"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth."

--Ursula K. Leguin

November 2009

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This journal is partially locked. Most fandom entries are public. Most daily-life entries and a certain amount of squee is locked. To read those entries, comment and ask to be added.

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Please note, all my fic posts here are summaries with links to my archive site. To search for fic most easily, you will want to visit my fic archive itself which has all the series/arc/pairing/character indexes and tags. *tips hat*

Posts Tagged: 'reviews:+software'

Aug. 29th, 2009

Life without photoshop

Some time ago, my Photoshop died. More precisely, it failed to migrate and only exists on the old computer in the other room with the keyboard I don't like. So I have, after many years away, gone to try out GIMP again.

Gimp is a good program. It is genuinely full-featured image editing software. You can do just about anything you need to with it, once you find the right menu/tool.

Alas, Gimp is originally a Linux application and the 'port' for Mac operates in the X11 windowing system. I hate Mac+X11 with a great and mighty passion. It treats all the program palettes and toolbars as separate windows which you must first click on to make active and then select your tool, layer, etc. There is really no excuse for it to exist inside the Mac system except to allow lazy programmers to say that something is ported when, really, it's no such thing and a usability disaster to boot.

The Mac not-a-port does, however, have pleasantly native visuals and is not written in Java like some video players or open source office software I could name. It thereby escapes the half second lag that is the utmost limit of infuriating.

Gimp has a fairly short learning curve if you know Photoshop already, but there will be an adjustment period where you have to hunt for the right tool and sometimes look up ridiculously basic things on the web to figure out, for example, how to clear a selection to transparency. In some ways Gimp gives you more control; it makes fewer assumptions about what the user really wants to do than Photoshop. On the one hand, this means you have to do it all yourself, but on the other it means you have finer control of, for example, the cropping of layers to the visible canvas size. I do find the fact that it does not paste selections in as a new layer a bit trying, though, since that means you must always remember to create a blank layer to receive pastes so you can manipulate them fully.

History is a tab within the same module as Layers, which I find irritating given the click-and-click behavior required by X11, but, on the bright side, Control+Z can be used to back up as far as you like. I've never been a fan of the Mac behavior that Command+Z is both undo and redo for the last action.

Mac users will need to be aware that the Gimp 'port' does not allow use of the Mac keystroke commands. Instead of Command+S you will have to use Control+S. This is annoying, but the cmd vs ctl is the only difference--S will still save, Z will still undo--so it isn't more than an annoyance.

My one ongoing issue with Gimp is the file navigation, which sucks dead rat. Without ketchup. It does not provide for column-view or list-view of files, instead you have to double click through folder view after folder view to get where you're going. And it's ugly to boot.

The quality of the images produced is much of a muchness, though, and if you don't want to or can't shell out six hundred dollars for a new edition of Photoshop, you may want to download Gimp and give it a try.

Aug. 5th, 2008

How to get a categories widget with include and exclude

So, as things stand, the WordPress Categories widget supports altering sort order, post count and dropdown vs. hierarchical display. But it does not support including or excluding categories.

There is a way around this, though, while we wait for it to show up in the core code! (Everyone thank Bricksmith for suggesting this work-around.)

First, you need to download, upload and activate the php-exec plugin. This plugin allows admins to put php code in an entry or widget and have WordPress recognize it as php and execute it instead of just treating it as plain text.

Next, you go to Design > Widgets and put the Text widget where you want the Categories to appear.

Into the Text widget you paste some variation on the following code:

<li id=”categories-1″ class=”widget-categories”>
<h2 class=”widgettitle”>Categories</h2>
<ul>
<?php wp_list_categories(’orderby=name&hierarchical=true&title_li=&exclude=76,77,78,79′); ?>
</ul>
</li>

Save that and voila, you have a pseudo Categories widget!

In my own case, I wanted to have two Categories widgets, the second one including all the categories that the first one excluded, so I pasted another copy into Text right under the first, with the ID “categories-2″ and the ‘exclude’ changed to ‘include’, and edited my CSS to add #categories-2 everywhere there was a #categories-1.

Caveats: 1) I do not know if it is possible to use this for a dropdown Categories, because that requires some Javascript and I have no idea whether that can be parsed inside a Text widget. 2) What you have is actually a widget inside a widget, codewise. The Categories widget is enclosed inside the li and div of the Text widget. This may cause problems with your CSS styling, depending on how it’s written. If your nested lists look like li li { rules }, this will probably cause problems. On the bright side, if you change it to ul ul { rules } that should fix the problem.

For a full list of the variables you can adjust in wp_list_categories, see the WP documentation.

Jan. 24th, 2008

Brilliant!

*sparkles madly* This... this is the best thing since server-side includes.

*pets her new bit of Javascript caressingly* It's barely a dozen lines and it lets me give css classes to different browsers and different platforms. Firefox in PC, Firefox in Mac, IE in all versions, this is brilliant! I can have a line for different link widths in old IE without relying on hacks; it will never become obsolete!

*hearts all over her new script* Darling, where have you been all my life?

Nov. 28th, 2007

Manga viewer for Macs

I have recently been test-driving a lot of different image viewers, specifically viewers for Mac. My criteria were not the usual ones; normally, when I want to take a quick peek, Preview does fine and if I want more than that, well that’s what Photoshop is for. In this case, I was looking specifically for something to use as a manga viewer.

My priorities, thus, were something that has a large viewing area, something that can easily resize and be set to show images at actual size, and something that can easily navigate among nested folders.

CocoViewX is the winner.

I highly recommend this bit of software to any Mac user who has a lot of folders of manga that she would like to view easily. For one thing, it’s freeware, though I encourage anyone who likes it to toss a buck or two in the author’s donation bin. For another, there are a bunch of settings you can manipulate, to change how you view the pages, and the program will remember all of them–including whether you want to view actual size or fit the window.

Most importantly, from the perspective of a manga-viewer, there is a navigation window down the left side that shows all subfolders and files in any folder you open, and you can navigate among your folders and image files simply by clicking. You can even set it to single or double click, as you prefer.

Altogether, CocoViewX is just about ideal for the purpose. The only way I think it could get much better is to include an option to scale the images by percentage of actual size. However, since I know of no image viewer anywhere that does that, the lack does not detract from CocoViewX’s win.

General Note: One thing I have realized, in the course of testing different viewers on my files, is that any viewer you use should be set to not respect the dpi (dots per inch) of the image file. Apparently, in the course of translating and/or cleaning image files, it is not infrequent for a mis-setting of the dpi to occur that will force your viewer to display the image at a wee, tiny size if you have it set to believe the dpi given by the file meta-information.