Category Archives: Software

Open source software available for graphic design and web design.

Youtube Video – Create Old Paper Effect In Gimp

With all the web designing, social networking and trying to get my site up and functioning, I just haven’t had time to do any graphic design work. According to twitter, today is #NationalDrinkWineDay so I decided to crack open a bottle of wine when I got home from my day job, and play around with one of my favorite graphics programs, Gimp. My idea of a little rest and relaxation.

I wanted to do something a little different and came across this video on Youtube of a guy creating a old paper type of effect. The end result looks like an old pirate map. He uses the basic program, with the basic filters, the only thing you might need is a good set of grunge brushes, so if you don’t have those, go to your favorite search engine,search Gimp grunge brushes, and then watch the video. Enjoy.

Domain Registrar Review Network Solutions

Domain Registrar Review, Network Solutions. STAY AWAY ! PROBLEM RESOLVED FINAL NOTES AT END OF POST

Bloggers Note : Update, I sent out an angry tweet on this topic, the day I posted this. @netsolcares which apparently is Network Solutions twitter account sent me a message saying they could get the charges reversed. I called back customer service, told them I was referred by @netsolcares and they say they are taking care of the problem and will be sending a check for the billing difference. I’ll keep everyone updated on this as things unfold !

    I really feel like these folks took me for a ride. Before I get started I should be clear that I never really liked this company. However, after this last experience I can honestly say STAY AWAY FROM NETWORK SOLUTIONS. There are a ton of companies available to register domains, and I strongly suggest using any registrar other than Network Solutions.

    What happened you ask ? I registered a domain a year ago for 75 cents. That’s a great deal and thought, for that price, why not ! Network Solutions, automatically enabled auto renew, again no big deal, it was for a customer, and this is a good security feature to make sure your domain doesn’t expire. What they don’t tell you is that they auto renew the domain 2 months before it expires. That in itself isn’t that big of a deal, but wait there’s more.

    So, the site gets auto renewed in Dec (I had no clue it would be auto renewed 2 months early), and the domain name doesn’t expire till February. I had the reminder set up in my phone planner for the end of January. The reminder pops up, thinking I only had a few weeks before the domain expires, I price renewal rates. To renew with Network Solutions would cost a little under $40.00 I can transfer the domain to another company I deal with for $15.00 bucks with a 1 year renewal included so I go ahead and start the process of transferring the domain. As soon as I unlock the domain and try to get an authorization code, it gives me a special offer to renew the domain for $10.00. GREAT I THINK, that’s fair, besides I felt a little guilty transferring the domain after registering it for .75 cents. So I sign up for the $10.00 renewal. I then get my bill, and discover the domain is registered till 2016. O.K. what gives ? How did that happen ?

    I go through the billing history and that’s when I discovered that the domain was auto renewed two months early ! So now the domain was autobilled in December for 30 something dollars, and renewed again for an additional year, for another 10 dollars. The way the whole thing went down was really shady ! So I call customer service explain what happened and ask why it was done this way .

    Now granted this is partly my fault. I should of been paying attention, I hadn’t checked the email account that this domain was registered with, I should of been watching the billing statement for the credit card more closely, and I probably should of read through the terms of service a little more thoroughly.However, allowing me to renew when it already was rebilled is shady as hell. I’m very confident they have the whole thing set up this way purposely. I can’t put into words how shady this was. The bottom line is I feel duped ! Network Solutions made a dupe out of me !

    The worst part of this is that I never liked this company. Back in the early 90’s I had a problem with these guys, but back then they were the only game in town. If you wanted to register a domain you had to more or less go through Network Solutions. It took almost 30 years to pass for me to deal with them again, and I would strongly discourage anyone from using there service. They’re no longer the only game in town and there are a lot of much better registrars out there. STAY AWAY FROM NETWORK SOLUTIONS.

    I guess the idea is to charge .75 cents for a domain, get the new customer, and then bill them 2 months early to sell them an overpriced renewal at close to 40 bucks. charges less than half that !

    I could rant about this for another 1000 words but I wont. The way the whole thing went down was really shady, I never plan on dealing with these guys again, and I do plan on blogging, designing web pages, and doing everything in my power to discourage people from using Network Solutions. Yes, it’s partly sour grapes, but a respectable company shouldn’t behave like this and I really thought the customer service department over there would do a bit more for me. Bloggers final note : The problem was rectified, I won’t be building web pages or blogging about them anymore. I HOPE.

