Those 8-megapixel cameras take great pictures, don’t they? Faaaaaaat. In more ways than one.
The top complaint I’ve heard since the holidays has nothing to do with rootkits, WMF files, or patches of patches. Nope. The people I know who scream the loudest got expensive new cameras, and they’ve learned that they can’t do much with their pictures.
Having your cake and eating it, too
You didn’t really think you’d get those gorgeous new high-resolution pictures free, did you? Robert Heinlein said it best — There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. No matter what you do, one of the prices you pay for really great picture quality is really huge files.
Send a handful of Christmas pics to a friend, and you may wipe out her inbox. Send a few to your parents or your great-aunt Mabel, who’s still using dial-up AOL, and it may be Valentine’s Day before they get them downloaded.
The funny part: You rarely need (or even want) all of the high definition that you paid so dearly to obtain. Yes, sometimes you want to make an 11-by-14-inch print, so you can hang your cat on the wall and admire the bits of Kibbles caught in his whiskers. But almost all of the time, the pictures you take rarely venture beyond a plain-vanilla computer screen. Big picture files are just overkill — expensive overkill, at that.
A free solution — from Microsoft!
OK. I lied. Or maybe Heinlein did. Sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch.
Microsoft has (yet another) PowerToy that lets you reduce the size of your picture files. When you run a picture through the Image Resizer PowerToy, you lose some of that high definition: the resulting file is much smaller in size, and it’s also grainier. If you slim down a file using the Image Resizer, then print an 11-by-14 of your cat, you might not be able to tell the brand of food stuck on his whiskers. Get the picture?.
As with all the PowerToys, Microsoft says it doesn’t support Image Resizer — although the Redmondians developed it, distribute it, refer to it in many places on their Web site, their tech support people recommend it, and so on. It’s another one of those best-supported unsupported products on the Internet. Unlike TweakUI, which has multiple versions for all modern versions of Windows, the Image Resizer only works with Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server.
Get yer Image Resizer here
To install the Image Resizer PowerToy, go to the Windows XP PowerToys home page. Download the file on the right called ImageResizer.exe. This is a little confusing, but the file that gets downloaded is actually called ImageResizerPowerToySetup.exe.