A photo printing wizard miscellany

by Matt 26. October 2007 11:12

Despite being surprisingly inflexible about it's print sizes, I do like that photo printing wizard. As long as you play by its rules, it's very good.

Just remember to check out the "Options" link at the bottom right of the wizard. You get a dialog like this:

Print Settings

I've turned off the "Sharpen for printing" option, and it's made a huge difference to my photos; they look much more natural now. I haven't been overly pleased with how they've have been printing - everything's been a little too crisp, with very hard edges. I'm very glad to have sorted this out. I'd also recommend having a wander through your printer's colour settings - my Epson was thoughtfully "enhancing" my photos. Not any more.

Anyway, if you feel the urge to add this wizard to your application, you can find it in the Windows Image Acquisition SDK. Simply create WIA.CommonDialog and call ShowPhotoPrintingWizard passing in a list of filenames. It's even been around since XP (Service Pack 1).

And it's nice to know that I'm not alone in wanting to be able to print at arbitrary sizes. But according to an online chat held by Microsoft TechNet, I might be out of luck:

Q: Will the photo printing wizard allow custom sized photos?
A: There are no current plans to support this.

Q: Will the photo printing wizard allow for custom layouts?
A: We are looking at making the templates extensible in the next version.

This was from way back in June 2002. Maybe in Windows 7.


Printing photos. What could be easier?

by Matt 25. October 2007 15:55

Things have been a little busy lately. In a good way, mind, but just a little busy. The main reason for this has afforded me the chance to take and print a load of photos. I've been using Windows Photo Gallery (and lately Windows Live Photo Gallery) to organise my piccies, and can't speak highly enough of it. Speedy, great tagging capabilities and you've just got to love the ever-so-simple red-eye removal. A heartily recommended download, especially for all you XP users.

The printing support is a real highlight, too. A very friendly good wizard allows you to print full page, or at certain standard photo sizes, such as 13 x 18, 10 x 15, 9 x13.

Print Pictures

But there's no print to 7 x 7.

I've got a square picture frame, and I want to print to this size. I've cropped the image ready (another nice Gallery feature). But this is going to print out to 9 x 9. And I've got another picture frame at 4 x 4.

There's no way to customise the output of the print pictures wizard.

So, I downloaded paint.net. You can resize the canvas (without resizing the actual image) and it lets you resize by centimetres, not just pixels. So I should be able to resize it to 7 centimetres square and we'll all be happy.

Except when you click print, you get the same print pictures dialog.

Now, when it works - when you want to print full page, or to a certain (standard photo) size, it works brilliantly. I love it. But when you want to print to a non-standard size, or even when you just want to bypass the wizard and let the app control the size - you're out of luck.

Of course, it's not even that easy. When I open the image in paint.net and try to resize the canvas, I'm told that it's currently at 44.77 centimetres square, because for some reason, the resolution is set at an apparently arbitrary 28.35 pixels per centimetre.

Canvas Size

I need to change this to make it fit to 7 x 7. Changing the print size doesn't change the resolution, but changes the pixel size. Time to whip out the calculator. Set the resolution to 181 pixels/cm and we've got a 7 x 7 image.

I can now change the print size to 9 x 9 and we're good to go - I've got a 7 x 7 image centred in a 9 x 9 white background. Printing this let's me choose the 9 x 13 print option, and hey presto, I've got my 7 x 7 print for my 7 x 7 picture frame. That was almost too easy.

Glad my mom doesn't need to print out photos. Oh wait...


Windows Mobile not syncing?

by Matt 17. October 2007 09:22

This might be a useful tip if your ActiveSync has stopped working. I've just been reading Larry Osterman's post on his Ping of Death story and there's a comment about how ActiveSync connections create network connections in device manager.

In a fit of fortuitous timing, I've been messing around with developing on Windows Mobile, and the device emulator has just stopped working with ActiveSync (well, Windows Mobile Device Centre). Setting the DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES environment variable (I set it to 1) then running Device Manager (compmgmt.msc) and selecting "Show hidden devices" gave me a couple of Windows Mobile Devices in my Network adapters.

Sure enough, deleting these and re-cradling the emulator fired up the "installing drivers" notifications and voila! up pops Windows Mobile Device Centre and I'm in. Since I had done a hard reset and I hadn't properly set up a partnership, I've no idea if it loses any existing partnerships, but it got me working...



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