Good Deals. Good Ideas. Good Designs. Good Health.

Anything that is worth reading… and learning from. Just my opinions.

Archive for July 10th, 2008

After Picasa, Windows Live Photo Gallery… here comes Pictomio!

with one comment

Technorati Tags:

Check out this new free image organizer, Pictomio! Now you can add cover flow style to your gallery viewing!

Here are the excerpt on the features:

Image Management

Conveniently mange entire photo libraries and archives with several thousand images. When managing photos, browse directories on your hard drives or add photos to a virtual photo album by using drag-and-drop.

Library

Use the library to sort your photos by date, rating or category.

Create albums and sub-albums

The main internal difference between albums and categories in Pictomio is the fact that albums can be nested, that means an album can have sub-albums. Use the "Add Folder" button when an album is selected in the library tree view to add a sub-album or just create new albums.

Smooth Image Browsing

Use the scroll-bar or the mouse-wheel to scroll the thumbnail view (in grid or filmstrip mode) to take advantage of the smooth scrolling function which is much smoother than in most other applications.

Liquid-Zoom

Smooth high-quality zooming, utilizing mip levels to reduce aliasing, allows you to continuously zoom into your photos. You can also disable bilinear filtering to view every pixel of your photos.

3D Image Carousel

Scroll through your photos quickly and easily by flipping through the 3D image carousel. Use your mouse to specify the direction in which you want your photos to move.

Exif-Editor

The integrated Exif editor allows you to view, edit, and save meta data associated with JPEG files.

Browse database by image information (EXIF value)

You can browse for images by their EXIF meta tags in the Library. For example you can easily select all images that where taken with a certain camera model or at a certain shutter speed.

Image Rating

While you are viewing your photos, you can use a dynamic toolbar to access all of the main software functions. The rating system uses stars, which makes rating your photos quick and easy.

Tools

Web designers can utilize the color pipette and the measuring tool to determine the color values of pixels and precisely measure any section of a photo.

Slideshows

Pictomio makes it easy to create slideshows simply by using the drag-and-drop option. Elaborate transitions are now available with Pictomio by utilizing the capabilities of modern 3D graphics cards.

Tagging support

An arbitrary number of tags can be attached to individual pixel positions or to an image as whole.

Search functionality

You can enter search terms in the search box at the top right of the Pictomio main window. The text you enter is searched for in several attributes of the image files, e.g. filename, tags, categories, albums, description etc.

Video & audio-playback

Simple video and audio-files can be played in the zoom-view and in the carrousel view (even with a mirror-effect on the virtual floor).

Image information collapsible window

A collapsible window in the main window shows the most important information about an image and lets you consistently change rating, annotation, categories and global image tags from one central place in the application.

Start external applications to edit an image

You can start your image editing programms that are registered for its file-type. Click with the right mouse button on an image and select "Open with.. “(choose your editing programm) from the context-menu that appears.

Just installed it and it does look sleek… more sleek than Picasa and Windows Live Photo Gallery which by the way is excellent. I would use Picasa for uploading to my online Picasa account while my default photo viewer on my Vista machine is Live Photo Gallery. Now with Pictomio, I will have to try it out… to see if it is useful enough for me to make it my default image viewer. It does seem like there’s a huge community around it and improvements should be very accelerated.

Everything is hardware accelerated!!! Cool!

Advertisements

Written by gooddealz

July 10, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Great Stuff, News Only

Google Ranking Explained…

with 2 comments

Technorati Tags: ,

There’s many sites I love to read daily and one of them is this one, Google’s own blog! Being the digital industry it is vital to have a good understanding of what’s going on, particular relating to Google. Stuff like page rank, search engine optimisation, page title, meta tag… sitemap, web spider… and it gets very useful when I sit in front of a client and simply explain how simple and yet powerful little things can make a difference to a site.

I found this post on Google’s blog today titled Introduction to Google Ranking and here’s some excerpt of it:

Google ranking is a collection of algorithms used to find the most relevant documents for a user query. We do this for hundreds of millions of queries a day, from a collection of billions and billions of pages. These algorithms are run for every query entered into most of Google’s search services. While our web search is the most used Google search service and the most widely known, the same ranking algorithms are also used – with some modifications – for other Google search services, including Images, News, YouTube, Maps, Product Search, Book Search, and more.

