Tag Archives: Utilities

SCRAP Photo Editor 1.2 Review

Kea Sigma Delta software logo
Kea Sigma Delta software

I was contacted by the nice folks at Kea Sigma Delta in Wellington, New Zealand, to do a review of their product SCRAP Photo Editor 1.2, which is currently only available on Windows XP, Vista, 7 & 8, and appears to be only a 32-bit application.

When I arrived on the site, keasigmadelta.co.nz , to download my free version of SCRAP Photo Editor 1.2, I am immediately told, that SCRAP is an acronym for Scale, Crop, Rotate and Publish, along with a very flashy 50 second YouTube video, extolling the virtues of the program.

Downloading the application is simple enough, but when I got to the point of Installation, I had to be especially careful, because of all the additional “Special Offers” that are included during the installation script.

When the First “Special Offer” window popped up, my security concerns were raised immediately, especially when the offer is for something called “SpeedyPC”. I do not wish to knock down this product, but it is not one that I normally run across. I did selected the Skip button to continue.

I was immediately confronted with the Second “Special Offer” for “blindbat”, again an application I’ve never heard of, that was even more forceful, in the sense, that it popped up a secondary window asking if I was sure that I wanted to skip the installation. Needless to say I declined.

Then there was the Third “Special Offer” (TidyNetwork) at which point I was seriously considering jettisoning the whole installation process, but I continued to the Fourth “Special Offer” (YAC (Yet Another Cleaner)), and finally into the main installation, which eventually launches your browser to a final “Congratulatory” page, thanking you for the installation.

Initial user experience – Very Poor

Once I was in the main program, I took a look at Task Manager and noticed that SCRAP had a small footprint of about 55 MB.

From there, I opened up a simple PNG file that I had recently done from the screenshot, to test out the basic capabilities of SCRAP.

Scale – In my current task, I did not need to do any scaling, but I did double-click on the scaling tool and was pleased to see an advanced set of tools presented in a simple dialog box.

Crop – Since cropping was the main nature of my task at hand, this tool was immediately put to use. I found it to work very similarly to those provided by other programs, but it was pleased to note, that after the cropping has been performed, the original image has not actually been cropped, i.e. non-destructive, until you save out the final file. A simple double-click of the crop tool, will also bring up the advanced dialog box, filled with numerous easy controls.

Rotate – I did not mean much use of the rotate tool during my testing, but the illustrations done in the video tutorials offer some very helpful tips on using the tool.

Publish – The most observable Publish tool, directs one to the Zazzle website, that offers photo based gifts, such as mugs and T-shirts. The Secondary publishing, is done by being able to saving various file formats (BMP/DIB/RLE, EXR, GIF, HDR, JPEG (2000), PBM, PGM, PNG, PPM, TARGA, TIFF), which still needs to be attached to a Posts or email, i.e. No Right Click and a Context menu pops-up to allow you to do whatever.

Conclusion –

After the initial irritation of the installation, SCRAP does what it sets out to do.

It can open up some 30 different file formats, perform very rudimentary geometric edits, and then quickly saves files back out, in a variety of formats, to be used by another application.

Will I keep this application on my computer after this review, very doubtfully.

Why?

I am already at Adobe software user, and I normally have either Lightroom or Photoshop open at any given time, so for me to have something like SCRAP, involved in my workflow, seems rather pointless.

If you need a quick utility to convert one file format to another and don’t have money to spend, then SCRAP may be of interest to you.

If you’re scanning software does not provide these fundamental functions, then definitely you should investigate further usage of this product.

I hope you enjoyed my review, or found it at least interesting, please feel free to leave me a comment in the section below.

- Andrew
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Finding a Wireless Signal (inSSIDer)

A friend of mine, was recently having some trouble finding a wireless signal at an airport, and asked what tools were available for his Vista laptop.

Since he travels frequently, I suggested that the next time he had real Ethernet connection to download NetStumbler, to help him locate wireless Access Points (APs).

He did, but was unable to get it to work on his Vista machine.

At the time, NetStumbler had always enjoyed a good reputation for be a great free utility, and a ‘Must have application’ for any techies involved with wireless networking, so I was a little surprised to hear there were issues.

Wanting to help my friend out, and felling bad about giving him a poor recommendation, I did some searching, and found MetaGeek’s inSSIDer.

inSSIDer is a free Open Source software utility, that also supports an array of additional paid products that could be an inexpensive alternative to commercial products such as Fluke Networks’ AirMagnet.

After inSSIDer installed and launched, the first thing that one notices, especially coming from NetStumbler environment, is that the graphs are in color, which is invaluable when trying to figure out multiple sources of signals.

This is not to say that color is the best part of inSSIDer, but it also uses the native Wi-Fi API to group ‘clients’ by MAC Address, SSID, Channel, RSSI as well as “Time Last Seen”. Since inSSIDer also supports GPS devices, this can very extremely valuable when mapping a wireless network environment.

Bottom line -

If you are looking for a very useful wireless network discovery tool that is free, then I would suggest that you look no further then inSSIDer.

inSSIDer was also the 2008 winner of InfoWorld’s “Best of Open Source“.

- Andrew
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Problems with Robocopy on W2K8

Has anyone had problems getting robocopy to copy from one partition to another on W2K8? I have setup a script that copies files from a W2K3 machine to a W2K8 machine without issue.

But then I try and do a similar copy from one internal HD to an External USB drive, no files are copied!

I already know about the new “Security” related issues that were introduced with Vista and W2K8, and I have tried previous versions as well!

If you have any thoughts or ideas, they would be greatly appreciated!

TIA,

- Andrew
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