What’s Going on at Software Battle?

8 10 2007

A lot of people are still visiting this old WordPress.com version of Software Battle. Update your links and visit the shiny new Software Battle by clicking here.

 

Here’s a taste of what you can expect to see at the new site:

Software Battle!

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Software Battle Has Moved

19 09 2007

Let me start by apologizing for not posting as frequently as usual. I’ve been extremely busy with work and moving Software Battle to its own domain.

And now it has arrived. Software Battle now has its own domain, so please update your links and visit my new and (hopefully) improved blog at softwarebattle.com. Hope to see you all there.





Weebly: Create a Website Using the Web?

4 09 2007

Weebly Logo
Developers: David Rusenko, Dan Veltri, and Chris Fanini
Version: Beta
Price: Free
Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows (Firefox or Internet Explorer Required)
Check Out Weebly Here.

Unexpected Joy from a Web App

The coolest thing about writing these reviews is that I stumble across a program that really blows my mind from time to time. These programs are extremely well designed, highly useful, have huge amounts of customization, and are just a joy to use. Weebly is one of those programs. A web app that I didn’t expect to be so amazingly cool and fun to play around with. Not only that, but Weebly is as useful as it is enjoyable to use – the sign of a fantastic piece of software.

weeblyscreenshot.png

Weebly’s fun filled web design experience begins with the creation of a unique username and password. After signing in, all that’s left to do is create a name for your site and begin the actual placement and site design work. And that’s where the fun begins.

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Like other “What You See Is What You Get” web design programs, Weebly is incredibly easy to use. There are a number of built in themes, most of which are very attractive, that can be selected at the press of the mouse button. A professional looking website is literally at your fingertips and can be crafted in just a couple of seconds on Weebly’s site.

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The difference between Weebly and so many of the WYSIWYG web design programs like Sandvox [review], Dreamweaver [review], Rapidweaver, and Nvu [review] is that Weebly is so much easier than any of the competition. I’d even go so far to say that I’ve never used a point and click web design program that was this simple to use. Oh, and it’s completely free too. Paragraphs, pictures, maps, even advertisments, Youtube videos, and personalized HTML can be added by dragging the respective element right into the page. Don’t like it’s location – move it elsewhere. Didn’t want that element after all – just click the “x” to get rid of it. It’s a piece of cake to build an attractive site.

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But once you’ve got a nice looking page all set up, what is there to do? Add a few meta tags, keywords, and all of the other header and footer scripting that a normal site would have and hit the publish button. The site will be whisked away to the internet on Weebly’s own servers.

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What if you want more than that? What if you have your own modifications that you couldn’t do within Weebly’s click and drag interface? What if you want to host the site on your own server at your own domain? Piece of cake. Weebly lets you download a zip file of all of the information from your site. The graphics, HTML, CSS, it’s all there. Tweak it, host it, do whatever to it. Simple as that. Otherwise just type in your domain name and hit the host button and your website will be sent right off to whatever server you use.

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Normally I like to end off with a few drawbacks of a program. The only problem I could come up with is that it’s restricted to Firefox and Internet Explorer and it tends to slow down from time to time on larger projects. If you’ve always wanted a website, but you had no idea how to go about making one – now is the time. Weebly is for you. Even if you have designed websites before, check Weebly out. It may be able to cut your design time in half on your next project. It really is that good, and totally worth a look.

Check out Weebly for Yourself.

– Eric Norton

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New Image Resizer May Soon Be Part of Photoshop

30 08 2007

adobesystemslogo.png

Adobe Hires a Slew of Very Impressive Individuals

A couple of days ago, I posted a video showing off some new image resizing technology that could really open a lot of doors for photographers, photo manipulators, and graphic artists of all kinds. It’s been one of my most viewed posts since then, so I’m pleased to present you with this follow-up: one of the guys responsible for creating this technology, Shai Avidan, has been hired by Adobe. This is excellent news for everyone who thought like me and were dying to have this technology as a part of Photoshop.

According to an Adobe Blog post, Shai was not the only imaging heavy hitter that Adobe recently hired. Wojciech Matusik, a big name in multi-aperture photography and 3D television has also joined the Adobe team along with Sylvian Paris, a pioneer of matching tones in photos and generating 3D data from 2D pictures.

With any luck, Adobe will be the force responsible for allowing this dream team of developers to get the most potential out of their technology. It also means that alternative image editors like the GIMP may fall even more behind Adobe’s flagship product. I just hope the next version of Photoshop (CS4?) will have some of these functions built in.

Here’s the video again if you missed it:





Resize Photos with Gusto Using New Algorithm

23 08 2007

It happens all the time. I’m editing a photograph in Photoshop or some other image editor and I really wish that I could play around with the size of the picture without having to worry about pixelation, loss of clarity, distorted images, or any other strange abnormalities. All of you who have ever tinkered around with a picture know exactly what I’m talking about.

Well, fear the crop tool and the resize option no more. Two scientists at the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science in Israel have created a new algorithm that provides retargeting, or content aware resizing. Yes, the technology analyzes the image and then stretches it based on a variety of detailed calculations. In other words, the program selects the relevant areas of an image, keeps those intact, and stretches or removes areas that the algorithm decides are unnecessary. You can see this new technique in action in the movie clip below.

So what does this new technology mean for us? A Photoshop plug-in, perhaps? Or even a standalone program would be wonderful – and worth big bucks to anyone who edits images professionally. Hopefully it won’t prove to be too costly.

– Eric Norton