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Vector ease

Vectorization sounds complex, but in fact it's the fairly simple process of converting raster images, which we'll call "pictures," into vector sets that can be used in CAD, GIS, CNC, and similar digital design, control, and automation environments. Simple, yes; but elaborate in methods and processes. That's where WinTopo Standard enters the picture. It's a free tool for extracting vectors from JPEG, GIF, PNG, and other images. It's essentially a pared-down version of a pro tool, but its results are more than good enough for millions of users, apparently.

WinTopo's interface resembles … Read more

Pic Shrinker

Uploading images is to Net newbies what parallel parking is to new drivers: it takes a lot of trial and error to get it right. And Megabyte-size snapshots hog Facebook bandwidth. Fileminimizer Pictures 3 from Balesio is a free tool that promises to help solve both issues. It resizes image files by up to 98 percent without zipping and without sacrificing quality. Its Facebook Uploader Module also makes it easy to post your pictures on Facebook.

Fileminimizer's interface is businesslike but attractive, with subtle but effective use of color and highlighting to differentiate the various icons and controls. Most … Read more

Total image viewer

Vallen Jpegger is a fast, free, efficient image viewing tool that is capable of displaying virtually any kind of image file (more than 40 file types) as well as music, sound, and other files. It supports lossless JPEG rotation, so you can orient your snapshots without losing any data or clarity. It has fully scalable print support, a command-line option, slideshow mode, and a screenshot tool. It runs in both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions, including Windows 7. It also offers a huge range of language options, with more added all the time. It's designed for quickly browsing and … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1320: Facebook gets zit-o-vision! (podcast)

Flickr breaks a sweat as Facebook finally lets users upload and view high-resolution photos. Also, HP hires a CEO nobody's heard of, and Ballmer's bonus bummer: he's getting paid in unsold Kins.

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Pics by the batch

AutoBatch It from iRedSoft Technology is a batch image-processing utility consisting of two "modules," one that operates from the command line prompt, and another for timer-based operation that resides in the system tray. The program can save images as JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, and GIF files; add prefixes and suffixes to file names; resize images; and create thumbnails.

AutoBatch It is actually easy to use, even if you don't have much experience with the command prompt. The dialog-based interface has three sections: Image Processing Properties, for setting resizing options; Image Manipulation, which lets you set the interval … Read more

Little big pic

Digital camera owners will love Mihov.com's Image Resizer, a tiny, efficient bit of freeware that resizes your digital images, converts JPEG, GIF, and BMP formats from any one to the other, rotates images, performs grayscale conversions, and does a few more simple tasks related to getting your digital pics into the right size, orientation, and image quality for whatever you want to use them for: posting online, saving in a scrapbook, printing them out as snapshots, or emailing to friends and relatives.

At 363KB, Image Resizer is about as small a bit of software as you'll encounter … Read more

Quick images conversions

AZImage is a basic image converter that lets users quickly resize and convert images. The program's ease of use and a few cool extra features make this a good choice for conversion jobs of all sizes.

The program's interface is fairly intuitive and attractive, with three tabs that represent the steps in the conversion process. In the first, users select the images they want to convert; images can be selected individually, or users can select entire folds of images for batch conversions. In the next tab, users select the format, size, and destination for the new images. The … Read more

Friendly but pointless picture viewer

PicViewer is a perfectly nice image viewer, but it offers few features beyond the native functionality of Windows.

PicViewer integrates Windows Picture and Fax Viewer into a Windows Explorer-like interface. It is easy to navigate and offers standard Explorer features such as the ability to Favorite a folder. It also provides a bit of automation, such as a menu option to move or copy images to another directory, and the ability to create a list of external applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, to open a selected image. But the few seconds you might save using PicViewer's pull-down menus instead … Read more

JPEG creator

Office Convert All to Image Jpg Jpeg Free is a long, complicated title for a program that so quickly and easily converts files to JPEGs. With its simple layout and control, you don't have to like the program's name to like its results.

The program's interface consists of a single screen that lays out all the commands in a way novice and expert computer users will understand. By managing a few file trees and clicking a radio button or two, users will convert their files in a matter of seconds. An online Help file is available for … Read more

Simple picture locator

PhotoFinder saves users a great deal of time searching all over their computer for photographs. This incredibly simple program's results are quick and hard to beat, though users will have to experiment a little to get the hang of it.

This program offers such a simple interface that some users will need to retreat to the Help file immediately. The program's blank screen and short list of commands will present users with their photographic folders only after some blind clicking around. Luckily, though, once it is understood, mastery comes quickly. Users begin by visiting the File menu and … Read more