Monday, May 13, 2013

Work vs Play - Photoline 32

I've been a photoshop user since the early 90s, and it's either come with a digital camera of mine or I've paid for it (ouch). Frankly, that time is gone. I've got CS4 on my mac. It barely works on Lion, and I doubt it will work at all on Mountain Lion. What all of these large corporations would like me to do is buy a fairly high performance mac, then rent photoshop for about $50 a month. Really? I have a better idea. I've been migrating away from cs4 for nearly a year, and really most of my photoshop work falls squarely into the 'play' department anyway, and thus, belongs on the linux box. Obviously, GIMP, being free, would be the obvious choice. Except that I /hate/ GIMP. Now I know that some folks love the thing, and I've seen truly dazzling digital art out of it, but for me, GIMP's UI is constantly annoying, and when I do get the software to do something, I find it's missing important features. Like adjustment layers.

Enter PhotoLine 32. Truth be told, back when OS X was new (10.1, to be exact), photoshop didn't run on it at all. Your only option for editing images without going into classic was to buy PL32. As CS4 became more and more flakey, I downloaded the current version of PL32, updated my license (yes, they honored my early-aughties license for an upgrade. Try that with Adobe some time.) and I've been slowly migrating to PL32 over the past year or so. The catch, of course, is that there's no Linux version.

On reading the fine print on the Photoline 32 site (, however, I noticed that they test photoline 32 with wine, the windows emulator for Linux, and make sure everything works properly. So I tried it on the linux box. Lo and behold, it works as advertised. Yeah I bought a new license, even though technically I didn't have to. For 59 Euros (about 77 bucks - 6% of the price of CS6, or about a month and a half of creative cloud last I looked), it was a bargain. Yes, when PL32 does a major revision, they'll charge me to move up - usually about 20 bucks. I'm still ahead.

Not much else newswise. I'm actively seeking an agent, dealing with family matters, and knocking out a third short story in the Brass and Steel universe. Hopefully I'll be getting back to work on Brass and Steel II, whatever it winds up being called, in the next couple weeks. Also, I know how the series ends. Our heroes will be fighting Armageddon. Stay tuned. :)


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fixed the buy online links

Okay, yeah, I just noticed the other day, nearly 3 months after the fact, that my last big site overhaul broke something important. All the "buy online" links used to point, via an embarrassingly convoluted mechanism, to a page called "Buy". And then, in a fit of brilliance, I decided I didn't need that page anymore. Oops. So I've given the PHP some kicking around, and now the buy links point to Amazon once again. Also, I removed Brass and Steel, the short story, from the "In Print" page since it is no longer in print.

It's becoming abundantly obvious that I need to rethink the guts of how this website works. For 4 titles it takes entirely too much maintenance, and I'm getting tired of the theme.


Friday, May 3, 2013


The most frustrating thing about writing preqel stories to Brass and Steel: Inferno, is that all my favorite antique methods and mechanisms are still anachronisms. Today: carbon-zinc dry cells (invented 1886) and Bowden cables (invented 1896). Previously: bicycles as we know them today - aka Safety Bicycles, that is, a bicycle which has two wheels of about the same size and your feet can touch the ground while riding. (Invented: 1879, but the bike boom didn't happen until the 1890s).

The stories? They Also Serve (Tentatively named, set in 1887) and A Boy's Life (Set in 1883). The technology in The Color of Blood (Set in 1883) is pretty much fantastical anyway, so fewer problems with that. It's just interesting (if frustrating) how sharply the technosphere I'm used to cuts off in the late 19th century. -JRS

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