Free HP Photo creations software link

In some of the HP ink I just purchased, there was a brochure inside that had a link for a free copy of HP Photo Creations software.

According to the HP website, “HP Photo Creations is free software that lets you easily create photo books, calendars, collages, greeting cards and other keepsakes that can be printed at home or shipped to you… With HP Photo Creations you can automatically make beautiful keepsakes with just a few mouse clicks; or you can take your time and customize your keepsakes with over 1,800 high quality artwork designs, 1,300 placeable graphics, placeable text boxes, custom fonts, borders, and dozens of photo editing tools.”

“Here are some of the keepsakes you can make with HP Photo Creations:

Print at Home

  • Landscape photo book pages (8.5″ x 11″ or 5″ x 7″)
  • Square digital scrapbook pages (12″ x 12″)
  • Prints and collages (4″ x 6″ up to 13″ x 19″)
  • Photo cards (4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″ or 4″ x 8″)

Ship to Home

  • Premium lay-flat books
  • Landscape, portrait or square photo books in a variety covers, colors and styles
  • Prints and Collages
  • Cards and Calendars
  • Posters
  • Collage gifts including mugs, mouse pads, puzzles, key tags and more.”

HP Photo Creations Software 01

HP Photo Creations Software 01

HP Photo Creations Software 02

HP Photo Creations Software 02

HP Photo Creations Software 03

HP Photo Creations Software 03

Unfortunately for Mac users, it’s PC only software. And at 15 MB, it’s a iTunes-sized download. But you can’t argue with free.

Here’s the link to the free HP Photo Creations software.

News stories the mainstream media missed : 05/29/10

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* There’s a few things you should never do before going to bed. One of them is to drink a glass of OJ after brushing your teeth. Whoof! Another one is to read Bloomberg. Aside from pointing out that this was the “worst May for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1940“, the site also says that the “Treasury 10-Year Yield Falls [the] Most in 17 Months on Europe Crisis“, “Bank Failures Climb to 78” for the year and “New Home Sales Set to Plunge in Former Bubble Markets” (that would be Phoenix and Las Vegas). All this, and yet, no weather report. Seriously, as much as I would loooooove to believe the worst is behind us, I have a bad feeling there’s some grade-a butt-ugly coming back around.

* So why is the market so freaked out this time? Maybe because “governments were the solution to the economic crisis. Now they are the problem.” D’oh! [ECONOMIST]

* Science now says the future can influence the present! So if I go nuts at a sushi buffet and cover everything in thick wasabi paste, down two egg rolls and drink one giant hot and sour soup, my future self can keep a massive tummy ache from happening? I accept that challenge! [DISCOVER]

* Science also says the cutting of babies’ umbilical cords “should be delayed to allow more vital stem cells and nutrients to flow from their mothers” and this extension of cutting “could also prevent anemia”. One doctor in on the research says “delaying clamping the cord for at least 30 seconds reduced incidences of intraventricular haemorrhage, late on-set sepsis, anaemia, and decreased the need for blood transfusions”. That’s actually pretty interesting! Go science! [TELEGRAPH.CO.UK]

* Craving knowledge and information all the time? It may be a sign you’re a junkie! According to this article/research, “the brain’s reward for getting a concept is a shot of natural opiates.” Well that’s just friggin’ peachy. However this does explain why a lot of scientists have the same hairstyle that crackheads do. [EUREKA ALERT]

* Good news / bad news! The good news is that a new ebola vaccine/inoculant is 100% effective in monkeys! Looks like my “flaming chainsaw with ebloa” will soon no longer be as terrifying! Yay! The bad news? They’re injecting monkeys with “massive doses of the most lethal strain of Ebola” as part of their tests. 28 Days Later anyone? [NPR]

* Google has $26.5 billion in CASH MONEY? Google is hiring Wall Street vets to handle this $26.5 billion pile?!? Google even launched its own trading floor? Dude. I just got the plot for Ocean’s 14! [BUSINESS WEEK]

That’s it! Back Monday!

FDA: Xenical and Alli weight-loss meds may cause severe liver injury

It’s not a good week for mainstream drugs! The FDA just announced a study of theirs that indicates taking Xenical and/or Alli may cause severe liver damage.

The FDA did say this is a fairly rare occurrence, but “patients taking the weight-loss medication orlistat, marketed as Xenical and Alli” need to check with their doctors if they get any symptoms of liver damage, including “…itching, yellow eyes or skin, dark urine, loss of appetite, or light-colored stools.”

Here’s the link the FDA article.

FDA: long term use of proton pump inhibitors (Nexium/Prilosec) increase serious bone fracture risk

Yikes! The FDA came out today with a study that says long term use of proton pump inhibitors will greatly increase the risk of fractures on the hip, wrist, and spine.

I’m not a doctor, but I do know getting a fracture on the hip or spine is the “flaming chainsaw with ebola in your face” kind of bad. It’s not something you want to have happen to you!

