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Inkscape versus Adobe Fireworks
Both Inkscape and Adobe Fireworks are vector graphics editors, which enable a user to realize a series of multifunctional tasks. However, Adobe Fireworks offers either the possibility to create bitmap or raster images. Both graphic editors have been initially designed to create web-images. The interfaces of both editors are quite user-friendly; however, we have to mention the relative complexity of operating Inkscape. Apart from the shortcuts of the Inkscape editor, which are not designed for the users’ average needs, Inkscape is not likely to ‘organize’ the images in a convenient way. In its turn, Fireworks is not very quick to start.
The tools of Inkscape and Fireworks are quite similar, containing the useful function of dissembling the image into layers, the basis of which is the child layer. They offer the user a wide range of options varying from the most simple to the most complex. On the contrary to the Fireworks, however, Inkscape has its exclusive library in order to produce graphic images. Both Fireworks and Inkscape have a positive point of saving the files in format PDF.
Open Office versus Microsoft Office
Open Office is the free product, entitled to be used, modified, and improved by a user, while Microsoft Office is the ‘monopolized’ product, which is incapable of personal modification, and its profits from sales are the inducement of its development. This fact makes it clear that schools should be more likely to practice Open Office rather than Microsoft.
Further, the suites bear considerable differences in interfaces – Open Office is much simpler and more convenient to use, whereas Microsoft appears rather complex, offering a wider range of functions and options. Switching attention to the tools specifically, Microsoft Office has a default grammar-checker, which is considered to be more reliable and extensive than the one of Open Office, which is not implemented as a default.
Moreover, Microsoft suggests a greater variety of formats and different opportunities to view the document. Besides, this suite has the advantage of creating different types of diagrams – Smart Art feature, unlike Open Office, which does not have such an option. In its turn, however, Microsoft files are considerably larger in size than the Open Office files.
GIMP versus Photoshop
On considering several kinds of GIMP tutorials, one has to but draw the conclusion that not all of them offer explicit and understandable models of work. One of the most helpful and convenient tutorials I have examined is http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/. This set of tutorials gives the user opportunity to visually observe all steps of acquiring a particular skill in GIMP, unlike the majority of other tutorials, which, in their own turn, perform these steps separately.
This subtlety remains quite inconvenient as far as there is often a need to switch, come back to the former action, and muse on it, which is better with the placement of this information directly on one page. The positive thing about the majority of the GIMP tutorials is the division of GIMP skills acquisition according to the level of complexity, which enables any average PC-user, in particular any pupil, to get easily acquainted with work on GIMP. The latter is not too overwhelmed with functions, unlike Photoshop, which would be quite unreasonable to use at school.
Base versus Access
My reflection on the Base and Access tutorials is totally positive – the method of illustrating every action of the learner with a particular image, where the options are marked with red circles or ovals, appears to be really helpful. However, this is probably due to my biased opinion that Access is better structured (considering one of such examples as representation and explanation of the elements of the database, etc., which is absent in Base tutorial). What is more, for me personally, the tips to the ‘visualized actions’ in Access tutorials are more explicit than those of the Base, which is one more proof that Access is more likely to be used at schools than Base.
The first tool I have used under the name of Picasa has come to my appeal for I have always wanted somebody to organize my digital photos and finally share them with people who have been waiting long for them. Picasa, as a complement to Google mail, proves to be quite a useful tool for handling web-albums and sharing personal images with the rest of the world. Moreover, Picasa enables a user to enjoy the privilege of making photo presentations.
More advanced, so to say, is the tool of Tabblo, which gives a user an opportunity to create the whole collages of the images and comments to them and generate the whole stories. There a user can take under control every action regarding his/her tables.
Toondoo is an impressive tool for creating a variety of games designed for children of different ages, appeal, and ability. Toondoo leaves a place for imagination, helps to develop skills while having fun with cartoon characters.
Frankly speaking, I have never used this to say ‘vintage’ graphic viewer for the reason that its interface does not correspond to my appeals. However, generally, IrfanView performs not only the viewer function but also the options of basic image editing, scanning, creating slideshows, and even playing sounds and movies! This is really impressive and quite practical. Therefore, I would agree that this software is a convenient (and quite unsophisticated) tool for school pupils to deal with several tasks. Exactly IrfanView can give the pupils that basic knowledge and skills in editing the images, changing their size, brightness, contrast, and so on, which will be a considerable step in switching to more complicated image editors.