Friday, 7 March 2003

Newsletter Issue 58, March 2003


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 58, March 2003
Hi guys,
Buying a digital camera? I just have. And I have listed some tips on how to get good images, in Tips for Improving Digital Images below.
Want to find out how to use an ampersand in Access reports and form labels? This is the easiest fix you will ever find. Check out  Displaying Ampersands in Access
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Tips for Improving Digital Images

There are a number of things that you need to be aware of to ensure that you get good digital photos. Here are some tips to help you achieve the look that you are seeking;
  1. Buy the camera with the features you need. Think about how you intend to use the camera and create a list of "must haves". Think about;
    • Will I want to enlarge images to 8" x 10"? If so, avoid lower resolution models
    • Do I need an external flash? If so, ensure the camera has a hot shoe or other triggering mechanism (most digital cameras don’t have this)
    • Will I need to use the memory stick with my PC? If so, ensure you buy compatible memory
    • Will I take lots of action shots? If so, then the camera needs to have a multi-shot option
  2. Ensure your memory card is adequate. Consider how many pictures you’re likely to take by thinking about your roll film usage and then buy the memory card capacity that matches your use when you buy your camera. Most cameras come with barely adequate memory to get you started. For more flexibility, buy a few lower capacity cards, or if you are a "special events only" point-and-click person, buy the highest capacity memory card can afford. Then you won’t run out of storage space when you need it most. 
  3. Download your images as soon as you can. Whenever the opportunity presents itself to clear your camera memory, do so. This is especially necessary if you only have one main memory stick, to ensure you don't get caught with a perfect photo opportunity and a nearly full memory. 
  4. Keep your camera set on high resolution. While setting your camera on low resolution may seem like a a good way to squeeze more photos onto a memory card, not only will the images be poorer quality, but you are likely to get that once in a lifetime photo that can't be enlarged. Unless you are absolutely sure that images will only be emailed or displayed on the web, keep the resolution turned up to its highest JPEG setting. Then you are ready when another photo opportunity comes along. 
  5. Monitor your battery power. Remember to charge the batteries fully and have spare batteries on hand so your camera is ready when you are. Digital cameras use a lot of battery power, and there’s nothing more annoying than trying to take an image and hearing the sound of silence from a dead - or dying - battery. 
  6. Turn off the camera before removing the memory card. You must allow the camera to finish processing before you remove the memory card. Taking a digital photo does not end with a shutter click. Image processing and saving to the memory card takes a few seconds (or longer if several images have been taken in quick succession). If you eject the card prematurely, some or all of your photos may be lost or damaged. So always turn the camera off before you attempt to remove the memory card or batteries. And if the camera won't turn off - it hasn't finished processing yet (NB - some cameras have an indicator light for processing. Check your manual).
  7. Remember there is a shutter delay. While new digital cameras offer very close to the responsiveness of film cameras, there is still a delay between pushing the button and the image being captured. There are two things you need to learn;
    • Learn the length of your shutter delay and to anticipate when the best moment is coming and press the button early
    • When shooting still objects, use your camera’s focus lock capability. Often, if the camera has already been focused on the object, there is no shutter delay
  8. Take action images in multi-shot mode. Taking images in multi-shot mode allows you to capture all the action and decide later which you want to keep. As standard, your camera will probably be set to take images in single shot and preview (ie takes a single photograph, then previews the image and then writes that image to the memory card before it’s ready to take another picture). While this is OK when photographing still objects, you need to improve your camera’s performance for action. Most digital cameras allow you to either disable the preview mode. 
  9. Your digital camera will only capture images that your roll film camera can. The basic rules of photography still apply; correct lighting, focus, framing and subject are still critical;
    • Lighting:  In low-light conditions, ensure that the flash is on and will reach your subject. Film cameras are still superior than digital in extreme lighting conditions
    • Focus: hold the camera still when taking the picture and have the camera set on the right focal mode for the image you are capturing. Although the camera is digital, it doesn't automatically know what you're trying to focus on
  10. Your image editing software isn't a quick fix. With digital photography, the garbage-in garbage-out rule applies. While good image editing software can modify colour casts, remove red-eye, improve brightness, contrast and more, there is a limit to how much a photo can be improved. And most of us won't have good image editing software - how many of us can afford $6k for Quark Express?
  11. Be organised when you save your images. Develop a standard way of transferring your images to the computer, for naming them, organising them and backing them up. When you edit your images, "save as" to the same name with an "edit" added to the end so you can find the altered images easily but still have the original. always keep a backup of the original. Or get into the habit of writing your original images to CD, and edit on copies only. This will prevent you ever experiencing that sinking feeling of a lost or damaged image. 