Of course the FDA says it better than I do…

“Epidemiology studies suggest a possible increased risk of bone fractures with the use of proton pump inhibitors for one year or longer, or at high doses,” said Joyce Korvick, M.D., deputy director for safety in FDA’s Division of Gastroenterology Products. “Because these products are used by a great number of people, it’s important for the public to be aware of this possible increased risk and, when prescribing proton pump inhibitors, health care professionals should consider whether a lower dose or shorter duration of therapy would adequately treat the patient’s condition.”

“Proton pump inhibitors, available by prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. Prescription proton pump inhibitors include esomeprazole (Nexium), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (Aciphex). Prescription proton pump inhibitors are used to treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach and small intestine ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus. OTC versions, used for the treatment of frequent heartburn, include omeprazole (Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC) and lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR).”

Seriously? If you take Nexium or Prilosec (or any of the other proton pump inhibitors mentioned above), run this news by your doctor. These kinds of fractures are life-changing kinds of bad.

Here’s the link to the FDA article.

Space shuttle Atlantis returns home safely and is now officially retired

It’s the end of an era. The space shuttle Atlantis made it back home safely today and is now officially retired after 25 years of service. Unfortunately there are only two missions left for the space shuttle program before it is completely discontinued.

So how is this fairly important event covered in the mainstream media?

  • CNN has it buried under “BP readies ‘top kill’ to cap Gulf oil leak” and “Everyday plastic, toxic fears”.
  • MSNBC actually has it prominently on the sidebar! (Thanks MSNBC!)
  • FOX has it buried under “BP admits it made critical mistake”, “DOJ Preps for U.S. vs. Arizona”, “Civilians Dead in Bloody Jamaica Battles”, “GOP Rep.: Job Offer to Sestak a ‘Crime'”, “Ahmadinejad Urges Obama: Accept Nuke Swap Deal” and “U.S. Army Outgunned in Afghanistan?”

The space shuttle was so incredible, it became commonplace. Launches were no more spectacular or captivating in the last few years than it was to start a car or make a pot of coffee. But every single time those rockets lit, it took several human beings and the best tools we have right now to the edge of space and then brought them all back. Over and over and over. It went, it came back. It went, it came back.

And now one of the greatest tools and greatest accomplishments science has ever made is now archived. Retired. And the news of this epic denouement is almost muted in the background because of all the constant problems still running rampant in the world.


So now what? Unmanned rockets? Relying on Russia to deliver our cargo into space? Privatization of space travel where only the über-wealthy can go for the novelty of it? Letting the military have the only shuttle program? Chopping up the shuttle and selling it for parts?

Where’s the impetus to further science? Where’s the drive to see what’s what’s out there? What’s the plan for the next step forward here?

Nuts. Nuts to all of this.

Here’s the official press release from NASA…


RELEASE: 10-124


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space shuttle Atlantis and six astronauts ended a 12-day journey of more than 4.8 million miles with an 8:48 a.m. EDT landing Wednesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The third of five shuttle missions planned for 2010, this was the last scheduled flight for Atlantis. The mission, designated STS-132, delivered the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 to the International Space Station. Also known as Rassvet (“dawn” in Russian), the module provides additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.

Ken Ham commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers.

The mission’s three spacewalks focused on replacing and installing components outside the station, including replacing six batteries, installing a communications antenna and adding parts to the Canadian Dextre robotic arm.

A welcome ceremony for the astronauts will be held Thursday, May 27, in Houston. The public is invited to attend the 4 p.m. CDT event at Ellington Field’s NASA Hangar 990.

Highlights from the ceremony will be broadcast on NASA Television’s Video File. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

STS-132 was the 132nd shuttle flight, the 32nd flight for Atlantis and the 34th shuttle mission dedicated to station assembly and maintenance.

With Atlantis and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the launch of shuttle Discovery on its STS-133 mission, targeted to lift off in September 2010. Discovery’s flight will deliver the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module to house experiments. STS-133 also will bring critical spare components and a cargo carrier to the station. Robonaut 2, or R2, will be the first human-like robot in space when it flies on Discovery to become a permanent resident of the station.

For more information about the STS-132 mission and the upcoming STS-133 flight, visit:

For information about the space station, visit:

Sony Bloggie HD camera review

Bloggie HD camera

Bloggie HD camera

I bought the Sony Bloggie HD Video Camera on a whim a few weeks ago. The TL;DR version is that I don’t recommend the Bloggie mainly because the similarly priced model from Sanyo stomps all over it.

Looking at the HD bloggie specs, you would think it would be at least a silver medalist in the entry-level HD camera arena. Unfortunately, after I have used it for twenty days, I think it should have taken a little more prep time before hitting the market.

Right up front, let’s get some test videos out of the way.

Here’s a field shot, taken at midday in 1280×720…

Same field, same time, but this one is at 1920×1080…

Right. On to the technical details!

