27 March 2009

Daylight Savings Time

As long as I remember, I always hated the Daylight Savings Time in the spring, the move to the Summer Time when suddenly in a week-end you start waking-up one hour earlier in the morning and it takes at least a month for your body to get accustomed with the change.

But this year is different, for the first time I look forward to the change this week-end. Why? In the Summer Time it is till light outside when I leave the office so I can take photos in my way home. Enough with the winter when I could do photography only on Saturdays and Sundays! Now getting good stuff to shoot is a different matter...

26 March 2009

Fedora Weekly Webcomic: Versus

This week my comic is somewhat special, its final form was reached with input from Adrian and Mo, a rare thing (usually I talk with Adrian before publishing and I give him previews, but in the end go with my own ideas anyway). So now it was like two against one and I caved-in, maybe my initial idea was not that good, I intended to go with a wussier Vader (a ligher blue) and the final punch was supposed to be about Firefly.

And I may provide a prequel at some point, but this is for the moment out of my hands, it will happen if a certain thing will take place at a conference in the Latin America, if someone will provide a report from the event (with relevant photos) and if I will get the inspiration to link that somehow.

[fedora webcomic: versus]

PS: there is a hot debate on the Open Clip Art Library about me potentially breaking the "Intellectual Property" of Lucas Arts by releasing a dark grey version of the "Darth" character under a Free license.

24 March 2009

Mission accomplished: OCAL 10K!

The road to 10K images for the Open Clip Art Library ended today and I would say it ended successfully: in due time, March 2009, the 5th anniversary of the project and with a (shameless plug) mighty image. Time to rejoice!

[ocal 10K done]

...and keep the contributions flowing, do not rest on our laurels (at this very moment the counter is at 1009).
[ocal 10K done]

20 March 2009

Fedora and eLiberatica

eLiberatica - The Benefits of Open and Free Technologies ConferenceeLiberatica is probably the largest FLOSS conference held in Romania and this year it is more open, accessible and affordable, it moved from fancy hotels to the Politehnica University of Bucharest so anyone can attend in 22 and 23 of May.

Also this year, thanks to Joerg and Max, Fedora will be present at the conference, including with a booth, where most likely I and a few other members of the local community will act as booth babes (sorry, this is the best we can offer, at least I promise I won't bring my sword).

But there is an ace in our sleeve: we will have a star speaker, Jeroen van Meeuwen in person, so even if you don't like booth babes with beards, come to see him :p ...do not just wait for the ton of photos I am going to publish after the event...

19 March 2009

Fedora Weekly Webcomic: Babies and Real Men

Are you counting down the days remaining until the Fedora 11 Beta release? Then you are a crybaby, not a real man! Now go back to counting down 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ....

[wedora weekly webcomic: babies and real men]

17 March 2009

Another personal milestone in the OCAL 10K drive

Another personal milestone in the drive to 10K images for the Open Clip Art Library: I almost finished re-uploading my images from the old site to the new one (that was a painful manual effort), setting my contributions at 575 images and the total uploads to 9630 (quite close to the target).

ocal 10K

I said almost since I have some more images that were part of the old site, some playing cards (218 images, uploading them will set he goal to almost complete), which I am not sure if and how I should upload (and have not managed to get a straight answer form anybody).

Well, this is almost all my contribution to the 10K drive (started with 420 images, got to 575), until the end of the month I may upload a handful more files (unless the playing cards will kick in), so is the time to pass the torch, who will carry it?

16 March 2009

Spring flowers

I join those celebrating the spring on Planet Fedora with some flower [macro] photography made over this week-end:

White Crocus / Brinduse Albe Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov Yellow and Purple Crocus / Brinduse Galbene si Mov
Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov Purple Crocus / Brindusa Mov Yellow and Purple Crocus / Brinduse Galbene si Mov Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov
Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov Purple Crocus / Brinduse Mov and a Bee Purple Crocus / Brindusa Mov Purple Crocus / Brindusa Mov Purple Crocus / Brindusa Mov
Purple Crocus / Brindusa Mov Purple Crocus / Brindusa Mov Bluebell / Viorele Blue Viola Odorata / Garden Violet / Toporasi Albastri White Viola Odorata / Garden Violet / Toporasi Albi
Willow in Early Spring Waiting to Blossom

Saturday I had some things to do out (buy some stuff) and in the way home took a detour trough the park, but it was disappointing, only a few white crocus (brinduse albe) and even those in not such a good shape. Getting home, I took a few more shots in the garden and called it a day, I was not very enthusiastic: rainy and somewhat cold weather.

But Sunday was beautiful: sunny, warm, beautiful flowers and bees flying, the perfect day to build your enthusiasm for macro photography. Did a lot of shots in the garden and after that some indoors (ideally you do flower macros inside the house, so you won't have problems with the wind).

