It’s not spring

But it’s time to clear away some junk from around my desk and bookshelves, so here’s one of the statistics killing summaries of books read and things done.

As for Krita, we’re still busy picking up the bits after merging Casper Boemann’s new tile code. I had sworn not to do a heart transplant before releasing Krita to the public — Krita already has had four cores before now — but we needed to get something a little more flexible in place. But now we have to get everything working again, and debug the new stuff. That’s taking a bit of effort and it means that we lost some of our momentum, which worries me. I really want to get a first release out before April, only six months after my initial estimate.

By the way, I’m reading Bill Baxter’s dissertation, and for all you usability freaks and geeks, I’ve got this screenie of the best possible of all possible paint applications. Nothing else needs to apply, every other pixel pushing application is inferior to this:

(And yes, the palette slides out.)

Pity it’s not free software; Bill Baxter intends to commercialize it. For now, it’s not available to us mere mortals. When I’ve done reading the dissertation, I’ll report in detail. I’ve also started reading up on OpenGL and shaders and so on; those are what Baxter uses to achieve interactive speeds. I’ve also come across Tom van Laerhoven’s website, a Belgian KDE user who is interested in liquids and has done a paper on water colour simulation. Maybe I should ask him for some pointers when I’m done with the Wet & Sticky implementation.

Books I’ve got on the stack and which I’m not going to do a full notice of because they’re going to go back onto the shelves:

  • Nest of Vipers, by Tod Claymore. A convoluted murder mystery with precious little plot; a pot-boiler detective in the pre-war English vein, but written in 1948. Not available except from second-hand bookshops.
  • Deurwaarders Delirium, by Havank. One of the more inebriated novels by Havank, the celebrated Dutch author of detective novels. This one is almost unreadable — it reads as if Havank decided on a new plot with every glass of wine, and he must have downed many when  writing the book. Still, there’s some memorable descriptive prose, particularly at the beginning of the book. Near the end it becomes an E. Phillips Oppenheim clone, but without the charm.
  • The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. One of my favourites, I recently retold this in condensed form to my daughters, and thought I had to re-read it because I had forgotten several points. It’s a Divinia Commedia-like story of a young man who travels from Hell to Purgatory (which I understand is not part of the Orthodox conception of the after-life, being a purely western thing —
    the Orthodox base their ideas on what happens directly after death on the visions of one Byzantine monk whose name has escaped me for the moment) and who meets various saints (who were sinners) and sinners (who prefer to stay sinners). The danger with this book is that it’s convincing enough that it’s hard to keep in mind that it’s fiction, not a report from a fact-finding mission.
  • Klein Typicon, by Father Arch Priest Martin Erlings. Both the choir leader of our church choir and my wife tried to dissuade me from buying this book. It’s an incomplete, error-ridden introduction to the order of services in the Orthodox Church. In some places Father Martin drops into anecdote, and those anecdotes (for instance about the Beatitudes not being read in the Greek Churches) tend to be inaccurate, too. Still — it’s the only work in Dutch that offers anything approaching an introduction to this intricate subject. It’s all very well to tell me that if I want to master it, I should sing with the choir for ten years, but I cannot sing, so that won’t happen…
  • Winter on the Plain of the Ghosts, by Eillen Kernaghan. I really wanted to like this book… It’s more-or-less self-published by an author who didn’t manage to interest publishers in the book, despite having a track record of decent-selling mid-listers. But you know what? The publishers may have been right. Despite being set in Mohenjo-Djaro, the people bear Sanskrit names, but often ones not proper to their own gender. The story is a bit flat, the writing feels flabby — but the opening is priceless. The old narrator, having decided to put down the story of his life, has laid in a good store of clay… Makes a change from a ream of paper.
  • Honderd jaar wonen in Nederland 1900-2000. This is a catalogue to an exhibition we never visited, but it was remaindered and was very cheap at De Slegte. It’s a fascinating collection of essays and pictures
    on housing and furnishing in the Netherlands in the twentieth  century. Neither too scholarly, nor too light-weight, with good photographs and reproductions.
  • Een Gegeven Dag, Robert Hans van Gulik. This book deserves a thorough study. It’s a weird novel, the odd-one out in van Gulik’s oevre. It’s not about Judge Dee, for starters. It’s written in first person present tense. The narrator is a deeply traumatised man who — utterly surprising — decides to the right thing in the end, and  who is far more clever than the readers. It’s a complete, deep novel and a cheap thriller in one. And a classic puzzle novel, but one in which the pieces of the puzzle are given at odd moments, too early, too late. Deeply interesting. Not as easy as the Judge Dee novels, not at all.

So… Back to the Wet & Sticky paint model, colour management, selections, DICOM images and liturgical theology.