Cloudeight Freeware Pick 3/09/2011

By | March 9, 2011
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Instant Mask
What is it? An easy-to-use image editor that removes the background from digital images
Download size: 5.4 MB
Download times: Dialup – about 30 minutes. High-speed Internet: a few seconds.

Those of you whose eyes are tired from reading, will be happy to learn that we’re not going to drone on and on about our freeware pick this week. No indeed! All we’re going to tell you is this: If you’re looking for a program that will help you remove the background from a digital photograph, so you can take the focus of the photograph, for example your own beautiful face, and put it in another background or another photo, we’ve found an easy-to-use photo editor whose sole function is to remove backgrounds so that you can take that photo of you standing in front of your house, and put in in a picture with the Eiffel Tower in the background, and write that special person and say, “Here’s a picture of me when I was in France, last March.” Chortle. Chortle.

Oh you can do other things with photos too, as long as what you want to do is remove backgrounds from digital images or photos. Rather than going on and on and on, here you go.

They say a picture says a thousand words. That means that two pictures say 2000 words, right? OK here are two pictures, saving you the effort of reading 2000 words.

Before Editing

Before (Original Photo)

Cloudeight Internet

After editing

After (Modified Photo)

You see the little girl on a slide the first photo, then you see the same little girl in an smiling in a desert somewhere. Same little girl – two different scenes. The background was removed from the first photo, and the little girl’s image pasted into a different background. Either you’re yawning and falling asleep by now, or you’re saying, “Wow! That’s pretty cool!”. If you’re the latter, then you’ll be glad to know that you can do the same thing with your digital photos too. It’s very easy. All you need is our Freeware Pick of the Week and about 15 minutes worth of your time.

Our freeware pick of the week this week is “Instant Mask”. They offer a paid version and a free version. And we used the free version to edit the original photo above. It would really help you if you have an know how to use a graphics or photo editor, like Paint Shop Pro or similar. You’ll need it to create modified image like the modified photo above.

If you’re still interested, and we know many of you are, you can learn more about Instant Mask (and download it too) from this page. Remember there are two versions of Instant Mask –  a free version and a paid version. We used the free version only.

7 thoughts on “Cloudeight Freeware Pick 3/09/2011

  1. Irene Harper

    Did you read the EULA on this program? It says the user agrees to be subject to the laws of Russia. No, I am not joking.
    “The laws of Russia, excluding Russia’s choice of law rules, shall govern this EULA. Each party agrees to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.”

    I use a program(free) EULAlyzer to read EULA’s before I agree to the terms of use.

    As much as I would enjoy using Instant Mask, I don’t think I will. Just thought I’d give you a “Heads-up” if you had not already noticed.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      And we’ve long since stopped using EULAlyzer. Like all other such tools that purport to “save” the user from something untoward, EULAylyzer is just another one of those self-serving tools that relies on “The more you scare people, the more traffic you’ll get, and the more traffic you get, the more money you make – either from donations or from advertising.”

      We’ve had this program installed for about a year now, and the “laws of Russia” have really never affected anything. Do you think people in, say, Poland should run scared if a program created in the USA says that the EULA is governed by the laws of the United Stated of America? If a person who develops software happens to live in Russia, that does not mean that he’s a bad person or that he’s trying to pull one over on you. Any of us who create software are always governed by the laws of the country in which we live.

      We’re big advocates of what we called “TLOCS” (T-LOCKS) – The Law of Common Sense. Just because something is made in Russia, or Germany, or China, or Japan, or South Africa, doesn’t mean the programmer is an anti-American hooligan looking to gain control of your computer.

      I guess I’m not understanding why anyone would use “EULAnalyzer” in the first place – since it’s basically useless. It’s very premise is that everyone is hiding something somewhere – and everyone is out to get you – except, of course, EULAnalyzer, whose developers are completely altruistic. Everyone needs to pay the bills and EULAnalyzer’s popularity is based on its ability to scare people – most of the time, unnecessarily. If you really want to be scared, read Microsoft’s EULA for Windows. Now that’s scary stuff!

      There are very few totally altruistic people in this world. I really don’t think the developers of EULAnalyzer fall are driven by altruism. EULAnalyzer falls into the category of WOT and McAfee Site Advisor and a lot of the third-party firewalls – especially Zone Alarm: scaring people is really good for traffic – and traffic is really good for making money. On the web, traffic = money.

      So you’re not going to use a program because its programmer happens to have been born in Russia and since he lives in Russia, what he produces is naturally governed by Russian law, just like programs created in Denmark and subject to Danish law, and programs developed in America are subject to American laws. It absolutely means nothing to you unless you decide to get litigious and sue someone. It’s very difficult to sue someone in another country.

      I assure you that the developer isn’t planting nefarious things on your computer that will allow him to surreptitiously control your computer from Moscow – honest!

      Reply
      1. Robert

        I hope we can agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable?

        I’d like to put in a personal plug for EULAnalyzer. I have found it to be informative and a useful tool. I think the comparison to WOT is unfair. WOT, as highlighted in several of your newsletters, does not tell us the WHY a website should be avoided, and I agree with you for WOT. For EULAnalyzer, V2.0, (Freeware version), highlights phrases they call “interesting”, but leave it up to me/us to read what is highlighted, and it then is my decision to determine if the phrase contains something to be avoided, or is it benign and just a lot of boilerplate mumbo jumbo, as often “Level 3” is.

