Blog Update: I’ve been away…

I’ve been away from this blog for a few months while I learned to sell things on Ebay, and it has been a real learning experience. I won’t go into it too much, but it was really time-consuming. The good news is that this education didn’t cost too much money, and it’s almost at the point where Ebay selling could cover my rent and some bills. It’s also improved my understanding of SEO and landing pages for ecommerce, as well as my understanding about inventory, capital, seasonal sales, and revenue.

I’ll be back to writing about programming soon.

Keyboard UX Fixed, by Logitech… but it never caught on.

I’m selling a keyboard, the Y-SU61, that, in this specific version, has a keyboard UX issue fixed. Most of the other Y-SU61s don’t have this issue fixed… so these product names are not necessarily meaningful.

This keyboard is for beginners new to PCs. By removing the “insert” key from above the “delete” key, they avoided the problem of pressing the “insert” key and going into “insert mode”, and then typing, overwriting the text that was already there. Beginners don’t know what “insert mode” is, and and get confused when their typing wipes out the existing text. Typically, there’s no indication you’re in “insert mode”.

You can still go into insert mode by pressing “insert” on the keypad.

Having “insert” above “delete” implies that they will work similarly: pressing “insert” should insert a space to the right, just like how “delete” removes a character from the right. This function’s completely useless, but the positioning implies something like that. Alternatively, it could be labeled “backspace” and behave like the backspace key.

Look at the other keys. “Home” above “end”, and “page up” above “page down”. They act the same. The key above “delete” should do something related to “delete”.

Also, pretty obviously: “home” and “end” could be relabeled “top” and “bottom”.

We don’t notice these problems because we’re used to this screwed up keyboard.

However, if tablets really take over, we’ll be facing this problem again.  Tablet users typically don’t have insert mode.

Make Meme/LOLCats Text with the GIMP

This tutorial explains how to make the “LOLCats” or “Meme” font so popular with the kids today. You can see a lot of these on the 4Chan /b/ channel, but don’t go there if you have any illusions that our society isn’t full of degenerates. The meme font is Impact Condensed, but to get the right “look”, you need to create a black outline around the regular font letters.

A couple tutorials explain how do to this with Photoshop. This tutorial explains how to do it with the free GIMP program.

From the windows menu, open up the Layers and the Paths windows. You may not be familiar with Paths, but it’s key to this task.

Select the text tool (the A icon), and then drag out a box. Type in your text. Set the font to Impact Condensed (on some systems, the meme font is simply called “Impact”), and a large pixel size, like 40 pixels. Set the color to white.

Then, click the “Paths from Text” button, which is down in the lower part of the Toolbox. This creates a new path in the Paths window.

Press the “D” key. This will set the colors back to black foreground / white background.

Then, click the “Paint along the Path” button in the Paths window. This is the weird looking brush icon next to the trash icon in the lower right. The “Stroke Path” dialog will appear.

Select “Stroke Line,” and set the path size to around 3 pixels. Select “Solid color.” Then click the “Stroke” button.

If the stroke steals too many pixels from the text, you might want to undo a few steps, duplicate the text layer, then re-do the path and stroke it. The duplicated text layer can be placed on top of the outlined text. That’s what was done on the example above.

There you go!