12 March 2009

Fedora Weekly Webcomic: Brainstorm

My all time favorite stupid brainstorm idea is about a distro "hiring" the Art Team of a competing distro to help with their advertising, but for today's issue I stole another one from Rahul, just as hilarious in its cyclicity: brainstorm idea about making developers to give a shit about brainstorm ideas.

However, I can recognize some merit for such a site: is a good PR tool to give people a soapbox to shout, thinking there is someone to listen. Not sure if it is also an effective tool to filter some noise from the real communication channels.

[fedora webcomic: brainstorm]

I don't like CC0 and I don't want it used for The Open Clip Art Library

I alluded in the past about my dislike about my dislike for CC0, the new license from Creative Commons, now that the license is foing to be officially announced and the damage control already kicked in, I feel like the best time to reinforce my opinion about it: I don't like CC0 and I don't want it used for The Open Clip Art Library.

[CC0 = shit]

I was asked what's my problem with this new license, so probably is fair to expect such an explanation from me: beside the license proliferation and the huge potential for confusion with other CC licenses, I don't see the real need covered by it. According with Creative Commons, the Public Domain dedication, for which CC0 is intended as a replacement, is valid, and can be valid, only under the USA legislation and impossible to follow in other jurisdiction. But for me it feels more like the problem with Public Domain, a name everyone understand, was that it does not contain the words "Creative Commons". I am sure the problem could have been solved without such intrusive branding.

Or how someone much famous than me, Mark Pilgrim, said:
"Seriously, stop making new licenses. I know your needs are extra-special and super-unique and nobody understands you but JUST FUCKING STOP."

11 March 2009

What is YOUR Elvish name?

Doing research for Elvish name (thanks everyone who tried to help!) I got this potentially interesting internet meme idea: get people to learn their Elvish names and blog about them. Unfortunately, it is not an easy meme to follow, but it may be fun.

I found a site with a list of Elvish translations, according to with my name (Nicu is the short form of the Romanian Nicolae, equivalent of the English Nicholas and originating from the Greek Νικόλαος) has the meaning "Victorious among the people" and will translate to Elvish as Turwaithion. Cross checking with an Sindarin dictionary where victory is tûr and people is gwaith, it seems plausible.

As documented by a list Quenya names, in this dialect Nicholas is translated as Túrelio (no need to cross check, since the source is "The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship" and the mechanics are the same, "victorious people").

There is also a third source which states my full name as Lenwë Oronar, but I don't trust it: not only it does not document the way names are obtained and the dialect used, but it goes against the Elvish tradition and uses both first names and surnames.

So Turwaithion or Túrelio, Sindarin or Quenya, I am not sure yet. But what is your Elvish name?

10 March 2009

And the sword shall be named...

For a long time I was thinking about getting myself a sword but this was mostly like a dream, something that I thought it may be cool to do "sometime". Until recently, when pretending I can use it as prop for some interesting photography, I went forward and bought one.

It is an Agincourt replica sword, but it is real, battle-ready, made from good steel and having sharp edges: when planning and making the photos I want the real feeling, not toying with cheap plastic.

My new Hanwei sword

Now to the priorities: the first step (getting the sword) is done, I moved the part about taking the cool photos somewhere in the future (maybe step 3) and introduced a second step, naming the sword - any cool sword has to have a name.

For a long time I thought the name of a cool, magical sword has to include a part about flames, like Burning sword of doom or Flaming sword of retribution but looking at it (I liked it so), silvery, simple and pure, I think something like Vengeful moon ray (long Moon ray of vengeance) would be more appropriate. Ideas? Opinions? I'm open, please help me with your valuable comments.

Ideally the step 2 would be followed by an intermediary 2.1 step, translating the name in Elvish, but I don't think I will have much success with that, a Google search does not reveal good automatic translations from English to Elvish.

PS: the sword is an European medieval model, made by a Taiwanese manufacturer imitating traditional Japanese technology and using Swedish steel, so I pretty much doubt it can release a bankai but I am sure due to my lack of reiatsu will never get a definitive answer about that.

09 March 2009

Towards 10K: my 500-th image

On the drive to 10K images for the Open Clip Art Library, with all its nasty bumpings, I reached a personal milestone: my 500-th clipart uploaded.

It is not by any means an artistic achievement, is just a re-upload from the old site and it is an image I made (but never used) for another project and re-purposed it to the library a few years ago. But is a round number and a good opportunity to rejoice.

ocal 500

I have in the queue some more re-uploads, about 75 images, so the increase can be notable in the following days if I will got the time (and also reinforcing my rank), but there is no way in hell I would try do displace John Olsen, with his mighty 2016 uploads, from the top spot.