        I have used EULAnalyzer for many years, and have recommended it to many friends, for I know what I believe you know and Microsoft published a couple (few?) years ago, that 99.99% of people never read the EULA nor the Privacy Statements that accompany the programs the users install.

        And the longer the statements, the less likely they’ll be read, except of course, by you, me and that other correspondent. 🙂

        Thank you for this opportunity to share,

        Robert

        Reply
        1. infoave Post author

          What you say may well be true, but if EULAnalyzer really performed a useful function it wouldn’t have tagged a good freeware program with a warning because of the country of the developer’s birth. It’s not accurate and it’s not fair. How many other good freeware programs have you avoided because EULAnalyzer made an issue of the country of its origins. What if people in other parts of the world felt that way about U.S. developers. And another error – if the length of EULA has anything to do with it being a bad EULA then EULAnalyzer would go ballistic if you put in any of Microsoft’s EULAs.

          Robert, if you rely on a program to tell you what is good and what is bad, you’re going to miss out on some great software. If you saw the length of Microsoft Office EULA or Windows EULA, and used EULAnalyzer’s longer EULA’s are probably deceptive, you wouldn’t use either. But you use common sense when it comes to Microsoft. You wouldn’t believe EULAnalyzer it it warned you about Microsoft. But because a freeware program’s developer lives and works in Russia and EULAnalyzer threw up red flags – you missed a great freeware program.

          Every freeware program we recommend we’ve tested. Not only tested, but we’ve used it on more than one computer. And rather than considering that maybe we know a little more about a program that we’ve actually used and tried and recommended than a program whose very popularity and survival relies on it finding everything it possibly can – using some algorithm, you decided to trust a program and you missed out on a great program.

          We don’t care if you want to use EULAnalyzer. It’s another program we used to recommend – like WOT. After using EULAnalyzer for some time and understanding how it worked, it didn’t take long to realize it was finding ghosts where there weren’t any. Long EULAs don’t necessarily mean the developer has something to hide, and short URLs don’t necessarily mean the program is good. Many spyware programs have short EULAs and many of them are developed in the USA.

          And the fact that most people don’t read EULAs means little. How many people do you know who read every line of legal mumbo-jumbo when they get a credit card? Do you? Do you read all 14,500 words in a sales agreement when you buy a new car? If you install a program to find something wrong with something – guess what? It’s going to find something wrong, because that justifies its existence.

          As much as you and I and everyone else wants to believe that a program can work miracles or save us all that reading of EULAs or there’s some magic bullet that can make everything the way sit should be, it’s not to happen. EULAnalyzer is based on some flawed concepts. I don’t have time to do it for you right now, but one time EB and I were playing around with it and we intentionally put some EULAs from spyware/adware programs in it which we were knew were bad programs and EULAnalyzer found nothing wrong with them. Then we put the EULAs (rather long ones) from some well-known, well-respected software programs and they were flagged. It’s been a while since we did that but the program hasn’t changed much – nor have the flawed assumptions that it makes.

          There are better, quicker, easier ways to find out if a program is a good one or a bad one. What’s the program’s reputation. How do reputable sites rate that program (CNet, ZDNet, etc.), what turns up when you do a search for that program – what do others say about it. A program’s EULA may be full of legal language because some developers (like us, for example) use a standard EULA because we don’t have thousands of dollars. Most developers don’t write their own EULAs unless they’re multi-million dollar companies who can hire attorneys to write them.

          Trying to judge the quality and reputation and dangerousness of a software program by its EULA is a flawed concept. If you want to rely on a program like EULAnalyzer to tell you which programs might be dangerous and which ones aren’t that’s fine. But if you continue to do that you’re going to miss some great software and you may find yourself installing something you shouldn’t have. Face it. Do you really think a criminal or a miscreant who makes malware or spyware or some other bad program hasn’t heard of EULAnalyzer? Really? You don’t think they know how to get around that program? Of course they do. And do you really think because a program was developed in Russia that makes it dangerous because its license is governed by Russian law? Do you know Russian law? Are you sure it’s not as far as say English law? Or Canadian law? Do you see what I mean?

          It won’t hurt you to use EULAnalyzer, but it will hurt you if you continue to rely it to tell you which programs are good and which are bad, because it really doesn’t know the difference – only you do. You’re going to miss good programs – and it won’t stop you from installing bad ones. That’s the truth – so why use it?

          Reply
  2. ML

    The link you give to the main page offers the Pro version, which is free for two weeks. However – after hunting around, I found that clicking on the “Download” link on the left side of the page leads to the page for downloading the free version. Too bad they don’t make that clear on the front page, but I understand that they want to sell their product. Thanks for pointing out this great program. Trying to use PSP to do this is very frustrating, apparnetly to everyone but me.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Actually the free version is listed on the front page under “Freeware apps”. We also note in the article that there are two versions – one free and one not – so readers know to be careful they don’t choose the trialware version.

      Reply
      1. ML

        OK, I looked at it again, and have come to the following possible conclusions:
        1) they changed the page;
        B) after-midnight downloading with no sleep and severe allergies blah… blah… blah…
        3rd) I forgot to drink my tiger-blood-juice, and was not having a “winning” moment;
        IV) clown-mimes

        In any case, thanks again for recommending this fun and easy program, which you recommended before, but I missed it then. I’m definitely blaming the clown-mines for that time.

        Reply

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