Archive for the ‘Computers’ category

Half Pans, Sketchbooks, Metric Weights for Paper, and Useful Apps

June 2, 2016

I try to think in centimeters and millimeters and meters, I also think in kilometers 90 percent of the time, but my stubborn mind will not grok the metric weight of paper. I am constantly looking up and converting online. Yes, yes it’s 240 gsm or 240 g/m² or about 100 lb. paper. The confusing thing is that that weight can vary when converted depending on the thickness of the paper and materials it is made from.

I still have to look it up because art paper is different from copy paper and on and on. Anyway, I was in the market for a new sketchbook that could take pen and ink, watercolour, and coloured pencils which are the materials I use most. I opted for a Canson 224 g or 138 lb “Mix Media” wirebound book. Now why if this is lighter in grams is it heavier in pounds than the 240 gsm? How the heck do you figure that out without feeling the paper? The Stillman & Birn Zeta series books are 270 gsm or 180 lb; I prefer Stillman & Birn sketchbooks but I can’t hunt any up out here. They are too heavy for mail order.

Canson_WatercolourTin

Beside it is the tin I bought last year to hold my Winsor & Newton half pans which I haven’t used yet because I just found them after moving house. However, I was always a bit iffy on the completeness of the colours. If you do computer graphics or printing at all you will be familiar with CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) for mixing colours. Basically that’s all you need for watercolour or any other paint or ink, but I found it tiresome to mix greens from these process colours, particularly greens, so I always buy a few extra colours for my palettes plus Payne’s Grey and Indigo which I love for darks.

Still, I decided to beef this little palette up, I’m turning 60 this year and I feel it’s my last kick at the nirvana of art supplies. I bought a few extras:

Cadmium orange
Quinacridone magenta
Winsor violet
French ultramarine
Quinacridone gold
Cobalt Violet
Permanent Sap Green

So I now have 24 colours in the half pans. Did I need these? No. Do they make life easier? Yes.

I bought two Gotrick cradled wood panels in the 18 x 24-inch size to create my diptych for the living room on. I don’t like working on canvas, it’s too bouncy for me, so these looked ideal and are nicely made. Now I need to save up for more acrylic paint. I have some small bottles of Golden Fluid Acrylic but I don’t think they’ll be enough. I’m supposed to seal this with Golden GAC 100 and then do 3 or 4 coats of gesso to prepare it for painting on. This means I need to clear the drafting table and unpack and put away some fabric first to make room.

Gotrick_web

I bought a rather interesting book on pen and ink. It IS simple as the title suggests, but he has some intuitive ideas here and encourages you to make your own marks (literally) in pen and ink rather than slavishly copying tutorials. Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide by Alphonso Dunn.

penandink_dunn

And lastly, another birthday gift. I am hoping the family sends me cash so I can pay for these things! Two bottles of fountain pen ink (Noodler’s Apache Sunset and Diamine Sherwood Green) and a violet-coloured Platinum Plaisir fountain pen. The nibs on these are coloured but I notice some people saying they receive ones that are plain steel, so I’m not sure which nib I am getting.

plaisir_violet

I don’t know if this counts as exciting for most people, but I used the Android for Dummies book to help me figure out how to use the smartphone I rarely use to hook up to my micro stereo and stream live radio using Bluetooth and wi-fi. There are few radio stations here and the two I listened to most for decades were unavailable and I didn’t feel right, all that empty air and no cheery music, as I am used to having the radio on for hours every day. Using the apps for CBC Radio Two and Jazz FM 91, I can hear the music I like and all the hosts and chatter I like too.

Streaming_Blutooth

Plus I got the nifty Marine Traffic app for the phone and can see what’s cruising by and identify the ships and what country they are from. What I like about this is that you can click on the arrow in the pop-up with the ship name, and pull up photographs that people have uploaded of it and statistics about where it came from, tonnage, measurements etc. I saw one image of a specific cruise ship taken in my area and then another of it in Sydney harbour by the opera house in Australia. Imagine, and it’s right outside my kitchen window!

