PNG/MNG Construction Set and the newly-updated animation plugins with alpha-channel support – the 3D Effects #1 plugin set, as of this writing – allow the creation of animations with sophisticated translucent shadows. Place such an animation over a textured surface or a photograph and its shadow will darken the details of its background, but not obscure them.
Continue reading ‘Building an Alpha-Shadow Animation’ »
Your system tray – the rightmost area of your Windows task bar, usually inhabited by small icons and the Windows clock – will probably start looking like an aerial photograph of unsold cars if you have a lot of stuff happening on your computer. As the real estate occupied by the system tray reduces the available breathing room for the rest of the task bar, it’s worth adjusting your system tray’s behavior to minimize its footprint.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Thin Out Your System Tray’ »
Left to its own devices, Windows will present you with two relatively cumbersome ways to launch applications – you can select them from the Start menu or you can run the from icons on your desktop. The first typically entails a lot of clicking, ‘specially if you have a lot of toys installed on your system – and the second will mean minimizing anything you presently have running to drill down to your desktop.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Applications Groups’ »
Microsoft maintains a regular program of security updates and bug fixes for Windows. If you have Automatic Updates enabled – as well you should – they’ll download and install automatically as they’re released.
Once they’re installed, Windows will automatically reboot your computer to complete the installation. If you happen to be in front of it when it tries to do so, it will allow you to defer the restart, but it will nag you incessantly thereafter until you allow it to restart your system.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Preventing Automatic Restart after Windows Updates’ »
While an increasing number of Windows users browse the web with something other than Internet Explorer, Explorer certainly has its uses. Chief among these is a handy way to edit local HTML documents. Open the page in question on your hard drive, right-click on it and select View Source. The HTML document for your page will appear in Windows NotePad.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Changing the View Source Application in Internet Explorer 8’ »
Having long ago lost count of the number of USB storage devices that litter our offices, we’ve learned how to manage the beasts. The list of these things list includes not only USB flash drives and external hard drives, but toys like iPods, which are also effectively USB storage.
One of the perennial issues surrounding these devices is the assignment of drive letters to them. Windows does this automatically, of course, which is why you’ll probably need to know to manually override its behavior in time.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Changing a USB Device’s Drive Letter’ »
Periodically, Windows will wake itself up and upon displaying its desktop, open a message bubble to warn you that there are unused icons on your desktop. Chances are you’re aware of this situation, as Windows will have alerted you to the same observation previously. In some cases, Windows is actually correct in this belief, but its mechanism for determining whether a desktop icon is superfluous to its needs is somewhat flawed – allowing it to stir its wizard and remove the errant icons can be a really bad call.
Continue reading ‘Windows Adjustments: Unused Desktop Icons Bubble’ »
While its sounds like a fragment of dialog from a 1980s science fiction flick shot on a budget in an unnamed eastern European country, alpha channels are actually a profoundly useful feature of graphics… as long as you know what they’re really up to.
Continue reading ‘An Introduction to Alpha-Channel Animations’ »
Many of the Alchemy Mindworks applications – including GIF Construction Set Professional, Graphic Workshop Professional, Animation Workshop, PNG/MNG Construction Set and Presentation Wizard – have internal Paint functions that call Windows Paint. At least, they do if it’s been installed.
Should you click on Paint in one of our applications and discover that nothing much happens – or if the application hangs – you’re probably looking at a total absence of the Windows Paint application.
Continue reading ‘Quest for the Missing Paint’ »