Wednesday, February 29, 2012

last day of the feast

Today is the last day of the scheduled Black History Month. I didn't celebrate with others like other descendants of immigrants in this country celebrate their points of origin. We have big celebrations for being American and then slightly smaller celebrations for various ethnic groups. When Black people's time comes around there are isolated public displays, perhaps a rally and a picnic, but it's not like a national public display. We have a history of being shamed, even lynched in public, we are leery of open displays of pride. Safety in numbers huh, whats to stop the squashing of even a million man march, if it suits an end game.

I was in college in the 70's, we tried to have a celebrate Black heritage week. We sported our dashikis and fros (real hair not wigs), we had drum troops, stepp'n troops, dance and singing. We did rap before it became cursing and dissing. We talked Malcom and MLK and Douglas. The first year it was glorious, the second a ho-hum, the third a what the hell was that. To "celebrate" Black History never catches on really, there is too much effort to rekindle it every year, sparks but no fire. There is something wrong, something missing, hidden, unexplained, covered up.

Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 in the Bible says a certain people will forget and be forgotten, forget their God, heritage, and ways. Psalms 83 speaks of a collusion of crafty council to make you forget and wipe you out of remembrance (the Willy Lynch letter). We are a people who as a whole can't say who we are or where we are from. We can't point to our origin, don't speak our original language and can't figure if the things we do are whispers of our forgotten culture or not. Black scholars and truth seeking individuals have posted so many identifying clues but as a group we don't identify enough with this information to link, bond and have a cultural remembering as a group. Oh it can't be that!!

Remembering, remembering, remembering. When I get out of my car at the grocers, walking to the door, I look at every face. I look for remembrance in every Black face. Almost all have forgotten, perhaps one or two might give a sign of knowing. Some are still waiting, some have given up, some given over. It doesn't matter, so what, who cares. The ones who have it can't pass it on because younger ones can't receive it. We can't even say if what we have discovered is real. Can't trust the establishment who lied. It's hidden in plain sight, we still don't believe what we are seeing. It's so hard to remember when you've been cut off...............reparations won't restore knowledge of self.

Monday, February 20, 2012

working preference

OK, we can maneuver in the various camps via common hardware and cross-over Open Source Software and user activities. And we know that if you can do what you do on any platform, there must be a reason why Linux is your personal choice. Yes besides the economics, I like what I have become familiar with. I know what to expect in this Linux environment. I kind of know how to fix somethings beyond average user knowledge, yet I am not a Linux engineer or a system administrator (able to run a server room). I can manage my Linux PC. This is an essential part of owning a Linux PC because there are few desktop technicians trained in Linux PC support of consumer desktops, corporate networked systems yes, personal Linux PC support no.

Linux does have it's hassles like unfamiliar application names and too many variables within some applications.  It's not necessarily more complex, mostly not throughly enough explained (in a simple manner!). This is further strained when most documentation is down-loadable or on line only. Oh, the comfort of a printed book in your hands! Now Linux does have a fair share of point-n-click applications, but for the most part Linux users expect to tweak things to make them work closer to their needs.

OK, repeat after me, "the tools are the same, the names have been changed to keep the copy-right protests (of the other camps) at bay." Campbells has a trademark patent on their name. If they were to copy-right the word "Soup", then anyone who makes a similar concoction would have to call it "********'s broth with various stuff in it." We don't like copying because it robs somebody of potential sales. Now, "soup" is a publicly accepted, widely used description of "broth with various stuff in it". That's public domain, in common use! Campbells can patent "Campbell's Soup" but not "Soup" by its self. I think Microsoft has been accused of trying to patent "soup" for years. Linux has from the get has offered "broth with various stuff in it", we all recognize it's soup, it's implied. MS still doesn't like it. To add insult to injury Linux and MS run on the same hardware. Good thing there is Open Source Software.

