A friend recently recommended TiltShift, an interesting iPhone app that allows you to define an area as a mask and blur the rest of the pic. It is similar to what PhotoNoir does with lighting. There are also settings for contrast, saturation, and brightness, as well as a few other tweaks.
As a quick test, I did a re-do of a blog picture from a few months ago, which I had painstakingly blurred using PaintFX and wasn’t really happy with. I took the original image of a man holding a baby, used TiltShift to blur everything except where their arms crossed, and pulled it into SimplyB&W for B&W, contrast, and a little grain. All in all, I’m much happier with this version, and it was much easier. This image was done in about 3 minutes altogether, while others were shuffling their chairs around and trying to get a web meeting started.