Make your own Presidential Proclamation!

Whatever your political persuasion, you can have some real fun with this web tool.

  1. Type your own text on the tablet.
  2. Use the and to enlarge or shrink the text.
  3. Click to the side to remove the blue rectangle.
  4. Capture the screen. (Ctrl-PrtScr on a PC, or Command-Shift-3 on a Mac).
  5. Paste the image into your graphics program; save the picture. Need a free desktop graphics program? Here’s a free download:
    GIMP for Mac OSX
    GIMP for Windows

The danger of relying too much on your camera

And now for something completely different…poet Wendell Berry on interposing a camera between your life and the world. We live in the time of the curated life — the finest moments buffed and shared to create an impression of a life that conforms to social standards rather than reflecting our actual lives.

We often remember the strangest moments because they are the most meaningful. Perhaps we can use our cameras to catch the most revealing, un-posed moments. A friend commented tonight that he takes multiple photos of a person because the picture “between” pictures is usually the most authentic.

The Vacation

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

How to perfectly crop a Facebook cover photo

FacebookPage2Popular web services often require images of specific sizes for use as photo headers or head shots. For instance, Facebook requires a cover photo to be 828 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall.  A Linkedin header is 1400 x 425.

Dotphoto’s editing tools will help you crop and re-size images to specific sizes, so that you can copy and paste photos for use on other web sites.  Follow these steps:

  1. Learn the optimal resolution
  2. Crop to the image you want in the dotphoto edit tools
  3. Re-size the cropped image to meet one of the two dimensions
  4. Crop the re-sized image so that the second dimension is also perfect.

Detailed steps to create a Facebook header are below. These same steps can apply to cropping any photo to any exact pixel size.

1. Learn the optimal resolution.

The dimensions for a Facebook cover photo are 828 wide x 315 tall.  (A Linkedin header is 1400 x 425.)

2. Crop to the image you want in the dotphoto edit tools.

Click on the photo, and then on the edit icon (the pencil) in the upper left to show the editing tools.

Choose the Cropping tools from the edit menu.

Use the Custom size to crop the best part of the photo. In the image below, we cropping out the wrapped pole on the left and leaving the subjects — the carousel animals — in the center of the image. Drag the corners of the cropping rectangle, and, when you have finished, tap the Apply button. Leave plenty of vertical space around your subject: a Facebook cover photo is a wide, short image, and we’ll crop the extra vertical space in step 4.

3. Re-size the cropped image to meet one of the two dimensions. Set the width to 840.

Choose the Resize tool on the right sight of the cropping menu. If you don’t see Resize, scroll the menu to the right.

Set the width to 828, which is the perfect width for a Facebook cover photo. Tap the Apply button on the right. We will crop the height in the next step.

4. Crop the re-sized image so that the second dimension is also perfect. Set the height to 315.

Set the Custom Dimensions to 828 x 315. You’ll have a cropping rectangle that is as wide as your image, and that you can drag up and down to capture the optimal cover photo. When you’re ready, tap the Apply button.

Tap the Save button on the right and Save as a New Image. This will NOT overwrite your original photo.

Go back to the new photo, right-click on it, and choose Copy image.

In Facebook, start a post, and paste the photo into your Facebook post. (Ctrl-V, or Right-click / Paste ) This will add the photo to your Facebook photos so that you can choose it for your Cover Photo.

In your Facebook account, hover over the Update Cover Photo in the upper left corner, and select Choose From My Photos.

Find the new Cover Photo that you just made among your Facebook photos, and choose Save Changes.

You have made a perfectly-sized Facebook Cover Photo.

How to Get Free Starbucks Refills

Money-Saving Tip
Last week, I ordered another drink at Starbucks in my existing cup, and the barista said something I never expected to hear: “That will be 53 cents.” Later, I learned that, if you buy the original drink with your Starbucks card, your refill is free. (Some say Starbucks drinks taste even better in dotphoto customized mugs.) Here are the official rules for free refills.

