Tuesday, January 31, 2012

please, overcome your FOSS asumptions

What's driving the home grown and grass-root digital arts effort. You'd think it's the same thing that's driving the professional digital art world, after all that is the standard, right. Well yes and no. Yes, the art world as we know it is entrenched, most get schooled for jobs down the road and the notion of art preservation has paved the way to museum walls. On the other side of the coin is portable art, disposable art, art on every object bought and sold by humans to humans. Well............ it turns out that, and we are talking software here, that Free Open Source Software (FOSS) can do the same things that commercial software can do.

Poor Johnny can't draw on his PC because his Photoshop trial version time limit has been reached. Purchasing power has not been bestowed upon him. Maybe he can get another trial version or get a crack (oooh Johnny?) to turn his Photoshop clock back. Meanwhile, his friend and friendly fire rival neighbor has been drawing steady for months, no sweat, with Open Source Software. Now multiply this incident by your classroom of art hungry digital art students. The waiting for resources vs the getting down to draw (with the same tools) today. GIMP today, Photoshop tomorrow or when ever. I am tell'n ya, save the Photoshop for advanced work towards the professional if ya want to go that way.

Meanwhile in a garage across the street from the well established but restricted budget school of sport and ARTS cuts, a dozen art frenzied kids are slinging pixels. Older PCs, XP and Linux powered with Open Source softwares in a low budget operation. That's what I see anyway.

I have a more powerful laptop as I told you all, it is running Ubuntu Linux 11.10. I don't care for the Unity desktop and installed the Gnome Shell and I love it. Having more resources I tried to install XP as a virtual machine. It worked at first, then got messy and I couldn't recover. Instead I have installed Wine, billed as not an Windows emulator, allows you to run some Windows applications in Linux. I've tried this on my old laptop, it didn't work well at all. Now with better processor, more memory, Wine works really well, so far (I'm cautious). I don't want to run every free art app I can find, they don't all work in Wine and who's got that much time or bandwidth. You can only get good at or find useful just so much. The big Windows app I wanted was Google's SketchUp. There is a free version and a feature rich paid version. You can find open source software that does similar but Google's SketchUp is established, has resources, pre-built models and lots of fans. Sketchup works well in Wine, but I am guessing you got to have enough RAM memory and a descent processor. SketchUp is well explained, easy to learn and can be as advanced as any professional CAD system. I would have made SketchUp a Java app like SweetHome3D. SweetHome3D is a Java app that runs on any PC with Java. You draw a floorplan and it draws the walls in 3D, then you can put 3D furniture in there.

So art on the PC can be doodles, paintings or CAD, 2D, 3D and it's all about the tools, not how the tools are packaged. It can be done in Free Open Source Software at low to no cost, nuff said.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

why fi, when you can face to face

I was a teenage artist, doing my thing and looking for an avenue. I wasn't an "art student" or under tutorship in some program. Most of my artist pains were from being alone. None of my friends were into drawing, it was Motown and girls. One day at school I went into the "other" student lounge during lunchtime. A group of guys were huddled around a table and butchering some Motown tunes, street corner crooning style. Then they hit on a tune just right and the harmony shook the room. Immediately the other kids gathered around the table, ears wide open. It was sweet, live, impromptu. Then the crowd went back to their places, they missed the interesting part. The guys then whipped out their specialties, a couple of poets, a couple drew black super hero comic book characters, one drew custom cars, a couple were into fantasy football via those plastic men on buzz boards. I brought out my sketchpad and showed my house drawings. I got oohs and aahs and critique and encouragement right then and there. I didn't even have to ask can I join, I was in. Couldn't sing, but I was in. Thus I took my talents as far as I could in that time frame, challenging my self to have something new and better to show the group. Then my family moved to a different part of the city. The new school had no such group to hangout with. It was back to lonely artist pain.

In college I was awash with stories of Silicon Valley, the tech culture. Folks  there literally worked out of their garages. Tech people hung out together to trade stories, theories, to boast-n-brag, to find collaborators, make deals, etc. Today folks don't have confidence in the possible idea, or trust in other like minded persons. Other persons are adversaries, competitors, conspirators. To work with others today you need a prenuptial and a stack of disclaimers.

