Category: Arts & Entertainment (Page 2 of 2)

Free Alternatives to Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the photo-editing software for professionals, and it costs $21/mo to use. Adobe Photoshop Elements is a simpler version, for casual and hobbyist use, and costs $100[1]sometimes $50-80 when on sale, check Amazon or Costco! to buy outright. If neither price is to your liking, check out some free alternatives:

Best Freebies

GIMP is very similar to Photoshop, and can be installed on Windows, MacOSX and Linux computers.

Paint.net is for Windows computers only. It was started as a replacement for MS Paint, but evolved into something much more capable.

Pixlr and Photopea should work on any computer, regardless of the operating system, because they load inside your web browser. That means there’s nothing to install, and all you need is a solid internet connection and a working browser.

And SumoPaint offers photo editing, along with a lot of other free creation tools!

Free… Photoshop?

Due to all of this competition, Adobe has released a free, ultra-basic, chopped down and rather hampered version of its Photoshop. It’s called Photoshop Express, and it installs as an app. You may download it on Android devices as well as Apple devices. And the Microsoft Store offers it as a free download for Windows computers.

Adobe also offers a free web-based editor, called Adobe Creative Cloud Express. But it is rather limited in what it can do, and it will encourage you to pay as you try to use its fancier tools.

References

References
1 sometimes $50-80 when on sale, check Amazon or Costco!

Bringing Back the Games from Windows 7

When people move from Windows 7 to Windows 10, a common question is Where did my games go? The Solitaire and other games included with Windows 7 are absent when you boot up your Windows 10 PC for the first time. And that’s a big disappointment for most.

Microsoft would rather you go into the Microsoft Store and download the Microsoft Solitaire Collection. It’s free for everyone, but it’s just not the same as the old-school games. If you want the Windows 7 Games, check out this page:

https://winaero.com/blog/get-windows-7-games-for-windows-10/

Alternate link here or here.

Scroll down to Step 1 and you’ll find a download link for the games, just as they were on your Windows 7 PC.

If you use this, make sure to save the link or downloaded file for future use. After major updates to Windows 10, many users report that these games have gone missing. Apparently, Microsoft really doesn’t want you using them anymore, and they will remove them for you. But you are free to use the link or downloaded file anytime you want to reinstall them.

Windows 10’s Problematic Game Mode

Windows 10 has a “Game Mode” that Microsoft says will optimize your PC for play. Except it doesn’t always do that. Sometimes, this feature will *cause* lag or other performance problems with your high-end video games.

So if you’ve had any glitches with your gaming, and driver updates & upgrades haven’t helped, turn this option off and you may notice an immediate change.

You’ll find it under Start -> Settings -> Gaming -> Game Mode -> On/Off.

Google’s Flight Simulator

If you are a fan of flight simulators, you should know that there is one hidden in Google Earth. If you download *Google Earth Pro on Desktop* and install it to your computer, you’ll be able to open the Google Earth program. The Flight Sim is hiding on the Tools menu.

https://www.google.com/earth/versions/#earth-pro

This is not for the faint-of-heart, and you may want to study the controls before your first flight. If you click the Help button before you take off, it’ll give you a run-down of the controls and keyboard shortcuts you need to learn.

The National Emergency Library

Archive.org is a library dedicated to digitizing and storing books, movies, websites and more, online for all to access. And during the pandemic, they’ve made a big change to their lending library. It’s now the National Emergency Library.

Essentially, they’ve removed any waitlists to check out books and invite everyone to borrow from their immense catalog. Their reasoning is that while physical libraries are closed across the country due to COVID, students and teachers and everyone else still need books. Their Library Director explains more here:

https://blog.archive.org/2020/03/24/announcing-a-national-emergency-library-to-provide-digitized-books-to-students-and-the-public/?iax=ntlemrlib%7ctxtlnk

Recently released books may not appear here, but everything else stands a good chance of being in there. Off the top of my head, I searched for The Stand by Stephen King, The Plague by Albert Camus and The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. I found every one, in English and ready to borrow.

Netflix Party

Netflix fans, check this out:

https://www.netflixparty.com/

Using this browser extension, you can sync up with other Netflix-using friends and watch a movie together. Using Google Chrome, multiple people can watch a Netflix flick at the same time. And they offer an optional group-chat window next to your film as it plays.

This is only available on computers running the Chrome browser, but hey: you now have a pandemic-friendly way of hosting a movie night!

CheapShark Helps Gamers Get the Best Prices

For the gamers out there, please check out CheapShark: https://www.cheapshark.com/

This website collects the prices of video games from all the big sites that sell them. You can quickly find the best price on the game you’re about to buy. You can search for sales and super-low prices. You can even set price alerts and get notified when a game price drops.

I know a lot of you are at home and gaming a whole lot more than usual — hope this saves you some money!

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