The most common question I get asked about Google’s ranking is "how do you do it?" Of course, there is a lot that goes into building a state-of-the-art ranking system like ours, and I will delve deeper into the technology behind it in a later post. Today, I would like to briefly share the philosophies behind Google ranking:

1) Best locally relevant results served globally.

2) Keep it simple.

3) No manual intervention.

The first one is obvious. Given our passion for search, we absolutely want to make sure that every user query gets the most relevant results. We often call this the "no query left behind" principle. Whenever we return less than ideal results for any query in any language in any country – and we do (search is by no means a solved problem) – we use that as an inspiration for future improvements.

The second principle seems obvious. Isn’t it the desire of all system architects to keep their systems simple? Well, as search systems go, given the wide variety of user queries we have to respond to in multiple languages, it is easy to go down the path where more and more complexity creeps into the system to serve the next incremental fraction of the queries. We work very hard to keep our system simple without compromising on the quality of results. This is an ongoing effort, and a worthy one. We make about ten ranking changes every week and simplicity is a big consideration in launching every change. Our engineers understand exactly why a page was ranked the way it was for a given query. This simple understandable system has allowed us innovate quickly, and it shows. The "keep it simple" philosophy has served us well.

No discussion of Google’s ranking would be complete without asking the common – but misguided! 🙂 – question: "Does Google manually edit its results?" Let me just answer that with our third philosophy: no manual intervention. In our view, the web is built by people. You are the ones creating pages and linking to pages. We are using all this human contribution through our algorithms. The final ordering of the results is decided by our algorithms using the contributions of the greater Internet community, not manually by us. We believe that the subjective judgment of any individual is, well … subjective, and information distilled by our algorithms from the vast amount of human knowledge encoded in the web pages and their links is better than individual subjectivity.

The second reason we have a principle against manually adjusting our results is that often a broken query is just a symptom of a potential improvement to be made to our ranking algorithm. Improving the underlying algorithm not only improves that one query, it improves an entire class of queries, and often for all languages. I should add, however, that there are clear written policies for websites recommended by Google, and we do take action on sites that are in violation of our policies or for a small number of other reasons (e.g. legal requirements, child porn, viruses/malware, etc).

I always emphasis to client, SEO does not need to be expensive… and you don’t necessary have to use pay Google or Yahoo to attain high relevance… What’s need is three simple thing that I have used and tested and found it to work really well:

1) Page title page title page title. Get a proper Content Management System or do some hard coding if you still on simple html page and add relevant keywords to your page title, every single one of them!!! Whatever keywords you placed on that page title should reflect the actual contents on that page to some extent else it will not be effective.

2) Meta tag data! Most modern Content Management System like Drupal or Joomla allows you to specify what meta tag description are to be included whenever you create a new page / content. Make use of that area as well as those description / keywords will come in handy for the web spider.

3) Contents contents contents! The simplest of all and yet the most trying of all… is to regularly post and update your site with new contents. That’s why I would always suggest to clients to have a Latest News / Press Release section on their site. Not only will the new contents help the relevance / opinion leadership of the company but also it allows your visitors to regularly know what is going on with the company… thus establishing a good feeling in your visitors that, the business is still around or at least, there’s a focus on keeping customers informed. Whatever real motive it may be… it helps with your website SEO and that’s worth it.

There are more elements that may help your website relevance and some are tricky like the inbound links (if you paid for some SEO work, most of the time, they would use link farms to help you… be careful as it might be penalised by Google) and keyword density… explore them out and monitor it using tools like Web CEO and you will stand to gain a lot from it.

One of the great plugins I used on Firefox is SeoQuake which adds some very useful information extracted from all over the place, about a website. Important stuff like webarchive age, whois, keyword density… and Google Page Rank!!!

Google will constantly tweak their algorithm again to increase the actual relevance of the search result and until the community discover another way to grow your page rank or whatever it may be called… page title, meta tag, contents, inbound links, age of the site… and other factors will help you with the page rank. 

So install SeoQuake into your Firefox / Internet Explorer and start exploring into the world of SEO… remember though that it can be very addictive.

Written by gooddealz

July 10, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Posted in News Only, Opinions