Wednesday, July 28, 2010

living to tell the tale

When you come back from heck you deserve something great to play with. Google has all sorts of apps and mostly I pass. I don't like to get used to using apps that are hosted on a server somewhere. To have software and data on my PC is what makes it personal. There is one Google app that is the coolest thing I ever saw. It is called Picasa, looks like this:
Yeah it is cool, has a little lever to size the thumbnails, which are as clear as day, and buttons that do other stuff. The absolute coolest feature is that it reads your hard drive to display all your pics. You can also grab a pic and reorder or move it. I can view my sketchbooks and reference pictures very fast. I kept saying when is a Linux version going to happen and BAM!

I have a couple of Linux picture viewers, this is the best by far.

On the art front I am working away in hard pursuit of the African art aesthetic. This started back when I was in college. I won a years scholarship to study architecture at a big name school through a work study program. When I enrolled into the regular classes, Art History was a big part, only the class was set up for art majors intending to become art researchers and curators. After months studying Greek and Roman architecture, I was disillusioned and in a rage. It was the height of the Black awareness movement and I could not find the relevance. I adjourned to the campus library, read all about African architecture, art and the counter culture green technology. I ask the question, What was the African art aesthetics that Matisse and Picasso and others "borrowed" from. And is there a Black or African style rather than just an "influence"?

Hey dude, you talking nonsense! No, wait! How many Black architects, or engineers or interior designers or industrial designers or artist can you name. I can't, I have to look them up, then I can name a couple. The internet is wonderful the way you can patch up a shoddy education with facts that pertain your origins.
But more to the point the idea that I don't have to borrow what should be my heritage and cultural imprint. I just looked.

Here is a shot of my exercise so far:
The back panel I think is wonderful using one of my drawings, the carved African door is so cool, the sofa is called Diysofa from Must Italia. My target is not the museums but the space behind and above your sofa in the African Modern style or whatever it will be called. And of course I use free and open source software for this.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

the man from heck

I just been to heck and back. You see I am applying for a job the requires MS Excel and Autocad. It has been a little while since I have used these products but I have used similar Linux applications.

First I used my Ubuntu laptop. I installed Wine which emulates just enough of MS Windows to run some Windows applications. I have Photoshop Lite (2001 vintage) works fine. I tried to install a 30 day trial version of Autocad 2010 and then Autocad LT 2010 to no avail. The real deal is two fold. If you don't have the actual XP or 7, good luck. Then if you don't have enough hardware beef, forget it. Oh, did I tell you it took a couple of hours before I found out Autocad would not install.

The final straw was I put a second hard drive into my desktop Ubuntu machine, installed XP and then Autocad LT 2010 on it. It took forever.............but I now can dual-boot into XP and Autocad LT 2010 does work. My best recommendation is if you are using serious MS platform software, you must have serious resources on hand (lots of disk space and main memory). I have 1gig of main memory and things are slow. My PC will take 2gig. That should speed things up a bit.

It really makes me mad as I love Linux so much. I could run XP as a virtual machine but not having enough memory and or a CPU that is faster, anything practical is a pain. I have PCs of various ages and I have been able to use Linux on them with good success. The economics has always been a pain at this time in my life. The cost of memory does not get cheaper with age. As the memory becomes harder to find for older machines the cost goes up. It is cheaper to get a new machine trimmed to the max, than beefing up an old one.

You'd think I am enraged about XP, Ubuntu 10.04 also gives me heck. I have an older laptop with a lower spec than my desktop. Ubuntu 9.10 runs just fine, 10.04 won't even boot past the logo screen, and this is the live-CD. So here is my unsolicited advice. If when buying a new PC and they try to dazzle you with a huge honking hard drive, pause, take a look at how much system ram comes with it. If your system takes 2 gig of ram, fill it up now or feel up-graders lament. Hard drive cost go up and down but mostly down, you can always get a good deal. System ram though is costly, buy it up front while you can still breath. With system ram to the max, you can run anything, no sweat.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The classic battle of closed source vs open source

The classic battle of closed source vs open source
They stare intently at each other, the light sabre warriors. When ready to engage they take turns lighting them up. Microsoft a red laser, Mac a green laser and Linux in blue. We anticipate red and green but blue takes us aback. Blue laser, what kind of weapon is that? "Ah yes, Gnubian, we got a lot of that!"

The reputations and market share (usage) of Microsoft platform graphic software and Mac graphic software is legendary and that of Linux questioned, ridiculed and marginalised as being not professional enough. It's just a Jedi mind trick, blue lasers will slice off an arm like any other laser. The truth is MS and Mac out of the box, plug-n-play light sabres are made for market products. Linux requires some understanding. "I see you have constructed a new light sabre! indeed you a skilful and powerful Jedi!"

I always hear the chants, I want the best stuff out there, the most used and the most supported and what is the most used in the industry. When art is an industry and you are in that industry, you use what the industry uses. There is a road less travelled......... Like the artist wearing his/her beret, on a riverbank or hillside, recording the view on a minute canvas. Paintbox and pallet and easel and brush, charcoal, pencil, camera or laptop. To this artist every tool is generic and useful from brushes whose hairs were plucked from his chin to the imported zoo-fur brush from an exotic hard to pronounce country. Every artist boast in his tools and wraps a mystique of power around them. I use what I choose, that is what makes them superior over what you choose for yourself. I bend them to my will and in that is the magic. Besides I like blue.

"But you don't know the power of the closed source." Not deeply and I don't like it when sith lords insist I "pirate to try it" or get it for free with a new hardware purchase. I tend to strip it all down anyway, install open source and fire up the blue light. "But no one uses open source for.....Then I shall be the no one that no one knows, for the open source is with me."