Archive | March, 2012

Instant, Boolean, and Natural Language Searches in Windows 7

30 Mar

In my class on Windows 7 today we learned about the instant search feature in the Start menu. Searching for the name of any program, file, folder, or control panel feature on your computer will make it appear in a results list.

Did you previously have trouble finding things like “defragment your hard drive” in the control panel (multiple mouse clicks deep in the control panel organizational structure)? Instead of that headache, simply search for the three letters d-e-f in the search box and watch it find what I need. No more frustrated digging, just search and in two steps you are where you want to be.

What about those items you don’t recall the exact name of? Maybe I just finished writing a dissertation on Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, but don’t remember that I named the file mothergoose.doc. I do remember that a phrase in the dissertation said “the cow jumped over the moon”. I can search for that phrase in quotes and Windows 7 will know to look for any file that has that exact phrase in the title or contents if the file. Pretty smart huh! There are other boolean search operators you can also use like or and not and it will refine results down to things that have either word or one word but not the other.

For example: mother or goose will show results for any file containing either word. But mother not goose will eliminate any result that has the word goose.

Boolean search involves math language. I’m allergic to anything that even looks like math, so if you are like me maybe you would prefer a different way of searching for files, folders, programs and features in Windows 7.

Doing a web search for boolean search help and tutorials I came across an article from Microsoft regarding another option for searching called “natural language searching” in Windows 7. This style of search is highly sophisticated for the computer but easy for the person searching as you can type a natural sounding sentence and watch as it does the filtering. Check out the article at the link below.

If you have struggled to locate things before, it is my hope that using either boolean search or natural language in your searches helps you finally find what you’re looking for on your hard drive. 🙂

-Trisha the Techspert on the ms Nieuw Amsterdam


Get Out Of My Shot!

26 Mar

Hi Everyone,


Rob here from the Eurodam in the sunny Caribbean!  I’m here to help you all with something we all thought only the top digital artists in the world could do, remove someone from a photograph.  We’ve all be there, found the perfect shot you take a few moments to compose the picture when all of a sudden everyone in the area starts to walk into your picture.


With a few simple steps I can show you how to completely remove these people from your photographs using the Photo Fuse option in Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Here I have a picture taken in our Explorations Cafe onboard the Eurodam:


There are people everywhere and I don’t want to come back at a different time to retake the shot, so I simply let everyone move around and keep snapping away.  Now the idea is I am going to have a handful of pictures of the same shot but people are going to be in different places every time.  The Photo Fuse function will allow me stick together my photographs and choose the part part from each photo to make my perfect picture.  All I have to do is select the person I want to remove and replace the area from another photgraph when no one was there!

So first of all open up Windows Live Photo Gallery, select your photographs and click Photo Fuse under the create tab.




Next select to person to remove:




From the “Which do you like best” window scroll through the options untill to find a photograph with nobody in that area and select it:




And just like that they disappear!


Just remember aslong as you take a picture when no one is there, you can composite all your photographs together and fuse people out of your shot!  Soon enough you will have a picture with no one ruining it.




For more information on photo fusing consult our Creative Photo Editing handout.


Good luck taking people free shots!







Using Windows Apps on any Internet Enabled Device

15 Mar

SkyDrive allows internet users to create documents and presentations on the internet with a light version of Microsoft Office for free! Even if you have an android based tablet, smart phone or an Ipad or IPhone, you can use the power of Word, Excel and Power Point to create and share projects, documents and pictures with anyone – anywhere. Simply go to  and sign up for a free account.

skydrive snip 1

Then click on any of the included Windows Apps, (see below)

skydrive snip 2

Next Create your document by naming it and filling in the text you wish to use.

skydrive snip 3

Fill  out your document and save it to your SkyDrive Account;

SkyDrive Snip 4

Next Click on the Share button to send this file to someone’s email (this is an invitation only, so the email size is very small. They can then download or even work on the document with you (if you give them permission).

skydrive snip 5

You can ever send your recipient a message along with the file you wish to share.

skydrive snip 6

So now you know how to create Microsoft Office documents, spread sheets, and presentations with any internet enabled PC, Tablet, Phone or E-reader. Its easy and a great tool to use while traveling. Try it when you get a chance.

For the Holland America Digital Workshop, powered by Windows, I am

Frank Barcelona Techspert Zuiderdam

Black, White and Colored Photos with Photo Gallery

12 Mar

Hi Folks,

     Kristin here, reporting live from the Zaandam ported in Sihanoukville, Cambodia wanting to share with you a little trick that Windows Live Photo Gallery allows you to play with.  We’ve all seen these lovely pictures that photographers take with fancy cameras that allows you to play with coloring filters that will make you pictures be black and white but leave a few things in color. However, Windows Live Photo Gallery allows us to be able to this without messing with any of our camera settings. Using the photo fuse feature in the Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 we can be able to accomplish this same feat.

When you have a photo that you want to use to create a black, white and color, the first thing that you must do is to make a copy of the photo and convert it into black by following the directions listed below.

First thing is to take a colored picture.


Make a copy of this picture and turn it into a black and white using the black and white effects you will find in the top of your ribbon


You must now Fuse these two pictures together. First select the two pictures by holding down the control key on the keyboard and then click on the two pictures while holding down the control key.


Then select the Photo Fuse Option


You Will then get your base picture (below)


You then need start creating squares around the objects you want to be in color. (In my case the lanterns)


When it asks you which you do like best select the colored option. And it will return that object to its original color.


And then you continue on with the other objects.


Eventually you will end up with a truly stunning and unique photograph.


Well that’s all from me today folks. Hope you enjoy this little tip and happy picture taking!

Cheers from the Zaandam,


Taking Panoramic photos to the next level using Microsoft Photosynth.

4 Mar

Hello this is Aiden, checking in from the wonderful MS Volendam. We are currently sailing in the south pacific and are enjoying some great weather as well as some great ports of call. MSVODM

If you are reading this blog, chances are you have cruised with Holland America Line and have attended one of the workshops in the HAL Digital Workshop.  One of the items we cover is how to take Panoramic pictures using any camera and the Windows live Photo Gallery Stitching Feature.

What I would like to talk about is how to take those Panoramic 2 dimensional images and turn them in to an interactive  3Dimensional experience.


Here is a panoramic shot from the Ports of Call Plaques. Using the Stitching feature you can capture all of the plaques in one shot. However, what if you would like to read these? Or check them out from the other side of the hall?

DSC_6959 Stitch



However what if you would like to read these? Or check them out from the other side of the hall?

Photosynth in action

Here is how we get started

First you need to download Photosynth by clicking the link below or you can  Open Windows live Photo Gallery. You will find it under the create tab.

Click here to download Photosynth


Once you have downloaded the program it is time to start snapping some pictures. The trick to taking photos that will work well with the Photosynth program is to overlap, but unlike the panoramic feature you want to change your perspective. b looggggg

Once you have the photos you will need to open Photosynth and select the photos that you would like to use. I have found that dragging them from WLPG( Windows live Photo Gallery) works best.



1) Enter in a name for the project

2)Add photos

3) Let the Magic Begin. BLOGGGG

Depending on your Internet Connection, the uploading could take a few Minutes. Trust me, the results are worth the wait.

Check out some of the work of others at


I hope this keeps you busy for a while,

Over and out,