Archive for January, 2008

F*cking Sweet Tutorial

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I just caught this on Ryan Lerch’s blog. It’s a tutorial by the highly regarded Nicu Buculei. If you wish to go straight to Nicu’s tutorial then here it is. I just have to say that this is the coolest Inkscape tutorial that I have seen so far. I love stuff like this. I especially like to see how other people draw. The funny thing is, when I watch screencasts or read tutorials regarding Inkscape, rarely am I interested in the final result. It’s true. I pay more attention to how one does certain things…the details. Those details are where I learn new things. It’s like that old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Meaning that one cannot see the big picture. In the case of Inkscape tutorials it’s the trees that intrigue me. πŸ˜‰

Brilliant, Nicu.

World of Warcraft on Edubuntu 7.10

Monday, January 28th, 2008

After mulling it over for a couple of days (and the puppy dog eyes and pouting bottom lip that my son gave me) I decided to take the World of Warcraft (WoW) on Ubuntu plunge. This all comes straight off of the heels of my brother-in-law’s successful installation on his Ubuntu 7.10 PC a couple of weeks ago. I figured that if it worked well for him it should for me too.

If you remember from my last posts, I purchased an Everex $200 Linux PC for my kids for Christmas. It has been running solidly. It’s actually a great computer for them. Since I dumped in an older nVidia FX5200 (or 5500, I forget) PCI card with 128MB of ram it runs even better. See? You should keep your old hardware. Never know when you’ll use it again.

The first thing that I did was head over to the β€œofficial” Ubuntu WoW documentation website and follow the instructions for installation. It’s a pretty short tutorial. Those are the kind I like. My brother-in-law highly recommended that I purchase the game first so that I could have the DVD-Rom. This was mentioned in the tutorial as well. This makes things much simpler to install. Good advice. I’m not sure if you can download a copy since I am completely new to this game but it doesn’t hurt to drop the $20 for the game anyway. Besides, you get a nice booklet that explains the game. Makes sense if you are completely new to it.

Of course I installed the game through the use of Wine. Nothing special about it. Just install the version that is sitting in the Ubuntu repository (sudo apt-get install wine). I have to say that I am very impressed with how much Wine is maturing. I even read over the weekend that the latest Wine supports Photoshop CS2 and Microsoft Office 2007. Pretty cool for those who need those programs to function in a Linux environment.

After the installation of the game, which went as smoothly as installing it on Windows – I’m sure, I had to download all of the patches before the game would start. This was the worst part of the install because I had to download a 692MB patch first and the download time was slow. This was after I opened all of the necessary ports in my router and forwarded them to my son’s PC. I think it took 5-6 hours. Ouch! I went to bed after a while so I wasn’t sure how long it really took. It was ready for me the next morning though. After that there were, I think, two or three other patches that needed downloading too. Those were really small downloads so I got those pretty quickly.

After those patches installed (it’s done automatically) then I could log into the game, after I had set up an account first (of course). Which by the way, it’s costs $15 a month to play WoW. It’s worth it. Anyway, after log in I noticed that the graphics were a bit choppy. I had to change the default DirectX setting to the OpenGL setting just like the Ubuntu WoW documentation recommended that I do. Also, I made a quick change in the Wine Windows registry. After that it played wonderfully. My brother-in-law claims that he gets better frame rates on his Ubuntu machine than his WinXP machine. How’s that for Linux coming out on top for a change?

Overall, setting up WoW on Ubuntu was a piece of cake. You like cake don’t you. I love the stuff. πŸ˜‰ My brother-in-law gave us quite a few tips and was able to play online with my son over the weekend. He has been playing WoW for a number of years and his brother has been playing even longer. It’s nice that I can use the both of them as reference if I need help. My son is already on level 5 due to the help of them. Not sure if that’s good or bad but he’s having a blast anyway. That was my reward in the end. πŸ˜‰

Spiders on Drugs

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Link

Hard Drive Music

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Are you interested in listening to what my 3 month old hard drive sounds like today? That’s the sound of me getting screwed by Seagate. πŸ™‚ I think I’ll slap stick this into the garbage bin…Wayne Gretzky style.

