Bird Songs

Blue Jay ( Cyanocitta cristata ), Ontario, Canada.Image via Wikipedia In his Sky Watch Friday post today, Abe Lincoln posted a great photo of a Blue Jay. Along with his photo, he also posted a link to a site so we could hear a blue jay. What a great site! It’s called Learn Bird Songs, and it has recordings of the sounds and songs of several common North American birds. You can find birds by habitat: city birds, countryside birds, forest birds, and wetlands birds, or, if you know what bird you want to hear, you can go directly to that bird. It looks like a very useful site for bird lovers, bird watchers, and people like me who don’t know one bird from another. (I did recognize Abe’s Blue Jay, though)

A side benefit of this site is that it’s a good way to drive your cat crazy. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t even think of it, but I clicked the link to listen to the Blue Jay. As I was listening, our cat came down the hall with a very intent expression on her face. She heard a bird, and she was going to find that bird. It was too cute. I played another bird, and she eventually figured out it was coming from the computer, but she couldn’t figure out exactly what was going on.

This could be really fun.

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Adobe Photoshop Basics

Someone was asking for Photoshop help the other day. I know a little bit about Photoshop. Not much, I admit, but I have fun playing with it. I had it on my computer for a while, and I had no idea what to do with it. I didn’t even know where to start. That’s when I found a free online course to teach me Photoshop Basics. I think it was just called Beginning Photoshop, and it really did start me at the beginning and help me know where to start and how to do some very basic things in Photoshop. Now whenever I check, I usually see intermediate or advanced Photoshop courses, and one of these days I am going to sign up and take one of them.

I usually don’t see the Beginning class offered, so tonight I went looking for one and found this Adobe Photoshop Basics course that looks very helpful.

Adobe Photoshop Basics is a free online class consisting of eight self-paced lessons that will give get you up and running with a good start. It won’t teach you all there is to know about Photoshop–that can take years–but it will give you a solid foundation that you can build on though online tutorials, third-party books, or other training.

The lessons are intended to be worked through in the order presented, and at your own pace. You can also sign up to have them emailed to you and have one lesson sent a week.

Free Online Learning

Would you like to learn to build a web page? Would you like to learn to take better digital pictures? How about convert your video tapes to DVD, or record your favorite TV programs onto DVR? Check out the free online courses at Sony 101. When you find a course that interests you, all you have to do is sign up. When the course starts, and when each lesson posts, you will get a reminder email letting you know it is available on the site. Each course lasts approximately a month, and you can complete the lessons at your own pace. Usually there’s a lesson to read through, then an assignment to complete, and a quiz to take, to be sure you understand what you’ve learned. You can always go back and re-take the quiz if you don’t like your score. The point is to learn the material. You can also join in on the message boards to interact with the other students and ask the instructor questions.

I’ve taken several courses this way, and I always come away feeling that I learned a lot. My mom has taken a few classes, too, and she’s the one who reminded me of the site. She’s signed up to take the Intermediate Photoshop course. I probably should sign up, too – or she’ll know more about Photoshop than I do. I’ve only taken the beginning Photoshop course.