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I’m sure the cool stuff you can do with screenshots, icons and backgrounds are only limited by your imagination (and windows) but here’s one I just did.

Here is the desired effect.

Here is the desired effect.

*looks pretty cool*. Now for those of you who can’t guess how I did this in photoshop, I will briefly run you through it.

I screenshot the background (printscreen). I paste it into photoshop. Might I add, at this point, that you do need the actual file of the image saved in a place where you know where it is. For the sorry souls who use the windows backgrounds, the can be found in the WINDOWS folder in the C: drive. You may have to change the folder options to show hidden files and folders to find this.

Anyway, paste into photoshop (file>new, size:clipboard). Select the magic eraser tool. I’m not sure for other versions of photoshop, but you should be able to right click the normal eraser tool to find it. Select the ‘contiguous’ check box at the top of the screen, and click everywhere, the goal being, to erase the whole background. You don’t need to be too fine about it, everything that is left is being blurred so either it will disappear or you will have some parts of the background slightly shinier than the other bits (this is visible in my attachment).

Once you’ve erased most of the background, specifically around the icons (take care not to erase the actual icons), you can duplicate the layer by right-clicking it and selecting that option. On the first layer, apply filters>blur>motion blur at 45 degrees (you can choose length to taste), then on the second layer do the same thing at -45 degrees. This makes a sort of criss-cross kind of sparkly outline. You can change it to how you like, (of course) for example, you could change the opacity of the layers, or change the colours – whatever. This ‘tutorial’ is solely inspiration to do whatever you like with your icons.

Back to the point, you need to copy the original background into the background of the blurry icon picture you’ve made. You can do this by opening the file and selecting everything, then copying it and pasting it into the other picture. You may need to stretch the image to fit the screenshot. If it’s not selected already, click ‘show transform controls’ at the top and grab the handles to suit…the size of the image. You can save the file as a png and go to the containing folder, right click the file and click ‘set as background’. And there you are.

And there it is...

And there it is...

Bugging me lately is the way that whenever I boot up the computer, (windows xp) I get Nokia PC Suite things like this opening up in the system tray. Startup programs have been an issue with me lately, and this is one of the worst problems if you use a really slow computer, for a sole purpose, and it’s not *whatever quicktime does*. Specifically, my cousin and uncle play a game called Cossacks (back to war stand alone expansion, really great age-of-empires-1 style rts which i would recommend for online strategy goodiness). The computer is running on a pentium-3 600mHz core and 256mb of ram, and it starts a heap of programs on bootup.

Sorry for the intro, most of you will know what i’m on about with msconfig. But, that said, my worst issue with it was forgetting what it was called, so I couldn’t open it. If you know what msconfig is called, your problems are half solved (or in my case, completely solved). So if you are being bugged by startup programs, and you’ve already wiped clean the ‘startup’ folder in the start menu, go to run (win+r or start>run) and type in “msconfig” (without the quotes), then click the OK button (or press enter, of course). There will be a tab at the top saying ‘startup’. If you think this applys to you, which it does, click this particular tab. You will be presented with a list of programs running on startup. There are usually a lot. Deselect the appropriate ones and navigate your way out of this window, while still applying the options you selected. Congratulations. You have successfully completed the ‘removing’ part of the *title* of this post.

Now for the adding. A bit more advanced. Of course it isn’t if you just go for the start menu option, but if you are anything like me you will take any chance you can get to get into the registry to change something. It makes you feel better. Run>”regedit” (wtq) in the registry, on the side click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SOFTWARE>Microsoft>Windows>CurrentVersion>Run. You made it. Through all that scrolling. So after having clicked on the Run folder, there should be a few entries you might recognise from msconfig. If you want to add something (of course it’s all obvious now and you’re already off blogging about it yourself) right click (in the right part) and go to New>String Value. Name it what you will, such as “firefox”, then double click on it and enter a path to the program you want (such as “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”. The quotes are actually neccesary, so don’t forget them this time). Have a reboot to check it out, and ta-da! There you are! It actually worked! You will notice it coming up in msconfig, and they all lived happily ever after. (yes, I have been reading eoin colfer books)

Somehow, Center Com, the computer shop we had the PC repaired at, took a week and a half to fix the computer. I don’t see how it’s possible for it to take so long as all they had to do was backup the drive, reinstall windows and put everything back onto the drive in a little “backup” folder. But I’m back now and I’ll write another tutorial soon. I want to learn a programming language, because I had a “revolutionary” (according to Joel) idea for a program. I won’t reveal the idea right now, because the idea will probably be a financial  investment eventually, but it will probably need 2d & possibly 3d (directX) graphics support, animations and the like, also it has to be able to access an internet host. I have Dev-C++ and I know a very small amount in that language. I know the smallest amount in PHP, also. So basically, I’m not experienced in any programming language. I think I need to learn more C++, if anyone could verify this it would be awesome. Me and a group of friends also want to make an MMORPG, so if I can use the same language to make that (look, I know making an MMO is a colossal task, so don’t mention it. We will probably make a non-online alpha before we even add multiplayer, sounds like a good way to go) it would be awesome.

I got my computer back today, after 4 days of being queued for repairs and then a weekend of repairs. They didn’t do much, they just repaired windows with the disk and installed an extra 2 gig of ram. Then they made us give them $150. I could have done it myself, and i tried and failed many times before they said i couldn’t do it and took it away. i was so sad and read a lot more books than usual. The repairers failed to do a lot of things they said they would do, but at least it’s back and it works 😀

Open Office - Word Processor

Open Office - Word Processor

Windows just had to screw up. I got the Blue Screen of Death. Three times. Oh, Why, Windows, Why? Then Rebooting, several times I got told “Boot Disk Error: Please Insert System Disk & Press Enter.” I finally got fed up and put in a Ubuntu live disk to try and fix it up. I’m using Ubuntu now for the second time, and this time I have more time to explore the OS. I’m annoyed at windows for screwing up. I need to fix it up, or else I’ll get the blame as I use the computer the most. Ubuntu is awesome, it comes with GIMP. And Firefox. (Ubuntu:Feisty Fawn) If I ever get my own computer (or my cousin ever gives my ancient laptop back) I will definitely install Ubuntu on it. It would just be so awesome to be free from windows. Anyway, before I got the BSoDs, I was getting these messages from PC-Cillin telling me I have tried to open a dangerous website: Spyware. I didn’t have a web browser open (Dun dun DUN!). Read the rest of this entry »