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Posts Tagged annoyances

Again, issues

I know it’s been a while since the last post but oh well.

Dreamhost is making me crazy once again. I’ll have to figure what is wrong with “my” installation and plugins and fix it… and maybe even reuploading everything from scratch again, if the failure is in the gallery plugins (which I don’t think it is…). Maybe it’s a good way to filter out some more images I no longer like and add a couple new ones…

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This is why I should keep going

Many thanks to the guys at Orbit Trap to have quoted my opinions, to slightly discuss them and more, to understood them perfectly. I’m more than anything learning to be honest with my own feelings (artistically and in everything else) so whatever I’ve said here about my disappointments with fractal stuff in general that was repercuted by Orbit Trap is absolutely true. Whenever I say I am hating Apophysis for example, I really do. But I’m hating the Deviant kind of Apophysis – the mass-produced, randomized thing.

I don’t have any personal or commercial links to any of these people (from the evil or the good side of the force) so I just said what happened to me and my creative process during all these years and how to following the self-similarity flock was making me a worse artist and making extremely bored. And I think I could only understand what was going on when I read these posts at Orbit trap pointing me to some obvious things that most people (comfortably) refuse to see, better still have your comment box filled with friends pats on the back than making something you’re enjoying.

I’m touching some sensitive fields now I guess trying the Mandelbulb images (and I’m starting to like them despite hating it at first), as they seem to be the latest hit of the moment, but as there isn’t much of a community or group dedicated to that (not that I have seen) except the few posts at the Fractal Forums neither too many tutorials in the common corporate fractal galleries, which I try as much as possible not to read unless i’m looking for a fix for a problem, I am a bit “isolated” from whatever kind of “style trend” in Mandelbulbs that might be en vogue (sorry for the french) so far and I’m very pleased with the images I’m making even though I can make only an image a week or something. I see a lot of posts mentioning “whipped cream”, “cathedrals” etc. etc. but I have no idea how to do that neither I want to do that kind of thing. I’m using Mandelbulb 3D just like when I first started Fractint: using my instinct. I liked what I did? OK, I’ll save and post. I didn’t like? Let’s start again.

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Insanity laughs underpressure we’re cracking!

A nice quote from my favourite band to demonstrate h0w pressure and all the other annoyances in life can have a productive side. I remember back in 2002, taking many painkillers, without a solution in sight and making probably some of my best fractals. Seems that it’s happening again, for a different reason.

can I beat it?

The Menace

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My thoughts on a certain calendar

I hope this post doesn’t bring any negativity or haters. I’ve seen this happen when the subject was so delicate (to some people) like this. But here we go.

I had read in another blog – which I won’t mention here which one  it is just because of these fights and haters, but it has been mentioned here a couple times and I do share many of their thoughts about how and where the fractal art is going – about how the Fractal Calendar was becoming sort of a… how to put it lightly… commercial product supposedly open to the fractal artists community to participate, but a project where just a few people had the chance to participate. And it’s always been the same people over and over, year after year. This is what I had read, remember. As I’m not involved with these groups, I just know the names of some of these artists and saw that there was really some sort of repetitive list of fractal artists that seemed to appear quite often. Then, it was also commented that the images chosen to appear in such calendar were getting more and more boring and common and were not displaying the “good” fractal art (whatever that is), but just the eye-candy, with the same style that is typical of that specific group of “chosen ones”.

Today, when I was going to the Fractal Forums website to get the latest Mandelbulb version for my other computer, I typed a wrong address that took me apparently to the official site for the Fractal Calendar. And they had 3 galleries for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions with the images. And now I could see with my own eyes that this was very much true, the images are indeed boring and repetitive. They aren’t ugly, though. But 12 images of common spirals and Doodads? I can do that too. Sometimes better. Many others can do that as well.

I think that the last time I had checked for the images in that calendar was around 2003, when I even submitted some images (silly me…). The same group of people seemed to dominate the choices of approved images back then, but the images were much more better and diverse. Now, they’re just as I’ve said, common spirals and Doodads. Sad, really.

Not that these artists aren’t talented and can’t make good images, the problem I see – IMHO – is that the images are far from being fresh, creative and daunting or even “updated”, they are just something that seem to have been done to fit a certain commitment, “we must do the calendar, you are the chosen artists, just send me anything in time and that’s fine”.

