picnik.com - how to add borders to photos

All the photo sharing sites, like kodakgallery, offer the ability to add borders. But few of them let you download the edited photo in full resolution. You can also add borders using photo editing software on your computer, like PhotoShop or PaintShop Pro. But those cost money, and take some learning if you don't regularly use them.

I just wanted to add a few photos to a web site and have a border around them. After some searching I found www.picnik.com. Here are the steps I followed to make the polaroid looking image on the left
  1. go to www.picnik.com and click Home
  2. click Upload Photo and select the photo on my drive
  3. click Create
  4. click Frames
  5. click Polaroid
  6. click Background Color and pick White and click Apply
  7. click Save & Share
  8. click Save Photo and save it to your drive
That's it. No registration necessary. The whole process took 30 seconds. There are some premium features in the editor which require a paid registration, but even that looks cheaper than PaintShop Pro or PhotoShop. What software or web site do you use?

AlphaCom Insat Wireless Modem

In June 1997 I read a post in a local newsgroup, triangle.online-access, about a new product, the AlphaCom Insat Wireless Modem. The claims made about the product were
  • $20-25/month all-inclusive unlimited CDPD wireless internet access
  • consistent throughput of 56-156Kbps
  • wireless modem unit price of $349-$399
This seemed far too good to be true, so I began to follow the product. The same month, PCWeek Online posted a preview of the product based on a demonstration at PC Expo. The article quoted Andrew Seybold, editor of Outlook on Mobile Computing, and Alan Reiter, editor of Wireless Internet and Mobile Computing.

My initial skepticism was due to the pricing/bandwidth claims. But then I discovered that they were planning to distribute the product via Multi-Level Marketing. As the months went by without any hands-on reviews of the product, and the number of distributors advertising the product grew significantly, it became clear to me that this wasn't a company making exaggerated claims about vaporware, but was an outright scam.

Installing WordPress on Pair Networks

The Famous 5-Minute Install told me everything that I needed to know. The only step I had to do before that was to create a database using the Pair Networks Account Control Center.

And don't forget, when editing wp-config.php, that Pair hosts MySQL on different servers from your web site. So you'll need to change localhost to the server specified in the Database Administration page.

Once I had it installed, I spent some time looking for a theme. Eventually I settled for the default theme and just changed the header graphic. The steps for this were
  1. upload a 1024x192 JPG (MountainHeader2.jpg) to ~/wp-content/themes/default/images
  2. edit ~/wp-content/themes/default/style.css
  3. change kubrickheader.jpg to the MountainHeader2.jpg
Because I host other content on my web site, but I wanted this blog to be the home page, I needed to add links from this blog to the other content. I struggled with the terminology a little on this. Pages are content authored in WordPress, so I couldn't use that. Links seemed to want to group into categories. The solution is to create a category called Links in Link Categories and then to add the links in the Links section, assigning them the category of Links. Clear? What took most of the time was tracking down the plugins and widgets that I needed to display twitter, flickr and del.icio.us in the sidebar. I was going to write a post on the widgets that I selected, but I've found a great plugin called WP-PluginsUsed which generates the report below automatically. This way if I change the plugins I use in future, this post will always contain the ones I currently have active. 

What took most of the time was tracking down the plugins and widgets that I needed to display twitter, flickr and del.icio.us in the sidebar.
  • Flickr Thumbnail Photostream 1.1
  • » PlusNet Plc - Developer Responsible: James Tuck (Web Development Team) (url)
  • Generates a random selection of photo thumbnails from a given Flickr account.
  • Twitter for Wordpress 1.9
  • » Ricardo Gonz├ílez (url)
  • Displays your public Twitter messages for all to read. Based on Pownce for Wordpress by Cavemonkey50.
Updated 11/28/2008: I no longer use WordPress, choosing instead to use Blogger with a Custom Domain, but I'm keeping this post in case it's helpful to others.

Netflix Player by Roku

I bought my Roku Netflix Player on Aug 10, 2008. I've been a Netflix subscriber since 2004, and I've been using Netflix Instant Play sporadically for a year or so, but I don't have a computer plugged up permanently to my TV, so it really wasn't that convenient. So when the Roku came out at $99, I immediately wanted one. The selection of movies available on Netflix Instant Play was still somewhat limited, but there were enough Family movies to make it worthwhile if only for my 4 year old daughter.