Free Productivity tools again

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Nomacs

nomacs is a free, open source image viewer, which supports multiple platforms. You can use it for viewing all common image formats including RAW and psd images.

nomacs features semi-transparent widgets that display additional information such as thumbnails, metadata or histogram. It is able to browse images in zip or MS Office files which can be extracted to a directory. Metadata stored with the image can be displayed and you can add notes to images. A thumbnail preview of the current folder is included as well as a file explorer panel which allows switching between folders. Within a directory you can apply a file filter, so that only images are displayed whose filenames have a certain string or match a regular expression. Activating the cache allows for instantly switching between images.

I am trying  this free image viewer out as I think the Windows default image viewers are pretty useless. The one issue I have is finding a image viewer that will quickly reduce the size of an image so that I can upload it into WordPress , which has a 2Mb limit on image size (this can be adjusted but 2Mb is a reasonable size, making images larger will definitely slow the site down more than it is at the moment).

It has a couple of interesting quirks like thumbnails of all images in a directory. An interesting overview of image files. It converts the file size reasonably well but it has a different interface than what i’m used to so I’m still coming to terms with it. Another one is being able to add a side note to the photo (see bottom left of screenshot above) that I presume is embedded in the image. Handy for references you want to add to the image.

In Windows Settings I have made it my default image viewer so all image files open in this programme now.  I’ll be testing it over the next few weeks and will update this post if there are any issues I find with the programme.

fotosketcher

fotosketcher is a bit of a play tool. “Turn your photos into art with FotoSketcher – 100% freeware”
fotosketcher converts your digital photos into art automatically and in just a few mouse clicks. Over 20 different styles are available from pencil sketches to watercolor or oil paintings, pen & ink drawings, abstract art and cartoons. From photo to painting (landscapes, architecture, portraits, etc.) in seconds!

You can also improve your original photos with simple tools (enhance contrast, sharpen, simplify image, increase luminosity, color saturation etc…) and add simple or realistic frames and text.

For advanced users, some more powerful tools allow you to batch process several images, manually retouch some areas of your pictures, combine multiple filters and even create your own effects by using the script function.

I decided that I’d experiment with rendering some of my images with conversation sketch tools to add to my featured images. I was getting a bit bored with my normal greenshot red arrow pointer on image and thought that a more interesting images would be fun.

A couple of tests I’ve done in images below. I need to try out a few townscapes for an oil render. I saw one in their demo that looked exceptionally nice.

TinyPNG

TinyPNG uses smart lossy compression techniques to reduce the file size of your PNG files. By selectively decreasing the number of colors in the image, fewer bytes are required to store the data. The effect is nearly invisible but it makes a very large difference in file size!

Again, the issue mentioned above in nomacs about big image files for the web. I thought I’d try out this online tool.

It has a 5mb file size upload  limit which is just around where my camera operates (usually about 4.5mb but some are larger)

The image below was 4.878 Mb and is now 1.209mb, so a 75% reduction in size. That is handy for uploading large images.

NOTE. I am having difficulty in displaying this image in WordPress. It works in all my image viewers and in File Explorer preview, but does not seem to want to display on this web page. I have uploaded PNG files to this website before, so maybe its the compression method that does not work with WordPress sites. Interesting. Not really a productivity tool if it doesn’t display the image!!!!

Update 7th March 2019

I just had a non-productive day using Cupix, struggling with storage requirements for 360 images and they made the comment to minify the images to save on space. I thought, that’s a good idea for my panoramas, so I reduced all my panorama images for one of my websites and the images are about 85% smaller, original 4.17 Mb, and reduced only 0.606Mb, so the images load a lot faster, even over the browser. Also you can upload 20 files at a time and download one zip file. The 5Mb limit is just over most of my file sizes, so that is fine.

And unlike the image above , they do render fine. Here is a link to one of them.

FoxClock

FoxClock is a Firefox add-in extension that gives you times for different locations around the world. My daughter has just undergone an ear operation in Boston and I wanted to know what the time was there, as well as local time. I have two brothers, one in England and one in Namibia, and my son was in London for a while, so keeping tabs on the time differences is handy. I’d usually go to a world clock web page and look up the specific timezone that I was thinking of calling, this tool is very handy with keeping you up to date with specific timezones of interest, at a glace at the bottom of your browser. A great tool.

Greenshot V Snagit. A brief review

Greenshot is definitely my go to screen capture tool. I really like it. I have an older version of Snagit that I still keep.

Greenshot saves my image to a specific directory and opens up the editor for quick editing of images. Simple, easy and quick.

There are times when Snagit works better. The instances I have found, to date, are:

1/ When I’m in my VPS after logging in to remote server, Snagit capture button still functions in remote server, Greenshot doesn’t. I could run an instance of Greenshot  on the server, but I use it so infrequently. I just note that snagit has this extra feature.

2/ Overlaying one screen capture image onto another, Snagit can do this easily. I have not been able to do this in Greenshot.

End comment

Generally these are image management tools. I’d assumed TinyPNG would work, which it seems it doesn’t.As I’m dealing with images a lot its nice to have free, simple tools to make life easier. You could use something like Gimp etc but they are big, generalised and powerful tools, these ones are faster and simpler and easier to use for simple tasks.

The Fox Clock I have found useful. The display is discrete, non-intrusive and handy, especially at this time. A good tool.

The Greenshot v Snagit was a comment on testing of the new tool versus the old. I love the saving of images to a separate directory and the automation for clearing the older images, so I will not be going back to the old snagit, nor paying for the newer version, as what I have meets my needs, but keeping the old Snagit available helps with my workflows.

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