Wednesday, September 17, 2008

real world and virtual world collide

As a young teen really wanting a car filled my dreams. In the mail I would get this aftermarket car catalog "Whitney's". It was thick and full of fuzzy dice to bored and stroked engines. I used to mark it up with pencils, then pens, then highlighters, then markers. You could buy the parts to build a car from scratch. My favorite was the sports car built on a Volkswagen Beetle chassis. If you thought Pokeymon geeks were bad, you haven't known car geeks. Anyway, this is what Linux is like, a computer aftermarket. The only thing missing is the catalog. If the internet were not here, there would be a thick catalog, listing and describing all the parts. You would know what Linux is, how the parts work together and how to get it the way you want it. Actually if you know where to look the internet resources are quite good.

What's on the Linuxville guide's real desktop these days? Besides my excursion into the annals of computer graphics history, I am looking at the kinds of art that can be produced on a computer. Beyond digital photos, web pages, ad art, banners, game design, animation and special effects, if you have intent to print, there is still a lot. I have also discovered that if you plan to do more than web surfing and email you might need more computer resources than average users need. Graphics tend to be memory hogs the more complex they are.

Been library hopping lately. Even though I can reserve a book from anywhere in the system and have it delivered to my local branch, I am disappointed by what I see on the physical shelves. Book procurers only buy mostly MS windows related books. This is in spite of how many people already know about MS Windows in good detail. Linux which is free to own and use gets very little shelf space. I am not so worried about Linux as it lives on the web. But free and open source applications get even less shelf space. The GIMP books are rare, Open books are also rare. People use public libraries as a free resource, yet when they get there only find books about the most expensive software in the world. Talk about opportunities lost to lift and educate the masses. The reference librarian should be quick to say if you don't have this software try this open source one. Then I must complain about the Photoshop presence. The computer graphics sections has tons of Photoshop books then also again in the digital photography section. Two subjects not covered in my travels, digital art as in actual drawing/sketching and digital painting as in fine art. Yeah, you can find comic/game animation, sometimes computer fantasy art, but far too many digital photography books. Books you do find are on a professional level, not beginner or intermediate levels. Libraries should be in the educational opportunity and idea possibility business. Linux, open source software, computer art and design all fit into these themes.

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