even-better-dark-photo

What is the best Search Engine? by Shane Zentz

What is the best Search Engine?

by Shane Zentz

There has been a lot of debate lately about the NSA spying on all citizens and the collection of data of ordinary people, and one dimension of that debate is the internet. Specifically, internet search engines. It’s so obvious that most search engines track your searches. If you don’t believe it, just try this: go to google and search for ‘lawn mower repair your city’, and replace ‘your city’ with the city or geographic area that you live in, and press enter. Now to see if this search is tracked, visit a few websites (maybe 10 or so) such as facebook, before you know it you will see ads that are totally related to ‘lawn mower repair ‘your city” and this is no accident, it is just simple data collection and utilization. This bothers some and does not bother others. For me, I think that it is a little creepy, but I see the point of it, it is how google, bing, facebook, and others make their money, but it is still a little bothersome.

So recently I learned of a new search engine that promises not to track searches and ip addresses, but still gives you the quality of google searches. The search engine is called startpage.com and is based in the netherlands. If you read through the search engines documentation and claims you will see that they take your search term and submit it anonymously to google and return genuine google search results to you, without the creepy tracking of google or others. It sounds like a great idea to me, so recently I have started to utilize this search engine more and more, to the point that I use it as my default over google and others like duckduckgo.com (which also promises more privacy but delivers a little less quality results than google imo). So for me the best search engine is clear, it is google, but if you want google quality results without the tracking and data collection, switch to startpage.com for google quality searches without the google tracking and privacy invasion.

 

Thanks for reading this article,

Shane Zentz

Shane Zentz Hackintosh Desktop

Hackintosh Virtual Machine by Shane Zentz ~~~~~

I finally got a working Hackintosh vm working on my system, after a few tries and a lot of frustration…

Here is the screenshot:

Shane Zentz Hackintosh Desktop

Shane Zentz Hackintosh Desktop

This was possible mainly because of this post : http://lifehacker.com/5938332/how-to-run-mac-os-x-on-any-windows-pc-using-virtualbox by Whitson Gordon which explains how to install OSX Mountain Lion in Virtual Box. The installation did not go very smoothly but eventually I was able to get it up and running. Now I am setting my sights on creating a ‘real’ hackintosh on real hardware. I will post whatever progress (and problems) that I have with this project in the coming weeks………

Shane Zentz

Shane Zentz Camo Windows 7 Theme

Windows 7 Theme by Shane Zentz

Hi,

Here is a new Windows 7 Theme created be me, Shane Zentz. It contains 18 photos created by me using photoshop. (the photos may be a little small 1024 x 768, but I will increase the size of the photos for my next theme.) So here it is, available to download at 4shared.com : http://www.4shared.com/file/F1QGG3tc/Shane-Zentz-Camo.html Go ahead and download it and try it out and feel free to let me know what you think of it.

Here is a preview of some of the included artwork photos by Shane Zentz included

in the theme:

Shane Zentz Camo Windows 7 Theme

Shane Zentz Camo Windows 7 Theme

 

Thanks for reading this post and for reading my blog!

Shane Zentz Camo Windows 7 Theme

Shane Zentz Camo Windows 7 Theme

Shane Zentz Camo Windows 7 Theme

Shane Zentz Camo Windows 7 Theme

Shane Zentz Video Introduction

Video Introduction with After Effects by Shane Zentz

So one of the tasks of my job has become video editing. Very simple and basic editing, but still video editing. So lately I have been trying to learn Adobe After Effects (along with other video editing software), so recently I combined Adobe Illistrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe After Effects to create a video introduction. This is something that maybe would be the introduction of a TV show or something like that. It is a very simple video introduction, but was fairly easy to complete (it took about a day from start to finish). In the future I will try to keep improving at after effects and hopefully produce something very polished and professional looking. But for now this is kind of my first project with after effects, so here it is:

Feel free to leave comments and to let me know what you think about it.

Thanks for reading my blog,,,

Shane Zentz

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Easy Way to Create Neon Black Light Effect in Photoshop

Easy way to create a neon black light effect in Photoshop

So, Open Photoshop and Let’s Get Started

This tutorial will show how to change this photo to that:

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

OK, first thing to do is to load the photo into photoshop, then hit ctrl+j to create a duplicate layer of the background. On this new layer, use whatever tool you want to make a selection of the girls in the photo, I used the lasso tool, but you could also use the pen tool or even the magic wand. After you have the girls in the image as the active selection, ctrl + click (that is hold ctrl key while left clicking with the mouse) on the little image (next to the little eye icon) with the selection in the layers panel (right side). Then hit ctrl+j again to create a new layer with only the girls selected. It should look something like this:

