Family Computer Fun: Digital Ideas Using Your Photos, Movies, and Music

Overview

Family Computer Fun: Digital Ideas Using Your Photos, Movies, and Music will give you ideas for dozens of fun projects to enjoy with your family. The book starts with a quick tour of what's needed for the projects in the book, which doubles as a guide to buying a new PC or products to enhance your current one.

Projects in the book include creating custom photos albums to share, editing photos to add effects or retouch, uploading home movies to edit and burn to DVDs, sharing ...

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Overview

Family Computer Fun: Digital Ideas Using Your Photos, Movies, and Music will give you ideas for dozens of fun projects to enjoy with your family. The book starts with a quick tour of what's needed for the projects in the book, which doubles as a guide to buying a new PC or products to enhance your current one.

Projects in the book include creating custom photos albums to share, editing photos to add effects or retouch, uploading home movies to edit and burn to DVDs, sharing video or photos over the Internet, and turning a PC into a home recording studio. Later chapters offer a quick guide to streaming video and audio to a TV and stereo in the living room.

The author creates each project with tools that are both affordable and easy-to-use, and finishes with pointers to more advanced software should you want to explore further. Unlike other books on digital media, the activities in Family Computer Fun are designed with the family in mind, with software that anyone can use and projects that will be fun for the entire family to explore together.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789733788
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 6/22/2005
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Family Computer Fun: Digital Ideas Using Your Photos, Movies, and MusicAbout the Author

In his role as consumer education manager for Intel Corporation, Ralph Bond's mission is to travel North America, sharing with radio and television audiences how a home computer and the Internet can help families learn, create, communicate, and have fun. A twenty-four year veteran of the computer industry, Ralph began his career as a technical writer in 1981 while teaching night and weekend courses at Saddleback Community College (Mission Viejo, California).

Ralph has shared his home computing expertise via print and broadcast outlets for more than 10 years. His broadcast résumé includes appearances throughout the United States and Canada, averaging nearly 100 TV and radio interviews each year.

Regular media stops for Ralph include the nationally broadcast radio shows Into Tomorrow, Computer America, Computer Outlook, and The David Lawrence Show. Ralph also appears frequently on the NBC, CBS, and ABC television affiliates in Chicago, and in Canada he has appeared on the nationally broadcast City TV show. On the print side, Ralph has been quoted on the pages of USA Today, The New York Times, Esquire, the New York Post, the Boston Globe, Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, and the Globe and Mail, among other top newspapers.

His writing experience began in the 1970s when he served as a contributing editor in southern California with such publications as Art Week, Orange Coast Magazine, and the Orange County Metropolitan Journal where he served as a home computer products reviewer. During his years as one of Intel's PC Dads, Ralph authored numerous articles, and co-authored with Mark Ivey The PC Dad's Guide to Becoming a Computer-Smart Parent (1999).

Ralph received his bachelor's degree in art history with a minor in education in 1975, and in 1981 earned a master's degree in art history from California State University, Long Beach. Ralph lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his wife and seventeen-year-old son. His twenty-one-year-old daughter is a student at the University of Oregon.

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Read an Excerpt

IntroductionIntroduction

Are you stuck in a computing rut? Is your family computer only serving as an appliance for email, web surfing, and checking your stocks? Do you have the basics of PC operation nailed but feel left behind when it comes to all the cool digital photo, music, and video projects you see other people doing with their PCs?

If the questions above have your head nodding "yes" like a spring-loaded bobble doll, this is the book for you.

As Intel's consumer education manager, I've traveled throughout North America for the past 10 years, staging workshops and making hundreds of TV appearances demonstrating home computer projects. My time on the road has shown me that the overwhelming majority of home PC owners want to do more with their computers, but have little time to spare for in-depth hobbies. They know a modern PC can be a remarkable tool for personal creativity and expression, but constantly asking for help from tech-savvy friends, spouses, or even their kids doesn't seem to work. They're more than willing to learn new tricks, but they don't want to invest a ton of money or time pursuing an activity only to discover that it's not their cup of tea. Most importantly of all, they want to test drive a wide variety of rewarding activities and see tangible results quickly, all without having to become a computer engineer.

