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Resizer powertoy shrinks photos in a snap

December 04, 2005|By JAMES COATES

By JAMES COATES

Q. I have Windows XP home edition on a Dell machine. What is the easiest way to shrink a jpg photo for e-mailing once I get it downloaded into the computer?

I use Outlook Express to send e-mail. I am trying to avoid the step of opening Adobe Elements and saving the file smaller.

- Bonnie Herterich,

earthlink.net

A. Microsoft offers an image resizer "powertoy" that makes quick work out of the kind of shoot from the hip picture shrinkage you envision for those bulky jpg images, Ms H.

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Go to www.Microsoft.com/downloads and use "powertoys" as a search term to find a list of utilities, including Image Resizer. Download and install it and all you'll need to do is right-click on an image to call up a resize command in the menu that pops up. You can make a copy of a huge jpg as small as 640 x 480 pixels -about 21 kilobytes - which is perfect for e-mail.

Q. I certainly enjoy your columns and your answers are always right on the mark. So how do I get the atomic clock?

- Scott Thrumm,

comcast.net

A. You're a man of few words, Mr. T, so I've got to make an educated guess. I am all but certain that you are alluding to a feature built in to the Windows operating system that can be set to automatically go online with the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Internet Time Service at http://nist.time.gov.

You can go to that Web site and click an icon for your time zone. This will check with the federal government's Cesium Fountain Clock and print the exact time on your screen.

Even though the clock itself is calibrated by detecting the vibration of atomic particles around a cesium atom, the actual readout is far less accurate. Displayed on a computer, it must deal with sending a signal to the site and then having one sent back to the user - which can take seconds or worse depending upon Internet traffic.

Both Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have set up their own high-speed server computers that link with the government's time-server computers. Both come with access to these respective servers built into their operating systems - http://time.apple.com and http://time.windows.com

To find these settings in Windows, click on the digital readout showing the time on the taskbar at the bottom right of the screen and select Internet Time in the menu that appears.

For Macs, click on the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner and choose System Preferences. Look under the System heading for Date & Time.

Users of all kinds of computers can go to nist.time.gov for readouts and then make the changes by hand. No matter how accurate the cesium clocks get, that still should be good enough for government work, eh Mr. T?

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