Displaying Ampersands in Access

Have you ever opened an Access form in Datasheet or Form view and noticed an underscore immediately preceding one of the words in a field label? 
If so, chances are that an orphaned ampersand (&) was entered in the label. 
The ampersand is a "reserved" character in Access. This means that the character immediately following an ampersand is formatted as underlined, with users able to access the button or menu item by pressing Alt and the underlined letter. 
And you can't show an ampersand at all. You can write "and" or use a plus symbol "+". But no ampersand.
But there is a workaround. If your client wants an ampersand as part of a field label, if you want to use one to save space, or if their firm name is Smith & Jones, there's a very easy workaround. 
  • To display an ampersand, enter two of them in a row. 
Eg, for "Time & Billing Code" in a label, enter "Time && Billing Code" in the label's Caption property. In Print Preview, an orphaned ampersand won't show up as an underscore character; instead, Access won't display anything where the ampersand should be. 
However, the underscore will appear when you open the report in Design view and click the label that contains the orphaned ampersand. 

Copying Word Formatting

When Word users discover Word's abundant formatting options, they layer on the options until they've crafted the perfect paragraph. 
However, once they get more advanced, they want to know how they can save the style they have created to use again, and how can they apply the style to an existing paragraph.
So here's the gen on saving settings quickly;
  1. Select the paragraph, then click in the Formatting toolbar's Style field
  2. Type the new style name, and press Enter to save the style
  3. Go to Format | Style and modify the new style if you need to
  4. To apply that style to a paragraph, select the text to be reformatted, and either;
  • select your new style name from the Formatting toolbar's Style list or
  • Select the Format Painter tool (looks like a wallpaper brush on the Standard Toolbar), then click & drag to select the text you want to format
  • Key Ctrl, Shift & C, go to the text you want to format, select it and key Ctrl, Shift & V

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • CIM, Common Information Model. An object-oriented information model that provides a conceptual view of physical and logical system components. The encoding specification is based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and the transport mechanism based on Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP).
  • WBEM, Web-Based Enterprise Management technology.
  • SMI, Storage Management Initiative specifications. This is for storage management standards for area networks, linked with CIM & WBEM. Being developed by a new alliance; Hitachi Data Systems Corp, IBM Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc and Veritas Software Corp. Due in 2003.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl & F9;
  • Excel "Calculate the active worksheet" SHIFT & F9 
  • Excel "Minimize the workbook window to an icon" CTRL & F9 
  • Excel "Calculate all sheets in the active workbook" CTRL & ALT & F9 
  • Word "Field Codes" ALT & F9 
  • Word "Field Chars" CTRL & F9 
  • Word "Toggle Field Display" SHIFT & F9
  • Word "Unlink Fields" CTRL & SHIFT & F9 
  • Word "Do Field Click" ALT & SHIFT & F9
  • PowerPoint "Minimize the presentation window" CTRL & F9 
  • Access "To requery the underlying tables (in a subform, this requeries the underlying table for the subform only)" SHIFT & F9 
  • Publisher "Move between the wizard pane and the publication" CTRL & F9 
Hot Linx
If you are wanting a laugh, take a look at the Chronicles of George. For the background on who George is and why his work has been posted on the internet, go to http://chroniclesofgeorge.nanc.com/. This website contains George's help desk screen dumps at http://chroniclesofgeorge.nanc.com/tickets1.htm. Very funny
For those of you who are interested in wine, the New Zealand Winegrower's site might be of interest to you. Check it out at http://www.nzwine.com/intro/ 
Like good food but have no cash? Then this site is the place for you! http://www.destitutegourmet.com/ 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here