MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is appealing to out-of-state donors to keep Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate.
This is a test TypePad/FB post.
Welcome to Geekazine!
The GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) is the flagship of Linux and open source photo editing programs. (A windows version, which I have used, though not recently, is available at Sourceforge.) The GIMP is free and open source; there is no charge for installing and using it.
The GIMP is a powerful, complex program which I’ve heard compares well with Photoshop. I cannot speak to this, since I have not used Photoshop, but I have used Paintshop Pro extensively on assignment, and the GIMP is easily equal to it.
The GIMP, though, is not easy to figure out.
I don’t believe that there really is any such thing as an “intuitive” interface for a program, in the sense of “easy to figure out at first glance.” “Intuitive” means “easy to remember.” The GIMP offers so many options that it is neither easy to figure out nor easy to remember without help. So I thought I’d share some of my experiences.
Most of what I do with the GIMP is prepare pictures for posting on the web. Although I’m little more than an intermediate level amateur, I’ve learned a few tricks which enable me to fool my friends and family into thinking that I know what I’m doing.
So here are the steps I normally follow to edit a picture, without getting involved in layers and other stuff I haven’t yet mastered.
The basic GIMP interface includes two windows: the image window and the toolbar. Every item on the toolbar may also be accessed from the menu bar at the top of the image window. (The most significant planned improvement for the GIMP is to integrate the tool bar into the image window.) Click for a larger image.
My first step is normally to sharpen the image. Go to Filters–>Enhance–>Sharpen to start the Sharpen Tool. The illustration shows both the Sharpen dialog and the menu selection. Click for a larger image.
In the preview pane, use the sliders below and to the right of the preview window to navigate to different parts of the image. I normally move to the area with the greatest detail and contrast; for example, if there is a flower in the picture, I’ll navigate to the flower. Then use the “Sharpness” slider to select the degree of sharpness; the changes will be reflected in the preview window. Clicking “OK” makes the change, but, if you are dissatisfied, you can click Edit–>Undo or hit CTRL-z and to revert and try again.
Next, I tinker with the brightness and contrast. Until recently, I’ve used the Brightness and Contrast Tool (accessed at either Colors–>Brightness-Contrast or at Tools–>Color Tools–>Brightness-Contrast) to do this, as shown below. Once again, the illustration shows both the menu and the tool. Click for a larger image.
Changes made using the sliders are reflected immediately in the main image window.
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with color curves. I don’t really understand what they are, but you can access the Curves tool at Colors–>Curves or Tools–>Color Tools–>Curves. The illustration shows a curve with only one manipulation point, but you can bend them at two or more points if you wish. Changes are reflected immediately in the main image window. Click for a larger image.
Frequently, I crop pictures to exclude extraneous material. Use the Selection Tool to outline the area to keep, then go to Image–>Crop to Selection. If dissatisfied, use the Undo commands to revert to the previous image. Click for a larger image.
My last step is to scale or resize the image. I see no need to upload an umpty-ump mega-pixel image at 2400 by 1900 pixels for display in an environment optimized for less than half of that. It increases page load times, adds overhead, and provides little or no benefit for someone who is not a professional photographer trying to attract customers or make sales.
In this post, I scaled the original images to a width of 960 pixels and set them to display at a width of 500 pixels, so that the reader could click on them and see the detail more clearly; I did not use thumbnails, because thumbnails would be so small as to look silly.
Normally, I scale to as close to the desired display size as I can get.
In the GIMP, the scale tool is accessed at Image–>Scale Image. In this illustration, I’ve also increased the view of the original picture from 25% to 100%. Click for a larger image.
And here is the image with the view still at 100% after scaling (the illustration below was scaled to 450 pixels wide).
I ended up not using this version of the picture. You can see my final effort.
Notes and Hints:
Once you save a normal image file with changes, undo information is lost. Saving images in the native GIMP format (*.xcf) preserves undo information. I normally “Save As” and preserve the source image.
You can do fancy stuff with layers in the GIMP. I don’t understand them yet.
Meet the Gimp offers excellent video tutorials for download. There’s a detailed table of contents if you are interested in a specific topic. The library contains over 150 tutorials and is still growing.
Ho ho ho Social Media Club!
In your rush to get your holiday shopping done, don’t forget about tonight’s Jingle Mingle for CASA holiday fundraising party – and while you’re in the stores, be sure to pick up a toy for CASA’s toy drive! Everyone who donates a toy will get a super special bonus – a raffle ticket for the snazzy “regift” basket valued at more than $250!
See you at The Brink Lounge tonight at 6 PM – and bring your friends, parents, aunts – you name it – the more the merrier! There will be drink specials, special drink specials (no redundancy here!) and more holiday cheer than you can shake a stick at – and that’s a heck of a lot of holiday cheer!
If you haven’t registered yet – do it now. C’mon, it’s a Tuesday night – you’ve got nothing going on. And Glee is a rerun!
Want to do some good for others this holiday season (in a really easy way!!) and get some great content/information as well?
If so, I need you to please help me do 2 things that will in turn help a Madison, WI-based charity (I’ll explain in just a moment!).
All you have to do is:
(1) like my company’s Facebook page – Madison Marketing Communications (MMC), which provides some insightful articles and information about communications – and
(2) help spread the word so more people can also join in. (I’ll be you can think of ways!! Twitter, FB, a blog, even an email….)