Be happy with your MS powered PC, peaceful even. But do give Open Source Software a try especially if your budget is strained. As for me, I've found the quality, utility and fun of Open Source Software enhanced on the Linux PC and it serves me well. So, Linux is my preference. I recommend Open Source because it is available for Linux and MS PCs. Many folk don't have a choice of PC (like at work), some use what they bought or outright choose MS.  I say this so when the Linux fanboy flag is hoisted over the Linuxville guide chateau, it says I am mainly for Linux, though I keep my passports to the other camps in order.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

visiting other camps

It is a problem I face everyday, visiting other camps. I am a Linux guy and I have friends who are of the Mac camp and mostly in the MS camp. It is hard to describe to them what it is like in the Linux camp. They don't spend any time there, they really don't know. I try to say I am doing the same as they are in their respective camps, the push-back is always one of unfamiliarity. Many say "I thought, I heard........?" and "yeah but....." They expect others they meet are using MS PCs, Mac users often evoke interested surprise, but Linux users bring out the "Oh, what's that?" and the "I never messed with that!" remark. There is a geek envy but suspicious concern, "does he really think he knows more than me?" I've had MS based techs try to fix me (I should comply, conform or buy a Mac).

So to put all rumors to rest, it is all the same. There are shallow mouse clickers and deep code heads in every camp. All you know that is exclusive to your camp is similar to the same in the other camps, why? Because computers are the same. Macs design their own hardware, yes, but if the little difference was removed there'd be no difference. MS and Linux run on the same hardware, though MS is always trying to get PC hardware vendors to lock out other platforms (like Linux). How dare you buy a machine with MS on it, wipe the hard drive or repartition the drive or add a drive to install Linux along-side MS or to replace MS altogether! Then users don't want to pay for a MS they are not going to use. "Remove MS and you void your warranty!!" The typical consumer doesn't face this but this is normal for Linux users. Linux is still mostly a not on-the-shelf, after-market alternative. But, there are a few vendors that do offer Linux pre-installed on PCs (yeah man!).

Being a tech means fixing basic PCs from the MS camp. I don't mind hardware repairs, software repairs however requires me to be familiar with MS OS and software. I don't have time to live in both MS and Linux camps. My knowledge of MS stuff is limited. Usually knowing what tools finds the problem, the steps to fix it, the steps to keep it from happening again, helps big time. From my experience its fix the PC then the PC user habit (stop that!, please).

What is cool is Free Open Source Software that runs on the various platforms. Of course you can't take GIMP that runs in Linux and put it on your MS or Mac. GIMP is recompiled or re-coded to run on other platforms. The code is made platform compliant but the functions and interface or desktop you see and use are the same. So you get the version of GIMP that is made for your computer, it will run, you can use it. Mileage may vary is also the word of caution used in this cross camp pollination. The quirks of particular camps can cause camp specific glitches. It's not a perfect world. If it were there'd be nothing to fix. Hey, are you still grumbling my doing art on a Linux PC? You been in your camp too long, got to get out more.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

we're fine, we are all fine, aren't we?

I want to say we are all fine here at the Linuxville chateau, not. I am getting overwhelmed. Focus, focus, dang! Just burnt a hole in the curtains. LOL, you know using Open Source Software programs can't be as complex and serious as using the commercial pro-ware. It's even worse! I now know just enough to get by in GIMP, Inkscape and non-OSS but free Sketchup. The things I want to do requires deeper experience, deeper study and major play time. I also know if I had to buy GIMP and Inkscape and the other Open Source stuff I might could afford a couple but not all of them. I got them all and each one is a profound world on there own. Time, I need time!

I am thinking of teaching some classes at the art center when we get some PC's. I probably don't know as much as some students but I am willing to bet most haven't even considered Free Open Source Software. After a long introduction to Open Source Software and uncovering a flood of free resources to boot, what to teach? I am thinking of a tea/coffee party where each student draws the cup, saucer and libation in the various artist programs. Drawing forms, solids and liquid, light and shadows and making it appealing so you can almost smell the aroma.

