Monthly Archives: September 2013

How to improve a photo that is too dark, and bring out details in shadows

You can make a big improvement to photos which are too dark by doing a couple of things in photoshop.

Open the photo in photoshop.
Type Ctrl+L (hold down the Ctrl key and press the letter l on the keyboard).  A small window opens:

adjust levelsTo adjust the input levels using the graph, drag the white slider to the left, until the photo looks how you want – you should probably stop just to the right of the “1.0”.  (Make sure the Preview box is ticked so that you see the effect of the changes.)  Click OK.

You can also then click on Enhance, then Adjust Lighting, then Shadows Highlights. A window opens, and you can play around with the sliders until you like the result (again, make sure the Preview box is ticked so that you see the effect of the changes.)  Click OK.

If you are happy, save the photo.

If you have a photo where, for example, the subject in the foreground is too dark, but the rest of the photo is fine, you can make changes just to the dark part of the photo.

Click on the Marquee tool, and using either the rectangle or the ellipse, draw a  marquee round the area of the photo you want to improve, and follow the steps above.  The changes you make will only be applied to the area inside the marquee.  When you are happy, kit the Esc key to get rid of the marquee, and save the photo.


Your new Windows 8 computer – check for updates

When you first get your new Windows 8 computer, the best thing to do is check for updates – chances are, there will be quite a few, which will take a while to download and install.  You are probably keen to start using it, but if you can restrain yourself until you’ve got all the updates, it will make life easier.

Also, if you have a lap top using WIFI, it can be useful to connect it up to the home hub with an ethernet cable while you’re downloading – it might be quicker, and it’s less likely lose connection half way through.

One of the really great things about Windows 8, is that if you are on the Start screen – the one that comes up, with all the “Tiles” – and you want to find something, you can just type.  So, type: ‘control panel’  ; on the left of the screen, results will appear as you type, so once you see Control Panel appear, click on it, and the old familiar control panel will open.

Now click on System and Security
Now click on Windows Update, then Check for updates. If it comes back with “xx important updates are available” then click on that, and then on the next window, click on Install. Then make a cup of tea!

These are all Windows updates, and you will probably need to restart your computer once they are done.

It is also useful to check for updates to apps.  To do this, click on the Store tile. Once it’s open, right click, and then click on Your Apps at the top of the screen.  This will show what apps you have, and if any of them have updates ready to install.  If they do, install them.

How to save BT emails

If you have a btinternet email address, and you have been accessing your emails on the internet (so not using a mail client like Outlook), and you decide to switch your ISP, you are in danger of losing all your historic emails.

This is the only way I have found to keep all your historic emails: first you need to get the emails into Outlook, and once you have done that, you can save them all in a .pst file on your PC.  Then you can keep them for as long as you want.

To set up Outlook to pick up your emails:

Open Outlook
Click on the File tab then click on Add Account.
Fill in your details on the page, and then tick the box marked Manually configure server settings or additional server types.
Choose Internet E-mail – This will bring you to the screen below.  Fill in the details using your name, and your bt account and password.

Email settings

Email settings

Now click on More Settings…. and you get the pages below.




Check your setting look like the ones in the pictures.

Also, you must choose the folder for sent mail.



So, once you have done that, and clicked Finish, you should find that all your emails are copied across into Outlook, in the same folders that you had set up on bt.  It may take a while.

Although all the emails have now (hopefully) been copied into Outlook, they will still all disappear when BT deletes your account, so now you need to save them to a pst file.

In Outlook, click on the Home tab.  Just below the tabs, click on the New Items icon.  Choose More Items, then choose Outlook Data File.  A new window opens, make sure Outlook Data File (.pst) is selected. Click ok. A new window opens, with the save location for the .pst file.  You can change this location if you want to.  Click ok.  My Outlook Data File will appear in the list of Mail folders. Drag the folders containing the BT emails onto My Outlook Data File.  This may take a while! All the emails will be copied, and once it’s done, they are saved on your PC and you can look at them any time using Outlook.