22 November 2013
15 November 2013
The conference was mixed, it had 3 tracks: open source projects, open source communities and celebration of 20 years of internet in Romania. The first part, the projects, was about an Arduino clone from Intel (and a Linux distro to match), a Microsoft Azure sales pitch from a local distributor and a F-Droid for FirefoxOS from Ceata. The communities included Ceata (again), "Informatica la castel" summer school, ROSEdu, ProLinux and YATE, which is not quite a community. The last track brought panels and talks with some of the internet pioneers in the country.
My talk was a short one and quite generic (slides here): in an age when so much money are invested in Linux and Open Source and so much money are drawn from them, there is still a need for the community? We believe so.
03 November 2013
A relaxed post as for a lazy Sunday afternoon: the little one is "hacking" graphics with Inkscape on a Fedora Linux laptop.
In case the VIDEO tag does not work for you, here's a YouTube version.
28 October 2013
After the jury did its work, we announced the winners for the national Wiki Loves Monuments contest in Romania. The top 10 images will go in the international contest, along with winning images from the other 52 participating countries. Best of luck there!
24 October 2013
It's the season for autumn themed wallpaper backgrounds to bring their warm colors to a desktop nearby, so here are a few of my recent pictures which may fit the bill (freely licensed as CC-BY-SA, of course):
And a bonus one for the braves to laugh in the face of a vertigo-inducting image:
21 October 2013
I may not be thrilled advertising Facebook, but they do were the sponsor of a big hackathon organized by ROSEdu last week-end at Politehnica University in Bucharest. For about 24 hours 15 teams of 2 to 4 hackers coded on various projects for fun, glory, learning and prizes. They were assisted by a bunch of ROSEdu volunteers and some Facebook engineers from London and Dublin. The goal was for each team to have at the end of the coding day a piece of software ready to ship.
PS: incidentally, the winning team was the one who asked at some point the roaming photographer for some ideas on their interface design :)
13 October 2013
Being a Sunday, there were no electrician available at the university, so the light was less than perfect. Not a problem for the hackers but a challenge for the photographer.
There are some possible explanations:
- the Ubuntu install discs arrived 1 hour late, so early in the morning the girl at the registration desk had to reply to Unbuntu inquiries: "don't you want Mint instead? it comes in both 32 and 64 bit versions";
- the computers in the university lab moved from Ubuntu to Mint to get away from Unity;
- Mint was available on USB sticks, which AFAIK were for the students to keep, while the other distros were available on optical media (also for the students to keep).
Enjoy below a few more pictures from the install fest:
10 October 2013
09 October 2013
Yesterday evening I was at the university for a meeting when I noticed in a window a HC 85 computer, which was in the 80'ies a Romanian clone of the popular Sinclair ZX Spectrum (at the time, it was state of the art for the local IT industry along with the PDP-11 clones). For me, it was nostalgia: one of its brothers was the first computer I ever put my hands on (as a high school student), it was the first computer I programmed on, it was the first computer I dreamed making games for (in assembly language, no less).
This Sunday, October 13, ROSEdu will organize in Universitatea Politehnica Bucharest its yearly Linux Install Fest, the biggest event of such type I am aware of in the country (last year there were 118 participants). Its main purpose is to help first year CS university students putting a Linux install on their systems, but LIF is open to everyone. So if you have troubles with your Linux install, no matter if your machine is a laptop or a desktop, Politehnica is the place to be this Sunday.
As a business, when you are in need for some pictures, the cost effective solution is to use stock image services, that's definitely less expensive than custom work, you won't get something exclusive but chances are it will be good enough and cheap beats all (of course, I didn't consider the too often encountered case of scumbags simply picking images from the internet and when questioned answering "it was on Google, is free").
Having some recent photos that may fit the bill, I uploaded one of them on a stock images website as an experiment. For the experiment purpose, I also uploaded an illustration (nothing spectacular, just a collage from my already free clipart images). A first finding was a confirmation of what I already knew: while saturated with photos, they are more actively looking for illustrations. Uploaded at the same time, the illustration is already live on the site, while the photo still have an estimated 120 hours until review by an editor.
But my point here is not about photos versus illustrations, is about what they do with your images. The procedure for an illustration is to upload a JPEG preview and after approval you can add another format, AI, PNG, CDR or EPS (yes, you read it correctly, PNG is in there). Since I use Inkscape, my sources are in SVG and some features can't be exported in their supported formats, so I had to go with PNG. Still no major problem. But look at the image below, is a capture from their website:
Allow me a moment to explain: I uploaded at first a 2480x3508px JPEG and later a 2480x3508px PNG. While I am not sure all those resolutions are generated from the JPEG or PNG, I am sure about the image size. So the "premium" TIFF version, costing 50% more than the next one is just an upscale version (from 2480x3508px to 3507x4961px) of a raster image! Wasted money! There is also a "maximum" option, with a slightly higher price over my original size, which is an odd upscale (from 2480x3508px to 2912x4119px) of the raster original.
I think this is an useful hint for the potential buyers: on stock image services, maximum price or maximum resolution may not mean maximum quality.
30 September 2013
I use GIMP for almost all my photography editing by choice, so when reading today a couple of articles about the new RAW photo editing capabilities in Google Plus and how those put Google in a fight with Adobe, as its only worthy competitor, I noticed in both a similar (your probably know how those articles are usually written) expression, along the lines of "don't mention GIMP, while nice it doesn't count". I knew about the RAW import for a few days, but it was not news for me, I don't plan to move my photography storage and editing to the cloud, but now the GIMP comparison made me genuinely curious what is it about.
So away we go! I have handy some RAWs from a recent shooting, it was a matter of uploading one and doing a few clicks, right? Not so fast! The first try, the first FAIL: while the RAW image uploaded properly and it was shown correctly as a JPEG in browser, editing does not work with Firefox, Chrome is needed.
At the first look, it is a simple interface: next to your picture there are some buttons for various adjustment operations, grouped in two categories "basic" and "Creative" (as you will see later, "Creative" is just a feel-good name, there is little creativity in applying a series of predefined filters).
In the "basic" area are some tools which are a must for any image to be published: tune image is doing exposure/color adjustments, details is for sharpening and crop & rotate to correct image framing. Everything with an easy to use interface.
As a conclusion, I can say this is no threat to Photoshop and will not replace it ever, is no treat to GIMP either, even it will be more used than probably any of them, is a tool with a different purpose, for a different audience. It may be some competition for tools like Lightroom and Darktable, when they are used for simple "RAW development", but only for simple use cases (no perspective correction? no noise removal? indeed, simple cases). Talking about real competition, it is real competition for Instagram/Facebook, but this probably makes for less sensationalist titles.
I will end my conclusion with a RAW image, first in its initial unedited state and with what I consider good and bad editing.
Nicu's Blog by Nicu Buculei is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.