DOS utility BIOS Reporter dredges system information from the BIOS Data Area
April 16, 2006
BIOS Reporter is old - I wrote it in 1995. For years, it was bundled with editions of Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs (the authoratative reference, currently in its 17th edition). Amazingly, some still find it useful, whether because they're still reading this data area using some programming language or other, or because they're learning assembler ...
BIOS Reporter actively reports much of the extensive, low-level system information available in the BIOS data area; in DOS, it can be run as a pop-up TSR to report changes to BIOS values while a second program is running. Results may be printed. All of this accomplished in only 13 kB. Freeware; source code also freely available. [ Read more ]
Image creation and manipulation using the gd Graphics Library
April 1, 2006
The gd Graphics Library is an open source code library use to create and manipulate PNG, JPEG and GIF images. Part of the standard PHP installation, it is available with most MySQL/PHP web hosting packages - if it isn't already available to you, ask for it!
GD is used to dynamically produce charts, graphics, thumbnails, etc., usually by web sites, though it can be incorporated into other programming projects. Create animated GIFs, add FreeType and TrueType text, draw complex graphics, or convert from one image format to another.
GD isn't difficult, but you can't just call a grayscale() function, either. It takes some work. We help you out. [ Read more ... ]
Image creation, conversion and manipulation with ImageMagick
March 26, 2006
ImageMagick consists of a set of powerful, open-source (free!) routines used to create and edit images. These can be called directly, i.e. by web pages, batch programs, software you're writing, or via the appropriate interface for your platform. ImageMagick is available for all major operating systems.
ImageMagick handles over 90 formats, including GIF, JPEG, JPEG-2000, PNG, PDF, PhotoCD and TIFF. Crop, resize, stretch, rotate; sharpen, color-reduce your palette, make the image transparent, or sepia-tone it. Merge images or combine them into an animated GIF. Add text, lines, polygons, ellipses and BΘzier curves.
Of course, nothing is perfect. The number of options are overwhelming: it's almost impossible to visualize the enormous range of possibilities these routines offer. Complex commands take time to craft. And my web hosting service no longer permits the PHP exec() command - it can open the door for crackers. If they can upload one .php file, they can destroy your system. [ Examples of ImageMagick usage, and full review ... ]