Am I talking about you? If yes, Family Computer Fun can be your guide to entry-level entertainment, communications, and personal expression projects including

  • Taking your digital snaps to the next level of creativity using photo-editing software

  • Creating animated photoalbum scrapbooks with pictures, text, and narration

  • Transforming your Web-connected PC into a worldwide radio jukebox, karaoke machine, or recording studio

  • Preserving your precious home movies by converting tapes into entertaining digital CD or DVD heirlooms

  • Using the Internet to conduct video conferences and make phone calls across the street or around the world

  • Accessing your digital photos, music, and even videos stored on a PC and playing them back via your home stereo and TV

Family Computer Fun offers a collection of home-tested, low-cost projects handpicked in response to what thousands of nontechie folks have told me are top items on their want-to-try list. Some projects require less than an hour to complete, while others are great half-day or weekend adventures ideally suited for a family team effort. And best of all, each project can be explored solo or with a spouse or friend, or shoulder-to-shoulder with your kids or grandkids.

Think of Family Computer Fun as being like a beginner's digital cookbook full of recipes you can enjoy in any order you like. Scan the table of contents, pick a chapter, and thumb through a project. You'll see that most projects open with a brief description and contain these key help elements flagged with handy icons:

Time—Estimate of the time you'll need to complete an activity

Materials—An ingredients list of software and hardware

Open Wallet Alert—Estimated budget to purchase hardware or software ingredients

Tip - Are You Hooked Yet?—Ideas and suggestions at the end of a project for growing your experience and skills

And like a good cookbook, each project offers step-by-step instructions enhanced by illustrations, tips, and notes that will make your PC more than just a mundane tool for balancing your checkbook.

Worried about being left in the dark by techno babble? Rest easy! Technical words and acronyms only appear if absolutely necessary and each is explained when it appears in the text or in a comprehensive glossary provided at the back of the book.

Stop! Family Computer Fun is not for everyone. To use this book you should have

  • A personal computer with Microsoft's Windows XP operating system (Home, Pro, or Media Center edition). All operating system and browsing illustrations are based on a Windows XP personal computer. If your PC uses Windows 95, 98, or Me, many of the projects here will work, but operations tied directly to the Windows XP OS might not. The overall assumption is you have a modern PC with the horsepower and features, such as USB 2.0 ports, that might or might not be present in PCs four years of age or older.

  • A command of basic PC operation. You should know how to turn on a PC, connect to the Internet, navigate drop-down menus using a mouse, create folders, and manage files.

  • A high-speed DSL or cable modem connection to the Internet. Downloading free trial software and interactive activities via the Internet underpins most of the projects. A slow dial-up connection to the Internet might quickly turn the projects from fun to frustrating.

Have you got what it takes? If yes, bring this book home and get ready to embark on an adventure to unlock the fun that's waiting inside your home computer. But as any Boy or Girl Scout knows, you shouldn't hit the trail or head to the campground without first making sure you're prepared. That's the job of Chapter 1, "Is Your PC Ready?," which contains quick exercises to ensure your computer is ready to go and its web surfing protection is up-to-date. With that bit of homework under your belt, you'll be set to explore any of the chapters in any order you like.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

1. Is Your PC Ready?

A Quick Gear Check.

PC Shopping Guide.

Make Sure Your PC Is Protected.

2. Get Creative with Digital Pictures.

Skills and Gear Check .

Project: Get Digital Pictures on Your PC from a Digital Camera.

Project: Get a Digital Scan on Your PC.

Project: Send a Photo Using Email.

Project: Adjust, Crop, Rotate, Get the Red Eye out, and Add Text to a Digital Photo.