Mother-Daughter Wedding Mug 15 oz

Only $13.72 including Club shipping
No additional charge for multiple photos

Compare at $19.99 plus $5 shipping on other sites

When I discovered baby and wedding photos of my wife with her mother, I thought it would be fun to put them on the same mug. My wife was delighted with this mug, and, for the record, my mother-in-law has not changed a bit.

How to Convert RAW files to JPG files for Uploading

dotphoto accepts up to 20MB files at 6000 dots along the longest side (up to 36 megapixels.) That is a very large file and appropriate for printing and displaying virtually anywhere. dotphoto accepts most popular photo formats, but not RAW files, which are used mainly for editing by professional photographers.

Here are two ways to convert from RAW to JPG so that you can upload your photos to dotphoto:

  1. Online RAW conversion tool: is an in-browser RAW files viewer and converter.
  2. Download Irfranview software to batch-convert files on your PC.

Download the free editing program, Irfanview.  This sophisticated editing program also offers a powerful bulk conversion routine.

Run Irfranview, and press on your keyboard.  You will see a Batch conversion screen like the one below.

  1. Make sure you’re in Batch conversion
  2. Set the Output format to JPG.
  3. Choose your Output directory, so you can find the files when you’re finished!
  4. Add the files you want to convert. You will not lose the old files; you are creating new ones. We recommend that you run a small test first to make sure everything is set up correctly. (In the example below, the files being converted are PNG, but you can convert many kinds of files including RAW.)
  5. Tap the Start button to run the conversion.

7 Sources Of Free Stock Photos For Your Walls – Or Any Use At All!

Sometimes, you may want unique professional photos to decorate a wall, illustrate a brochure, or make a meme.

These 7 web sites provide thousands of free high-quality photos that are licensed for both personal or commercial uses.


New dotphoto home page1. Free stock photos  Use them any way you want.




2. StockSnap All photos on StockSnap fall under the Creative Commons CC0 license. That means you can copy, modify, distribute any photo on the site, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission!

3. Foodiesfeed is a resource of awesome naturally looking food photos that are completely free to download. These oranges would brighten up any kitchen.


4. Free sports photos  Unsplash has over 200,000 free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

5. Free Business Images All Burst images are free for personal and commercial use.




6. Free Vintage stock photos  You can do nearly anything with the images, commercial or not.



7. Negative Space  Beautiful, free high-resolution photos with no restrictions.  For personal or commercial projects, all of our CC0 licensed images are completely free to use!

You can find these stock photo sources in the future by searching dotphoto’s FAQs for this link.

How to capture digital videos and photos from VHS tapes

Recently, I wanted to get photos of my cousin from old home movies, and to digitally capture and edit an historic VHS tape of an interview with the co-pilot of the Bock’s Car.

You can capture photos and digital videos from VHS with a handy product called VidBox, available from BestBuy ($60) in both Mac or Windows versions. As seen here, VidBox connects to your old VHS’ RCA jacks and to your computer’s USB port. VidBox includes software to capture the video as it’s played, and you get a nice digital file to edit.

For editing, I used CyberlinkPowerDirector and PhotoDirector.  (About $99 in a bundle.) PowerDirector makes it relatively easy to add photos, music, and video clips to create interesting videos, and PhotoDirector lets you capture photos from video, as well as re-touch and create sophisticated effects.
The oldest images were originally shot on 8mm and transferred to VHS by videotaping a screen. Direct-to-VHS yielded better results, but both gave me the feeling that I was reaching back into history to capture some wonderful, evocative photos that had been – until now – lost to time.

Turn your videos into books
Video images are smaller than the high-resolution cameras we use today, but, once you’ve captured photos from video, it’s an easy step to upload them to dotphoto and auto-populate a beautiful dotphoto book.  Video: How to make a dotphoto booK and get $49 off