The cellphone is a wonderful connection device, but it is a stall, a virtual stall. Like being in a cubical, toilet, elevator, or closet, you are virtually private. There should be a law never look at a person on the phone. How many people live on their cells? Maybe I should open a "no why-fi zone" restaurant, in fact no media in it. Hey, rno's got a new place where people actually talk to each other face to face. Woe, do people do that any more? That's gotta hurt to watch eyes, moving lips and body language all at the same time. Dag, that's like being married, that's too close. You think I am funny? My wife no longer yells up the stairs after me, she calls me on my cell.

Hanging out is an art. Finding like minded souls is a bliss. They are your toughest critics and your strongest encouragement to get your art done and out there. This is the grass-roots that makes it all go.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The difference is where you are standing

Stand in the middle of a field and dream a little. Then walk to the edge, take the whole field into view. The change in perspective should be profound. Using the arts to revive a town should not be based solely on the success of another city but also on the potential of the town you're in. This is because the players, the landscape and the times are different. It is not about bringing a franchise in called artist revival. There needs to be serious grunt work. Some give up practicing the arts in order to support the arts. There is a lot to happen behind the scenes to make art visible. Turning art from school projects and pastimes into businesses or any kind of economic engine takes numbers of art interested and art involved persons.

When I was in college there were a number of businesses that sprang up on campus. An old carriage house turned into a swanky pizza and wine restaurant, a shop that sold posters and dorm room decor. My favorite was a hole in the wall restaurant that had steamed brown rice-n-veggies, bean soups and open-faced sandwiches. There were coffee shops and book shops. I don't believe any of them were franchises. They had uniqueness, were not scripted, polished, canned, homogenized and sanitized.

We have generations that don't hangout like in the past. Online global networking gives the illusion of being connected to anybody and everybody, but when we only meet via this media all the safety conventions and cultural seasonings of face to face are lost. We must recover local networking and reach out from there. We have abandoned union halls, veteran halls and cultural center halls all over town. Declining numbers of old folk still go to these places but the young folk don't identify with cultural/race the same way their elders do. If you don't locally gather at a church, school or a rec center, life is isolated. Work is not a social activity, not like in the past.

We have a computer user's group in town, mostly older folk. Young folk aren't interested in computers the same way. There has to be some faddish thing for young folks to get excited. They are hooked on the games not the hardware, playing around not doing something practical. I bet you a smart phone group would be a hit, but I also bet you couldn't get young folks into one room for a formal organized club meeting.

Art is still a hands-on activity, handling the physical world and making the world a more livable place. Art can be simple or complex, performed by a young person or an older person. Talent aside, art is a great agent of therapeutic results and academic possibilities. Art still has a shape-shifting definition in both the object itself and the beholder. Art is faddish and timeless at the same time. Art slips into places where social, political, religious and economic stubbornness have all but closed the door to what is still good about us that we care to share with each other. Art is still locally produced and shared. Home grown.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

pretty carp to being outstanding in your field

If Mac users are hungry whales, MS users veracious sharks (duh duh, duh duh...), then Linux users in mass are drooling penguins. I try to herd them past the Koi tanks, "For Show Only, Not for Lunch" I say.  They drooled so bad everyone was slipping-n-sliding-n-falling. Hard to get predators to read the liner notes, Koi are fresh water fish you salty dogs. Koi are a cultured lot, the cream of the Carp, not a glorified Guppy. Besides I think predator taste buds are in their stomachs, they don't even chew their food. Slow down, saver the flavor!..........and dibs on that.

What has this to do with art, digital and otherwise. Here in my post-lost of industrial base town. We are trying to revive via the help of local artist. We have discovered that competition for recognition and rewards and resources have reduced artist to individual feeding frenzy crazed I am somebody worthy to be paid well and dang near worshiped maniacs.

Let me make it plain. Town or neighborhood recovery requires grass-roots effort. The grass on top that is visible to all needs cut/trimmed regularly. This controls the grass and the WEEDS. The roots that are invisible (underneath) are what remains and sustains. Artist are used in recovery work because they have a work-flow that is integrated into their lives. Often their work needs and living needs are the same needs (work in the home). This creates a tension which fuels local economy, social networks, community concerns and resolutions, cultural identity or character of the community, etc.