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

 

You can see that a little clean up will be needed, so use the eraser tool to remove as much of the white outline around the girls as possible. Then, with this layer as the selected layer, go to the top menu and select: filter -> Stylize -> Glowing Edges. The settings for the glowing edges that I used are: Edge Width: 2, Edge Brightness: 11, Smoothness: 4 , but you should also fiddle with the settings until you achieve the effect that you want. When you have the settings that you like, simply place this edited layer on top of the original background layer to see the new photo.
Here is what the edited photo will look like:

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing you can do for a slightly different effect, is to remove the blue from the RGB channel, by going to the top menu bar and selecting -> Image -> Adjustments -> Channel Mixer and setting Blue channel to zero (making sure that the layer with only the girls is active). Here is what the result will be:

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also try applying other filters to achieve different effects. Here is another filter in photoshop that I used to create a cartoon like effect or a comic book look for this photo:

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

Shane Zentz Photoshop Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try to experiment with all the available filters in photoshop (and even add other filters) to see what you can do with any image. The only limit will be your own imagination. So have fun and thanks for reading this photoshop tutorial….

photoshop-Shane Zentz

How to create an odd moon in Photoshop

by Shane Zentz

This is just a short photoshop tutorial on how to create a kind of odd looking moon in photoshop. The main point of this tutorial is some of the things you can do with some of the included filters with photoshop, in this case the ‘plastic’ filter. So to get started, create a new image, 1070X768 and 78 dpi is fine for this. Next create a background layer with white, and add a new layer. On the new layer, create a perfect circle with the elliptical marquee tool(hold down shift while dragging the mouse to get a perfect round circle), and then choose a light gray color from the color menu and use the fill tool to fill the circle with the gray color.
So now you should have something like this:

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, on the same layer as the gray circle, use the paint brush along with a slightly darker gray color (than the fill color of the circle) and create several dots/circles of varying size in the circle.
So now it should look like this:

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

OK, now we want to ‘plasticize’ this moon type thing. So with the moon layer active, select the filter menu, and then select the artistic menu, and in the artistic menu, select ‘plasticize’. In the menu that pops up, adjust the settings to your liking, but mainly increase the intensity of the lighting which will give the circle more of a moon look.
Here is what you should have now:

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From here you can firstly adjust the opacity to add some transparency for a cooler look. And then add a background or even add more filters to create something even cooler than this….
Here is the final image:

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

Thanks for reading this tutorial!!!!!!

Free Text in Photoshop Tutorial

Free Photoshop Text Tutorial

Learn some basic text styling in photoshop

by Shane Zentz

Today I will show you how to achieve some really cool text effects in photoshop, and it is very easy and will only take a few clicks of the mouse to make cool text. This is the kind of text that you see in advertisements and newspapers and magazines, so this kind of text is used all the time and is a basic skill in photoshop. I will break this up into a series of tutorials, so this one will just start with the basics of text in photoshop. But this is not a comprehensive tutorial on text in photoshop, so I assume that you already know how to use the basic text tool in photoshop. I will show how to transform basic text into something cooler and better than just plain old text. So let’s get started.

First, open photoshop and start a new document, something around 6″ x 4″ should suffice. If you started a new document with transparency, then create a new layer and add a white background layer, and also create a new layer for the text. Next select the text tool and choose a font and font size from the menu. Almost any font will work, but plain text would be better to start with, avoid the scripts/handwriting styles for now. And make sure that your font size is reasonably large, like a heading font. Type any word you like, maybe just your name. So far you should have something like this:

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

Not very interesting, but it’s a start. Now lets add some effects to this plain text to spice it up. Before adding effects, it is a good idea to ‘rasterize’ the text, so select the layer with text and right click and select ‘rasterize’ to rasterize the type. With that done, double click on the text layer to open up the style options dialog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

By adjusting various effects, you can achieve some surprising and cool effects on your plain text. For this first one, I used the drop shadow with default settings and inner glow also with default settings, then added a 1px black stroke as well as a gradient, and also adding bevel and emboss and also contour (both with anti-aliasing). By fiddling with the settings just a little bit I was able to create these:

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

photoshop-Shane Zentz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are far more advanced things you can do with text in photoshop, so this is just a start. Look for more text photoshop tutorials to come in the near future…..Thanks for reading this blog!

