Sunday, 30 April 2006

Mousetrap - 51

Fitting Image
Many of us want to play with pictures a little bit, for our personal pages, our blogs, or just for fun. Free image editing software? Nothing worth the name, if you’ve used the good stuff (do write in if you know something I don’t – and puhleeze don’t talk about MS Paint or whatever it’s called). Pro software costs too much and of course you wouldn’t dream of bootlegging it, would you? This free service can fill that gap to a surprising extent. You will need a broadband connection, I must warn you. You can upload an image (up to 500 kb), and zap it with a bunch of tools: basic stuff like cropping, resizing, turning and flipping; more complicated things like adjusting levels and saturation and suchlike; some drawing and optimisation tools; and even a selection of filters and effects. You could also create an image from scratch. There’s a pro version that lets you work with larger images, but for most of us, the vanilla interface will more than suffice.

angry alien productions
Take your favourite movies – or even the ones you don’t like. Now, imagine them summarised in 30 seconds. Better still, imagine them parodied i 30 seconds. By rabbits. Cartoon rabbits with squeaky voices. Got that? No? Very well, go see this site. Yes, you’ll need a fastish connection because you’ll have to wait for large flash files to load. And you’ll need a sound card. What can you expect to see? There’s Brokeback Mountain, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, Titanic, and more, with “new releases” every now and then. Get bag of carrots and sit back.

Grandma said so
Hints and Things
“My name is June and I am a plump, old, grey wrinkly living in the south of England.” Now, with an About Us section that begins like that, how can you not be charmed? The site’s owner, a lady called June Jackson, created it to pass on the kind of stuff that normally gets handed down the generations by word of mouth. It’s all neatly organised with a room metaphor: you’ll find the library, kitchen, utility room, garage, garden, workshop, a games section, an office, and so on. And of course, there’s a “spare room” which has the stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else (which sounds like my desk). Anyway, you’ll find stuff like how to stop your running shoes from stinking up the place, many uses for vinegar, how to choose a sofa, life after a stroke, even info on computer viruses and hoaxes and scams. And that’s just a random pick. Go see Granny Jackson. She has lots to say.

The end
The Death Clock
How long have you got in this vale of tears, then? Hit this site, fill in date of birth, sex, your general outlook in life, whether you smoke or not, and hit the button. And you get a little pop-up that starts counting down the seconds you have left. Um. I have things to do in a hurry. See you next week.. I hope.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 30th April, 2006.

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