Actually, in Inkscape how to use bezier curves is most useful. Most don't go beyond simple shapes and text. You guess right I am a simple shape kind of guy. In GIMP to be able to sketch like drawing on paper or paint same as using oils or watercolor would be cool. I will have to tell my students I am a student like they are, exploring and discovering myself. The biggest help is all the on-line videos. So I am thinking about using a studio lab scenario rather than a classroom all follow the teacher program. Layers and masks are essential knowledge. Art can be abstract, sort of realistic to photo-realistic. Also art can be decorative or illustrative and can be the vehicle for other arts like book art and movie art. Sketchup is a 3D program, that for sure is another world and rendering is alien science.

The basic stuff, hmmmmmmmm! Simple lines, circles, shapes with a mouse and digital pen. Also all those drop down menus and keyboard shortcuts. Tools man, it's all about the tools, then moves. Moving the mouse, the pen, getting that muscle memory and that feel and that eye. Know what to expect out of your software, also your discovered biases, strengths and weaknesses. Being familiar is half of being comfortable, being accomplished or experienced is the other half. The strangest thing is realizing you don't need to know everything about a software. Some things you might not ever use. And there are usually hidden functions or combinations of functions discovered by other users, very helpful at times. Yup, if you fall this way, and are in for the long haul, you'll learn way too much.

Monday, February 13, 2012

about that bandwagon

Think about it, the latest Hamster rock commercial for Kia's Soul is not only catchy but many people who winced at the Soul now think it is sort of kind of cool, maybe wink!! Ever since I got my first computer and browsed the net to see what the digital artist were doing I was sucked in. There was fantastic art, the equipment used and the software. OH, I had to have it to be able to do it. I've never been able to get that level of equipment or afford the software. So my skills were never nurtured from the beginning the way I had hoped. I became a electrical drafter of the pen and ink era, then a CAD (computer assisted/aided draftsperson/designer). I even designed printed circuit boards for a little while. That was a practical end as opportunities for my passions did not present themselves. Livelihood occupation yes, passion no. You can't put stuff on the back burner forever. 

It is a weird state of affairs when you do your job with conviction and your hobby with zeal, passion and great satisfaction. Sometimes if the hobby becomes the job you lose the heat. The gotta get a buck to payoff something is an awkward thing to manage at times. Back to the bandwagon. I got a reasonable PC and desire to draw. Finding reasonable software is hard. There is free-ware of questionable quality, trial-ware both feature limited, output crippled and full-featured time limited software, and the pro-ware. Talk about exasperation, I hate the idea that the usefulness of what I downloaded and installed will run out before I even get to learn it. Oh yeah, I forgot beta-ware. I had Rhino 3D when it was a trial beta version, man was that cool. Free and easy to use, all I had to do was supply the key code. When the beta period was over, so was free and somehow I lost one of the original six floppy's it was stored on. I went to the Rhino 3D site and it was $$$$ to get the real thing. There was a time-limited trial version however.

In walks Linux and Open Source Software. Now I'd been using Linux for a while and playing with the artist applications. I occurred to me, I was using Open Source art apps but still looking and comparing them to commercial apps on the MS and Mac platforms. This was stupid because I didn't have any intention on buying a Mac and MS software was also an economic strain. Let me look and see what I have already.

GIMP is sort of like Photoshop, emphasis on sort of like. Replacement is not accurate and alternative is not with exact duplication in mind. It has lots of the same tools, abilities and techniques, more and less.

Inkscape is sort of like Adobe Illustrator in the fact it handles vector drawing. Again replacement and alternative is a mileage may vary kind of thing.

My Paint is a natural paint app, it is what it is.

LibreCad is a drafting app, I think better than Qcad because it is closer to AutoCad in function and file formats.

There are many other Open Source Softwares that run in Linux and the Microsoft platform and some on the Mac. My point is the tools, same tools. Techniques may be different, better, worse, probably similar. Usually the main points of concern are file formats and support from users and vendor/developers. And above all Open Source Software is free to download, to install and use. Also free to change the code if you have that ability, you might even improve it for others. Any caveats? Well if you are born and bred in the Mac and Microsoft worlds, thinking what else is there, as if there is nothing else...............sorry you are wrong, incorrect and misinformed. I fact I'd say you were rock'in to MS and Apple's hamster commercials. I didn't know either, but now I do and so I tell you. Open Source Software, especially the artist apps can get you drawing today, no waiting to buy, no trial time-ou...........................

