Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Hacking Days!

A case of bronchitis has me housebound and seriously burning up with cabin fever. So I'm expanding my computer skills a little. Somebody told me GIMP (GUI manipulation program) could be used to make animated gifs.

With help from a fellow blogger, I also figured out why Blogger wouldn't animate the gifs. Apparently, blogger copies and displays a trimmed version of the picture, not the original. The solution was to link to the picture instead. I opened a photobucket album.

Once I was all set to blog, I needed a better demo. This picture Smiley toon bear face with compulsive lip-licking
took me around 15 seconds to create this from two pre-existing pictures, including flipping one into its mirror image with GIMP to create a third image. Now you know why those annoying animations are everywhere.... grin.

Can I make the picture stop moving? Voila! Smiley toon bear face licking chops once Hmm, I have only an option between "loop forever" and a single cycle. Bites. That can't be right; I did better on Visual Basic 10 years ago.

Looks like I could always duplicate it a few times for a longer animation cycle. That would mean more memory for the same stuff, and that's a total waste of broadband. I don't like it. Time to get more GIMP-savvy and see if I can do advanced settings instead.

This is all part of my mad plan, of course. Today, a simple little licky bear face; tomorrow it shall be animated diagrams bringing Pulsating Science to a Computer Near You. Well maybe not tomorrow; but as soon as I get all sciency-bloggy again, I promise you, I'll also be GIMPy. Or something.

In the meanwhile, here's a hot review of a 71-year old guy who is a YouTube superstar for his amazing lectures/demos on physics at the Massaschusetts Institute of Technology.

MIT has open courseware of various lectures for all to enjoy. You can download them; MIT even allows you to translate them into the language of your choice, as long as you identify their source. Therefore, those videos can be copied and captioned for the benefit of the hearing-impaired.

I understand various video editing softwares can make captioning relatively simple, but I'm not very savvy on video editing-- yet. Google has some information here, as well as instructions for how to subtitle your google video uploads.

Unfortunately Youtube, while popular, still stinks at its captioning features, according to this blog's review.

So... will we have captioned MIT open courseware for the deaf soon?