Monday, July 31, 2006

4 Digital Photography Tips from an Amateur

I love taking photos because I like to look at pretty pictures. In this age of digital photography, almost anyone can take decent photographs. Some people can even take professional-looking ones with a point and shoot camera. I often tinkered with my own digital camera and come up with nice photos. I own a pretty basic digital camera. It is a Canon Powershot A510. I am just a beginner so I am only using the camera's auto functions. Here are some tricks that I often use:

1. Practice makes perfect. With film cameras, we do not have any idea if we took a good shot until we have the film developed. With the digital camera, we can shoot as many as the camera can store and choose the best photograph. This is what I did with the photos below. It took me four shots before I got the shot I had in mind.

2. Play with light. I have two photos of springrolls below. I used the camera flash on the first photograph. I felt that there was a glare when the flash fell through the oily part of the springroll. So, I tried using the light from the afternoon sun instead. This means that I have to turn off the flash. I think it is a better photo.

3. Try different angles. Below is a photograph of a Filipino dish called dinuguan. I positioned my camera over the food and took the first photo. When I viewed it, I did not feel like I want to eat it. So, I tried a different angle. The second photo looks delectable to me.

4. Play favorites. My favorite subjects are food and flowers. So whenever I have the opportunity to take photos of these favorites of mine, I click away to my hearts content. The success rate is quite high. It is probably because I felt good about it. How could I not feel good about it? They are my favorite things! "I simply remember my favorite things and then I won't feel so bad."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sudoku Excel Helper Explained

Since I already shared my Sudoku excel helper, I might as well explain how to use it. So, let's start by solving a sudoku puzzle from here. This is rated "diabolical".

When you click on hints, this appears:

The hints sheet would show that we now know where to put the encircled 9,3,7 and 5.

After placing 9,3,7 and 5 to its location in the grid, we now have this hints below. In the first 3x3 grid, the hint showed us that the number 1 can only be placed in the last cell of the 3x3 grid. We now evaluate each 3x3 grid which gives the next four answers.

We now plot them in our puzzle.

After plotting the answers to the puzzle, we have the hints below. Evaluating the hints, vertically and horizontally, we get 3 answers.

We now plot them in the puzzle.

The hints below will lead us to five answers. Evaluating the first vertical column marked with a red rectangle, we see that 7 is an answer which eliminates 3 as an answer to that particular cell where 7 is. This gives us 3 as an answer in the 3rd cell of the first red rectagle and eliminates the other two 3's in the green 3x3 grid which results to the answer 3 on the blue rectangle. (Whew! I hope I am still understood at this point as I am getting confused myself.) Now, if we evaluate the orange rectangle, we can eliminate all the 7's in that orange rectangle. Once the 7's are eliminated, we concentrate on the pink rectangle. We get another answer, the number 7.

Plotting the five answers, we get:

The hint will now give us another answer, the number 6 and 8.

We get this:

Now the hints sheet would look like this:

Concentrate on red rectangle. We now see 5 as an answer. With this as an answer, this results to 2 more answers. See direction of the arrows. We plot the three numbers:

Hints sheet will be:

If we look at the hints above, there are no clear clues. This is the point where we realize why the puzzle is called diabolical. Confusion starts. (If you are still reading my explanations up to this point, I am deeply touched.) Now back to the puzzle, concentrate on the blue rectangle below. We'll do a trial-and-error. We know that in the two hints given by the blue box we either put 4 or 8. We assume that we put 8. Follow the green arrows. The end result are two 8's on the same horizontal 1x9 grid which contradicts to rules of Soduko.

This means that 4 is correct answer to that starting cell. So if we put 4 we now have, the puzzle is now easy to solve.

This is now the solution to the puzzle.

See also: Sudoku Trick

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sudoku: Excel Helper with hints

The Sudoku excel helper is now updated. Another sheet was added to show hints to aid you in solving the puzzle.

This file is only a helper not a solver. It will help solve the sudoku puzzle easily. It will NOT provide solution.The file can be downloaded here. Please leave a comment if you find an error. Enjoy!

See also:
Sudoku Excel Helper Explained
Sudoku Trick

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