To start, artists need to communicate, collaborate, establish the community, grow commerce, then compete. Competition is about friendly fire not destroy all comers. Why because some artists are supremely gifted and some not. Then some artist are well received and some less. If you create a healthy environment, all the milk is enjoyed, the froth, the cream, the milk, the milk mustache supports the napkin industry, the milk residue fuels the dish detergent industry, yogurt and cheese and milk flavoring, latte and lactate free. Besides the industry of art itself, artist possess a work ethic. Somehow if a town languishes too long, the work ethic drains away. Easier to steal from your neighbor than work for your own sinks into many towns.

Jobs are scarce near where I live, I keep my chin up while I look for work by doing art projects. Keeping busy wither getting paid or not helps keep the work ethic alive. I get up, get busy, plan, work at it, finish it. I joined with other artist doing the same thing. We struggle with where we are going with this. We hope for other artist joining in to become aware of a community of necessity, establishing the roots on the bottom while cultivating the grass on top. Once the grass is growing strong, weeds can be tolerated and managed. Before then weeds overwhelm, drain the nutrients and look like hell. Please note, there are not enough weeds to make bio-fuel and challenge the oil industry. If heavy industry comes, OK, if not we will roll with what we have and be successful with that.

Friday, January 20, 2012

dead trophy fish or koi

How do you art? I have my ways. As much as I want to draw on a computer the same as I would on paper, that is not my pattern. Being a draftsman for years does something to you. I am used to drawing with instruments, using templates, keeping a library of reusable parts and symbols and recycling drawings. I usually don't do sketches on the computer because it's not reflex enough, fluid enough. Pen and paper is so.........natural. When I come to the computer I am fitting together pieces of ideas, tweaking, editing, altering, arranging and formatting. So yes, scanning is a big part of what I do. I will draw something, scan it, save it for later. When I review the scans I find a use for the scan.

I used to get guilty over my process till I watched someone do a block print from beginning to end. Then I saw them ink up in other colors, combine the block with other blocks, even alter the block. My computer is similar to that block, I can print over and over the same file or make a new altered file from the old file, saving both the old and the new, then reuse them, combine them. I say the process is my art, the outcome is your art (that is the part I show you).

Now let's flip the fillet from man eating fish to show fish (like koi). You know many cities try to use artist to revive and recover old neighborhoods. This works fine if the artists are a community. They rent spaces to artist for studios and living that need remodeling, many times spaces that other people would turn their noses up at. The art of making space livable and living there is fraught with legal wrangling and physical alterations. This is all weathered if the artists are a community and not a band of squatter gypsies. The difference is the level of giveback to the larger community.

Artist need to acknowledge themselves, then each other and become economic partners instead of competitors. You need places to hangout, a newsletter (grass roots thing), resale shops, galleries, art services, etc., etc., etc. Above all independent thinking must make space for group concerns. It's not just you, it's your neighbor too. We fight for credit, glory, power, money, all to get ourselves elevated at the expense of other community orgs in the same hood. Wrestling for control, political advantage, a name for ourselves and to have the prominent ego might be fine down the road, but you don't want to start off like that. Artists work hard at their arts, but they must be unencumbered from the pace of competitive madness. It doesn't take that much to live. This is why artist can recover a community where others can not. Recover the community first, fight for economic advantage when you have a community that can deal with it later.

Monday, January 16, 2012

fish heads and fish tales

The concept of what is art is vague to many. Those in the various arts might have general assumptions about what others call art, but ask them about their own art workings. Ah, there's specific and personal involvement.

I was talking to a friend at a gathering, she introduced me as an artist to her friend. The friend exercising her concept of art and of artist, immediately invited me to do a portrait of her and her family. I almost blurted out "Go buy a camera!." Calmly I explained, I do digitally manipulated drawings of patterns for use in interior design and decor. I saw the frustration on her face so I recanted and said 'I do abstracts.' The conversation was over, she was sure she understood and frustration was now on my face.

So if you are an artist, forget the business card. Print up some post cards with a sample of your work on them. There will then be no misunderstanding. Show-n-tell works for kids and especially adults. One picture = 1000 words, two pictures will blow them away!

Admiration and envy plagued me for years. I let ones I admire influence my work. If I envy them I steal from them, wanting to be them, do their work like them. So, I don't intensely study another's work. Overtime I become familiar by glancing here and there, gleaning and understanding. I figure out what my own interest are and what my own directions are.

