Snapseed – My favorite mobile photo editing app

Pop Quiz CTL subscribers. You take a photo with your smartphone and you need to tune it up. What app do you use?  There are some very easy and powerful apps. My favorite is Snapseed that is available on both Android and IOS.  Snapseed has all the usual tools

  • Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Highlights, Shadows
  • Crop, Rotate, Sharpening,

Snapseed also contains several powerful tools

  • Healing – taking out blemishes and objects
  • Transform – Vertical and horizontal perspective
  • Filters – Changing the mood of your photo

Below are three photos. The first is untouched.  The second is a change in the perspective and the removal of the graffiti. The third is the addition of a mood changing filter.

Run, don’t walk and get your free copy of Snapseed.





101 Most Useful Websites

Pop Quiz CTL subscribers.  Can you name 6 websites other than the usual suspects (google, yahoo, msn, apple, etc) that you go for useful information.

How about:

  1. – record movies of your desktop and send them straight to YouTube.
  2. – scan any suspicious file or email attachment for viruses.
  3. – gets answers directly without searching   – see morewolfram tips.
  4. – a simple online timer for your daily needs.
  5. – share you screen with anyone over the web.
  6. – easily highlight the important parts of a web page for sharing

Want to find out the other 95 then run don’t walk to Digitial Inspiration and give yourself at least an hour to peruse through all the sites.

digital_inspiration_-_Google_Search 2


End Of The Year Goodies

Attention Apple Products Users .  Apple through the Itunes Store is offering  12 days of gifts until Jan 6th. Today is a download of the Martin Scorcese Film  Hugo.

It´s a download with a value of $19.99. You can find the app in the App store under ¨12 Days¨.  You may need a VPN if you´re in Ecuador but certainly worth a try if you don´t have one.


Researchbuzz is one of my favorite tech news sources. Tara Calishain has been researching the Net for 20 years.  Today’s post has some real gems


Finally, my good friend Alan from Mississippi sent me a great video link tutorial on how to better search Google. Well worth a look.

Power_Searching_with_GoogleLastly to my friends and subscribers – Happy New Year – Feliz Año Nuevo

What Software Should You Have In Ecuador Part Two

Anti Virus Software:

This is one of those “if not when ” scenarious.  In the antediluvian days when I was a Windows user I used a freeware program called AVG Anit Virus which did the trick.  Now that I’m a smarter guy and a Mac User  I use Sophos Anti Virus Software . There is a good link to compare Anti Virus Sofware programs here


Screen Capture Software: 

Skitch runs on both the Windows and Mac OS platforms. One of my favorite programs. Powerful and easy to use. Plus you can integrate your capture into Evernote


Another good entry and free is Jing from Techsmith. It captures areas of the screen as well as jpgs and movies.

Mapping Software – Google Maps

I know their are good alternatives to Google Maps but to me it meets the 3 part litmus test – Free, Powerful and Easy.


Sound Editing Software – Audacity

Again this program runs on both platforms . It is free and powerful. The biggest advantage is the ability to convert to different sound file formats. For example – Someone gives you song as wav file and you want to play the file on your iPhone. Audacity gives you the option to convert the file to one that can run on OS 7(iPhone &iPad)


VPN Software:

This is a must if you want to watch TV or view movies that require you to have an IP address outside of Ecuador. I have used a variety of free and paid software. Presently I am using STRONG VPN. But, I have also used “Hide My Ass”. I cover many aspects of VPN software and hardware on this blog. For more information go to the Search Bar on the right and search with the word “VPN”.


As always you can leave your comments and observations and I’ll reply to them.

What Software Should You Have In Ecuador (Part One)

In a previous post I advocated what Electronics one should have when moving to Ecuador. Solid Software always makes great Hardware. I make no secret that I’m an Apple Fan. Life would be difficult in Cuenca without my computer, iPad and iPhone. I’m going to restrict my recommendations to web resources and apps that run on the Mac/PC/IOS/Android platforms. Please feel free to comment and add your own “must have resources”.

1.Skype – I don’ think this is surprise. Skype allows me to communicate via video and audio to anyone in the world with a Skype account. It’s free and easy to use. You can also purchase Skype minutes to communicate with people who don’t have Skype accounts but have land lines or cell phones. Facetime is similar to Skype but is only for Mac/IOS users.


2. Multiple Email accounts. Email is the most used resource of the Internet and I’m surprised that people I talk to don’t have at least two accounts. I have three (Gmail, Yahoo, Icloud). I use Gmail as my main and Yahoo as my challenge account. I use icloud as my account for email lists and subscription that I don’t need to access on a daily basis. The added advantage to Google is that it comes with 15 gb of storage.


3. Multiple Web Browsers. My primary browser is Google Chrome. I use Chrome because it provides instant translation for the many Spanish sites that I visit. I also use Firfox and Safari. All three of these are solid browsers but I think Chrome is faster and uses less memory.


4. Zite. You can skip this recommendation if you don’t have a smartphone or a tablet. Zite is available in the Itunes, Google Play and Amazon appstore. Simple stated you can create your own magazine and daily stories will be appear on your device. I get stories from the L.A. Times, Canon, Ecuador, Colombia and a heads up on apps that have gone free.  Run, don’t walk to this free app.


5. Search Engines– Surprise, I am not going to recommend Google. Not that there is anything wrong with Google other than everyone of your searches are tracked. My recommendation  Funny name but a great search engine. I reviewed Duckduckgo here


I’ll add 5 more resources in few days. I look forward to your recommendations and comments.



IOS 7 Released Sept.18th

If you’re a regular reader of CTL and do not own an iPhone, IPad or iPod then this post may be of little interest. But for those of you who do own one or more of these devices then I highly recommend that you upgrade to the new OS. WHY?   The video below shows some of the new features but for me the last week of use has made me feel more productive.  There are less key strokes.  The OS is easier on the eyes.  Siri is vastly improved and finally its more fun using the new OS.

CNN Video




Five Best Free Websites To Learn A Language

I have lived in Ecuador for just over 2 years and getting to be conversational in Spanish has remained a challenge.  I could say it was my age but that would be a poor excuse. I think for sure it is motivation. I can get by on the street, restaurants, taxis,shopping, mercados, bargaining and buses with my Spanish. I can understand about 60% of a conversation when the speaker talks muy lento. But, putting a paragraph together with proper verb tenses still remains a challenge.

Learn a language for free: the five best websites  


The above website provides 5 different programs. In several days I’ll report back on my favorite.  Feel free to comment your favorite one.



My Favorite Podcasts Part 3


This website/podcast is highly addictive. You will find yourself listening to more than one each time you visit. TED represents the best thinkers around the world. The talks are rarely over 15 minutes and most of them are under 10 minutes. Most of the speakers are poised professionals. The graphics are excellent and the topics are always first rate. Run, don’t walk and listen to your first TED TALK