    Final notes and resolution
    I received the refund check, everything is taken care of. It took almost 3 weeks for the refund check to arrive, no big deal. All in all Network Solutions does what they’re paid to do. After a year of dealing with them there was no technical problems with service. I never noticed any problem with domain pointing, or traffic outages due to their company. I still don’t like the way they set up the billing, I certainly don’t like the way customer service handled my complaints on the matter, and if it wasn’t for @netsolcares on twitter the problem may have never been rectified. Click here for final notes on this issue.

Create A Seamless Fall Leaf Background Using Gimp

autumn_leaves.jpgIn true Buffalo N.Y. fashion September arrives and the weather starts to change quickly. I woke up this morning to dark cloudy skies, rain, and already the leaves are starting to change from brilliant hues of green to the lovely autumn rusts of fall. It put me in the perfect mood to work on the blog, and make some seasonal changes. I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and also post a simple Gimp tutorial on making a seamless background for your website, or blog.

The image I’m using for this tutorial can be found here. Image credits go to CarolinaJG at If you’ve never used before it’s a great place to find stock photography for your graphic design projects.

O.K. this should be pretty simple to follow. I’m hoping you have a basic idea of how Gimp works. In the future I’ll post some more in depth tutorials on the different tools and functions Gimp has to offer. For now I’m just going to post the basics of how to make a seamless tile using Gimp.

Step 1) Download the image from morgue file, or find one of your own. You’re going to turn the image into a seamless background, so the image should have some sort of pattern to it to begin with.

Step 2) Open the image in Gimp.

Step 3) Now in the toolbox that is usually placed on the left hand side of your screen, click on the rectangle select tool, click on fixed aspect ratio in the toolbox options and then make a perfect square on a section of the image. This can be achieved by clicking on the upper left hand corner of the image and then dragging it down to the lower right hand corner. Click on the center of the square and this will allow you to place the square on the section of the image you want.

Step 4) Now at the top of the screen  click on the image drop down  and in the drop down click on crop to selection.

Step 5) Now return to the top of the screen, click on the image drop down again, and this time select scale image and resize the image to 250 x 250 pixels.

Step 6) Now again at the top of the screen, click on filters, map, and select make seamless.

That’s it ! Your done. Save or Export the file as a .jpg image depending on what version of Gimp you’re using. You now have a seamless tile that you can use on a blog, website, or pattern fill in Gimp.

Some additional things I did to the image.

At the top of the screen I clicked on Colors and selected the color balance and adjusted the various color levels to bring out the reds, oranges and autumny colors of the leaves. I also changed around the brightness and contrast levels a bit.


After recovering from my first Linux disaster, I promise I’ll post more on that in the next couple days. I wiped Windows from my system and did a minimal install of Fedora 18 KDE. So long Windows ! After the install, I played around a bit to see exactly what was pre-installed in my computer, removed the packages I had no use for, and found a couple interesting surprises. My favorite one is KColorChooser.

One of the things I love about Linux is all the great software available for graphic design, and web design. KColorChooser is another great example of some of the great software available for designers. This is a really simple program that allows you to select colors from either the color pallete, or anywhere on the screen. Now that I’ve been doing a lot of web design I’ve wanted to look for a program just like this. This is the perfect program to use when you’re developing your color schemes on web pages, and graphics. Read More Here.

Use Gimp to center a Google profile or avatar picture.

I got the company set up on Google plus the other night. There’s nothing there right now, but I figured I may as well do it sooner than later. A few things have changed over there, and the avatar or profile image is a little different. I thought I’d do a quick Gimp tutorial on centering a profile picture or user avatar on Google Plus.

The profile picture is still 250 x 250 however the image is circled now, so friends, family, and followers will only see the center of the image posted. This easy tutorial will teach you how to center the image just right, and if you use something other than Gimp like Photoshop, or Paint Shop you should be able to make this work as well.

Open Gimp or the image manipulation program of your choice and make a new document, 250 x 250. Now use your fill tool and select the color you want to use as a background and click inside the document. Now open up the image you want to use as the profile pic as a new image or document. Click copy, and then paste it as a new layer in the profile document. Press the scale tool and scale the image to 250 x 250. Now with the ellipse tool start at the upper left hand corner of the document and drag it down to the bottom right hand corner of the document. This should give you a circle of dotted lines or marching ants that just touch each side of the document. You’re really just using the ellipse tool as a guide, to place your image in. The circle is exactly how your image will be centered. Now click on the move tool, center your image, and your done. At the top of your window, go to Select, and click none. This removes the ellipse, and then click file, export, and name the file whatever you_want.jpg. Your done, you now have a perfectly centered profile or avatar pic for Google Plus.

nad_a_tarHere’s how mine came out. You can see it in action here. While you’re there make sure to add us if you found this helpful. Hoped this helped and thanks for reading !