A New Era of Ads… Ads acting as Mail… From Google

Last night I was doing my nightly sweep through my inbox to make sure that I haven’t missed anything important and low and behold this weird looking red mail in my inbox, BUT WAIT! It’s an ad! 

Now I am one of the first to not complain about ads when it is a free service, but this is setting a alarming precedence that I don’t think I care for.When I was clicking on my tabs in GMail I thought it was viewing a new labeling look for mail, YEH I WISH, because I use the crap out of some labeling in GMAIL.

It even acts as mail. You can open it and forward to other people… Ironically in the right hand of the “admail” it describes itself as:

It’s a new type of ad which you can forward to a friend, or star to save it to your inbox. If you dismiss this ad, you won’t see it again.

 I have never noticed this before so I did some digging and turns out that this ad is based on information from my Google Account.

I have never noticed this settings page which made me speculate that is was new: https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/preferences?wta=1#wta

So down and down the rabbit hole I go. I found the page that allows you to control your ads: https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads?wta=1.

This page was very interesting to me because if I go edit and view some of the information Google’s algorithm has collected from me I can tell that it’s pretty accurate. Like my interest for example.

What I can tell though that their ad setting help page has gone from this: https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662856?hl=en

On April 5, 2013 to this: https://support.google.com/ads/answer/1634057?hl=en&ref_topic=2971788

Updated On June 27, 2013:

So that’s what those blanket privacy Terms of service that we agree to while ago… lol
 I don’t know how many of these can fill up in GMail or how often they pop up, but I’m keeping my eye out.

Grunge Effect | Achieved in Photoshop CC (Tutorial)

I’ve done this effect a while now and Here is a step by step of how to achieve this. This is done in Photoshop CC but should work with any version of Photoshop.

The photo was taken at 1/50th of a Second at f/1.8, ISO 1000 with a Nikon 35mm lens.

Here is the comparison of the photo:

I didn’t exaggerate the effect because I wanted to keep the photo usable, but It’s a nice tool that you can use. It’s mainly an effect you can use to bring out a lot of details in certain areas.

After you load your image in photoshop simply duplicate the background layer so we aren’t affecting the original image. Ctrl J or Command J on the mac is the shortcut key to do this.

With the duplicated layer selected you need to invert with either using the shortcut key Ctrl I or Command I.

Change the blend mode of that layer to vivid light.

At this point convert the layer to a smart object. If you are on an older version of photoshop that doesn’t have a smart object option duplicate this layer because what we will do next is destructive if it is not converted to a smart object.

Now we will apply a Surface Blur filter. You will have to play with the sliders to find where it works for your taste. Usually it is a balance between the halos and the details. For this photo though I used: Radius – 50 and Threshold – 25.

Now apply a layer adjustment to get rid of the color. To achieve this use the layer adjustment of Hue/Saturation and bring the saturation down to 0.

At this point we need to merge all of the work you have done to it’s own layer using the shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + Shift E and Command + Option + Shift E.
Now you have the option to hide the “layer 1” and the “Hue/Saturation 1” because we don’t need to use them anymore. 
At this point change the blend mode of your newly created layer to “Overlay.” Note it will apply the effect to the hold image, but don’t panic. You will have an opportunity to control it in the next step.
Now to restrict the areas of the effect you will need to apply a layer mask to this layer filled with black.
Now can make a selection of the area you want to reveal and fill it with white or you can paint with a brush in white. Note: You must paint or fill in the layer mask and not on the image. Parts of you mask with White in it will show the effect parts with Black will hide the effect and parts with Grey will show part of the effect. After your selection is made you can use the shortcut key to fill with the foreground color with Alt + Delete or Option + Delete on mac.
Once you chose which parts to reveal or hide you are done and now have your final image.

Buying Accessories is Mandatory! (Top 5 Reasons Why)

I recently bought “The latest generation iPad! So the first thing I did after buying it is hopped on #AmazonPrime to check out what was available for it. In Fact, that’s the first thing I do for buying any accessories for any of my gadgets. You can easily go to your local bestbuy or walmart and find all kinds of things.

When you spend a good bit of money on things like cameras, phones, and tablets you should always have accesories. Here are a few reasons that buying accessories are a must:

1. Accessories makes your device’s value increase. When or if you resell it to someone else. Things like a stylus you can couple with a tablet or phone to sell as a bundle if you don’t intend on using for another device. More relevantly are things like device specific docks are excellent accessory items that you can bundle to increase your selling price.

2. Accessories looks better. While some accessories are for increased functionality others are for style and decoration. Cases that are leather and simple have a professional look to them, but many people have been known to bedazzle cases. You can get a look that is right for you based on your interests. The sky’s the limit with loos.

3. Accessories protect your device. Accessories like the Otterbox and other hard shell cases has saved a lot of my devices from getting shattered on the pavement to being whole. I bought the Armored Survivor case that is military grade that serves the look I need and is very protected. A case like this is protects from wind and rain. It claims can withstand a drop from 6ft. on a concrete floor.

4. Accessories vary in amount and price.. There’s an accessory for everyone’s budget. I personally buy my accessories online more than in a physical store. Online there are very inexpensive accessories and very expensive accessories that do basically the same thing and sometimes even more. I bought the Bamboo Executive Stylus, which serves as a pen and stylus. An off brand stylus does the same thing, but would cost less. There are other factors like build quality and look, but again it is all your choice.

5. Accessories expand the capabilities of the device. Accessories like bluetooth keyboards, speakers and displays allow you to utilize your device in more ways than most people use. The Apple Bluetooth keyboard is something I use all the time that helps me type long emails or post when on mobile devices.

If you can think of a decent negative reason to getting accessories I’d love to hear it.

Here is a list of some of the accessories that I bought for the iPad that are mentioned here:
Bamboo Stylus+Pen: http://amzn.to/19PvwHt
CTech Leather Case: http://amzn.to/11YjfLT
Griffin Survivor Case: http://amzn.to/11YjqH5
Apple Bluetooth Keyboard: http://amzn.to/12amEDb

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