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Comment: Re:First post (Score 1) 720

by LeftHanded (#35734580) Attached to: The Case Against GUIs, Revisited
That is true for MS Windows batch files, but is most assuredly not the same with MS Windows PowerShell scripts. Microsoft has finally "gotten" the power and strength of true scripting, and current iterations of Active Directory and Exchange both use PowerShell objects as the preferred administration control methods. To help with the transition, there are even aliases for commonly used UNIX commands. Just check out the capabilities and functionality described in the free Mastering PowerShell E-Book
Politics

+ - 'So This is America': Veteran Ray McGovern Bloodie-> 1

Submitted by
corbettw
corbettw writes "As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her speech at George Washington University yesterday condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking. When Secretary Clinton began her speech, Mr. McGovern remained standing silently in the audience and turned his back. Mr. McGovern, a veteran Army officer who also worked as a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, was wearing a Veterans for Peace t-shirt."
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Book Reviews

+ - Inkscape for Web Designers->

Submitted by
JR0cket
JR0cket writes "Inkscape is an open source 2D drawing tool that helps you create graphic designs, from simple buttons and logos to full blown posters and web page designs. Inkscape is similar to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw and gives you a vector based graphics tool that uses the W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format.

Inkscape is easy to use, although learning the tricks that make designing a web site look great are more involved.

The Inkscape 0.48 Essentails for Web designers is specifically focused on helping you to create your first web site designs and does a great job of getting you started. Most if not all the techniques covered are relevant to creating other graphic works too, so its useful as a general Inkscape tutorial.

Overview of the book

I should say up front that If you are a web designer by trade you will know all the design aspects covered in the book, although the book will help you apply that knowledge in the latest version of Inkscape (version .048).

For those wanting to get into graphic design or start creating their own works, the book is quite a useful starting point to learn about a few important design concerns. Also, if you are a developer who works with graphic designers, you will find interest in understanding how graphic designs are created. No technical skills are really required except the basics of using desktop software with a modern graphical user interface. With no prior design knowledge, I was able to use Inkscape to do some basic posters, using the book has helped me do more involved designs and uses the more advanced features of Inkscape.

Inkscape is open source software and is licensed under GNU General Public License (GPL) and there are many examples of works create with Inkscape under the creative commons licences — eg SpreadUbuntu.org

While the focus on the book is Inkscape for web design, all the techniques are useful if you want to create advertising posters, desktop wallpapers, company logos, single page comics, etc. The only limitation to using Inkscape, apart from your creativity and imagination, is that it only does a single page graphic in each inkscape window, but each graphic can be saved as individual images and made into a document using Scribus or OpenOffice / LibreOffice as Inkscape can save your designs using standard image formats (png, jpeg, svg, etc.)

The book content is nice and clean, with content on pages nicely spaced out making the book really easy to read and follow, so no need to be daunted by the 316 page count.

As the book progresses it assumes you have read earlier chapters so does not repeat exact details, for example the exact steps to create drop shadows is shown only once, keeping the book nice and to the point. You will therefore get the most out of the book by following along with the exercises in Inkscape.

So the book covers simple design techniques useful for any graphic design, along with lots of good ideas on how to design and enhancing your website, from site layouts, templates to animations.

The book in more detail

An important starting point in the book is the overview of vector graphics and how they differ from raster graphics (eg. vector graphics scale uniformly and you dont get blur when scaling images). This concisely sets the scene as to why vector graphics are better for web design — flexibility, quality and small file sizes.

The Inkscape install guidance is nothing more than download and install but this is probably all you need. There are a few hints for Mac Users to help them out. There are packages available for Ubuntu and Debian based distributions in their respective distribution repositories. A Microsoft Windows installer is also available from the downloads section of the Inkscape website

The tour of the Inkscape user interface is very detailed with a good indication of what you can do with all the controls that make up Inkscape. There are just about enough drawings provided as examples, although I would have liked a few more images to make the tour a little clearer. I recommend you read the Inkscape tour in dual page view if you are reading the ebook (pdf) version.

The design concepts in the book start with web site layouts in chapter 2, steadily building each of the design aspects onto the site layout (images, text, patterns, icons, buttons and logos, site maps). The book covers four basic design principles of Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, Contrast and suggests reading The Non-Designer's Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice by Robin Williams for more detailed study.

You are walked through step by step construction of a basic web page design — including header, footer, sidebar, content, navigation. Using guides, grids and aligning techniques to manage your web page layout. Pulling all the design work together to create a store-front for a website. Its pretty hard to go wrong following these steps. The book use the same web design jargon you get in industry and any jargon used is explained well enough.

