Archive for May, 2008

Episode – 061 A Simple 3D Object

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Episode 061 is now up. In this screencast I demonstrate how to create a pseudo-realistic looking recycle bin type object. It could be useful for someone wanting to create icons perhaps. It only took 7 or 8 objects to create and demonstrates how some subtle uses of gradients and blurs can help get the effect you want.

I also fooled around with my Flip video camera and ended up doing a fun little intro with it. Hope you like it.

Note: The flash version of the intro is a little choppy. Heathenx and I had a fairly long chat today about why the FLV video plays much choppier in the browser than it does when you play the FLV file directly with VLC. Anyway, the downloadable AVI version looks much better. We’ll be investigating improvements to the streaming version in the next little while.

Recent Grad

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

My daughter Aeslin just graduated Pre School tonight. Hooray!

Episode 060 – Live Envelope Effect

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Episode 060 is up. I demonstrate how to achieve a dirty live envelope effect by manipulating the nodes of two combined objects. It works pretty well with text and is supposed to be similar to Xara’s Mold Tool, although not as flexible.

I had been a little lax getting a new screencast out for the last couple of weeks due to studying a YouTube link that Don Waters sent us. Don, Richard, and I tried to figure out what edgarbasto19 was doing in the video but the quality was so terrible that we had a difficult time. I also tried contacting edgarbasto19 but since he’s from Columbia maybe there was a language barrier between us (or something). As far as I know he never did reply to me. Anyway, I think Don came to the rescue in the end. He figured out that magicical last step. Richard added his input as well. In the end I think I captured the best of what we came up with and I think that we simulated the effect correctly.

Are there other ways to do this? Is there a proper way? I tried using the new Live Path Effect in 0.46 to try and make the same thing. I can get close but still cannot achieve the same results. We had a discussion about this on the Inkscape forum (English) last year. Maybe now we can put this to good use. 🙂

Thanks for letting me screencast this guys.

The Flip Video camera and some sample video

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Not to hijack this blog for my own evil purposes or anything, but I’ve posted a mini-review of my new Flip Video camera along with some sample videos to check out. I posted 2 downloadable versions (original avi from the camera and an h264 encoded avi) along with a full size streaming flash version.

So if anyone out there is interested in a cheap video camera (circa $130.00) that shoots pretty good quality 640×480 30fps video, you might want to check it out right here.

I’m Retarded

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Boy, do I feel like a big idiot (or “shidiot” if you know Mr. Leahy). I have had the Wii for almost a year now and I only found out yesterday that it has a wireless connection built into it. Evidently, I’m not a big gamer otherwise I would have known that. I was thinking it had an ethernet port on the back but I must have been confused. Anyway, since my Wii sits on the other side of my living room, opposite of my computer, I never bothered to connect it to the ‘Net since I thought I needed an ethernet cable. Besides, my kids weren’t too interested in that anyway. They use to hop online with their PlayStation but rarely do that anymore.

So I was chatting with my brother-in-law yesterday, who maybe has had his Wii for 13 seconds before connecting his to the Internet, when he dropped the bombshell. Cripes! I thought for a moment that he had a special model because I was pretty sure that mine didn’t have wifi. Let’s just say that I was way off of the mark. Thanks Jer. My forehead is bruised from smacking it on the table.

So what did I do after I connected the Wii to my wireless network? Downloaded Opera of course. Now I can surf the web from my couch. I must say that watching YouTube on my TV is a neat experience. I even checked out some of Richard’s Inkscape tutorials on YouTube. They play great. Unfortunately our screencasters videos are a bit much for it. They do not stream well. Perhaps I need a slightly bigger pipe to pull down our higher res flash videos.

I’m sure this new “Web TV” will wear off after awhile but at least it was fun for a couple of hours last night. Next time I’ll peruse the directions. Pft!

Me too, me too…

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Ehh…why not join the party. I took my picture and multiplied it so that it would blend into the orange background.