With the huge ammount of fractal softwares – and fractal kinds  so to speak – now available, it’s sad to see that they have chosen just common spirals done in Ultra Fractal. No Apophysis, no old-school Fractint images, no new styles like the Mandelbulbs. And just spirals. While the time in the calendar goes on for all of us, the quality of its images seem to be going back in time. Or the clock seems to have stopped in 2002 for the people that are responsible to choose the images.

A small disclaimer: I don’t know any of the artists involved in the making of the images chosen for the calendar in any way other than occasionally viewing fractal galleries where their images are displayed, in their own websites or in other galleries in other websites. I don’t have any particular “hate” for any of these neither had any personal fights with any of these artists and this wasn’t a personal attack on anyone (before any of these haters that like to keep starting flame wars in the aforementioned blog find an excuse in this post to start some more of these wars), this was just my personal opinion on the Fractal Calendar (to which you are entitled to disagree) and my comments are mostly made about the way it’s made and conceived and how its images are chosen, not about the talent or the quality of any of these fractal artists involved.

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Freewares, sharewares and annoyingwares

While doing some searches on something fractal-related, I found one page with a list of fractal softwares. Also there was a brief description for each of these softwares, which most of the times also helps you to have at least a clue about what it is, even though it might be a bit subjective or can even be a forced good review pushing you to choose that special item of that list instead of others.

Anyway, there’s this interesting entry that says (some bits removed to not explicitly tell which software it is -  people can get picky at times and refuse to understand criticism):

“One of the most popular generators of fractal graphics in 24 bit true color.   This freeware 32-bit program, written in Visual C++ by (…), has capabilities far above many that are available, and is well worth taking the time to try out and use.   (Both the executable and source code are available.)”.

Did you read “freeware” there too? OK. Just checking. Also, the source code is available for those that like to see how it goes behind the curtains. Nice, and the description makes you think it’s a very good piece of software. But click the link and… there’s this disclaimer in the page that says:

Entrance to the (…) download area is for registered members only.

Registration is $35 and is made via Paypal.

Upon registration, you will be emailed with a link, password,
and unlimited access to the download area.”

OK, did you read that too? You will only be able to download this freeware (??) software after you pay a fee to enter the download section of the site. Now how can this be called freeware? To me it’s just something I’d call annoyingware. And then programmers complain that their softwares are pirated or shared in P2P networks and warez sites. If they knew how to sell them, they would sell.

I always liked to and did register as many softwares I could that aren’t extremely overpriced (unfortunately, most still are) and that are really useful and/or without bugs, and even I’ve made some small donations to programmers here and there to help the development of their stuff, and like I did with UltraFractal, when I thought I could sometime have a profit from stuff I did with it, it was kind of a moral and obvious decision to register it (and other similar stuff), if I could ever have any benefit from using it – read “benefit”as pure $$$ – it would be nice to “pay” the author of the software for that the same way you pay for a tool you use at work. But when a software is known for being buggy, overpriced, hyped, or that have a clone software that does the same (or almost) in an open source/freeware format as a paid software, I don’t register or buy it at all, and sometimes when I register a software that later becomes buggy or that lacks support or even that charges me a lot more for a stupid upgrade… I have no guilty in getting an “illegal” updated version of that. But this was the first time I’ve seen some stupid thing like that, a “membership” to download a “freeware”. Pffft. Maybe a bad choice of words or advertising, but still stupid.

Just to make things clear, here’s the definition of “freeware” seen in Wikipedia:

Freeware (from “free” and “software”) is computer software that is available for use at no cost or for an optional fee.[1] Software referred to as freeware is almost always proprietary. Software that is commercial is occasionally referred to as payware.

Also…

“Not to be confused with Free software.”

OK, the author might say that he’s asking that fee because you’re downloading the source code blah blah blah. And the asked fee is nothing like “optional” in that site. Don’t pay it and don’t get the software, it’s simple as that. Had the author asked for a donation, he would probably make much more money than using this “pay before you even see what you’re buying” method. This would be a little different than what I’d call a “freeware” as it stated in this definition, it could (and sometimes is) called a “donationware”.

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