You can use these five free offerings to decorate, detail, and enhance your photos and screenshots.
For instance, with some of these no-cost services and downloads, you can upload a photo of your face and have it appear in an image of the Mona Lisa or in a museum frame, among other options; capture screens easliy and share them; work with a Web service that approaches the abilities of Adobe Photoshop; and edit your photos to make them leap off the screen.
BEST BET PhotoPerfect Express: You may not have the trained eye of a professional photo editor, but with this download, you won’t need it. Create stunning images through simple point-and-click optimizations that make your photos pop.
Jing: This download captures screen shots and video screencasts of your desktop with elegance and ease, and then lets you share the results quickly and easily online. Rather than trying to describe to friends and coworkers what you’re seeing on your computer, you can show them.
PhotoFunia: Plaster your skillfully superimposed face all over iconic (and not-so-iconic) images with Google’s PhotoFunia service.
Skitch: This service (registration required) annotates images–either screen shots you’ve taken with it or any photo you drag into it–with attractive and readable text, arrows, and shapes, just the thing for getting your point across with style. Once you’re done drawing, you can share your Skitch creation on the Web with the click of a mouse.
Sumo Paint: This impressive Web-based service packs all the layered image editing goodness of Photoshop into one incredible Web application–perfect for a little advanced photo editing from your cubicle.
Vital Video Helpers
In this group, you’ll find nine innovative ways to discover, transfer, and organize video.
You can learn to cut down YouTube videos so your friends don’t have to watch the full 6 minutes to see the monkey throw the cream pie; create embeddable playlists of favorite videos; make DVDs friendly to PCs and set-top devices; and interact with a great media hub and player.
BEST BET DVD Flick: Normally, burning video files to a DVD that you can run in your DVD player is notoriously difficult, unless you’re ready to bust open your piggy bank. This no-cost download, however, burns virtually any video file to a playable DVD with ease.
Embedr: This simple but smart service creates embeddable video playlists, allowing you to fashion the perfect combination of online video clips into one long-playing video.
HandBrake: This must-have download converts DVDs to computer- and mobile-friendly formats so you can get your Lost fix during your commute, on your iPod or other video-capable portable device.
KickYouTube: Ever wish you could download a YouTube video to carry with you on your cell phone, iPod, or PSP–or just to save on your PC? This service converts YouTube videos to virtually any device-friendly format, on the fly. All you have to do is add the word kick to the front of any YouTube URL.
RerunCheck: TV lovers often ask, “Is my favorite show a new episode or a rerun this week?” Jump onto this site for the answer, or sign up for weekly e-mail reminders so you never suffer the heartbreak of a warm bowl of popcorn and nothing to watch.
Splicd: Feel bad about making friends suffer through a 5-minute-long YouTube video just so they can appreciate the pratfall at 4:43? With this service, you can link straight to the good part when you share YouTube videos.
TV.com: Hulu’s video service was big in 2008, but it now has some stiff competition from the CBS-owned TV.com. This service is part Hulu, part IMDb, and all television-streaming goodness.
Wowbrary: Looking to save some serious cash on entertainment in the midst of this financial apocalypse? This service (registration required) monitors your local library for new DVDs (along with books and CDs) so that you can be first in line to get your hands on a fresh release.
XBMC: Originally developed to run on the original Microsoft Xbox (hence the name, XBox Media Center), this download is a robust media player and entertainment hub. It runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and Xbox.