Picture editing website offers free special effects, templates

Normally, we use the editing tools at Photos.Google.com to crop or enhance our pictures. But recently we discovered PicsArt.com for free special effects and templates.

You don't have to create an account to use the site, and you might not want to. PicsArt includes a drawing application and is also a social network. We saw several complaints at commonsensemedia.org. Some users said that after using the link at PicsArt to share their creations, they were bombarded with inappropriate images shared by other members. One user complained of signing up for a "free trial" for certain templates that turned into a $48 charge on their credit card. We tried signing up at the site but none of that happened to us. The PicsArt app has 130 million active users, according to Wikipedia.

We think the most important feature is the "remove background tool." In one click, we removed the inside of a cabin and replaced it with a haystack that made a nice background. But we could have placed ourselves in Tahiti or on top of Mount Rushmore. Usually, removing the background from a photo in order to use a different one is tedious, but PicsArt did it in one click. After downloading a creation, you can add to an email, post it on Facebook or Twitter, or print it out.


You can post short-feature videos on Amazon's Prime Video service and charge for them. With millions of Prime members, the potential audience is huge. Using the service is free.

Video categories include movies, TV shows, educational content, sporting events, concerts and performances, clips, short films, journalism and music videos. You might generate revenue by selling ads or letting Amazon pay you per viewer. Check out the guide from videodirect.amazon.com.

If making a movie is too daunting, consider publishing a book. Start the process at kdp.amazon.com. "KDP" stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP University online teaches you the basics for free. Make an e-book or paperback. Check out Kindle Create for a free guide to publishing books that have lots of pictures, such as travel books, textbooks or cookbooks.


Go to the Smithsonian site Si.edu/openaccess to download, share, and reuse the institution's images. The list includes millions of images from Smithsonian's 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo. In the section called "3-D Voyager," we saw an unusual 11-foot tall statue of a bare-chested George Washington. It used to be in the rotunda of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., before moving to the Smithsonian.

YouMustRememberThisPodcast.com has radio shows about former stars. Recent episodes tell the story of Mariel Hemingway, Esther Williams, Merle Oberon, "Mama Cass" Elliot, and Marie Dressler, a comic actress who was popular in the 1930s. In the Great Depression, people liked her plucky spirit.

"10 Years to Save Planet Earth." Search on that phrase to find a USA Today article with six imaginative solutions. A Chinese team suggested a giant sunshade, but it might take a million rockets to get the shields in place. To prevent the Rhone glacier from melting, a Swiss town wraps it in thermal blankets every spring. This helps protect an ice grotto which has been carved out every year since 1870.


The first computer virus may have been created in 1986. It was called Brain and was invented by two brothers in Pakistan who ran a computer store. They just wanted to stop people from illegally copying software. But once the first computer was infected, every time someone inserted a floppy disk, the disk was infected, and it would go on to infect more computers. It took only a year to spread through the entire world.

According to Wikipedia, the brothers were flooded with phone calls from angry users in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and elsewhere, demanding they fix their computers or else. The brothers were stunned and said they never meant any harm. They're still businessmen in Pakistan.


Recently, we wondered why the task manager in Windows said our disk was running at 100%. We had almost nothing open except our BullGuard virus scanner.

A user on Quora.com said: "That 100% means that the disk is always doing something. Since you are running a virus scanner, it is constantly reading the drive, so while it is scanning, the active time should be 100%."

To find out what's running in the background on your Windows computer, right-click the bar on the bottom of the screen and choose "task manager" from the menu. Click "More Details." On a Mac, just look at the bottom of your screen, which has an icon for every open program.

Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at bobschwab@gmail.com and joy.schwabach@gmail.com.

Business on 03/14/2020