domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2015

Happy 20th Anniversary, The GIMP!

On November 21, 1995, the announcement that there was a program for image manipulation was made.

This program, originally named The General Image Manipulation Program and now known as the GNU Image Manipulation Program (The GIMP), in my opinion, is the best software I have ever used to work with images.

I am not a professional image designer.  However, as a teacher, one frequently needs to modify or enhance a particular image for a presentation.

Adobe Photoshop is heavy and too expensive.  I used to resort to an assortment of programs that included Irnfanview and Satori, which I could use for free and that satisfied my humble needs.

Then I migrated to Linux and discovered The GIMP.
With it, one can resize images, modify colors, change backgrounds, enhance pictures, create effects, you name it... It is, truly, an amazing program.  In general, every time I have to work with images, I look for this reliable software.  Perhaps batch conversion is the only operation that I prefer to do with other software (Gwenview).

And I've noticed that The GIMP has two points of controversy:  first, many people object to the acronym because of the offensive connotation of the resulting word.  Second, there seems to be an ongoing debate between the Gnome and KDE communities concerning "the way of the desktop" and The GIMP is in the middle.  Gnome strives for simplification while KDE presents lots of options...and The GIMP does not seem to follow Gnome's motto.  

But let's not spoil the party.   The GIMP is here and that's the reason for the celebration!


miércoles, 18 de noviembre de 2015

The Astoria Dilemma... in Images!

These last weeks have been pretty stressful.  So, taking a break form my work, I decided to do something to take my mind off of everything....

sábado, 7 de noviembre de 2015

Tomb Raider Chronicles: Those Unexpected Findings...

I have been experiencing problems to attach files larger than 200kb to emails.

I don't remember when this started happening but, since I normally do not work with files that large by email, the thing was nothing that a minor nuisance to me.

Today, when trying to find the root of the problem, I got side-tracked and ended up stumbling on a happy discovery.

You see, back in 2008 or so, I had to give up my favorite Windows game: Tomb Raider 4 "The Last Revelation."  This was not caused by my commitment to Linux (I did not start using Linux until 2009), but because a Windows XP update made the game crash.

Then I migrated to Linux and playing Tomb Raider again became a lost hope.

Until today.

I did not remember I owned a Tomb Raider Chronicles DVD.  Well, I installed it with WINE on my desktop with PCLinuxOS and, after changing some settings... I could play with Lara Croft again!

I never played Tomb Raider Chronicles on Windows.  Like I said, I did not even remember I had the DVD, so I was excited to hear familiar tunes and, like a child with a new gift, I did not worry about the playability of the game.

I will go back to the game on vacations.  Right now, and after all this time without playing Tomb Raider, I was satisfied with having Lara run around, walk, climb, jump, and shoot---on Linux!

Gotta work.  Er, wait.  Megatotoro is reporting that Pisi Linux is alive!  Wow, another unexpected finding!  :-)

jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2015

What happened to Mepis?

My Linux migration story started in 2009, when I bought a tiny Asus Eee pc netbook pre-installed with Linux, a version of Xandros that I did not like much.

In trying to replace it, I had my first encounter with Xubuntu (no wi-fi support), Debian (minimal shell), and Mandriva, which I installed because it supported wi-fi out of the box.

My brother, Megatotoro, decided to find a Linux distro more to his liking and chose Mepis.

Mepis became the distro of choice for rescue purposes: in live mode, it was perfect to get inside a misbehaving Windows install and retrieve important files.  However, after we abandoned Windows for good, I could see that Mepis could shine with its own light, not just because it was a great rescue tool to have around for those frequent times in which Windows failed.

With Mepis 2011, Warren Woodford, the creator of Mepis, achieved a beautiful polish and rock-solid stability.  I never understood why this distro was not so popular in the DistroWatch ranking.

Then, the development of Mepis stalled and Warren Woodford went silent after a communication on November 5th, 2013.

This happened exactly two years ago.

Mepis is now marked as dormant in DistroWatch.

Of course, the Mepis community has been active all this time.  While some have switched distros, others have stayed.

The fusion of the Mepis and the AntiX communities originated MX Linux.

I still miss Mepis, though.

domingo, 1 de noviembre de 2015

Meet The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard!

I learned today that there is a project on that is attempting to redefine the way one uses a keayboard.

This design integrates typing, pointing and clicking, and ergonomics.  In other words, it works as a keyboard AND a mouse for your computer (in addition to being compact, but expandable to fit the most comfortable position for your hands).

How?  Well, it splits in two and works with programmable layers/macros to make sure you can do everything a conventional keyboard does... and more.

Oh, yes, the UHK also supports Linux and gives you the option to show it is YOUR Linux keyboard by not having the Windows logo in the super key.

This whole thing sounds kind of crazy, but I have to admit it is an interesting idea.

Visit this page to see it in action.

miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2015

OpenMandriva Forums

I received an email about a new tool for OpenMandriva forums today.  It made me curious, so I visited the forums and discovered that I had forgotten to join the forums!

I signed in quickly to see the new tool and, whatever it is, this new tool makes the interaction great.  Its clean and modern appearance reminded me of the interface of Google+

This also caught my eye:

I also gave the OpenMandriva Games page a try and found the proposal interesting despite the games they have are not the ones I play.  I guess it would be great to be able to play Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation again, but Steam is doing a wonderful job to satisfy my occasional gaming needs.

I must try to catch up with what the folks at OpenMandriva are doing...

domingo, 25 de octubre de 2015

History, the World, and KDE: Discovering Marble

Since I migrated to Linux in 2010, there have been two constants.  The first one is, of course, adaptation to new programs.  The second one, the question on whether Gnome is better than KDE.

I recently participated in a survey on Google+ to that effect and, thanks to the survey, I remembered my experience with KDE.

I like KDE not because I think it is superior than other DEs, but because I find its flexibility very convenient for my workflow.  The first Linux distro that I tried was Kubuntu, but never installed it and became a Mandriva 2009 user.  Needless to say, I was using KDE then.

Today, most of the distros I use have KDE, but I also use LXDE (with PicarOS) and Enlightenment (Elive).

Although I felt satisfied, I was missing Google Earth, which I recently had discovered and, those days, only ran on Windows.

KDE's option was Marble.
This is the globe that greets you when you first open Marble.

Marble's OpenStreet map. 

However, I saw it as a very humble substitute for Google Earth, so, when Google Earth became available on Linux, I forgot about Marble... Until yesterday.

I did not know that one could load new maps for Marble and that made all the difference.  With Marble, I can now visualize the conception people had of the world in 1492, before America made it to the map.
Behaim globe, 1492.  The oldest cartographic representation of the Earth known
Behaim globe, 1492.  You can see sea monsters, but America is NOT there.
You can also see the the historical progression of the charting of America:
Cantino's map (1502).  America was rather small back then.

Schagen's globe (1689).  California was an island, the South Sea to the left of Central America!
 For me, these are irreplaceable jewels.

To download them , simply open Marble and press Ctrl+N (or go the the Menu, File, download Maps.  You can get many more maps of the Earth...or the Moon... or of other planets and their satellites.