Let’s face it: the PC is no longer the center of the universe. Cellphones handle communications and the Internet. Palmtops can handle documents. The iPod has become the music hub. The PC just isn’t the all-purpose, all-knowing central hub it once was.

On the other hand, the PC, for most people, is still the center of the electronics universe. Among other things, it’s the place where all of those photos, movies, and songs come to rest. And in Windows Vista, Microsoft has addressed organizing/editing problem with a vengeance. Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Media Player are newly written (or newly beefed-up) programs that stand ready to manage your photos, music, and DVD movies.

Windows Photo Gallery

Your digital camera is brimming with photos. You’ve snapped the perfect graduation portrait, captured that jaw-dropping sunset over the Pacific, or compiled an unforgettable photo essay of your 2-year-old attempting to eat a bowl of spaghetti. It’s time to use your PC to gather, organize, and tweak all these photos so you can share them with the rest of the world. And that’s a job for Photo Gallery.

To open Photo Gallery, choose its name from the Start→Programs menu, or double-click a photo in your Pictures folder. You arrive at the program’s main window, the basic elements of which are shown in Figure 7-1.

Here’s what Photo Gallery looks like when you first open it. The large photo-viewing area is where thumbnails of your imported photos appear. The icons at the top of the window represent all the stuff you can do with your photos. To adjust the size of the photo thumbnails (miniatures), click the magnifying-glass icon. Don’t release the mouse button yet. Instead, drag the vertical slider up or down. All the thumbnails expand or contract simultaneously. Cool!
Figure 7-1. Here’s what Photo Gallery looks like ...

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