When you have created your web page design, you are shown how to slice up that design and export it as a series of image files (png) for use in the HTML code of the actual web page. This is the same basic process as used in industry.

Throughout the book there are specific chapters on working with images, styling text, creating logos and buttons, using patterns for background images and more details on creating flow diagrams such as for creating web site maps.

Each chapter again builds on the previous information to give you an easy to follow guide and provides examples of why the design techniques covered here are important along with approaches to create the most suitable designs for your clients.

There is nice coverage of how to use Inkscape and GIMP in collaboration to create your own animations for your website. The animations are relatively simple but effective, scrolling text and a sailing boat on the sea, showning you the technique in more than enough detail for any website design using animated GIF images.

Getting a little more technical at the end of the book, though still easy to follow, it covers the XML structures that Inkscape uses to hold your graphic designs. These XML structures let you tweak your designs using Inkscapes XML editor. There is also a reference section on the various plugins available for Inkscape, mentioning specifically Agave for colour palette management and Export to PDF CMYK for color separation for the CMYK standard. There is also a section on how to create your own custom page templates.

Conclusion

Inkscape 0.48 essentials for Web Designers is a great book to get started with Inkscape, especially if you are designing your own site. For example, If you have installed wordpress and want to create some custom themes, then this book would be very helpful to make your site stand out from the crowd.

There is an Inkscape Illustrators Cookbook out in April 2011 that seems more general compared to web developers book but as mentioned before, all the concepts presented in the web developers book are relevant for creating other graphic designs.

The book never attempts to teach you all about design, that would require a much larger book. There is enough design information in here to get you started on a good path and give you a good steer in the right direction. The coverage of Inkscape is very detailed and will help you get the most out of the tool, whether you are using it for web development or other graphical design activities.

This book makes a nice addition to the online resources available for Inkscape and with its tutorial style is a good contrast to other Inkscape books available which may contain more reference material but are more general in nature.

About the reviewer

John coaches Lean Agile practices, organises London technical communities and is an OSS advocate (since running Debian in 1995). @JR0cket"

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+ - Don't believe the Jeopardy! hype-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Watching the Jeopardy IBM challenge, it is striking that Watson very rarely fails to ring in first. This is because the computer is given an advantage that the human competitors don't have- unambiguous knowledge in the form of an electric signal that Alex has finished reading the clue and that it is safe to ring in without risking a 1/4 second early response lock-out penalty. With the computer's fast reflex time, the only way the human competitors ever get a chance to try answering a question is when Watson misses one (rare) or when they correctly guess/anticipate when the valid ring-in period will begin (rare). Clearly the IBM algorithms are doing a good job inferring the plain text meaning of the clues (sorry, "answers") but it would be a fairer competition if Watson had to figure out when Alex was done talking as well. While I for one welcome our Jeopardy dominating computer overlords, I also think they are dirty cheaters."
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Google

+ - Texas AG Demands Google Search, Ad Documents->

Submitted by suraj.sun
suraj.sun (1348507) writes "The Texas attorney general's office has demanded Google turn over a broad range of internal documents as part of an antitrust review of the search giant, including its formula for determining advertising rates, according to published reports.

Investigators are seeking documents related to possible "manual overriding or altering of" search result rankings, according to the report.

The investigation is also focusing on Google's shopping services sites Froogle, Google Product Search, and Google Shopping.

CNET News: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20032151-93.html"

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Idle

+ - Coca-Cola Secret Recipe Revealed

Submitted by mvar
mvar (1386987) writes "For 125 years, Coke's secret recipe has remained one of the most heavily guarded trade secrets in the world. Now a group of accidental soda sleuths say they've stumbled across a list of its ingredients. Producers of the radio program This American Life came across an article on the history of Coca-Cola in an old copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Coca-Cola's hometown newspaper. Published on page 2B on February 18, 1979, the article received little attention at the time. But, producers say, that's because no one realized the photo used to illustrate the story is a hand-written copy of John Pemberton's original recipe, jotted down by a friend in a leather-bound recipe book of ointments and medicines, and passed down by friends and family for generations."
Science

+ - SPAM: Genetically Enhanced Switchgrass, OHMAYGAHD!

Submitted by renewableenergywade
renewableenergywade (1865842) writes "Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found a way to alter the basic genetic structure of common switchgrass to produce a new strain that can deliver higher yields of ethanol at low costs.