The camera records in 4 settings. Using a standard SDHC 8 gb memory card…

  • 1080 at 30p gives you 1 hour and 15 minutes of recording time
  • 720 at 60p gives you 3 hours and 05 minutes of recording time
  • 720 at 30p gives you 4 hours and 58 minutes of recording time
  • VGA mode at 30p gives you 8 hours and 15 minutes of recording time

There is an image stabilization option for the VGA and 720 at 30p video settings, but not for the 720 at 60p or 1080 settings. This becomes extremely evident when shooting outdoor “moving” shots, or just holding the camera as you are walking. Every little bump or heavy step will make the video jump like it was broadsided by a speeding 18-wheeler semi truck on fire. If you are staying still, or just tracking a moving object, it’s not too bad though.

The camera design is similar to Sanyo’s. A USB cable under the rear panel pops out for connecting to a PC or Mac…

Bloggie 02

Bloggie 02

…but whoever designed this plug was apparently guessing about laptop heights because the camera plug is higher than the USB ports on my HP, Dell, and Mac laptops.

Bloggie 01

Bloggie 01

The camera’s USB connector does not have a swivel joint, so you’re stuck connecting it straight in. The only way to connect this camera to the USB ports on my computers was to either prop up the laptops about 1/2 inch on the USB side or to use an extender cable that was included with he camera. (Another specialized cable to carry around! Yay!) Plus it’s a port hog. Once it’s plugged in, you won’t be able to reach any usb ports near the one the Bloggie is plugged into.

Some other “bad camera!” bullet points….

  • The LCD panel useless in daylight. You can not see what you’re shooting. Check out the photos below. The LCD is on full brightness in both photos.
Bloggie 06

Bloggie 06

Bloggie 07

Bloggie 07

  • You can only charge this camera through a USB connection to your PC. There’s no wall charger included.
  • There is no flash on the camera. (The Sanyo has one on their HD camera.)
  • The optical zoom is only 5X. (Sanyo has 10X)
  • There are no manual override camera settings at all. You’re stuck with what the bloggie feels like shooting in video and in “still” camera mode. (And this is a big big big problem for me.)
  • The low light camera recording quality is very poor.
  • Any sort of nighttime imaging and recording is useless. You will get nothing but solid black. (My un-modified first generation iPhone takes better video AND still images at night than this 2010 Sony camera!)
  • Video takes a long time to re-focus on any zoom shot.
  • The still camera images seem blurry and not as sharp as images from a “regular” camera.
  • The gloss camera finish absorbs fingerprints – the camera gets dirty and ugly in seconds. (Sanyo used a matte finish. That’s a much better design!) Here’s a “clean” and “used” comparison…
Bloggie 04

Bloggie 04

Bloggie 03

Bloggie 03

  • Playback is limited to what’s on screen. There’s no “NEXT” or “PREVIOUS” option. If you want to jump to a second video while watching a video currently in playback mode, you need to back up to the menu and choose the next video. Highly frustrating.
  • The mac version of the software has no “info” options and is very limited in scope.
  • If you have anything over medium-large hands, you may accidentally cover the microphone when you hold it. You’ll have to get used to the “three fingers kung-fu grip”. The next photo shows the microphone covered, the second shows the “three fingers kung-fu grip” and the microphone on the curve of the HD camera exposed.
Bloggie 08

Bloggie 08

Bloggie 09

Bloggie 09

OK, now the good parts….

  • It does have an HDMI and Video out, so you can plug it straight into a HDTV.
Bloggie 05

Bloggie 05

  • The Bloggie does come with HDMI and RGB cables and a USB extender cable, so you can plug into anything right out of the box.
  • The camera does very well in indirect daylight and well-lit indoor areas. It’s also fairly water resistant.
  • The microphone picks up everything. Great sound quality.
  • The 720 at 60p is outstanding.
  • The 1080 setting is a knockout. Just don’t move much or you’ll get the “Blair Witch Barfs”. (NOTE; Earlier this week I recorded a recent downpour in the area in 1080 and the video made it on to the local news station. So the 1080 (or 720 at 60p) is perfectly acceptable for HD broadcast.)
  • The zoom feature, once focused after the zoom, stays focused even on moving objects.
  • It takes SDHC cards and Sony’s “stick of gum” style memory.
  • It’s a featherweight. I find myself carrying it everywhere and shooting things on a whim. Citizen/Underground journalism FTW!
  • I’m shooting more 1080 HD video and taking less still images with my digital camera.
  • Plugging it in to a PC with the window closed just charges the unit. You have to open the window to power on the unit to access the photos and movies. Good security feature!
  • Software to use the camera is pre-loaded, so you don’t have to worry about installing the Bloggie’s transfer software on new machines, but you can also just drag-and-drop the movies and images out of the respective drives that appear when you plug in the camera if you don’t want to mess with the software.

Overall, I think it is a good camera for everyday use and it works well for recording HD movies if you have a steady hand. The portability of the device makes it easy to shoot HD movies all the time wherever you go. However, despite the good points, there are superior HD cameras for the same price as this one. (IE: Sanyo’s Xacti).

The Bloggie isn’t bad at all, but I really expected better from Sony.

Three and a half out of five stars.

You can also see the Sony MHS-CM5 bloggie HD Video Camera at Amazon.