Gary Bummer and I made the journey out to Bellingham on the ritual Friday. Gary drove. Thanks Gary!
The trip was rather uneventful... except Gary decided to bypass Seattle and take a much more scenic router that goes through a quaint town named Leavenworth, Washington. What's quaint about it? Well, Leavenworth is styled after a Bavarian village. How can you tell that? Well the buildings on the road through town all look like they are in the Alps or something. The lettering used on all of the business signs is in some kind of weird font that is obviously somehow mandated by the place... since even the big box stores and fast food chains have altered signage that uses the city font. Really... even Napa and McDonald's don't look quite right. It was definitely a pretty route with quite a bit of snow in the mountains with occational streams flowing down... (the road followed) a winding river much of the way... and apple orchards. The spead limit was 60 MPH but there was very little traffic and we hit the Seattle area just North of Everett I believe... so even when we got on the 6 lane highway, it wasn't that crowded. It difinitely made for a much more pleasant trip. Gary took the same route home last year but this is the first time we took it on the way up.
We hit Bellingham right at 9PM so we missed the oriental food place we usually go to for spicy chicken but hopefully we'll do that for lunch today (Saturday) and/or Sunday.
There was a Board Games event Friday evening in Fox Hall (at Hampton Inn where we are staying) sponsored by Fedora. Fox Hall was chopped in half with a divider and the half that the event got was packed. Every table was full of people. There were some snacks including cookies, crackers, chips, fruit, cheese and sliced meats. Free soft drinks and some wine was also available. Someone had brought in a bottle of Black Vodka to share. I'm wondering if that was Monty W.?
Gary and I grazed the food a little but spent the whole time standing since we had been sitting about 14 hours during the trip. We really weren't in the mood for board games... as I've only played the traditional Milton-Bradley type with my kids... and that was not what these board games were at all. :) We did get a cool pack of Fedora playing cards. At the show today and tomorrow I hope to pick up a few more packs (of Fedora playing cards) and other SWAG to share with the BozemanLUG folks.
One sad note about this year though... I couldn't find my digital camcorder so I won't be recording the presentations I go as in the past. I hope but don't expect some recordings to made of various presentations by others.
The Saturday Night party is going to be at the Sparks Museum again this year and there will be homebrew beer there. Luckily Gary brought his camera so we'll get some pictures at least. More later.
The April meeting went pretty well. Attendance was better because Andrew N. and Warren Sanders were visiting from the BillingsLUG. Besides me, Andrew and Warren were regulars David Eder and Gary Bummer. A new guy showed up from Belgrade named Jethro. Unfortunately I didn't catch Jethro's last name nor get a picture of him but he participated quite a bit so I'm hoping he will make it to some future meetings. He has EMT training and is currently working on a motorcycle with a blown up engine.
I talked about and showed GIMP 2.8 RC1 (as found in the Fedora 17 pre-release). I tried my best to highlight a few of the new features including of course the new Single Window mode. I briefly talked about the tentative roadmap GIMP has for the next two or three releases and mentioned the recent code sprint done by two GIMP developers that got ~ 90% of the work the project wanted to get accomplished for the next two releases (that usually take years) done in three weeks. GIMP is really a great program for editing and refining pre-existing images and I have been using it for more than 10 years... but it is obvious that GIMP still needs a number of long-time lingering feature deficiencies resolved before advanced users will be satisfied with it. They look well on the way to getting their in the next release or two.
Then I showed Calligra Krita 2.4 (again as found in Fedora 17 pre-release). I had a USB touch tablet input device (is that what you call them?) hooked up and showed off some of Krita's fancy paint brush stuff. I'm really new to Krita so I don't know what I'm doing yet... but it is so obvious how good of a program it is and I want to learn more. Just by doing some goofing around with the touch tablet it was clear that the quality of what you can create with Krita closely approximates what you can do with real paper, pencils, paints, etc. If I were had more artistic talents I think I'd be spending hours and hours with Krita just experimenting.
For about 10 years of my youth I collected comicbooks (Marvel, DC, and many independents like Cerebus) and one of Krita's use cases is in comicbook creation. Krita really excells in creating new artwork as opposed to working with pre-existing images and to help raise funds for future development one of the Krita developers has put together a series of 1080p webm videos on data DVD that show the creation of a color comicbook from start to finish. I hope to purchase that DVD (all content under a Creative Commons license) in the near future. I don't know if I'll actually get into creating a comicbook of my own but I can dream, can't I?
Speaking of art, some fine folks at the Fedora Project answered my plea for old Fedora branded install media and shipped me 19 lbs of old CDs/DVDs. Why would I want those? I like to decorate the walls at work (Computer Science Department at Montana State University Bozeman) with discs. With the help of everyone at the meeting, we used the optical media to create a new "artwork" for a previously blank and boring strech of wall in the main undergraduate computer lab (EPS 254). We did it very quickly and it still needs a little fine tuning, but the end result doesn't look too bad. We got a quick picture (thanks Andrew) but I'll probably post some better pictures when I get it fine tuned. I think the letter a at the end needs to be skooted to the left a little. Darn kerning.
Thanks for the help guys and hope to see some of you next month!