Archive | December, 2011

Be Safe Using Public WiFi

30 Dec










Use Photo Fuse as a Tourist Remover!

28 Dec

How many times have you framed up the perfect photograph, only to have a random person walk right in the middle of your shot? It can be so frustrating!

Today I’m going to tell you about how you can use Windows Live Photo Gallery’s amazing Photo Fuse feature to remove people from your photographs!

All you need is at least two photographs – it doesn’t matter if you have people in both of them, just as long as you have more than one picture. Check out these photos…


To remove the woman, just open Windows Live Photo Gallery, select both photographs and click Photo Fuse. The program automatically lines up the photographs, and when it’s finished, all I have to do is draw a box around the person I want to remove. Windows Live Photo Gallery asks which version of the photo I like best: the one where someone is in it, or the one where someone is not.


Choose the one without a person and presto: a photograph with no one in it! Amazing!


This is Techspert Chase, on the Holland America Line Prinsendam, signing off, wishing you many tourist-free photographs!

New Features in SkyDrive

23 Dec

Did you know that your Windows SkyDrive was recently updated? Here are some of the cool, new improvements which will make your SkyDrive experience even more rewarding. 

Sharing one File or an entire Folder.

Now you can share one picture, document or file with one right click of your mouse. Here’s how;

1. Select your folder on SkyDrive with one left click of your mouse. When the folder opens right click the picture or pictures you wish to share; it will look like this;

Share Photos snip 1

2. If you wish to share an entire folder, select this option;

Share snip 4

3. Click on “Share” and the Option Menu will appear, it looks like this’;

Share Snip 2

4. Simply fill out the address box, insert a personal message and click Share; Your recipients will get a message that looks like this:

Share Photos snip 3

All they need to do is to select the attachment/link by clicking on it. Its that easy to share full quality pictures with anyone – anywhere –anytime;

For the Holland America Digital Workshop Powered by Windows

Frank Barcelona Techspert Noordam

Make Your Panoramics Even Better

18 Dec

Season’s Greetings to everyone, we have all entered the final countdown to christmas, only one more week!  And as an early gift to you all, I have decided to share helpfull tips.


Now if you haven’t used this already Windows Live Photo Gallery comes packed with some fantastic and unique tools, one of those great tools being the panoramic maker.  Have you ever had too much going on in one frame to fit it all in?  Take several shots with your camera side by side, import them into Windows Live Photo Gallery, select create, panoramic and these fantastic program will stitch all your photographs together.







All seems simple enough, however sometimes you may encounter some unusual effects… such as strange curves, overlapping, and distorted images.  Now don’t worry this isn’t anyone’s fault, it is all down to the dynamics of our camera and how the lens works and I’ll take a few seconds to explain not only why this happens but how to avoid it.

Many of you would of heard a photographic effect called “fish eye” where the image will start to bend and twist around the edges, sometimes making the tallest tower block look like a loose piece of string.  A lot of point and shoot cameras will have the ability to do this but on a much smaller scale and this is one of the main reasons for you images twisting and distorting when you create a panoramic.  Now the reason this happens is because your camera’s “focal length” is too low, the focal length is simply how the lens measures how far in or out it can zoom.

So to put this in perspective when we turn our camera on it will be at a focal length of about 18-20mm, however the human eye sees at a fixed focal length of about 50mm, meaning the camera will be able to see more through it’s lens than we can see with our eyes.  Give it a try, turn the camera on, hold it up to your eye and look through the viewfinder.  When you take it down your vision is a lot more narrow and you see much more through the camera!  Because our eyes have a much larger focal length our vision isn’t distorted.

So all you need to do is take a step back, zoom your camera in ever so slightly, adjusting the focal length and reducing the effect of the fish eye.  Here is an example:



The tree is squashed and narrow                The tree is exactly as you see it!


Give it a go next time you stitch those pictures together and see the results in your images.


Happy Holidays Everyone!


