Thursday, August 30, 2012

The GIMP Goes Native...

If you're an amateur photographer who likes to edit your photos, but you don't want to pay for PhotoShop, then you may already be familiar with the GIMP – a capable photo editor that is free, open source software.  It's available for many platforms, including the Mac – but until now it has always required the X11 system to be running on the Mac.

Well, now the GIMP has gone native – you can download a .dmg file that installs a version of GIMP that runs natively on OS/X.  Yes, it includes both single- and multi-window views.  No more X11 and it's associated oddnesses.  Just native OS/X application goodness!

Quite a Night...

It was quite a night at the Republican National Convention – a whole series of speakers with only one sour note (McCain) amongst them.  Several of the speeches were excellent: Condoleeza Rice, Susana Martinez, Mike Huckabee, and (most especially) Paul Ryan. 

At this point in my life, political speeches rarely arouse emotions in me – I'm too busy thinking about what was just said, or (more commonly) not said.  I watch out for weasel words and empty, unfulfillable promises.  Ryan's speech got to me; somewhere along the line I lost my detatchment and got immersed in the speech, transfixed.  This man is giving me hope that real policy change might be possible...

Ryan's speech had many great moments. One of my favorite was this one:
College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.
That's just perfect. A not-so-subtle jab at Obama and an invitation to young voters, all in single, memorable sentence. “...fading Obama posters” instantly brought an image to mind that will endure.

Then there was this:
None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

Listen to the way we’re spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

It’s the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.
That's an articulation of a big idea – freedom – into a political fight where the conventional wisdom is that big ideas don't play, don't work.  Well, this one works for me, and I hope it works well in this campaign.  If the Romney/Ryan campaign uses big ideas to win the White House, that's got the potential to change the way future presidents campaign.  In a good way, a very good way.

Ann Althouse summed up her reaction to Ryan's speech this way:
Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.
I agree completely.  Neo-neocon, writing about Ryan's speech, said this:
If I were Obama, I’d be feeling just a litle bit shaky now—even if I were a narcissist. Or maybe especially if I were a narcissist.
You'd think. But I'd bet not.

In general, both news and blogs sites are reacting very positively to Ryan's speech – even in some quarters where you'd expect reflexive critique (like, say, MSNBC).  It's hard to imagine how Ryan could have done any better...

If you're one of the majority who didn't watch Paul Ryan's speech, you can find both video and transcript here.

Obama Sends Us Another Message... the way he “honors” fallen soldiers.  A form letter signed by a robo-pen.  Shameful...