Compiling Inkscape…

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

For a long time I have been wanting to learn how to compile Inkscape on Linux. It usually isn’t necessary to do this on popular Linux distributions, such as, Ubuntu, openSUSE, and Fedora, since recent stable versions are usually sitting in the repositories ready for us to install. So you might be wondering why I would be interested in compiling. Well, I have a couple reasons. One of them being that I want to take a look at the latest and greatest developments with the software (which isn’t even necessary because we already get development releases already compiled for testing). The other reason is that I just have this burning itch to successfully compile Inkscape on my own. So in other words, I want to compile only out of curiosity or to at least say to myself that I know how to do it.

Many of us Linux users are spoiled by ready to install packages that are similar to executable files found on Windows. Thank God for those. Whether they are DEB or RPM, for instance, usually a single or double-click starts the install process. Although, on occasion, we have to compile something from source. It sounds much harder than it really is. Typically, it amounts to downloading an archive of the source, uncompressing it, entering the directory of the source via the terminal, and issuing ./configure, make, and (sudo)make install. Big flippin’ deal, right? Eh, makes you feel a little geeky anyway.

So if it’s that simple to compile a program from source why then is Inkscape difficult for me? Good question, heathenx. I ask myself that often. Maybe because Inkscape is a big program compared to something smaller like BillReminder, for instance. If the goal was to compile an application only to get it to segfault when attempting to run it for the first time then I would be king. But I would be a nice king. I would share my wealth…really I would. Everyone would have plenty of freely available segfaults and my kingdom would rule in peace for ages…

Okay, back to reality. What makes Inkscape a little harder to compile is that it has many dependencies. You have to have the right stuff in place before you can compile successfully. I’m sure this is where I have failed over and over again. Plus, let’s be honest here. I don’t friggin’ know what I’m doing half of the time. I read…I try…I read…I try. Story of my life (hey, isn’t that in a Smiths song?). I haven’t bothered trying to contact anyone for some advice because it’s usually my nature to completely set myself on fire before asking for help. I guess I feel like I’m bothering people, I don’t know.

So after making a complete mess of things on my Linux box, I thought why not try to compile on my Windows machine at work. Nothing to loose, right? I cruised over to the Inkscape Wiki and followed the directions just like I would if I were making some Hamburger Helper (puke in my mouth). I downloaded all of the required packages and installed TortoiseSVN like it recommended. I am also interested in SVN as a means to update WordPress but that’s a different story.

Unfortunately, having just written all of the above, I am still having trouble getting a decent compiled version on Windows. Notice a pattern here? Myabe I should try a Mac next. Anyway, it took about 40 minutes to compile on my machine and I didn’t see anything in the /inkscape directory when it was done. That can’t be a good sign but typical of what I am capable of. Doesn’t really matter which OS I get it working on because it isn’t like I will intend to use that version full time. That’s what the stable 0.46 release is for. Nope, this is just for the exercise. Even though I keep failing at this I am going to keep at it. I hope I will figure it out eventually. Although getting frustrated by not producing anything usable, I am enjoying the experience. On the other hand, if I’m beaten by the compile thugs I can at least hold my head in shame and walk away quietly like none of it ever happened…and save the task for another day.

The Richard Querin Show

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Richard joined Dave Yates on the enjoyable episode 73 of the LottaLinuxLinks podcast. If you are interested in listening to a little bio then you can find the podcast in mp3 format or ogg format. The five grand that Richard dropped on public speaking lessons have apparently paid off. 😉


Donut Day Arrives

Friday, May 9th, 2008

…still on the hunt for the mysterious 10 inch donut. It has been rumored to have been spotted in this area. My efforts in tracking down the beast have been futile. I’ll have to settle for a much smaller, less tastier treat.

Cue: Indiana Jones theme music , faint sound of a whip crack and fade to black.

Iron Man

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Took the kids to see Iron Man last night. AWESOME MOVIE! Be sure to stay through the credits because there is something special at the end of the movie. 😉

Batman, Hulk, and Indiana Jones coming next…