All aspects of digital image processing and photography at one place

Disclosure: This article relates to one of my books, Better Digital Images

If you are one of the following, this post may be of great value to you:

You regularly publish pictures on the web

You share pictures regularly on your blog, Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram or other social sharing account or on WhatsApp.  But do you have a fair understanding of how digital pictures work, how they can be improved upon, and what precautions you must take while posting pictures on the web or using a picture available on the web?

Don't you think you need to have a better understanding on the subject? Mr. Slater recently faced a crippling legal case after taking a money's selfie!

book on photography and image editing

You don't know how to take care of thousands of valuable pictures on your phone/ laptop

You keep on shooting pics (and videos), thanks to the ubiquitous mobile phone camera, so your phone, laptop and drives are full of pictures you don't know what to do and how long they'd last.

In addition, you might have memories from he past - prints that are getting pale, pics from your digital camera, pics sent by friends and relatives.

Do you know how to take care of old pics, and how to name digital pictorial resources for efficient retrieval? What formats and media they must be stored in so that they do not get corrupted/ lost over time?

You have small kids and want to streamline their energy creatively into digital sketching, painting or photography, but do not have the basics clear so as to guide them

Responsible parents want to make their kids creative, and nothing beats arts and photography when it comes to creativity.

As a parent, do you know what all are the dimensions of pictures, now that everything is digital? Can you hand-hold your kid towards creativity that has no bounds?

You are a photographer but do not have full understanding of digital pictures OR you are a digital picture editor without good understanding of digital photography

Don't you think, you need to learn the other side so as to get the best out of your profession?

In all these situations - and many more - a small investment made in understanding digital images and learning the tricks of the trade will go a long way.

Here is this ebook 'Better Digital Images', available at $3.94 at Amazon. It covers all the above and much more, in simple language and with illustrations. To read the ebook, you need not have a Kindle reader. You can read the book on your smartphone, tab or laptop.

Main Chapters:

Image concepts - image editing - digital cameras - digital photography - file conversion - digital art - caring for images - images on the web - special images (selfies, favicons, infographics, panoramas) - selling pictures - printing

How social media is destroying lives of teenage girls

Beware parents of young girls. You will be mortally shocked if you read the linked article. It is not a hearsay or an unfounded scary piece floating on WhatsApp. It is real, and you must read it. After you have had the shock, you must prepare how to deal with the stark reality of social media playing havoc with innocent girls.

A girl in her early teens, when her body is showing signs of growing in a sexy way, when she is so innocent about how she could be getting exploited and compromised and is highly influenced by peer pressure, she tends to do things that she should not have done. Not doing such things makes her unwanted in her social group. She is likely to succumb to peer pressure and then one from the same group might start exploiting her.

Moreover, going a 'small' step into nudity, 'sexting' and being seen 'hotter' as compared to the one she is jealous of are considered 'cool', and thus she starts accepting these actions as normal. That is worse, because when that happens, she stops listening to any sane counsel from parents or her more sensible friends. She also becomes complacent.

teen girls and social media

Some girls start behaving in a different way, especially when they feel caught between what the society thinks right and what they are doing. That leads to confusion, guilt, even eepression. 

Parents need to be careful of both types of tendencies and take preemptive actions. Perhaps being caring and sharing from the very beginning is one of the best antidotes. Even when she has succumbed to peer pressure and done something silly, supporting her and always remaining communicative are very important. Taking psychological counseling, involving school, legal action... whatever action is required to bring the girl back to normal must be taken as early as possible - but without showing signs of panic or being harsh on her.

To quote the article I mentioned above, 
I never lost my sense of what it is to be a teenager, I’m not sure why. Some of these things are painful. One thing that’s important to do as a parent is remember what it felt like and tap into that. They’re just coming of age, they’re experiencing these things for the first time. There needs to be a great deal of compassion when you try to put yourselves in their shoes. I try and think, ‘She’s telling me this story, and how would I feel if this were happening to me?’ So instead of coming at it from a point of judgment or alarm [as a parent], I try to get rid of the fear of what you’re hearing and just listen.
It is a slightly old post but equally relevant today. It is based on studies in America but now that smartphones have reached everywhere, the story would be the same across the continents. You can read the full article here: 
New York Post article on how social media is destroying the lives of teen girls.

Blog Compass - Google announces a blogging app!

The app was withdrawn in 2019. But letting this post remain, as a reference to Google's half-baked contribution to blogging.

Google is promoting blogging in a new way: through mobile phone app. And it has aptly named the app Blog Compass.
The app is not only for Google's own blogging platform Blogger, but for rival Wordpress also (both the free platform and Wordpress CMS for self-hosted blogs).

Still in beta (final testing) stage, the app has the following main features:
  • One-stop blogging solution: track site views, moderate comments, see when a post is visible on Google search.
  • Sends Google trends for giving topic ideas. These are based on the blog's topic and blogger's preferences and blogging history.
  • Gives tips to make the blog successful.
  • In English and Hindi.
blog compass app for blogging

Google has currently released Blog Compass as an 'only in India' app.

Update, January 2019: The app is working fine for Wordpress blogs but has issues in connecting Blogger blogs.

How is Gutenberg going to change blogging in Wordpress?

Wordpress has been working seriously on a development project called Gutenberg that will give new user experience to bloggers and website makers in
  • creating posts with rich content easily, and
  • making the design with 'blocks' that would make it easy to embed content without having to use shortcodes or custom HTML.
Wordpress already has some plugins to enable these features but Gutenberg would make it mainstream.
Blocks would make it easy and more customizable to put elements other than just text on pages and posts. Block-based positioning of content is likely to give a new editing and publishing experience to bloggers who use Wordpress CMS.
Even paragraphs would be individual blocks and thus it would be easy to re-position them without messing up underlying code and formatting.
Working with blocks for text editing in Gutenberg:
taken from Wordpress website
Gutenberg is likely to be released in a few months from now, perhaps before December 2018, as part of Wordpress 5.0. Some Wordpress users in some countries have started getting an offer to try Gutenberg option in their blog dashboard.