MarineTraffic_Realtime2

I dislike using phones and avoided these smartphones for years but I had to find a way to make it useful for me, apart from carrying it for emergencies in the car, and so far this radio streaming and Marine Traffic app make it useful.

Not as useful as art supplies but close.

 

 

 

Pinterest is Dead

September 27, 2014

When I do Google searches, Pinterest boards often come up in the search results so I’ve been browsing there more than I used to. Pinterest has recently developed a policy where they drastically truncate the results, making it impossible to browse full pages or results unless you join up and log in using Facebook or an e-mail address. No thanks.

That lets me out, so this “service” is rendered extinct. There’s no point looking at a site that essentially dies the minute you try to use it and then holds you as a hostage. Say “Hello” to the dinosaurs Pinterest.

Out of sight, out of mind.

UPDATE: Pinterest is surprisingly easy to forget. One month later I have ignored it completely, and when it comes up in search engines I bypass it. It’s only habit you know?

 

 

 

We Need an Entrepreneur for Computer Printers

July 18, 2014

The big printer companies, whether it be for inkjet or laser peripherals, seem to have adopted a business model where you replace your peripheral every year or two because:

– The nozzles are irreparably clogged
– It costs more to repair than to buy new
– The software does not work with your operating system or someone else’s
– The software has no useable features, it just takes up room on the hard drive and interferes with other programs
– The paper jams continually
– The scanner is so low resolution that it can’t scan well, including flat and three-dimensional objects (which means everything)
– The ink runs out too fast or is too costly
– It doesn’t work
– It never worked

Etc.

So here’s my proposal: a NEW company that produces printers that last and have good software, not a bunch of extraneous bumph from third parties that wrecks the operating system. Many companies know there are problems with the software but sell it anyway. Give me software that works and has features but not extra crud that can’t do what I want.

Make it so I can clean the nozzles.
Make it so the scanner is decent

Printer_Concept_JJ

Yes, okay, you won’t have the money from sales of printers and ink sales to build a seven story office building in every major city in the world, with thousands of employees, but I know you’ll have extremely good sales, a profitable company, and interest from good engineers and designers. You’ll be the go-to company in innovation, the one with the plan.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T and word of mouth can drive sales to incredible heights and lead to more business opportunities and thus more money and sales.

All from one simple step of producing a printer that works.

Imagine.

 

 

Printed Dollhouse Quilt

October 27, 2009

In an effort to kick-start myself and get some old miniature projects done I joined a couple of lists, so bit by bit I hope to finish some of this stuff. I haven’t really worked much on my dollhouses since the shop I went to closed ten years ago.

I spent months catching up on old quilting projects during the spring and summer and that worked fine, so I hope I can do the same with my four dollhouses.

I found an online tutorial for printing your own tiny prints for dollhouse dresses so I thought I’d take a pattern from my Electric Quilt 4 software (that I am currently working on in real life) and attempt to print a quilt for my main dollhouse. I changed the shading somewhat and got rid of the border as I wanted this to look like an old scrap quilt. It measures 5 x 6.875 in 1:12 scale, which translates to 60 x 82.5 inches full size, so it’s a lap quilt or topper size.

The fabric was pre-treated with Bubble Jet Set 2000, dried, ironed to freezer paper, and I also tape it down to a piece of cardstock around the perimeter, otherwise it won’t go through my HP printer. Those stupid rollers of theirs catch everything but when I tape the fabric to cardstock it will at least run through.

I’m going to back it with a pale small-scale print and it should be quite drapable. The pink and green tones should go nicely with a crocheted throw I had someone make me years ago that is cream with tiny pink and green flowers on the border.

I’ll post a picture of them together when I’m done sewing this together.

PrintedQuilt

Lenormand Deck and New Playing Cards

October 24, 2009

I have been designing my own Lenormand deck for the past two weeks. I am using public domain vector clip art from various disks I have here. Several of them are composites or ones that I painted or applied gradients to in an effort to make them more natural. Tons of layers in some of these and a few of them were tweaked in Adobe Illustrator first before exporting into Photoshop.

