My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Thu, 12 Apr, 2007

Adventures in MacLand

It has been two weeks since Macarios the iMac entered my household. Since then, I have gazed raptly into the expanse of its screen, a technological marvel which makes even my older, faded pictures look grand. And the space images from the Hubble Telescope are even grander. Let there be pixels as the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea. Macarios the blessed will resist corruption and viruses and spyware. Meanwhile, my Webmistress has returned and has set things aright so that I, and you, don't have to stumble over punctuation or chunky error symbols.

I still haven't set up some important pieces of hardware, namely my scanner and my Wacom electronic drawing tablet. Only today did I learn how to connect my portable music player which is not an iPod to the machine and download my music. And even then, the music setup is far from ideal. Music encoding software, whether for MP3's or other formats, assumes that the listener listens only to single pop songs which are no more than four minutes in length. The software doesn't respect the sequence of songs on an entire album, not to mention movements in a symphony or cantata. In order to listen to my music in logical order rather than in fragments, I will have to re-arrange every album that I brought into my system. Is this a comment on what our modern society has done to our attention spans? Back in the 1870's, the audience happily sat on their well-fed butts for hours while listening to Wagner operas grind along. Which brings us back to the wide screen, perhaps.

If you were expecting ecstatic rambling about how wonderful Macintosh is, I will disappoint the hardcore Macfanatics. The Mac user interface has its own clunky moments, just like Windows does. Once I've learned where they are and how to improve them, things will go more smoothly. As for the programs, Adobe Illustrator does some things better than CorelDraw, such as color blends, and some things much worse than Corel, such as color selection and management. At work, new management has decided that we should phase out the computer-created sign backgrounds which we have used for the last few years, because they want a "hand-done" look for for the illustrations and designs as well as the lettering. This means that I will no longer be bringing a computer to work. The Macpower which now fills my studio will instead serve my own purposes.

I kind of agree with the new management about the "hand-done" quality, though the entire graphic appearance of our current society and media is completely and slickly computerized. I have yet to see a piece of digital art, even by the best artists, that does not somehow look like it was created on Photoshop or on Painter 9. It's the smoothness and regularity that gives it away, even when the fancy "artistic" programs add in some form of texture to make it imitate a work on "real" paper or canvas. It will be a challenge to me to try to create something on this new machine which doesn't look "Photoshopped."

Meanwhile I have just finished another piece in my "Falls Church Architecture" series which I hope to put in the June show. When I get my scanner working with the new system I will show it to you. It doesn't look like digital art, because it isn't. The only things that can take me away from the enchanting screen are ordinary paper, ink, pencil, and watercolor. And, of course, derivative problems.

Posted at 3:22 am | link

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