a popular video hosting site. Roger directed us to a startling YouTube video by the musical group OK Go. Warren then mentioned a competition between several bloggers to see who could post the cheesiest music video found on YouTube. He first showed a tongue-in-cheek video of William Shatner singing (o.k., reciting) Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Unfortunately, he followed this by finding a video of David Hasselhoff singing Hooked On A Feeling. Due to this unpleasent incident, the meeting was hastily adjourned and hazardous materials teams were called in to decontaminate the attendees, the Sinasohn household and the surrounding neighborhood. The EPA is still evaluating whether to designate the area a Superfund site (O.K. I'm kidding about the last two sentences!).

Links for all of the items mentioned above can be found on our main site, here.


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