29 June 2007

I can't draw but I want to draw people faces (with Inkscape)

As probably my loyal readers are used to, I write tutorials at a very low level, suitable for beginners. In the same note, today I'll talk about how to draw people faces (or hackergotchis) with Inkscape even if you don't know how to draw.
Something like this:

inkscape tutorial hackergotchi

The basics: import a photo in Inkscape and using the calligraphic tool draw on top of it and then fill with colors and add highlights and shadows.
Sound interesting? Read more.

At some point I had the idea to make it a screencast, but the video would be long and in need for some editing. PiTiVi is far from usable and Avidemux2 can't work with Ogg, so I'm back to HTML, which is good, a HTML page is better indexed in search engines compared with a video :p

 This tutorial has also a Romanian translation.

26 June 2007

Copyleft icons

This morning I played a bit with the Copyleft symbol, by making some shiny variations. If I have those, I think I'll share them with the world along with their SVG sources, you never know when someone needs such things:

copyleft copyleft

And this self-ironic Copyleft Commie flag:

19 June 2007

Religion and orthodox icons in Romanian schools

After the fall of the Communist regime the Romanian society was invaded by religion, among other thing the schools were filled with icons and children forced to take religion classes (almost exclusively Christian Orthodoxy).
Fast forward these days (sorry, link in Romanian): a school teacher complains about displaying religious symbols in schools, considering it a form of discrimination, the National Council Against Discrimination agree and ban those symbols, a civic association make a challenge, the Appeal Court stay with the original decision and now the Education and Culture Ministry announce they will attack the decision to the High Court of Justice.

From the reactions of people around, I see a lot of Christians defending the religion in schools, which is what I expect, knowing the demographics, as illustrated in this map (from Wikimedia Commons):

belief in god

Yeah, Romania is absolutely the worst in Europe.

I have my theory about how those the facts illustrated in this map explain a lot about the current state of the country: via the general stupidity of the people, the lack of culture, wrong moral values and so on - all of them are the cause of the bad things in economy, politics and society.

HTML layout and fonts

A lot of web designers want an impossible thing: their pages to look exactly the same, to the last pixel, to every user, no matter which platform or browser is he using. In many cases they try to circumvent this by using ugly hacks and Flash.
The fonts are one of the biggest cause and the lack of their availability is huge. I just started to address this on all my websites using the Liberation fonts pack.

arial liberation font comparison

It is very simple and obvious: you don't have any guarantee about a certain font is installed on your target system, but you may get a guarantee of having a metric equivalent of it, and Liberation is exactly this: the metric equivalents of the Microsoft fonts, so you set one font as the primary one and its metric equivalent as the fall-back option.

As Linux is my primary target, this is what I do in CSS:
font-family: "Liberation Sans", Arial, sans-serif;

Of course, is possible to do it the opposite way:
font-family: Arial, "Liberation Sans", sans-serif;

15 June 2007

YouTube, screencasts and Ogg Theora

According to YouTube Help Center:

What video file formats can I upload?

YouTube accepts video files from most digital cameras, camcorders, and cell phones in the .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG file formats.

So how about Ogg Theora?
In a moment of craziness I recorded a very short and excessively lame clip with Istanbul and uploaded it to se what it happens, the end result was unexpected: it worked.

For those reading my post via various Planets where the Flash object is not included and wanting a proof,a here is a direct link but you will not find anything interesting at its end. I think I will start doing more screencasts (if my underpowered desktop will let me record long clips).

14 June 2007

Authoring SVG websites with Inkscape

This really is an interesting idea: create websites using Inkscape exclusively and publish them on the web in SVG. In theory it should be fine, SVG is a W3C standard so it should be supported by browsers (and I personally don't care about browsers not supporting W3C standards - cough, IE, cough), Gecko 1.9 and Firefox 3.0 are coming with better SVG support, Inkscape in nice (But not perfect) for authoring websites.
So far the main blocker I see is the way Google and other search engines index SVG files, the reports are mixed, some say they are indexed full-text, other say they they are indexed as images, some say they are not indexed at all.
My own experience show the SVG files from my personal SVG clipart collection don't have assigned any value for PageRank despite being online for a few years already and barely show in search results.

So I did a very small (3 pages) and simple website 100% with SVG and I link it from a couple of blogs waiting for crawlers to index it. After a few weeks will try various queries in search engines and see what shows up.

If you have additional ideas or knowledge please share in the comments.

12 June 2007

google searches: .com and .ro and my blog

[tuica] A google.com (NOT .ro) search on either "tuica" or "ţuică" (the same but with Romanian diacritics) will return my humorous blog post about Fedora 7 Moonshine on the second position of the first page with results, right after the Wikipedia definition of the word (I can't really expect to beat Wikipedia) and in front of an Uncyclopedia article on the matter.
Neat stuff!

On the opposite face of the coin, a search for either "tuica" or "ţuică" on google.ro and my blog is nowhere to be seen (where nowhere is "not in the first 30 or 40 pages with results). Google will detect your geo-location and for users from Romania will default the searches to google.ro.
This is not good for my Romanian readers, but it is a direct consequence of my conscious decision to blog almost exclusively in English, you can't have all.

01 June 2007

Flying High - variation

For those linking the Flying High metaphor but being not that happy with the bight colors and the aggressive branding, I recommend the darker variation posted by Kelly on the Art List, this is what I am using for the moment:

fedora wallpaper
(I promise, the full size version
look better than this thumbnail)