Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: October 1, 2000

I hope your Northern Hemisphere Fall season -- or, if you are in another part of the world, whatever your weather season is -- I hope it is going well!

Soon we will be into the first major holiday season of the 2000s. Amazing how fast time goes by.

Have a good October!

Contact me regarding any matter in this newsletter that causes you concern or you want to otherwise discuss.

Dave Shogren
eMail to:


Another example of Using PaintShop Pro: Manipulating Pictures via a Puzzle

I know it seems as if each month I show "only" PaintShopPro examples. It is not an intended result of the prior month's work.... it, just seems that (from a home computer use point of view) a lot of the fun part of my work ends up making use of scanned pictures (images).

In any case, as I worked this month on the SCScompA PaintShopPro lab I put together the following set of pictures. It ended up to be a good set of different pictures that resulted in something demonstrable. If you are not involved, much, with manipulating pictures and want to get started, give the following a look.

If it turns out you want the SCScompA lab and/or the entire set of scanned images that are summarized below: Contact me at

Summary of the example shown by clicking on the later-mentioned link:

  • First, as mentioned in the later-shown Web example, I purchased a set of puzzles in the "Animal Playtime" series, Professor Hoot's Silly School, by TormonT Publications Inc. Montreal, Canada, Illustrations by Francois Ruyer, Graphic Design by Zapp. The puzzles are intended to be for young persons (5 yrs and up, or so, of age).

    Although there are multiple puzzles in the set I purchased, I only used one for the scanning/PaintShopPro example.

    The puzzles each have a main picture that has an open space.

    In addition to the main picture, there is a set of ten six-sided blocks that have a different part of a completed picture on each side. The challenge is to arrange the six-sided blocks into a "completed" set that can fill-out the main picture's open space.

  • I scanned, first, the main picture. This brought forward a few problems:

    1. The picture had to be scanned in multiple parts, since the picture was larger than the scanner area.

    2. The multiple parts, when scanned, were not all "in the same" or in the "correct" direction. So, you needed to (after the scanning) rotate or otherwise adjust the individual parts into a consistent pattern.

      The multiple parts had to be connected/joined into the desired "final" picture to match the main picture of the puzzle. This main picture (as mentioned above) has an open space that needs to be filled in.

    3. This phase of the scanning resulted in working with quite large scanned images. The PC I was working on was a 128-meg memory system using Windows 2000, with a 3-year-old Pentium 200 MHz processor. It took four individual passes through the scanner (due to the picture being larger than the scanner area). Each of the four scanned pictures took around 20 meg of PC memory when manipulated in PaintShopPro. When the final base picture was put together it ended up around 56 meg memory.

      While working on the above, I am sure your more-current-up-to-date PC of perhaps 256 Meg memory and a faster processor than 200 MHz would be easier to work with!


      As I manipulated the above "large" pictures, the time involved was near to an hour. As I reached the end of the "putting together" the four parts, our neighborhood had a power failure. I was very happy that I was able to keep the PC running due to the backup APC $130 unit that is connected. Nice. Well worth the investment!

  • Next, I arranged the ten individual blocks into the desired-for-my-main-picture's solution. Then, scanned the individual blocks. This resulted in ten individual scanned pictures.

  • The scanned main picture had a "black" portion that was not important to the completion of the puzzle. I colored that portion with the nearest color (filled in the black portion). I left the "puzzle" slot in the main picture "empty" as it was after scanning.

  • I then put the ten individual scanned pictures into its appropriate slot in the completed picture. I was given a clue by the puzzle creators on how the ten pictures should be arranged.

If you are interested in receiving a zip of the above set of pictures (including the four scanned parts that I mentioned are quite large) let me know. If you end up putting the pictures together in a better way than I did: Terrific! You will, then, win one prize-to-be-determined-later from me! You could, certainly, use a different picture/image-processing application than PaintShopPro. What you use is up to you.

To see an overview of this example, click on: Puzzle Example from SCScompA using PaintShopPro. It should show you enough to let you know if you want to try the example or execute the SCScompA lab for PaintShopPro. If you don't use PaintShopPro, the lab possibly could be adjusted for use with your personal image-processing program -- although I have not tried the lab with anything other than PaintShopPro.

Don't hesitate to contact with any comments on the above or for any related discussion.

Miscellaneous Comments Regarding Home Computer Use Matters that Came Up in September

  • Using AOL's provided-to-the-user Web space.

    This month I used America Online's provided-to-the-user Web space quite a bit. As a reminder:

    • Each of your America Online screen names is provided with some space on the America Online's server. How much space? That depends upon how your monthly fee with America Online is and a couple of other factors. Basically, if you are on the unlimited hourly plan (as of Oct. 2000 $21.95 USA per month) you may define up to seven screen names and each of the screen names is provided with 2 meg server space. In 2 meg server space you can store about 28 pictures (based upon the type of pictures I work with). That means you can place on the free server space provided by America Online 7x28=196 average-sized pictures and some basic HTM code to show the pictures or other information to your family and friends.

    • If you don't mind some advertising taking up some of the shown display, you can easily join America Online's Hometown and double or more the provided space. I do not mind the way that America Online's Hometown does its advertising on my shown HTM files -- I appreciate getting the free space. Your comment on this is appreciated, if you wish to comment.