Shane Zentz

How to Customize Access Databases – Follow Up

How to Customize Your Access Database Applications – Follow Up

In an earlier access tutorial I showed how to create a customized start ‘splash’ screen or pop up window that was set to open when the database application was opened. Now I will give a follow up to that which shows how to further customize your access database application. So, the first thing that you will want to change or customize is the title of the database, which appears in the upper window. By default, Access places simply the file name of the database in the title bar, but you may want something other than that, so here is how to change that. First click on the ‘Home’ tab at the top, and from the home tab, click on the ‘options’ menu on the left hand side of the screen. Now on the options menu that pops up, the first thing to do is to click ‘current database’ to make sure that you are making changes to the current database. Here is what the menu looks like:

Access - Shane Zentz

Access – Shane Zentz

Here is where you can change the text in the title of your application, simply add your own text. Also you’ll notice that you can also add your own icon for the current database. If you have a 32 x 32 pixel .ico file that you would like to see in the taskbar area when your database application is running, then just click on the box and navigate to it and Access will add it automatically. You also have the option to make this icon the icon for the forms and reports in your database. These two things go a long way in allowing you to customize your access database application.

One more thing you can control from this screen is whether you want the user of your database program to have access to the navigation pane on the left hand side of the database application. This navigation pane is displayed by default and contains menus for tables, forms/reports, and queries. However there are times when you do not want a user of your access database application to have access to these things. The solution is to de-check the ‘display navigation pane’ checkbox as seen here:

Access - Shane Zentz

Access – Shane Zentz

This does not block the user completely from, say, opening up a table that you don’t want them to access and altering data, but most users will be unsavy enough to never realize that they can simply open the options menu for the database and check the ‘display navigation pane’ checkbox to have access to the navigation pane. So this will be an easy and effective way to block access to things like tables and forms that you dont want other users figeting around with.

Thanks for reading this post,
Look for more Access Tutorials to come soon……………………………………

Submit an Article – How and Why it Improves SEO Activities

Why submitting articles to directories helps your SEO efforts

And How to do it!

Submitting articles to directories on the internet is a very good way to quickly build backlinks to your website. This article will discuss some of the benefits as well as describe the process of submitting articles as well as describing some things to look out for and avoid. So the first step would be to write an article. And this article should do a few things, it should be somehow related to your website (or product), it should be at least 500 words (most directories require at least 500 words before publishing your article), and it should be readable and even entertaining or interesting (in other words, not just a bunch of non-sense copied and pasted from who knows where filled with links). Write a 500 Plus word article for a start. The next step is to google for article directories. A good search term on google would be ‘free article submission’ or ‘submit article’, and many variations of these search terms will give good results. You should be able to find a good list with a ton of directories that will publish your article online for free. (In fact I may publish such a list later on). Then, one by one, sign up to as many of these directories as you can. However one thing to watch out for is directories with very low page rank, which are basiaclly link farms. My theory is to never try to get links from anysite with a lower page rank than yours, so be careful if your website has a page rank over 2 or so. After signing up for as many of these directories as you can, start submitting your article. A good idea would be to mix up the wording in your article for each submission (also called ‘spinning’) in an effort to avoid getting ‘punished’ by google or other search engines for having duplicate content. This is the most difficult part of the process, and it will be frustrating and hard, but just remember that it will pay off big dividends in the near future. It is a good idea to keep all your passwords for all of the directories so that you can return to these websites and submit more articles (and get more backlinks). Another time saving tip is to use firefox webbrowser with the autofill settings on, this will make submitting your articles way easier since the browser will fill in a lot of the fields on all of the forms that you will encounter with this, this will save you a ton of time and a ton of typing in the long run. Just remember to submit, submit, submit, and eventually you will start to see these articles coming up on google, and you will get the backlinks. And if you are lucky and your article is interesting, then other websites will pick up and publish the article, thus giving you even more backlinks. So get started today!
Thanks for reading this article and feel free to leave tips and hints on how to do this in the comments section, and add some links to article submission directories that you may know about.

Unlock God Mode in Windows 8

How to Unlock God Mode in Windows 8

by Shane Zentz

Cool Windows 8 Secrets and Tricks

Hi Everybody,
Last week I posted how to unlock ‘God Mode’ in Windows 7, and after some trial and error I have learned that the process is nearly the same in Windows 8. So just to review, God Mode is basically just a centralized administration center where all controls are displayed in one location. Just like in Windows 7, the process for opening god mode in windows 8 is very easy and straightforward. First just create a folder anywhere, I think that the desktop is the best place, but you can place it anywhere in Windows that you want. Next, just rename the folder (right click and rename) to:
GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

And then just like in Windows 7, the icon for the folder will change to a control panel icon. When you open the icon you will get a folder with every administration option available to the user, in other words ‘God Mode’ with complete control, or at least as much control as Windows will allow. So if you like to have one location to control just about anything that Windows 8 will allow you to control, then try to unlock the ‘God Mode’.

Thanks for reading this post!
Shane Zentz