Episode 050 – Sparkle Effect

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

I made a new screencast, Episode 050, demonstrating how to illustrate a sparkle or flare effect. Very simple to do but I noticed that I missed a step when I made the sparkle. Piss! After making the β€œstar” shape I wanted to make it a radial gradient so that the legs of the sparkle would fade away. Before I made the screencast I felt that it was a critical element. However, after watching the screencast it didn’t look too terribly bad without the gradient. So screw it. I don’t wanna record it again. πŸ™‚ Yes, I’m lazy but that’s expected, right? I think you guys and gals will get the gist of the tutorial. Missing a detail or two shouldn’t harm anything…I hope. On the other hand, Michael Bolton missed one “mundane detail” in the movie Office Space and we all know what happened to him. πŸ˜‰

Oh, by the way…before some one brings it to my attention as to why I put a sparkle on a button, I normally wouldn’t. I just did that for this screencast.

Hug Your Local Podcaster

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Thank heavens! Isn’t it nice when you flip on your RSS reader first thing in the morning and you have 5 or more podcasts sitting there…waiting to be listened too? πŸ™‚

Engineering, meet Inkscape…Inkscape, Engineering

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I cannot count how many times that I have used Inkscape to do my job, which 90% of the time is totally unrelated to the graphic arts field. Case in point, yesterday I had to create some documentation to go along with a new product that I just finished designing a few weeks ago. In one of the illustrations I wanted to show a hand on an assembly tool used to aid in the assembly of this new product. Initially I didn’t know how I was going to pull it off. Drawing a hand around a product in my CAD system, although possible, didn’t seem like the tool to use to get the job done. AutoCAD and Inventor are very powerful applications but I needed something even more flexible. That’s when Inkscape came to the rescue.

Since I didn’t feel like I had neither the talent nor the time to draw a hand from scratch, I took a picture of my hand in the shape that I wanted it and traced around it in Inkscape. A cheating mans approach, perhaps, but I’ll learn in time to forgive myself. Adjusting the nodes or β€œnurbs” is much easier to do in Inkscape in my opinion and that comes from a guy who has been using AutoCAD for more than 20 years and Inventor since the start of the millennium.

When I was finished adjusting the shape of my hand in Inkscape, I saved a copy out as a plain SVG file. Since Inkscape has a sketchy DXF exporter at the moment I couldn’t use that option. I opened the plain SVG file in Adobe Illustrator πŸ™ and exported the image out as a DXF. Adobe also has a DWG exporter but DXF works just fine for me. After that I brought the DXF into my Inventor drawing, adjusted scale, tweaked some nodes, and I was done. The hand is a little rough but I think it will work perfectly fine in my final documentation.

Although Adobe gets a shout for supplying the bridge between Inkscape and Inventor, it was Inkscape that helped me with the brunt of the work. Since I’m the β€œdecider” I’m giving Inkscape most of the credit here. πŸ˜‰

Gibson’s Robot Guitar

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Who’s going to buy this for me? Hmm…no one? Dammit!

Gravatar, No! Easy Gravatar, Yes!

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

After getting completely frustrated with what seems like the shittiest WordPress plugin to get working, Gravatar for WordPress, I discovered Easy Gravatar two days later and my troubles are gone in a matter of minutes. I feel like monkey slapping some of these plugin writers and their fecking worthless documentation. If you are going to spend time writing a plugin for the rest of us to use, and we totally appreciate them…really we do, then please go the extra mile and write some thorough documentation for it. Please! The users of your code will appreciate you and may even send you a donation for your efforts. I say if you’re smart enough to write a plugin in the first place then you’re smart enough to take a couple screenshots and offer a step-by-step how to.

So what the hell are Gravatars anyway? Let me just refer to them as avatars because that’s what they really are. Basically, if you have a Gravatar account, which is free and which I have, then your Gravatar avatar will show up in the comment section of any blog on the Internet that has a Gravatar plugin activated. Cool, huh? For those who don’t have a Gravatar account then you can sign up for free, upload a custom avatar, and then your avatar will show up on our blog if you leave a comment. Richard, no Superman pictures. Silver Surfer only. πŸ˜‰

The reason that Easy Gravatar works so well is that you don’t have to manually alter your comments.php file. Which isn’t difficult…provided that the damn plugin works. No, it’s done graphically in your WordPress options. Now that’s how plugins should work.

THANK-YOU, DOUGAL CAMPBELL!

Happy Birthday Aeslin!

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Now that you’re 5 perhaps you could start looking for a job. πŸ˜‰