Tue, 16 Jan 2007

Javascript in Photoshop

— SjG @ 9:21 pm

Ah, it was such a happy day that a Photoshop junkie and programmer geek discovered that Photoshop could be scripted with a Real Object-Oriented Language, like Javascript!

And yet, as time goes on, this happiness is mitigated. Egregious bugs (such as the failure of Selection.bounds) pop up, requiring internet searches to get the workaround. Then, there are unexpected things, where the document units are not honored for selection translations.

Even worse, it dawns on the programmer that many useful functions are missing — functions that seem like natural features for scripting Photoshop — like, say, getting the RGB value of an arbitrary pixel from an RGB document, or getting the transparency of said pixel, or, even, say, changing that value. Of course, there are workarounds for all of these functions (e.g.,this ). But why should I need fifteen extra lines of code?

Then, there are errors that are in my code. I find that aliasing is a big problem when I’m creating virtual triangles and then getting the pixels from within them. For example, my script for simplifying the creation of images like this:


has enough slop in the aliasing combines with the rotations and translations to yield problems like this:


So maybe it’s time for me to start implementing this kind of thing in a vector-based program. I’ve played with the demo of Intaglio, and it looks good. And it’s scriptable too, albeit only using AppleScript, which I’ll have to learn.

Tue, 9 Jan 2007

The Green Odyssey

— SjG @ 7:56 pm

Philip José Farmer, 1957, read as an ebook from

This is far from Farmer’s best, but it’s still a swashbuckling adventure. Reminiscent of the better Edgar Rice Burroughs adventures, it features technologically advanced humans trapped on a medieval backwater planet. As the story progresses, you find that maybe the world isn’t as primitive as our hero thinks.

It’s a fun ride, filled with what I’d call old-school wish-fulfillment sci-fi. Also notably, it features ships that sail through great grassy plains a good thirty or forty years before Dan Simmons’ Hyperion.

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Why Things Are and Why Things Aren’t

— SjG @ 7:48 pm

Joel Achenbach, Ballentine, 1996

A collection from a newspaper column where Questions are sent in, and they are Answered.

It’s entertaining, like reading any of various collections of trivia. Will you learn new things that will change your life through their enlightening revelation? Probably not. Is it a book that will help you pass a few pleasant hours? Probably.

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Mon, 8 Jan 2007

Among Malay Pirates

— SjG @ 9:22 pm

G. A. Henty, 1905, read as a Project Gutenberg e-text from

This is actually a collection of action/adventure stories; only the first of which has anything to do with Malay pirates. I’d dismiss the collection as forgettable adventure fluff, except for the fact that several of the stories have flights of pedagogical exposition on the part of one character or another which give a fascinating insight into some British end-of-the-empire ideas and beliefs.

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Sat, 6 Jan 2007

Celtic Twilight

— SjG @ 6:35 pm

W.B. Yeats, 1902, read as a Gutenberg Project e-book from

A collection of folk stories, reminiscences, poems, and observations of the Irish countryside as retold by William Yeats, read in preparation for our upcoming Ireland trip.

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