Saturday, February 11, 2012

fresh off the bandwagon update

OK OK I heard you, you want an update cause my last rendering was lame. Come on, you know it takes time to learn something and get good at it. This is the big problem with art, it is manual labor, especially if you want 2 things, originality and quality. So it is with Sketchup, you just can't get up to speed by looking at it or watching someone else do it. All those those options to choose from and concepts to learn (by doing!).

I watched a few video tutorials and tweaked a few settings and rendered again. Here's a screenshot just for you.

I re-imported my painting, this time as a texture, added some clarity and reflection to the glass. I don't understand this glass thing yet. The rendering took a couple of minutes. I'd say it's not bad to start. I utilized both cores of my Centrino CPU. This is not a complex picture, there are not a lot of geometry here. I have done ray-tracing on a 486 CPU computer, it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r for a drawing as simple as this. So a reasonably fast multi-core processor, plus as much RAM as the PC can handle and a descent videocard and "I see you have constructed a new light saber, your skills are complete." Still you must face Vader. So take the red pill to know the truth, dance on the yellow brick road shouting "Party Rock!", ''we gonna fly like a penguin in the fly fly like a's a Linux thing. The cool thing is when you can model odd intricate shapes and develop scenes. We are progressing albeit slowly.

That's it for now gotta get some work done and don't forget Free Open Source Software (FOSS) can be your strong ally in your computer life. As for Google's Sketchup, the free version makes me want to progress and get the pro version. And a big shoutout to Kerkythea for being whizz-bang cool and simple for this fool to use.

open to open source

The Black history mystery continues to unfold (so brace yourself), but we must also be about the things you visit here for, Open Source and Linux. I have been busy busy helping friends do practical things. That's rebuilding a bathroom and all. But another friend was locked out of her trial version of Microsoft Office (timed out). She couldn't even get to her schoolwork on her laptop. I whipped out my "Open Disc" DVD and installed LibreOffice onto her MS Vista system. It didn't work. This was because it required a JRE (Java Runtime Environment). I downloaded and installed a JRE from the net, fired up LibreOffice and did the penguin dance. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, same but different, as they say. Gotta love Open Source!

Also I have had the limitations from my old laptop put to rest. I am now running Ubuntu 11.10 with Gnome Shell desktop in 4gig of RAM. And have installed Wine because MS XP as a virtual machine was too easily mangled. To my surprise Wine is working fine. I have installed Google's Sketchup the free version. Sketchup is by far the easiest to use 3D program anywhere. Easy to navigate, easy to construct stuff and fun, especially after the bandwagon music stops playing. Want to see?

 This is the Sketchup desktop and my second construction. I drew each board, arranged them together, drew, pushed and pulled boxes to make the room. Then imported some furniture from the Google 3D Warehouse. The painting is one of my own imported in. I set in some shadows and installed a program called Kertythea which does photo realistic rendering as shown below.
Now this shot was done without tweaking any values just to see if I could get something out of it. Hey, what happened to my painting? Yeah I am still learning. Now there are feature-trimmed free versions of Sketchup and Kertythea, but they have enough power to bring out drooling in you. I am not knocking any Linux graphics app but Sketchup is the better BOMB! Though it doesn't run natively on Linux systems, with Wine and enough RAM it works very nicely, Kertythea also. Oh yeah, Wine is a Linux program, a Microsoft Windows compatibility layer that allows (some) Windows compatible applications to run within a Linux environment. It is not flawless for all Windows apps.

As for my kind of art, the decor/architectural thing is kind of my taste. Art that people can live with. Computer graphics from CAD and photo-realistic to digital painting is a big world. Tools man, it's all the tools. If you are doing the work, it's all about the tools. Then it's about the file formats. The tools are the same on the free Open Source applications as the commercial professional applications. The package the tools come in is the diff, plus tax, title, license, support, stigma, fanbase and purchase receipt, LOL. Anyway, my suggestion is learn all you can on the free Open Source stuff, save the dough and if you have to go pro, spend the dough!

