APP HAPPY WITH CHUCK AND ADA

“Lovelace & Babbage” is a free iPad app for a comic book about the lives of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Ada, born in 1815, was the daughter of the “mad, bad and dangerous to know” poet, Lord Byron. After being steered toward math to tame her wild blood, she invented the first computer language for the first computer. (The computer was never finished but was fully conceived by Babbage.) A print version just came out, for $21, re-titled “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.”

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BREATHTAKING FROZEN BUBBLES

“Breathtaking Frozen Bubbles Look like Glass Ornaments” Search on that phrase to find some remarkable bubbles. The creator mixes dish soap with Karo syrup. The bubbles look like etched glass.

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APPS FOR ART’S SAKE

“Famous Paintings” is a free Android app with paintings by Matisse, Homer, Uccello, Velasquez and dozens of others. Tap to zoom in once, then spread your fingers to zoom more. The details are remarkable. (Bob once visited a home in Morocco with $25 million worth of paintings in the entrance hall: A row of Fragonards on one wall and Watteaus on the other. Raphael was in the study. Now Joy has seen some of them too.)

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FINDING CLIP ART

The other day Joy was showing her friend Frieda how to add a picture to a Word document. Frieda has a really old version of Microsoft Word, and Joy was astonished to discover that a search on the word “flowers” turned up nothing, a big contrast with the rich choices available in later versions of Word, which automatically search Office Online.

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GREETING CARDS THE EASY WAY

Here are some easy ways to send out holiday greetings: — DearInbox.com turns email into greeting cards for users of the Chrome web browser. Whatever you type can be printed inside a ready-made card you choose. Starts with one free card. – CardStore.com lets you choose from hundreds and have your message inside. They print it, stamp it and mail it, and can use your address book so you don’t have to retype anything. –Ojolie.com has lovely digital greeting cards for $12 a year. We like it even better than AmericanGreetings.com, though we’ve noticed that only a few of our friends like digital cards. Most prefer the paper kind; that includes us.

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WHY DO THEY DO IT?

“Corel Painter Essentials 4″ can turn photos and drawings into pieces that look very much like paintings. It’s not the only program that can do this, but it’s based on one of the earliest. It has been seven years since the last version and with this version the company has managed to take a giant step backward, It’s not that the program’s new tools aren’t fun. Most of them are. It’s that the previous version from seven years ago had outstanding videos that practically held your hand every step of the way as you learned. You worked along with the guidance of a professional artist and the results were great. The company dumped all of that. Now if you click […]

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ART ON A CHALKBOARD

“Visual Canvas, Chalkboard Riot” has incredible art, all done with chalk, chalk dust. and erasers. Each one includes a saying, from Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss, John Lennon, Coco Chanel and others. Impressive!

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TRACE AND DRAW

“Trace & Draw” is a free app from Crayola for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. Place a piece of paper over your screen and a drawing underneath shines through, allowing you to trace it. The opening screen tells you to buy a $20 Crayola clip to hold your paper, but that’s unnecessary. Besides this app, you can get lots of images to trace for free from Images.Google.com. Search on “black and white clip art.” Ordinary paper works fine if you turn up the brightness setting on your tablet.

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PAINTING LIKE A PRO

Though we’re not professional artists or even students, we decided to try Corel’s new “Painter 2015.” This is a program that has been around for decades and is used by professionals to turn photos into artworks as well as design original art for ads and games. Reviewers are nuts about the new brushes, which can create special effects, like smoke, pixels, color shifts, etc., as you paint.

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TEN LEGO PROJECTS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND

10 Lego projects that will blow your mind : Google that phrase to find PC Magazine’s Lego slideshow. There’s a full-sized house, a working car and the Taj Mahal. If you want to emulate any of these, it’s best to start with about a million Lego blocks.

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