Project: Turn Your Photo into a Color Charcoal Drawing, an Impressionist Style Painting, or an Antiqued Photo.

Project: Use Your Photos to Make a Personal Screen Saver and Slide Show.

Project: Stitch Photos Together to Create Stunning Panoramas.

Project: Put Your Digital Mug on the Body of a Sports Star, Caveman, or Cover of a Glamour Magazine.

Project: Make Your Digital Photos Talk, Blink, and Come to Life.

3. Share and Preserve Your Photos.

Skills and Gear Check.

Project: Store Your Family Photos Online.

Project: Make Digital Reproductions of Your Existing Paper Photo Albums.

Project: Restore Heirloom Photos.

Project: Create an Animated, Music-Enhanced Digital Album.

Project: Crank the Digital Album-Making Creativity Dial to Full Blast.

Using FlipAlbum to Preserve and Share Family History.

Project: Create Paperback or Hardbound Albums.

4. Lights, Camera, Action!

Skills and Gear Check.

Analog Versus Digital Video.

Project: Use FireWire to Connect a Digital Camcorder to a PC.

Project: Recording Your Analog Videos to Digital Cassette Tapes.

Project: Capturing Analog Video to Your PC.

Project: Install Sonic MyDVD.

Project: Record Digital Video Clips Using MyDVD.

Project: Record Analog Video Clips Using MyDVD.

Project: Edit Video Clips Using MyDVD.

Project: Create a VCD Using MyDVD.

Project: Make a Homemade DVD Using MyDVD.

Taking the Next Step.

5. Melt the Miles That Separate You from Loved Ones.

Skills and Gear Check.

Project: Buy and Install a Webcam.

Project: Use a Webcam with My Pictures and Windows Movie Maker.

Project: Install an IM Service.

Project: Conduct a MSN Messenger Video Conference.

Project: Turn Your PC into a Telephone.

Taking the Next Step in VoIP (Internet Phones).

6. Turn Your PC into the Ultimate Audio Entertainment Jukebox.

Skills and Gear Check.

Project: Rip Commercial Music Discs and Create a Custom Party Mix CD.

Project: Buy Music Online.

Project: Listen to Live Radio.

Project: Stream High-Fidelity Music via the Web.

Project: Explore Three Other High-Fidelity Web Music Services.

Project: Turn Your PC into a Karaoke Machine.

7. Turn your PC into a Recording Studio.

Skills and Gear Check.

Project: Purchase a PC Microphone and Learn How to Create Single Track Recordings.

Project: Create a Multitrack Recording Using the Free Audacity Program.

Project: Enter the World of Music Loops Using Super Dooper Music Looper.

Project: Dig Deeper into the World of Loops with ACID Xpress.

Where You Can Go From Here.

8. Enjoy Your PC’s Digital Media in the Family Room.

Skills and Gear Check.

Project: Connect Your PC to a Stereo.

Project: Use a Digital Media Adapter to Experience Digital Media on Your Stereo and TV.

Glossary.

Index.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2005

    your PC as a media centre

    Bond shows how your PC can be an invaluable and fun part of your life, if you want to capture and manipulate pictures, video and audio. The idea is to transform the PC into a digital media centre. Now, to be sure, there has been a lot of hype about this kind of thing, from vendors. Here, you can see for yourself what is easily achievable by an average or new PC user. Many of the comments in the first part of the book are directed towards a reader who might already have been taking traditional photos for years. (Decades?) Bond explains a photo editing package called PhotoShow. This can trivially remove redeye from your photos of people that you took with a flash, for example. With traditional photos, redeye was a constant affliction to be endured. But now, it is remarkably easy to remove. PhotoShow has many other features, of course. Like annotating a photo with text. Or rescaling and rotating the photo. Later parts of the book discuss manipulating audio and video. Not surprisingly, these operations are more intricate than simply editing single images. But Bond explains how, with the right software, you can also understand and apply these ideas.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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