For each Facebook fan the MMC page has by 12/31/10, MMC will donate $1 to a yet-to-be determined charity (but discussion will take place to decide on the MMC Facebook page). This is an opportunity for you to get some great marketing- and communications-related content via your FB feed, and as a bonus you will be helping someone else who needs help.
Why am I doing this? Frankly, I am #1 looking for ways to increase the reach of MMC’s Facebook page and its social media reach, and #2 I am actively looking for ways to help others this holiday season. My family is sponsoring a family this holiday season, and I wanted to figure out some way to that my company could also do some good. This seemed like something cool to try.
BUT….for it to work I need help in spreading the word. (And I thank you in advance for this.)
So please check out the MMC Facebook page by clicking here – “like” MMC and then join the discussion about posts and ideas that are put forth. I hope we can all enjoy some great dialogue moving forward in 2011!
This is a great example of a couple things:
1. Cause marketing in action
2. In action, with outcome TBD.
Many people (and the businesses they work for/with) feel they need to have the entire project laid out, start to finish, before they start. It's more important to just go - do - and keep moving, with communications. We're a nimble society, and the social media tools at hand give us the ability to assess, pivot, adjust where necessary.
Go - do. Thanks, Laurel, for this fine example.
Posted by smoothspan on December 7, 2010
Salesforce is skating to where the puck will be ahead of the other players once again–there’s a reason they’re so much bigger than the rest of the SaaS players. This time it’s all about their latest development in the hotly contested PaaS (Platform as a Service) market. They’ve introduced a fascinating new offering called “database.com” (what do you suppose they paid for that domain?).
What is this database.com offering?
Larry Dignan pegged it best, among the various posts I read. He says it’s a full frontal assault on the incumbents like Oracle, and that Salesforce is building out a stack, only the stack is delivered as a service that lives in the Cloud. That’s exactly what’s happening. Imagine writing software that talks to your database server via an API. That part isn’t hard, because that’s how it already works. Now imagine that you don’t own the database server; it lives in the Salesforce Cloud and you rent. They take care of it and promise to use all the tricks they learned scaling Salesforce.com to make your database scale like crazy too. Pretty cool!
The initial responses from the rest of the blogging world are also interesting:
- Phil Wainewright says they’ve squashed all the little PaaS players.
- Klint Finley reports that Progress software is building out drivers (ODBC, etc.) so your apps can directly call Database.com as their DB.
- Sam Diaz and many others are focused on the Oracle rivalry. Can this be good for Oracle’s share price? Will their database hegemony finally start to crack? And what does it mean to the budding NoSQL world?
Obviously there is a lot of crystal ball work to be done here, and a lot of study of the available information. Most of all, we’ll have to wait to get our hands on Database.com before we can really understand what it means. But I did want to finish this post by talking about Database.com’s relationship to what I’ve been calling “Fat SaaS”.
We’re moving beyond the debate about SaaS versus On-premises. On-prem isn’t dead, but it sure isn’t getting any stronger, while the SaaS world keeps gaining momentum. The truth is that it is a superior model. There used to be a lot of feeling that IT was afraid of it, and that this is what was holding it back. But we’re starting to see considerable evidence IT not only doesn’t fear it, but that they’re embracing it wholeheartedly. More importantly, we’re seeing the SaaS world start to move beyond simple questions (to multitenant or not to multitenant is actually a pretty simple question) and onto how to evolve to the next level.
Fat SaaS is a model that pushes as much business logic into the client as possible and leaves the server-side largely acting as a data store. Given the availability of rich User Experience tools like Adobe Flex with AIR (for creating desktop apps), as well as the onset of the mobile app phenomenon, together with the difficulties of scaling in a multicore world, it’s a logical development. After all, if you survey an Enterprise, do they have more cpu’s tied up in client devices, or in servers? Which cpu’s are more over worked and which ones have more bandwidth available?
I’ve written about the Fat SaaS idea before, and I think it’s one of the logical next developments we’ll start seeing like crazy. Database.com just opened the door to making it even more logical, because what else would talk to such a thing but a Fat SaaS application? Doing a bunch of centralized number crunching won’t be nearly as happy as a Fat SaaS app with the inevitable latency that comes with having your database in a different Cloud than the software that’s consuming the data. The client is already used to that being the norm.
Now, getting back to Phil Wainewright’s proposition that it has squashed the other players, I don’t think so. It may be hard on the little players, or it may not. Remember, Benioff is trying to out-Oracle Oracle. But even Oracle hasn’t succeeded in squashing the Open Source DB movement, not even after acquiring MySQL. It’s more popular than ever. In the end, neither Salesforce nor Oracle have to squash these littles guys. They’re after the higher end anyway.
What I want to see is competition. Who will be the first to put up a service on Amazon AWS that delivers exactly the same function using MySQL and for a lot less money? You see, Salesforce’s initial pricing on the thing is their Achille’s heel. I won’t even delve into their by-the-transaction and by-the-record pricing. $10 a month to autheticate the user is a deal killer. How can I afford to give up that much of my monthly SaaS billing just to authenticate? The answer is I won’t, but Salesforce won’t care, because they want bigger fish who will. I suspect their newfound Freemium interest for Chatter is just their discovery that they can’t get a per seat price for everything, or at least certainly not one as expensive as they’ve tried in the past.
I’ll be watching to see whether the prices come down and whether competition develops. I fully expect both will be underway before we know it. Meanwhile, Bravo Salesforce–you’re showing the rest of the world how it’s done!
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This entry was posted on December 7, 2010 at 9:08 pm and is filed under business, cloud, saas. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.