Monday, February 06, 2012

black history month commercials

Actually February's first two weeks are all about Valentine's day, of course there are little segments about this black person and that. Put what we already know on the TV and that will keep the not natives happy. After the love fest is over the last two weeks try to make up giving us lots of MLK and Rosa Parks spots. You have to accept the fact that the ones who run the networks only know and acknowledge so much. The breath and depth of Black History would be controversial even for educational TV. Poor Tavis Smiley after all these years still is not aired in a real prime time spot. That man is as brilliant as they come and his guest and the way he ferrets the dialog is far and away better quality than any popular news talk show I've seen. We are still waiting on Oprah, but I don't and won't have cable. So, of the airwave broadcast channels on my free TV owned by non-blacks, nothing new, every year.

I will remember this when St. Patrick's day comes and say sorry, green or no green I am not Irish. And don't you dare wear brown/black or red/black/green on MLK day, blackface or claim you got "soul" too or call me brother. There are parts of my history that still are a festering blister eating at my soul. Why is the pain passed on from generation to generation but the cause of the pain ignored. Please feel guilty on my behalf but don't muster up solutions to try to make me educationally or economically equal. The life we all live in this country is built upon lies, if we flinch the wrong way it all crumbles. The main problem is identity ie the Willy Lynch Letter. History, Black History was cut off by reason of the enslavement and perpetuated by gov policy and public sentiment. Generations following the slave era were taught the waning reasonings till this day. They enjoy the aftermaths and shrug the shoulders at the notion of involvement. Strange American thinking, we take societal action but deny personal involvement. We are guilty but I myself am innocent. This is normal thinking in America, we did this as kids. Yeah, we did this but I am not guilty.

Blacks here are not all African people, though many of us were taken from the continent by that name. We had specific nations as our source and evidence points of migrations and dispersions because of famines, persecutions, political captivities resulting in colonies and settlements, and enslavements. The who's who of nations of origins is hidden in plain sight. Lie upon lie has augmented history and this augmented history is taught to each generation. When history is researched, it is with the lies in view. It is so hard to disprove what you've been taught. One lie dispelled calls to question the other things surrounding that lie. Most would not even bother, but eventually when confronted, the same rage as others. It is like grieving, you have to work through the process, no one escapes the process.

We have one book that won't go away easy, the Bible, the Holy Bible. Much has been done to explain it away, even whole nations stealing the ID of the people who are the subject of it. It is a good thing the thieves and the real subjects of the the Bible are identified in the Bible. People don't read the Bible. They get their understanding from learned men who were taught lies and are trapped by their own sincerity. They are placed in authority and trusted for their speaking. The hearing public never questions them, never reads the book for themselves. I was taught by learned men,  commentaries, got sick of all the explanations and expoundings, am reading the bible myself. There are no Christians in the bible, Christian as a way of worship and religion didn't happen till after 325 AD at the non-Hebrew and non-Christian Roman Emperor Constantine's meddling. This was not a good thing. All the Bible people of the faith of Abraham/Issac/Jacob (Israel) were/are Hebrews. Some gentiles were added in the New Testament time via the gospel of Christ. Rome squashed Jerusalem in 70AD, killed, enslaved and scattered the Hebrews. From 70AD till 325AD Rome orchestrated a takeover of the Hebrew faith and invented Christianity. The belief was changed to merge the faith in Christ with the pagan beliefs and prolong the Roman Empire (till this day!).

The truth is in there, but every year the Bible is re-translated and re-interpreted and re-printed. It is so called made easy to understand, made palatable to English speakers and Western thinking. Every year words, verses, entire passages are changed or removed. I have friends who insist that God can preserve his word and has done so throughout the ages, as if God's adversaries aren't able to operate a word processor and printer without God's say so and change what is printed then handed to you. The Jewish scribes have done this very thing during/after the Babylonian captivity when hand written docs were done.  Plus words themselves mean one thing to the originating Hebrew audience and another to todays varied readers. Even biblical dictionaries which are not "God's Word" are subject to change and have changed. If definitions change, then your understanding changes also. Christians are far too superstitious concerning physical reality by trusting in faith and "God" where due diligence in study is the more appropriate tool.

