Wallpaper of the Week: Black Sand

This week’s wallpaper is a close up of wind sculpted black sand. Wind driven peaks and valleys create dunes with sharp edges, giving the illusion of a black sand desert. Individual grains of sand add texture and a bit of sparkle. This is a great background if you like dark backgrounds with some interest and texture. Icons work very well with this wallpaper.  Read More

Use These Two Online Photo Analysis Tools To Reveal Hidden Image Data

Digital images contain a lot of information. The data is stored as EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) and is written to your device storage every time you take a picture.

Some of the things you can discover by looking at the EXIF data of an image can include what make, model, (and sometimes the serial number) of your device, date and time the image was taken, resolution, size, whether a flash was used, and time zone. If geolocation is enabled, information can include where the photo was taken, latitude, longitude, altitude and direction information if the picture was taken with a GPS-enabled, camera-equipped smartphone.

EXIF data can be useful if you want to know when and where a photo was taken, used to organize photographs, perform searches, see what settings the device used to take a picture to improve your photography skills, or if you’re just curious about a photo’s properties.

EXIF data is retained if the image is uploaded to a site like Flickr and will be included in the downloaded image. Sites like LinkedIn and other social media sites strip the EXIF data when an image is uploaded. EXIF data also makes an image much larger to upload, so if you want to save space or decrease the load time for a website, stripping the EXIF data is useful.

Check out these three free tools to change a photo’s Exif data, remove metadata and hide dates as well as remove EXIF data from your photos:

Android: Photo Editor – Apps on Google Play
iOS: ā€ˇViewExif on the App Store (not free. If you know of a good, free iOS app that does this, please let me know)
Windows Phone: Get Picture Info – Microsoft Store

These two sites below will perform an online analysis of images. You can upload a photo from your device or use the URL of an image. If the data has been stripped from an image no data will show up in the results.  Read More

Learn How To Make Almost Anything At Instructables

Instructables is a place you can learn almost anything. It specializes in user-created and uploaded do-it-yourself projects that have clear step-by-step directions. The directions are text and photos, with video and downloadable PDF’s on most projects.

I’ve used Instructables over the years to learn a variety of things. Projects are submitted by users (or you can create your own how-to and upload it) and rated by the community. It’s a good alternative to sifting through YouTube videos. Some projects require certain skills, and if you don’t have them, a project will often link to an Instructable that does. For example, the stained glass clock project links to a how to cut glass Instructable.
Anyone can view the projects, but if you want to take a class, ask a question, add a tip, post a comment, upload a project or join a contest you’ll need to create a free account. You can log in with Facebook, Google, Twitter and Autodesk, or create an account using an email address.
Instructables is owned by Autodesk, creators of AutoCAD, among other things.

These are the main categories for projects, and you’ll find a huge array of how-to’s under every category.

Technology
Workshop
Craft
Home
Food
Play
Outside
Costumes

In addition to the main categories, there’s Pier 9. It specializes in how-to skills such as Wood Shop, Metal Shop, CNC Shop and 3D Printshop with accompanying workshop tutorials. Go visit, you might find something you didn’t know you wanted to make.  Read More

How To Restore Missing AppData Folder in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

Occasionally the AppData folder in Windows disappears from view in File Explorer. Here’s how to get it back.

By default, Microsoft hides important system files and folders from view to prevent them from being changed or deleted to prevent corruption of the Windows operating system. One of the folders that’s hidden from view is the AppData folder, which is fine until you need to access it. 

Whether the folder is hidden by default, or it becomes hidden for some other reason (mine disappears on a regular basis after updates) here’s how to be able to view it in File Explorer, or get it back if it disappeared after being visible.  Read More