    • The provided free space and how to use it is discussed in an SCScompA lab if you could benefit from that. See Lab 10, pointed to by the SCScompA main Web page, or contact

    If you are a current America Online user and you are not using the "free" (well, we are paying a $21.95 USA monthly fee!) server space, I recommend you give it a try if you have pictures or other items you would like to share with family/friends on the Web.

  • Comments regarding old pictures put on photograph contact sheets and, then, moving the contact sheet to the PC and, possibly, to the Web for sharing with friends/family.

    In an earlier SCScompA newsletter (see the discussion on "Family treasures" in the June 01, 2000, newsletter) we saw an example of using the PC and, if you wish to, the Web to store/show "old" pictures and other items that could be scanned.

    This month, we ran across a number of old photographic negatives. We took a number of the negatives to a photographer and asked that the negatives be placed on a photographer's contact sheet. This approach was less expensive than asking for individual pictures being made of each negative.

    Once the contact sheet is reviewed, we then could ask for specific (individual) pictures to be made if desired.

    In my case, it was sufficient to:

    1. Scan the contact sheet.

    2. Using (in my case) PaintShopPro, select individual pictures from the scanned contact sheet and edit/modify/join-together the individual pictures to end up with a picture on the PC.

    3. Place the saved-on-the-PC pictures into a basic HTM-displayable set of pictures. Place some of these on the Web for access by friends/family who are not living in my vacinity.

    4. Print selected pictures on photographic paper using our home PC system. The quality is sufficient for us -- but, give it a try on your system and if the quality does not meet your expectations you could ask the photographer to make a picture from the contact sheet's selection and see if that does the job for you.

    5. Save ALL the individual pictures on an offline-storage media such as a ZIP disk or RW/CD.

    To see an example of the above selection and display using a basic HTM file, click on: SCScompA Example of Using a Photography Contact Sheet.

  • A PC file that contains an image and given to a photographer for processing.

    In a matter related-to-the-above newsletter item, I took a PC file that originated in an Olympus digital camera to a local photographer for processing. I wanted to have a negative of the image for use outside the PC. I also wanted a slide of the PC image.

    The quality of the photograph prepared by the local photographer was, naturally, limited to the quality of the digital image from the Olympus camera. The printed copy from the photographer was slightly better than the one printed on our home PC. Slightly better.

    The slide prepared by the local photographer was, at first, not sufficient in colors to meet the original (shown on the PC screen, as printed on the photo paper, or as with the original item that was photographed). The local photographer adjusted the prepared slide's colors to match the printed photo paper -- and, in our opinion: the negative. This "second pass" through the slide's creation process surprised me -- but, I am a photography "novice". I only mention this in case you take a PC image to a local photographer: Take the time to discuss colors, etc. and understand your/the photographer's expectations.

    The cost of the processing was: $5 USA for each negative built from the PC image (that started at the Olympus digital camera) and $5 USA for the negative. The printed copy was $1.60.

  • Some PC maintenance matters that came up in September, 2000.

    I mentioned in last month's newsletter that I had installed the Microsoft Service Pack 1 on my home PC Windows 2000 systems (both my PC and my laptop). The service pack has caused no problems during the month.

    I also mentioned that I might purchase and install Microsoft Windows Millennium (ME) as an upgrade on my Windows 98 systems. It ended up I did not do that -- yet. Let me know your experience with doing a Windows ME upgrade.

    I mentioned earlier in this newsletter that the APC Backup UPS served my PC well. I mention it again, here -- and recommend you get something comparable if you use your home PC much.

  • A good Web page I came across this month: Take a look at the NASA (USA space agency) web page: when you get time. A lot of good pictures if you are interested in such matters!

Contact SCScompA if you have any comments or questions about the above.


Freecell Game/Deal of the Month

We continue, in our household, doing Freecell deals from 1-to-32000! We will NOT accomplish this task. We know that. However, as we go along in our for-fun-effort, yet frustration... I will mention once in awhile specific Freecell deals we find challenging.

Note: If you are running your PC on Windows 98, it is possible you have to specifically install Freecell. Just install Accessories/Games.

Let me know if this Freecell game and the number of times we had to restart to solve the deal is about what you find. If you are going to attack deals 1-to-32000 and want to interact with us in that regard, let me know what thousand-or-so you are going to start with. We have completed deals through 1200. Now, we are attacking 1001-to-2000 and I would recommend you start with 2001! At the rate we are going (a little more than 100 deals a month) it will only take us 24 more years to complete the 32000 deals without your help. If you let us know what you have completed, it will take us less time!

  • Freecell Deal Number: 1136.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 9

    A nice, "easy" deal we found in deals 1100-1200 was deal: 1111.
    Although we completed the first time, we found it a nice test. Let me know how you do on deal 1111.

    Deal 598 continues to be the most difficult one we found in deals 1-1006.

Let me know how YOU do!

If you want to see our list of Freecell Deals 1-thru-what we are working on now and our comments on how many times we had to restart the deal to find a solution, let me know -- or click on: SCScompA Freecell Table of Completed Deals

To contact me about anything on this Web page, please: send mail to:

Or send snail-mail to:

P.O. Box 58223
Raleigh NC 27658


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