GIMP for Absolute Beginners

“Write a book” was always on my list to do. Well, here it is:

The book focuses primarily on people who have no understanding of GIMP and digital image manipulation. That said, a few chapters also help you getting your graphics tablet setup and painting with GIMP. Most of the examples have been written with a MS Windows installation of GIMP. Don’t worry though, I was testing most of the examples under my GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) installation as well.

Jan Smith is the main author of the book. I like to thank Jan again for her countless effort to get this book published.
You can order the book from Apress or your favorite book dealer.

How not to criticise

Today I got an e-mail about the GIMP user manual. Those insults are not happening very often, but probably happening for every software project:

Dear Sir,
Open Source software at no financial cost to the consumer is an
incredibly beautiful thing, which I honestly appreciate very much,
however, I have serious concerns regarding the quality of the GIMP user
manual.  Rather than point out the numerous grammatical errors and
flippant writing style I would like to report that the entire manual is
absolutely appalling, possibly the worst computer manual I have ever
encountered, in fact, so bad I report it as being almost evil.

The manual was clearly not written by native English speakers.  The
contents page is too long, sorry, just thinking about that manual is
making me angry and upset so i will leave it at that for now.

If only there is a photo/image editing program that is as well presented
as that on a MacBook. This is the first serious weakness I have found on
OS software, everything else is fantastic!

wishing you a lovely day and I hope that someone is kind enough to
re-write the instructions properly!

by matthileo on flickr

So what’s the problem with this so called criticism?

  1. The first widespread and common miss-assumption: “Open Source software at no financial cost to the consumer […]”. Free Software is not free as in free beer, it’s free as in free speech. If I like to be picky: GIMP isn’t Open Source, it’s Free Software; there is a difference.
  2. The mail – apart from the rant – doesn’t address any problem. If the author could refer to a specific area in the manual which is faulty (descriptions, paragraphs, a URL of an article) it would allow authors to look for mistakes.
  3. There is no pointer on better ways to do it.
  4. If you know how to make it better, provide patches. We know, that the user manual can be improved in lots of areas. By just ranting against authors you won’t change the manual.

The documentation team knows about the flaws of the manual, but everyone is trying hard each day to make it better. Helpful manuals don’t fall from trees – it’s hard work to produce them. Respect everyone who writes and contributes to free software!

Bad News are Good News

hubdub

Playing on hubdub.com is fun.

I’m playing on hubdub.com from time to time. It’s a funny online game of a prediction stock market. People creating questions for upcoming events and you can bet how this event will proceed in real.

For example: Who will be the new American president? Obama or McCain? Now it comes to all the news who’ve been floating around. Who will make it. That pushes the chances between Obama and McCain to various percentages. Say, for example, you start  at a 12% probability that Obama makes it, while everyone sets on McCain. The more likely Obama will win the race the more money you will make if you sell your stocks. If you wait until the end when the question is settled, you earn the most money.

But don’t forget: It’s all play money 😉

One stupid S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ending …

Wish granter in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl

Wish granter in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl

I wasted a bit of my free time to play S.T.A.L.K.E.R. I was fighting myself through hordes of bandits, mercenaries, soldiers, monsters until I reached the sarcophagus totally wasted (small amount of ammunition and armor). The ending I picked, was to sneak into the sarcophagus of the collapsed power plant of Chernobyl and find the wish granter; a mysterious monolith granting you one free wish.

I found it. The ending is a video and the charactarer you’re playing wishes…. “I want to be rich!”. The ending video shows him, rich of screws falling from the sarcophagus hull for a couple of seconds until he dies.

What a stupid moron? Such a stupid wish for all this work fighting through all the masses of evil? BRRRRRRR…

Update: I actually found a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. guide which lists all the possible endings of the game. So, it’s not the ending of the wish granter, but there are more endings determined by how you play.

Something for Blinkenlights?

Just saw this post on information aesthetics. Would be awesome to play pong on this via blinkenlights *G

greenpix.jpg

The largest color LED display worldwide, & the first photo-voltaic system integrated into a glass curtain wall in China. the display requires zero external energy, as the facade harvests solar energy by day & uses it to illuminate the screen after dark. […] You can play with the online simulator, or watch a movie after the break.

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