Saturday, January 29, 2011

Old sketches - recently found

I recently surprised a friend with some of my older sketches, and promised I'd show her some of the others.  I think this is a reasonable selection of my pencil crayon and pen sketches.  The only other medium I work in typically is pencil, like this drawing which used to be my blog banner.

Citroen Avant, sketched from a photograph I took back in 1990. Pencil crayons.

Honda motorcycle with extended front forks and a few other twiddlies. Based on a auto mag photo of a Honda, but with some customizations. Drawn back in the early 1990's. Ballpoint pen.

Landrover Series 2, 90". Drawn from memory, pen sketch. Drawn in the corner of some not paper.

Mercedes Unimog with Schmidt plough, salter and sweeper. Copied from a Mercedes catalogue, actually drawn on A4 paper, so is reasonably big.

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Fordson tractor.  Drawn from one of my photos again.  Also sometime in the early 1990's.
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Graphics Tablet. Should I get one.

Years ago, actually decades ago, we got a Wacom graphics tablet at work.  We used it for digitizing maps in a very clunky - non professional way.  Tablets have come a long way since then, and I've started wondering about the merits and demerits of such a device.

As you all know I have an RSI, tendinitis in the knuckles of my middle three fingers on my right hand.  That's why I have that "crazy" gold touch keyboard, and I use a left handed mouse.  As part of the Ergo Eval when I first joined Big Company I was offered a graphics tablet.  Since deskspace was limited, and diagrams are only a small part of my work load I declined.  Maybe I was wrong to, because I'd have a Wacom Intuos on my desk now and I'd know how well they'd work for me.

What is a Wacom Intuos?  It's a professional grade graphics tablet.  You draw on the tablet with a special pen, and the result rends itself on-screen.  It's very accurate, and there are varying tablet sizes.  They are quite large, the small being pretty much the size of A4 (letter) paper, but having an active area of 6"x5", the large is 2' x 18", and has an active area of 19" x 12".  I mean this is about as big as a  15" laptop when it's folded flat open.

The small is still $230 list price, and the big one, $790.  The wireless one is a good compromise in at $400, 8x5 active area and 14x10 overall.

So what are the alternatives?  The Bamboo is the consumer level one and tops out at $200, which is about the size of the $400 pro version, but has half the line resolution and 2/3 the sample rate.  Is that good enough?  Well, depends what I do with it.

And on the other end.  Professional so far has meant as a generic input device to a PC in the context of an office.  The Cintiq is pro level for artists and graphics designers.  There are two versions. For $1000 I can get a 12" screen that I can draw on, and double that price for the 21" screen.  Drawing direct on the screen gives you a virtual canvas, and direct feedback.

A $1000 sounds like a lot of money, and for most of us at home, saving on paper, or wanting to sketch in MS Paint, well, this is a luxury.  For someone who uses this for their bread and butter job, well amortize of 50 weeks thats $20 per week, or 4 dollars per work day. Pretty cheap.  To use once or twice a year, that becomes more like $200 per sketch.  Is it worth it.

So what would I use it for?  I never get time to draw.  Sure I sometimes use lack of space as an excuse, but I don't even have the energy to make the space before I use it.  Since this thing is its own space, would I use it more often?  Good questions.  I also take a heap of photos, but I never post process them.  I wonder if I would with one of these kicking around.

All good questions.  I have a couple of gift certificates burning a hole in my pocket.  Maybe I should throw them towards a tablet.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Translation Required

Rudy, Jessica, Cathy, Joe,  Anyone...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Morning commute

Scooters galore.  Very few bicycles, and no motor cycles or mopeds.  Just scooters!


Maybe, it's just Hsinchu, but not too many busses around.  I guess everyone prefers their scooters.

And there are schools, and school crossing guards too.

And the inevitable Starbucks.

Will I need an AC Adaptor?

The answer is no.  This one will take pretty much any that I've seen!


Apart from the language, these airports all start to look the same...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

San Francisco International Airport

Welcome to San Francisco International Airport.  It's been a few years since I was last here, and a few things have changed.  

Last couple of times I've not really had much chance to poke around and see what's going on.  But today I put that right.  I finally got to have a look around the museum.  The decor is wonderful, and they have lots of interesting paraphernalia, especially about Pan Am.  I guess that makes sense.

They also have an extensive library of aviation literature.  It's all in locked cases, but I believe the public can have access to the material, just not for casual browsing, but proper research.

I keep forgetting they flew flying boats out of here, as they also did at Oakland, Alameda and Treasure Island.  I was also reading about Oakland International last night, and it seems you could actually fly from SFO to Oakland in the '60s.