We are talking Black History, am I saying that Black History and Biblical History coincide? It is the same history, especially if you link the whole story and prophecies together and not pick out a few incidents that might relate to glory seeking national pride. The present state of the descendants of the Biblical children of Israel is not one to boast in at all. There is no power or glory, you can not disobey God and yet bare God's glory by reason of a name or an assumed history, or occupy a Biblically promised land area, this is not Indiana Jones. We have all been taught to be Christians of some sort. There are no Christians in the Bible. Who are the people of the Bible? Who are their descendants? What are the covenants written to them and for them? How are the gentiles related to them, added to them? When gentiles are added to the believers are they Christians (as Rome has called us since Biblical times) or Israel as God has called his people since Jacob?

Out from Christianity has come confusion and uncertainty. If Christianity identifies the true Hebrews for whom the promises and covenants are written for according to the Bible, things will start to straighten out at Christianity's demise. But the gentile believers in Christ will have to realize they are grafted into Israel, not spiritual Israel, but a real actual people of God whom God called Israel.
You must ID the real Israel, they are scattered throughout the world today. They have forgotten their history and heritage, language, it's been bred out of them. This also is in the Bible. Also in the Bible is the restoration of the people Israel and then the restoration of the nation in the land by the same name. If all the elements of this story are overladed onto the present reality, you can see why the world is in chaos.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Open Sourced Black History Month

We take a break in the normal push to acknowledge and comment on the thing known as Black History Month. My bone to pick is when other cultures in this conglomerate of immigrants called the US display their heritage, there is a recall of ancient times and the unbroken trail to get here. When US Black folks do the same we only talk of the boat that brought us and what we did since we got here. There are no ancient times, but then again we weren't immigrants either. Much has happened to wipe the memory of our past from our knowledge banks, common conversation and replace them with disconnected snippets of truth, half-truths and out right lies. At first the idea was to make us slaves, then subservient citizens, then reluctantly allow us to blend in till we don't care anymore. I know, I have a blended family, it is a good deterrent from seeking the truth.

Truth seeking is a hard game, names and times change so often it is easy to get confused.  Academic ego poisoning has turned fact researchers into racist dogs. Imagine discarding truth because it doesn't support what you arrogantly and erroneously believe. They find it more glorious to say we invented it rather than we learned from others and developed it further.

Fact finding takes a thousand eyes from many sources. Common threads abound and what was recorded in one country is also recorded in a different way in other involved countries. Sometimes it a cultural link, a language, a practice, or an event, a series of events. For me it is backward questions. How did we get to the boat, the field from where I was captured? What was I doing there? Where was I before that? Was I indigenous or migrant? Were we fleeing war, persecution, drought, on trade routes? Were we carrying products or were we the products? Who were we in every exchange and name change? What did we encounter along the way and what did we leave behind when we moved on? What is the span of time these things took place? Can a people still be considered a people after such a long span of time? We are talking 2000 years and multiple generations, blending with other peoples, us and others forgetting who we were/are.

It started with the very thing I was supposed to be ashamed of, my skin, and a picture from the Bible. Moses put his hand into his bosom, pulled it out and it was leprously chocolate brown. No, it was already brown and turned leprous, as white as snow. I also found the famous De Vinci and Michaelangelo competed for a commission to paint Roman (white) faces on religious artwork (the Renaissance). No animosity toward anyone today, we've all been lied to. Many believe the lies, live out the lies, regard the lies as truth. No need to check it out, right!? And when the truth is revealed, there is rage, the change is monumental and how dare you challenge what we all have accepted as true, you are lying and cursed and deserve to be killed, blasphemy, blasphemy!! The white guys in the Bible were really brown guys!? I could be a Hebrew, the pieces seem to fit. The world history and biblical prophecies concerning the descendants of the Children of Israel seem to fit. It is a prophecy that we would be enslaved, forget and be forgotten and our ID would be assumed by others.

Yeah, we invented the oil jiggy, the hair curler upper and the electric traffic cop.