20 Apr 2000 bernhard   » (Master)

Terry Pratchett

There seem to be a few Terry Pratchett fans on advogato. I haven't got the time to read all the diaries here, but at least mjs, stephane and dria have referred to him or his books.

For those who don't know him yet, PTerry (as he's usually called on alt.fan.pratchett or alt.books.pratchett because of Pyramids) is mostly known for his Discworld books, a series of at the moment 24 volumes of comic fantasy. The first few were just fantasy parodies, the newer have grown into their own special brand of comic fantasy.

I'm not much of a Fantasy fan in general, although I read and liked Tolkien, but the Discworld isn't really Fantasy somehow. It has lots of popular science and technology terms strewn in like "trouserlegs of time", "quantum" and the rubbersheet model of gravity. Then there's Hex, a computer built with among other things an ant-farm (complete with "Anthill inside" sticker) in the High-Energy-Magic building in Unseen University. One sentence I particularly liked in Witches Abroad is "The witches flew along a maze of twisty little canyons, all alike"...


Another beta of a commercial graphics program was released on Monday, this time it was Photogenics, a pixel oriented painting program. I downloaded and tried this one as well.

The archive was amazingly small (ca. 360K) but that seems to be mostly because it's a very limited demo/beta version. It only has very few import filters, only one export filter (jpg), and many of the painting modes are not available.

The UI seems to some bugs (e.g. popups pop up in the wrong position and you can't use them correctly) but the program appears to be very stable and fast.

So far, I haven't seen anything that you couldn't do with Gimp, although drawing new images seems to be easier in Photogenics, but I'm not much of an artist, so that's not all that important to me.

There are two things that I find interesting in Photogenics. One is the way drawing is handled. Drawing effectively selects pixels and applies an affect to the selection. The two stages are actually completely separate. You can change the effect thats applied even after you've finished drawing. That's pretty neat and I think GIMP should have something similar.

The other interesting thing is how undoing drawing works. Photogenics doesn't just save the pixels that were affected, it remembers the actual strokes you did with what tool and settings. This has the big advantage that it takes less memory but it also means that undoing a stroke can take very long because all previous strokes have to be repeated.

It'll be interesting to see how Photogenics can compete against GIMP and PhotoPaint which Corel wants to make available for free download.


schoen, your diary entries are beautiful[1] and I for one like to read them. They tend to be quite long, but I don't mind. Nobody's got to read them if they don't find the time. And even on the recent diaries page, its easy to skim over it.

On licenses and requirements to comply with applicable laws: isn't that requirement always implicitly present? I mean, copyright and contracts are regulated by law and laws can state that certain clauses in contracts or license agreements are not applicable even when they are written into the contract/license.

Of course, there might be differences in this regard in different parts of the world. But that's a more general topic. It's not immediately clear that a license that was written with US law in mind also works as intended with, say European law. Anybody interested in how compatible the GNU General Public License in praticular is to German and European law should have a look at the current issue of c't or at IfROSS (Institut für Rechtsfragen in der Open Source Software)


[1]Well, OK, I probably have to explain this pun[2]. The German word for beautiful is "schön" and if no "ö" (o umlaut) is available it can be replaced with "oe".

[2]That's something PTerry's German translator likes to do sometimes even when it's not necessary. In Reaper Man, for instance, there's the following exchange between Windle Poons (a recently deceased Wizard who can't pass into after life because Death has been retired...) and the Librarian (who was turned into an orang-utan by a magical accident):

'No, Not "with milk".'

In the german translation theres a second sentence in the last line: 'You mean "au lait"' (In the German version it's in German, of course :-)). Aaaarrrgggghhh. I'm glad I read it only after the English original and that it was the only Pratchett translation I read. I was just curious how good the translation was. The other volumes don't seem to be much different.

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