The biggest thing is to review my own history of sketches. I took all my sketchbooks and scanned them into my computer, a little each night. Then I used Picassa or Fotoxx or another photo management software to review. It's like your life flashing before your eyes, what insight! There is a nature of your own work that is your work, a character. You might not like it, but if you understand it, embrace it, you can then adjust it, improve it or just use it. It is not going to go away, it's you. Tell yourself, 'It's not a flaw, it's a feature! Then say 'Others don't see this much of me.' You tell others what you want to tell them. If then they want more they will have to know you personally or see a retrospect of all your works.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

caviar in the sack lunch

I love the comedy routine where the guy pulls a gourmet dining spread including a lit candelabra out of his gym bag to impress a chick. My vision of a roving artist is similar. There is a physical trade off. My graphics laptop is hefty, wide and along with it's power adapter fits in a large laptop bag. Then I put my graphics tablet, CD case, tool kit in a smaller bag. This is fast to set up and use but transporting it all is giving me muscles. I can get an hour of battery life or unplugged drawing done if I don't use the CD drive too much and off-line. Newer stuff is built to better specs and longer battery life. The pro photographers carry battery packs for potable lighting. Something similar for extended remote laptop usage would be wonderful.

Portability is of prime importance along with size of screen, power to get work done efficiently and battery life. Doing art in the studio is one thing, on the road, at the park is another. I envy the painter sitting beside the river, folding stool, easel, small canvas, pallet, casual moves, totally distracted by his work at hand.

Things you use have to fit. My standard mouse is too big, my daughter's laptop mouse is bug sized. My fingers had to adjust a lot to use it. Then I stumbled upon the iHome Laptop mice. They have a middle size, just right. I have a Wacom Graphire 2, ancient but it works well. Using the pen takes getting use to. I was a CAD drafter for years, using a mouse is normal for me.

Habits and patterns, the laptop can allow you to bend the rules. I move from house studio to the art center. Working in the car is space awkward, working in a waiting room is people awkward. If the weather is nice our city has a covered landing next to the river. It has picnic tables and is not occupied between events. Oh to quite my thoughts for two hours, no folks to attend to, no urgencies, no ego trying to get noticed. I have the isolation at home, to have it in the open air, that takes some personal adjusting for me. I spend a lot of time dodging, juggling and managing situations and people. It takes a while to settle down and do art. You have to slow the flow of differing influences. It is cool to do all kinds of stuff but starting and finishing means giving up the wealth of many for the poverty of one idea. I was overdosed on all the colors, then I narrowed my pallet, I immediately knew which one to choose.

Friday, January 13, 2012

100 beady eyes on a cracker, Not!

Ok, we already settled that no matter which Linux live-cd/dvd for artist you use, as long as the applications you want are on it, you will be happy. Just have enough RAM on your system to do them justice, because graphics take RAM.

Using a jump or flash drive installation is awkward if your PC can't boot from an external USB drive. If you install these Linux for artist you might have a time installing new software or finding what you want in supported but older software repositories.

Getting past the above cautions results in your head cocking back and a loud raunchy laughter erupting from deep within. 'Hey, you're here, where's your equipment?' You whip out your disc, slide it in, boot, sit down, draw, save to flash, logout, eject, grab disc and run down to your car so you won't embarrass your self..........'LOL!' You forgot to roll up the windows.

PureDyne is a DVD, has a little of everything, is my favorite.

Dyne:Bolic 3 Beta is a CD and is half the distro that PureDyne is, size wise.

gnuArtist also is a DVD with a lot and also comes in a 'Lite" CD version.

Puppy PAW or Photo Artist Workshop is cool but the Linux itself is different. It is older and might be hard to find now.

Artist-X is a DVD's worth of artist apps.

Ubuntu Studio is a DVD's full of stuff. I don't have this one.

openArtist is also a DVD. I'm downloading this one right now.

Well get out your net search and checkout the home-pages and the specs. They are very similar to each other. Download and burn-it, then you too can put a complete art studio in the palm of your hand.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the caveat of caviar

OK, now there's a drawback to using any of the made for artist live-CDs. You use it, you love it, you want to install it, then it hits you. Remember I told you to get off the update track and in fact to get offline? Those were made from the latest distros at the time, but because they often are a special rendition of an original or were made for the specific purpose they are not update-able now.