Rob Nicholson

MS Nieuw Amsterdam



Windows Live Writer – Polaroid Picture Plug-In

12 Dec
Hello Everyone, this is Elza your Techspert writing from the Digital Workshop on the ms Maasdam in Ft Lauderdale.
For all you crazy blog writers out there the Windows Live Writer is such a great program to use and create your blogs with.
With its added features of being able to upload some plug-ins for the program to make your blog look even more flashy than ever before…who wouldn’t want to use it!?  Smile
I have stumbled upon this new handy little plug-in called the Polaroid Picture.
It is such a great little tool to use to insert your pictures – a little bit of background shadow and you can even add a caption underneath it. Really nice!!


Go to your Insert Tab and select the “Add Plug-in” to the right on your ribbon.

Live Writer Blog Ribbon - Polaroid Plug-In_0

This will launch your internet browser and take you straight to the download page for this plug-in. Just click on the “Polaroid Picture” to download the plug-in and install.

Live Writer Blog Ribbon - Polaroid Plug-In_4

Once you’ve managed to install this plug-in it, will appear on your Ribbon – Insert Tab

Live Writer Blog Ribbon - Polaroid Plug-In


When you are ready to insert an image into your blog, go to the Insert Tab and select the Polaroid Picture Icon in the Plug-ins section.
The program will let you browse for your image on your computer. Select your image and insert it.
On your right hand side you will notice an editing column will appear for your image.

Live Writer Blog Ribbon - Polaroid Plug-In_1

You can change the size of your image, add your caption and make your caption display. Make sure you have that check box selected next to “Show Captionif you want the caption to show up underneath your photo. You can even Tilt your image for some effect and add some style which will put some album corners on your picture.

Live Writer Blog Ribbon - Polaroid Plug-In_2


Live Writer Blog Ribbon - Polaroid Plug-In_3
Hope you enjoy this feature as much as I am.  Happy Blog Writing!!


Elza Visser | Techspert
ms Maasdam

Organize better with Descriptive Tags

10 Dec

Descriptive tags are a great way to organize your pictures. Once tagged, they can easily be found again. For me, descriptive tags are a must. They help us get rid of those category-based folders so many of us have on our computer. We all have them! What are these category-based folders? They could really be anything – from sunsets to monkeys!

When we transfer our pictures from the camera to the computer we tend to put them into a folder based on the date/time they were taken. Say we just spent the day in St Thomas; a lot of people would create a new folder on their computer called “St Thomas” for the pictures from that day. But let’s say I also took a picture of the sunset as we sailed away. That sunset picture would be saved in the same folder as all the other St Thomas pictures. A lot of us would have also created a separate folder called “Sunsets” for our sunset pictures. In this case, a common thing would be to copy that sunset picture so you have it in both places, making it easier to find. I would be able to get it if I go to my “St Thomas” folder or the “Sunsets” folder.

The problem here is that the picture has now been duplicated and is taking up double the amount of space on your computer’s hard drive. For some people that picture may have even been placed in more than two folders depending on the other elements or subjects in the photo!

A very quick and easy way to eliminate the need for these category-based folders is by using descriptive tags.

Instead of copying a picture into a category-based folder, such as “Sunsets”, a descriptive tag of “Sunsets” can be applied to the photo. This descriptive tag is entirely digital and will not be displayed or superimposed on the photo in any way. At a later date I would be able to filter through my pictures by these descriptive tags or even search my computer for the word “Sunset” to find all the pictures with that “Sunsets” tag.

Wondering how this can be done? I like to use a free program called Windows Live Photo Gallery (this can be downloaded at The program will automatically show you all your pictures in the “My Pictures” folder on your computer!

ImageTo add a descriptive tag select the picture or pictures you want to apply the tag to, then choose “Descriptive Tag” from the ribbon at the top of the screen. This will pull up a panel on the right of the screen where you can type in the tag or tags you want. Be sure to click the enter key on the keyboard after you type in the tag; this will set it in place, which is shown by that tag being blue under where you just typed it.

