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Dec. 24, 1996

By Peggy McCracken

Early Santa visit

brightens work day

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It's Christmas Eve. Some of you will be going to church tonight to
worship the Savior whose birth we commemorate; other churches have
already had special Christmas programs. But for most of us, tomorrow is
the big day for family feasting and gifting.

Santa will slip down the chimney or crawl in through a window during
the night to place gifts under the tree for boys and girls who have been
on their good behavior during the year. Some of us were so good he came

Yes, I am one of those whose Santa letter was answered in jig time, and
I have been using my new digital camera for a week. I know most of you
are tired of computer stuff, but I did have one request to continue, so
this is for him.

A digital camera records images on a computer chip instead of film. You
may have noticed over the past week we have printed some digital photos
in the paper. They weren't great shots, I admit. But I didn't ask Santa
for the camera to take black-and-white photos for the paper, anyway. It
is for the Internet page we update daily so people all over the world
can read about you.

We've been using some photos on the web page. We either have to scan
them in with our black-and-white-only scanner or send color film to
Seattle, Wash. to be developed and digitized. If you don't know know the
difference between analog and digital, join the club. I don't, either. I
just know that everything has to be digitized for a computer to process

When I sent color film to Seattle Filmworks, they posted my digitized
photos on their Internet page in less than a week, sent me an e-mail
message, and I downloaded them to our web page computer. Then I tweaked
them a little bit with the software they provide - cropped, corrected
colors, brightness and contrast and sized them to fit our Home Page.

Now I can take the photos with my digital camera, hook it up to the
computer and copy them directly into a file one at a time or all at
once. Then I can "select" which one I want to use, open it to a large
size on the screen, tweak it and copy to whatever file I want to save it
in. When I put together the web page I want to use it on, I just make a
link to that file and it shows up on the screen whenever someone opens
that page.

I asked Santa for a small camera that I can carry in my purse, so I can
use it as a backup camera for the regular paper as well as for special
web page shots. While the quality won't be as sharp as our expensive
"journalism" cameras produce, it will beat nothing. I've carried a small
"idiot camera" for years, and it really comes in handy for those
unexpected photo ops. I've used it to record a fatal accident on the
highway, a house fire, award presentations at City Council meetings,
Lions Club broom sale and other community projects I just happen on,
special programs at my church that deserve news space - you name it,
I've photographed it.

Thanks, Santa, for making my job a little easier. I will leave you some
milk and cookies tonight.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his
favor rests." Luke 2:15, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose
column appears each Tuesday.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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