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Review: Tweak your images with easy-to-use PhotoPad Image Editor

PhotoPad Image Editor doesn't have the depth of features found in pro image editors, but it does have all the basic editing tools and lets you apply some neat effects without any specialized knowledge. If you don't want to get past a steep learning curve in order to edit your images, this is a very solid download.

The program installs very quickly, but in the last step you will be prompted to download Google Chrome and set it as your default browser, so uncheck the box if you don't want this extra. PhotoPad Image Editor's plain … Read more

Instagram gets intimate with private photos

CNET Update has no filter:

In this episode of CNET Update:

- Send photos privately on Instagram with a new direct messaging feature. Twitter also added the ability to send photos in a direct message. Sending messages with apps instead of SMS is a hot trend right now with a younger crowd, especially with apps like Kik, Line and Snapchat.

- See all images in Gmail by default on the desktop. The feature will roll out to apps next year.

- Prepare for the coming of the first Steam Machines. The console for PC games is releasing 300 units to beta testers. … Read more

How to find the system image tool in Windows 8.1

The system image tool in Windows might not be the tool that Microsoft prefers you use for backups, but it's still a good tool for migrations and disaster recovery. As CNET's Rick Broida found out painfully, Windows will behave unexpectedly every now and then, particularly after OS upgrades. This is where having a system image can be a big help.

We previously went over how to create a system image in Windows 8. However, if you upgraded to Windows 8.1 -- surprise! -- the tool isn't where it used to be. If you want to use … Read more

NASA releases Saturn 'hexagon' images like never seen before

A bizarre, funnel-shaped cloud formation churning around Saturn's north pole was first noticed in the 1980s in Voyager flybys. Eventually, this mass became known as "the hexagon."

Any images of this cloudy mass have been muted and blurry at best -- until now. NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured new images of the hexagon that show it off in all of its unearthly glory.

The hexagon is a unique six-sided jet stream with a roiling rotating storm at its center. It spans roughly 20,000 miles and whips up 200 mph winds. According to NASA, no other … Read more

A fresh approach to photography with our smartphones

Editors' note: This review was updated on December 5, 2013, with more detailed information we received about specific features from the developers of the app.

OKDoThis is the latest app to enter into the mobile photography space with a new twist for Instagram users. With a crowded market and new apps popping up almost daily, the fresh approach OKDoThis takes to chasing the success of Instagram is very appealing.

Setup The first thing you'll need to do after installing OKDoThis is set up an account. The account creation process is a breeze if you have either a Facebook or … Read more

Sony mulls purchase of Renesas chip plant, report says

Sony might acquire a chip plant in Japan that has heretofore been used to produce large-scale-integration (LSI) chips -- assuming it can find a way to change the facility's focus.

Sony executives have toured a Renesas Electronics plant in Japan to determine if it's a worthy acquisition, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the discussions between the companies. Before Sony puts in an offer, however, the company wants to see how difficult it would be to convert the facility into a CMOS production plant.

Renesas has been in a world of trouble … Read more

Click! Google rebuilds Android camera base for better photos

Want a better camera on your Android device? Google does, too.

For that reason, the company has overhauled the mobile OS's plumbing. Google has built deep into Android support for two higher-end photography features -- raw image formats and burst mode -- and could expose those features so that programmers could tap into them, the company said.

Evidence of raw and burst-mode photos in the Android source code surfaced earlier in November, but Google has now commented on the technology. Specifically, spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said the support is now present in Android's hardware abstraction layer (HAL), the part … Read more

Playing video games makes opponents think and feel alike

Researchers in Finland say they've found that even when a video game is competitive, playing it appears to bring emotional responses and brain activity in sync.

In fact, the effect actually increases as a game gets more competitive, the researchers out of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, the University of Helsinki, and Aalto University -- all in Finland -- report in the journal PLOS One.

In the study, participants played the game Hedgewars, which involves both managing one's own team of hedgehogs and using ballistic artillery to destroy as many of the opposing team's hedgehogs as possible. Basically, whoever kills more hedgehogs wins. To mix up the type and degree of competition, sometimes the players were playing one another, other times the computer.

All the while, the players were being monitored using facial electromyography (fEMG) to measure facial muscle reactions and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain activity.… Read more

Google to delete satellite image showing slain teen's body

Google is working to delete a satellite image from Google Maps that shows the body of a murdered teenager, the search giant said Monday.

Kevin Barrera, 14, was found shot to death on August 15, 2009, near railroad tracks in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Richmond. A satellite photo taken that day shows the teen's body on the ground, a police car, and officers examining the crime scene.

The case remains unsolved.

The teen's father, Jose Barrera, said he discovered the image last week and wanted the image removed out of respect for his son's … Read more

Source code snippets open door for raw photos on Android

Android device owners might be able to take photos in a higher-end raw format in the future, according to details tucked away in the source code for the mobile operating system.

As spotted by Ars Technica, Google programmers have been working on a revised camera interface that exposes new features to Android app programmers. Among the features in the "new camera API" (application programming interface) are support for raw photo formats and burst-mode shooting that can take a rapid sequence of photos.

It's not clear what the fate of the new interface will be. It was added … Read more