Some artist distros were made with scrips and tweaks on top of a distro version that is no longer supported. I have a box of live-CDs of various distros, everyone still usable but obsolete because they are no longer supported.

There is a solution to this delima. If you must install one of these artist distros, do it as a virtual machine, dual boot alongside of your regular updateable Linux. Dual-boot alongside of MS Windows or dedicate your PC as an artist tool and not be concern with changes, additions and updates OR use the live-CD as is and be happy.

The portable dilemma can be overcome one more way. Install a regular normal Linux of your choice on a huge honking but portable USB drive, add the apps you want. This is probably the best long run solution. It cost more than a couple of USB flash drive sticks, but the payback is huge honking also.

The live-CD offer having all the artist apps in one place, already to use. In the gallery, we have some older machines, no internet yet, no network yet. I know many folks who don't have DSL or cable so downloading is not happening. You can buy distro discs on line and be done.

Picture this, laptop, USB drive, graphics tablet and a extended power battery pack. You probably need an airport carry-on bag with wheels and a handle. You can setup anywhere. LOL by the time you put it all together, those tablet readers and net tablets will be ready to do the job. They are too small and power short for now, for me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

OK, I was there

Linux for artist has been in the works for years. You have to ask, what's an artist and how much Linux do you need. The results are often a DVD full of stuff artist can use. Think of the movie 'the matrix' when they are loading up from the weapons racks. It's a funny effect to see racks stream off into the distance when they are just going to grab the stuff in front. Linux is like that, choice out the wahzoo. In the net search game when you say artist, you get recording artist. Then in the artist Linux you get audio stuff and some movie editing stuff. When it all said and done the visual graphic stuff is ad..........oops ran out of disc space.

Linux for artist projects try to accommodate various kinds of artist. Then there is that dilemma, live-cd/dvd or installed. If you install you can add/remove the applications you want/don't want. If you use the live-cd/dvd you take what you get. Being a visual artist mainly and foremost I want to see the standard Linux apps, Blender, GIMP, Inkscape and My Paint. After that other tools I might use. Some of the AV oriented Linux distros have some of the graphical stuff but not all of the main ones. Not a problem if I install the whole thing. If I live-cd we have a problem. Usually the standard graphic stuff included are not tweaked with extras but stock, off the shelf.

So look at the many, download and burn. If you can remaster one you like according to your taste, that is the best. My vote for the best out the box Linux for Artist is PureDyne. The size puts it on a DVD but it's a hair over a gig. This will fit on a modest flash drive. The Swiss Army Knife motif is cool, just enough to be useful but no over kill. Believe me I wanted a Swiss Army Knife in the Cub Scouts, my dad got me a knife with twice the hardware, twice the size and half the price. Hiking with that thing banging in your pocket and the other kids saying where's your tool kit.........

PureDyne is cool, no fancy and distracting eyecandy. XFCE desktop for chose it and do it get to work on the fly action. It sees your network and hooks you up, if you need it. PureDyne presents a stable environment with 'enough', wither live-cd or installed. I'm still puttsing around but it looks good so far.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

honest, I wasn't there

In the Linuxville downtown there is a landscape of tall and short distros. Each one almost a world in itself. Standing on the curb you see regular faces going in and out. Normally folks don't venture outside their chosen trek. I am a jumper, so I investigate because grass is always greener in the other side. Don't take my word for it, get a blade of grass, it really is greener on the other side. How do they get the greener side to face you when your looking at it is a mystery?

In the test kitchen I downloaded various Linux greenery. Mind you now, we are looking for Linuxes made for artist and favoring the visual graphic bent. I have a laptop on life support, one with a quirky graphics card and my desktop. Then I have distros: Dyne:Bolic 3 Beta, Pure Dyne, gnuArtist, Artist-X, Puppy Photo Artist Workshop, Racy Puppy, Dream Linux. There are others but they emphasize audio/video production.

These are all live-CDs or live-DVDs. This means they will run off the disc by loading and running in RAM. You must have adequate RAM for good performance. Dyne:Bolic and Puppy especially work the best with low RAM, but graphics are RAM intensive. You must have a PC that can boot off the CD and or Flash drive. Flash drives are wonderful because there are no moving parts to slow you down. There are procedures to make bootable Flash drives. The beauty of the above is that you can transform an average MS Windows PC into a Linux Artist workstation with two Flash Drives (at least 4 or 8 gigs each). And when you pull them out, it's still a MS Windows PC.