I like decks with borders so I put a lovely border on it and filled it with a gradient to give it some zip. The nice thing about creating a deck for yourself is that you don’t have to worry about other people’s taste, and you can create as you wish.

Here is a sample of four cards:

LenormandSample_JJ

I finished designing them and then spent many hours tweaking the scale and colour here and there. I am doing them in Photoshop and printing them from there on premium matte photo paper, but I was a bit disappointed in the print quality because of a generic ink cartridge I am using, so I’ve halted until I can get hold of a better ink cartridge.

Today was rainy and cold and my husband had to go to work early so I was feeling a bit aimless and browsing online for some playing card decks. I have wanted the Bicycle Ghost Deck for some time but I couldn’t find it anywhere with decent shipping costs, so I ended up buying another odd deck called the Dead Hand Chaos Poker Deck. I like the border they’ve used on the pips. The face cards are a bit gruesome but fun at the same time, and I am keen to start using these for daily draws once they arrive in the mail.

DHCPdeck

I found some interesting free paper printables that looked like they might go with this deck. I was thinking I could do up a small diorama to use as a background when I draw these on my daily card blog. The one with the hearse looked like it might be suitable.

So I am generally messing around with paper and cards this week. I’ve been trying out a few different things on my card blog, and I have a fuller explanation of the Lenormand deck I am designing there. Put the term “Lenormand” in the Search box and they will come up.

Antique Engravings Playing Cards

May 7, 2009

I saw a free 22-card tarot online to download, but I wasn’t all that keen on the artwork, and the images were very low resolution; I would have had to redo the border and the text in a template in Photoshop and I thought “Well, if I’m going to do that I might as well make a playing card deck with some engravings I DO like.”

So I was fiddling around in the Quick Cards 2 software, which I haven’t used since last November, and decided to buy the program so that I could print properly and make changes across the board. The text abilities are really lame and I do most of the work in Photoshop before adding images, but it’s still faster than anything else. I don’t use the special cardstock they sell because it won’t go through my printer.

I have a great collection of Dover clip art that came with my Masterclips collection twelve years ago. I have some particular favourites so I nabbed the clip art and prepared images for each card. Because I don’t use the specialty cardstock I need a line to trim the cards so I use the border feature in Quick Cards 2, but it’s tied to the size of the picture so in order to keep the border on the outside line of the card for trimming, I have to get the image size correct in Photoshop first. I made a template when I last created a deck using clip art of Dutch Tile designs, so all I did was use that again.

Tweak, tweak, tweak. I got the deck designed and printed, sprayed with fixative, and trimmed. I will be making it a custom tuckbox eventually too. I’m working on a commission but I’ve bogged down on design possibilities and needed something different to get my mind off it. Sometimes that’s the best way to solve a creative problem – do something else for a time.

Engravings1

Ideally, I would like to print these cards on pale grey cardstock but I can’t find any so I used cream, which gives them an antique look. I had wanted grey paper so they would go better with the Synchro-Signs kit I just bought and am using on my card blog. I’m not sure if the light meter or the battery is dying in my digital camera, but I have trouble with colour and light and get a pink line around the edge that I have to crop out so these are not my best efforts in photography. The camera used to take beautiful pictures.

These playing cards are designed to be plain. After seeing so many mish-mashed collage decks with overstuffed borders and junky art styles bunged together, I prefer these. They are lovely, restful and crisp engravings, and that goes well with symbolism and intuition.

I love black and white decks of every kind, they are so attractive.

Engravings2

Some Like to Twitter, and Some Don’t

April 22, 2009

I usually look up new phenomena on computers and the Internet. I know a couple people on Twitter, and have seen it referenced in other people’s online profiles in blogs and forums.

From Wikipedia:

“Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers).”

I have never seen anything so pointless. I understand the theory of networking, particularly for business, and maybe it works, who knows? Anything works for a time. However, if I saw a business using Twitter I’d find it ridiculous.

I often use the words “vacuous” or “vapid” for online groups and the deterioration of human communication. A read of posts on Twitter only cements my philosophy.

What happened to human intellect? It isn’t on Twitter, that’s for sure.