Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the penguin is out of the bag

TightVNC is proving to be very cool for me, except if I play a movie on my remote desktop I can't hear it on my laptop. I learned how the scroll bars on the sides work, they move left or right, up or down via the mouse buttons.

Doing the remote control of another computer is fun but don't expect snappy performance unless you have a fast system and lots of memory for things to flow smoothly. Ubuntu has some built-in VNC tools, they perform with choppiness while working with graphics applications. TightVNC on the other hand is a lot smoother on my meager equipment.

Still looking at digital pens. Can't afford a new Wacom Tablet and the jittery cursor of my present tablet bothers me. I narrowed the problem to the radio communication between the pen and the tablet. If I wrap the pen in foil, I can block the signal, stop the pen from working. If I place the tablet on the laptop keyboard the jitters lessen. I like to have pen pressure control but it is not a supreme necessity. I have used CAD programs for over 20 years, none of them have pen pressure control to vary the line weight while drawing. Also many have used paint applications with a mouse for years. If I can get a pen device that functions as a mouse, writes on plain paper, that is useful. Having handwriting recognition and converting to text is extra. A couple of the pens I like have a small sonic radar that clips on your paper. It tracks the position of the pen and records the pen strokes. This is also used with some Whiteboards. The pen strokes can be turned into a graphics file and tweaked by your computer. An artist like me can have fun with this. The caveat is can I get this in Linux. Oh well!

My madness says I am used to drawing with ballpoints and felt-pens. While it is nice to have line weight control, I don't usually use it. I can get by without it. I have seen pen style mouse replacements for $30.00, you can't cry about that. On the high end is the smart pens that records your pen strokes, converts writing to text and records sound. Some smart pens that use a special digital paper are down right remarkable. Why do I use simple tools instead of top of the line geeked out, I gotta get me one of these, kinds of stuff? Because an artist can use a pencil, a pen, a brush to create his magic. If I had to learn a new contraption it could be a long time before I could bridle it and get my own art out through it.

A good picture is rock musicians. Everybody likes the air guitar, playing the real guitar though takes focused time to learn it and then practice till you can play it as if it is an air guitar. The air guitar has a mental interface with theatrical gestures and vocalizations. The real guitar requires you to strum or pluck the physical strings and work the physical fretboard. There is no air in the beginning.

So the artist in me's first consideration is to go with what I know. Then if a new thing seems worth getting into go after that in a way it doesn't smother or stifle what I am already doing. I try to do everything in Linux. The professional world of digital art and printing is hooked on XP and now Win7. I have to be open to that, but I don't have to like it. The object is to get the work done and out.

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