The distros have similar applications, I mostly look for Blender, My Paint, GIMP and Inkscape on the same distro. If you install the distro on one computer then you can add what you want, then construct a new Live-CD. This is called remastering. This is why there are so many versions of Linux. I will try to say things about what I found. But I want to set the user stage.

An artist tool set doesn't change much. If you got a good set that works for you why change it. The constant urge to upgrade to the latest has to be set aside. I would recommend getting use to working offline. Thats no upgrade fever, no online. Then using an unchanged live-cd distro if you can, remaster if you must. So, your tools are your tools and changing is squashed to a minimum. Distractions leads to no action. You can now put your art studio on two flash drives mounted in a violin case, gangster in and blow any PC into art production. Details are coming.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

just like I wasn't there

Here in wonderful downtown Linuxville there is always an opportunity to have an epiphany when you least expect it. I know it's been done but I will lay it on ya anyway. If you are an artist like me you will appreciate the possibilities.

Most of us are either hunched over a PC terminal, laptop or running around doing god knows what for others. You go to the library or school or your brothers/sisters, get to use their PC but your work is at home listen.

Get your Linux live-CD or DVD or Linux installed on your Flash drive along with an extra Flash drive/stick to save your work on. You put your disk in or your Flash, boot up, do your stuff, save it, remove the disk and stick, reboot and who knew you were there. What's cool is that there are distros designed for artist, like Artist-X, Ubuntu Studio, gnuArtist, Puppy Photo Art Workshop, Dyne:Bolic and a few more. You can also remaster a CD/DVD with apps of your own choosing.

Me, I am downloading several of the artist distros to use at the art gallery. We have a couple of older Windows PCs I will install the Windows versions of Open Source software. I know many are used to Windows. I will have the Linux Live-CDs handy to show the portable artist tools. You can take them anywhere you have access to and as long as the PC will boot from an external device you are good to go. Your friend don't have graphic apps, fine, you can run from the flash or CD and not effect their PC. Theory, but a real working theory.  I'll give you an update, let you know how it goes, but I know you will beat me to it.

I just wanted to add, If you can stop the upgrade fever, you can use the live-cd till the cows come home. Most artist like their tools not to change for a while. And unlike most people I believe a PC doesn't have to be connected to the Internet to be useful. Offline, hurts but you can get some art done.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Meanwhile back at the ranch.

Here in the Linuxville guide office things are busy. I am upgrading the old laptop from Xubuntu 11.04 to 11.10. It had died and was revived. It is officially at home on my work desk as a media player and web browser. The newer laptop is wonderful, except for the browser glitches. It handles my graphics apps well but the browser stuff........enough for the rehash.

At the gallery we are looking at several old PCs. They don't have to run the latest stuff, though that would be nice. We can use them to run slide show displays and play media files. I am getting some refresh in the MS XP world, but after all is said and done my Linux and open source disks are handy. There is a Mac, a G3 or something, never used one for any length of time. You see everybody has used and trusts Microsoft and Mac, even all the quirks. I have been a Linux user 10 years. Mind ya now, though I am a technician I don't go too deep, else there won't be time to do things like art. Fixing computers for others is endless.

What's next on the scope, networking. Here's the game. I have my big printer attached to the XP box so that the printer drivers and color management software are no problem. Also on my net are the Linux laptops. If the XP box is a print server then it will use the printer drivers on each Linux box instead of the XP ones. Linux printer drivers are OK for some printers but awkward for others. Ink level monitoring sucks for my printers in Linux. It might be better to just transfer files through a shared folder and print from XP. You got to keep it simple even if it takes a few more steps. OR hire Poindexter the neighborhood techno wizard to configure Samba and show you the big button to push.

Here's the problem, an all Linux network is not explained to well enough for the less informed to just do it. Then the Microsoft net requires domains, workgroups and other net hanky-panky. A mixed network requires dance lessons (Samba), carnal knowledge, ip addresses, port permissions or an application that makes it all easy. Gee Arnold, do you really do art on your computer? You spend so much time messing with the hardware. Yeah I do, but also I'm prone to show-n-tell. I think we should talk about displaying stuff on the net so that ones can't steal yo stuff so readily. Man, there is so much to learn.