A picture can have multiple descriptive tags, but you want to enter them all in separately. If I wanted to have the descriptive tags “Sunsets” and “Mountain Ranges” on the same picture, be sure to enter them one at a time. For example, I would type the tag “Sunsets” and click enter, then type “Mountain Ranges” and click enter.

Descriptive tags is just one way to organize your photographs. It’s definitely a worthwhile task, especially for those with lots of photos and those who take photographs of reoccurring subjects. So get rid of those category-based folders, free up some hard drive space, and try them out!

Craig Louis
ms Eurodam 

Windows Live Movie Maker

4 Dec

One of the things I like to emphasize in my Making Movies course is the fantastic controls the Live Movie Maker gives you for editing your video content.  The trimming tool and the set start and end point controls are easy to use and can allow you to put together very polished versions of your video clips.  Well I had one guest who has taken to the next level.  Bob Black, a guest sailing with me aboard the MS Amsterdam, produces an online web-course called Life 401 which simply explains complex investing concepts.  Well Bob after taking our Making Movies course decided to switch his production tool to WL Movie Maker because of it’s powerful but simple to use interface.

Produced entirely onboard the Amsterdam, we shot video clips of him lecturing, imported charts, and recorded audio tracks.  We took all these elements and seamed it all together in MM.  You can check out the video below!  What a powerful tool.

For the Set Start and Set Endpoint you use the Track Indicator (that thin black line at the front of a selected slide) as the cutline.  Simple roll your cursor over the Track Indicator and it becomes a hand.  When it does left click and you can move it over the video clip.  As you movie it you will see the segment that you at display in the preview window.  Find where you want to cut off and hit either the Start or End point.  Depends if you want to cut in front of the TI or behind the TI.  In a few moments you can remove that shaky beginning and shaky end to you film.  And don’t worry, you are not actually cutting up your original video clip.  Your original is safe on you hard drive.  You will be making a new movie, so play around, try something’s out, experiment, learn, and make something fantastic!

Will Bossen

Techspert – MS Amsterdam

Aperture and F-Stops? What does it all mean!?

2 Dec

Hello Everyone! This is Techspert Mollie blogging from ms Zuiderdam in Aruba! This is my very first contract and my second week ever working on a cruise ship! I happen to be freelance photographer before I got this job and therefore thought I would write about some advanced photography tips for all of those DSLR owners out there that have no idea about  F-stops, Aperture, and using those fancy lenses. I seem to get quite a few questions about these things during Techspert Time so I think this would be a great place to provide some of this information!


For starters, let’s talk about Aperture. Aperture impacts your Depth of Field in your images, or, another way to put it is the zone that is in focus. This aperture setting is also referred to as an F-Stop and affects the amount of light that is hitting the shutter of your lens. So in a nutshell, Aperture is what dictates how much light goes through your lens.


If your lens is wide open-More light can get through

If your lens is closed in-Less light can get through


Next we have the F-Stops. These are settings of the aperture in our cameras that are expressed in decimal numbers. However, these numbers work in opposite directions from how you may think they should work.


Higher Numbers=Less Light

Low Numbers=More Light


Each aperture has a range of Open to Close, in other words the extremes of completely opened, and completely closed. The in between settings in this range are known as the F-Stops. There are many different types of F-stops that are available on different cameras depending on the lenses used. For example,


a cheaper lens may only have an aperture of f/4 or f4.0, which doesn’t let in much light


a more expensive lens that has an aperture of f/1.6 or f1.6 which lets in more light


Hopefully you have found these tips helpful! Sometimes we buy cameras because they have so many features on them but we never know what they mean or how to use them. Maybe this will help take of the stress of learning about Aperture and F-stops!


Happy Cruising!


Techspert Mollie

Ms Zuiderdam