Switchgrass is considered a prime feedstock for bioenergy development. It is a native plant that has a lifespan of more than two years with high yields and requires little nitrogen and water."
GNOME

+ - Canonical disables Amazon MP3 store in Banshee->

Submitted by polar_bear`
polar_bear` (29382) writes "Banshee contributors were happy to have it chosen as the default music player in Ubuntu 11.04. The joy may be short-lived, though. Canonical approached the team with a choice: give us 75% of Amazon affiliate fees, or we disable the Amazon Store in Banshee to avoid competing with Ubuntu One. The Banshee store was on track to raise $10K for the GNOME Foundation in 2011."
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Comment: It's Hard to beat "Really Cheap" (Score 1) 618

by LeftHanded (#35173234) Attached to: Why Dumbphones Still Dominate, For Now
Although my wife has an Android phone, I make do with a Tracphone $15 special I got. It's definitely a "dumb" phone, but I don't text, and rarely make calls. I use an iPod Touch, and that is enough for a portable pocket computer; I only sometimes miss the work anywhere of a 3G device. Would I like a smart phone? Sure. Do I want to pay for two people's voice+data plans? Nope. I'm betting that many others are in the same boat.

+ - Servers run well outside in cold winter-> 4

Submitted by vuo
vuo (156163) writes "Servers left outside in a tent in this year's exceptionally cold winter in Finland survived equally well as servers left in an office. Professor Jussi Kangasharju of University of Helsinki presented the results of a study in the first ACM SIGCOMM workshop on Green networking. 9 servers were left outside in winter, where outside temperatures varied and relative humidity was 80-90%, and were only protected from rain by a tent. Nevertheless, they were not found to suffer from a higher failure rate (5.6%) than found by Intel in a temperate climate. When the outside temperature was -22 C, the tent was at -5 C, cooling effected by wind and free air exchange."
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Open Source

+ - LibreOffice - a community fork for OpenOffice.org->

Submitted by suraj.sun
suraj.sun (1348507) writes "The Document Foundation ( http://www.documentfoundation.org/ ) is a newly founded organisation with a mission: to make an office suite available as truly free software, developed within the wider community. Supported by companies like Google, Novell and Red Hat, the Foundation has forked the Oracle-owned OpenOffice software and created LibreOffice.

Worries about Oracle's commitment to OpenOffice have persisted within the OpenOffice community since the company's acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Most recently a lack of news at the OpenOffice conference and Oracle's preview of a proprietary cloud-based office suite have added momentum to the push for an independent foundation for OpenOffice.

Although in the past there have been previous forks and attempts to create a more independent governance of OpenOffice, this appears to be the first attempt which has widespread community support. Other supporters of The Document Foundation include the Free Software Foundation, the OSI, OASIS, Canonical, credativ, Collabora and the GNOME Foundation, as well as Brazilian OpenOffice developers BRoffice and other regional OpenOffice community groups.

H-online: http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/LibreOffice-a-community-fork-for-OpenOffice-org-1097443.html"

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Microsoft

+ - Microsoft migrating Live Spaces users to WordPress->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has decided it can’t compete with the established blogging platforms out there and will instead embrace one of them.

Talking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Dharmesh Mehta, Director of Product Management for Windows Live announced that all existing Windows Live Spaces users will be migrated over to an account at WordPress.com.

This decision is one Microsoft has prepared for, and Automattic CEO, Toni Schneider, the company that runs and develops the WordPress platform, was also present on stage with Mehta. The two companies have worked together to ensure Spaces users will take all of their data with them when migrating and have visitors automatically forwarded to the new URL associated with their blog."

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Software

Review of Adobe Creative Suite 5 204

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the draw-me-a-picture dept.
Barence writes "Adobe today updated its Creative Suite software to version 5, and PC Pro has an absolutely massive collection of reviews. Along with an overview of the entire suite, from Design to Web to Production bundles, every individual component gets the full in-depth treatment. It includes video demonstrations of Photoshop CS5's fabulous Content-Aware fill trick and new Puppet Warp function; a long-awaited step up to 64-bit for Premiere Pro CS5; and big updates to Dreamweaver CS5, After Effects CS5, and the rest."
Graphics

Adobe Flash CS5 Exports Animations To HTML5 Canvas 166

Posted by timothy
from the take-this-jobs-and-shove-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Adobe's Flash CS5 will seek to make the Flash runtime less relevant with support for exporting animations to HTML5 canvas. Seth Weintraub from 9to5mac writes, 'In a previous post, I'd wondered why Adobe didn't spend its time building HTML5 authoring tools rather than putting so much time/energy/money into its Flash -> iPhone Apps exporter tool for Flash CS5. As it turns out, Adobe does have some, albeit rudimentary, HTML5 Canvas exporting tools, as demonstrated in the video above.'"

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