Review: CursPhoton

In some previous posts I talked about a photography course I took, now that it ended is the time for a review (frankly, the time was a couple of weeks ago but being lazybusy, only now I managed to sit down and write something): back when I registered for it, very little information was available on the net about it beside the official site.

Making of: Portraits at CursphotonIn very few words, I can say the course was within my expectations, but this does not tell much, it may tell something about my ability to set my expectation level or to perceive value, so there is a clear need for more words... At 6 weekends, the course is short, you will learn some stuff but also will feel the need to continue learning on your own, do not expect to walk in a total noob and walk out Cartier-Bresson.

Regarding theory, if you read a good photography book and/or a couple of websites, the course will add very little, but I found more important the opportunity the practical experience of a real studio and working in a real studio, as well as the interaction with other photographers: both the Marius and Vlad, the teachers and your fellow colleagues (about a dozen of classmates).

Making of: Object photography at CursphotonIn a very conventional style I will try to outline what was, from my subjective point of view, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good: for me, the best part was the open atmosphere, it was pretty much like an open conversation where you didn't feel afraid to contradict the teachers at times and also felt your opinion matters. You are treated like an equal.

The bad: the "Photoshop" class was a wasted day, I could not care less about what are the shortcuts in some proprietary Adobe software or how awesome some people think are the plug-ins from Alien Skin. But I expected that, too bad that I didn't have ready a "each time you pirateillegally download an expensive proprietary graphic editor and your job would be accomplished fine with a Free alternative, God kills a kitten".

CursPhoton: High ContrastThe ugly: the course has an online presence, a discussion group on Yahoo and also a very inactive and less populated flickr group, you can easily see a lack of experience about online communities. In fact the entire "community" part is lacking, most likely I won't get it touch with the colleagues.

As a conclusion, I find it a positive experience at a right price (for me it was an impulse buy, finding the news about it when I was browsing an online photo gear store, but I am odd with money spending and priorities), so if you can afford, go for it.

06 March 2009

Inkscape + Eee: at last!

One of my main troubles using the Eee was Inkscape not playing nice with the screen size: having the status bar with a lot of useful tools out of the screen is a real pain.
The good news is that the recently landed in Rawhide build from the 0.47 development branch does not have this problem any more.


And for more happiness, the package is now a lot smaller, so it may stand a chance of being included on the media!

The road to 10000 or CC0 only over my cold, dead body

After a few days ago I was so excited about the drive to 10K images at the Open Clip Art Library I figured is the time to put my work where my mouth is, and planned a large contribution when I got disturbed by a talk about moveing away from the Public Domain dedication and towards a Creative Commons travesty, a move I am highly opposing to.

I was very close to to what I do when I am very unhappy about something: go ballistic, burn the crops and poison the wells. And nuke and the bridges. I think I have extensive experience in the area and can be pretty effective doing it. But having a busy day I didn't got time for that, instead I had the time to think more, cool down and come with a second strategy: consolidate my position as the second largest contributor by counting the number of uploads to have a bigger soapbox when/if the proverbial matter will hit the fan.

[ocal 10K and NO to CC0]

And as I rarely take the middle ground, my first contribution in this drive to 10K was a batch of 44 new images (new as images never published to OCAL so far, I still have a bunch to import from the old website so a lot of aces are in my sleeve).

PS: the illustration for this post was prepared with an experimental Inkscape devel build for F10, generously provided in addition to the Rawhide package by our mighty packager.

05 March 2009

Fedora Weekly Webcomic: Dual Screen

Some of the features may not make the freeze and be kicked from the list, but even so it is going to be the longest list of features in Fedora's history.

[fedora webcomic: dual screen]

If you want a more realistic story, replace the feature list with the GNOME preference menu in Rawhide. Who is still laughing now?

01 March 2009

Openclipart.org: aiming for 10K images

After a couple of relatively highly popular successes (map elements and pac-man, remember?), in the last year I was pretty much inactive at openclipart.org, as what I had on the TODO was boring and frustrating: re-upload images from the old site on the current one, with an awful interface and important core features missing.

But now a couple of things are aligned and the Open Clip Art Library deserves a share of the spotlight:


First, the number of images uploaded at this very moment is 9,323, very close to a round 10,000 (yeah, we still have some thousands not yet imported from the old site, but only those are easily reachable).

Second, the project was launched in March 2004, so this month will mark its 5 years anniversary.

Putting those two next to each other, the conclusion is very tempting: a joined effort to hit the 10,000 images milestone until the end of March 2009. I'm in, how about you?

With the current upload rate, it may take 2 or 3 more months to reach the 10,000 target, so an effort, not a big one, is needed. We can do it, but only with contributor's help. When I will get some time I will upload at least 10-20 images on my own, most likely more.