Clues from the future...

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    Google's Twitter Search better than Twitter's

    As you might know, I mainly use Twitter through SMS on my faithful Sharp Sidekick. So every once in a while I'll come across a tweet worth further investigation, but trying to find those tweets has proven difficult. I've tried Twitter's web interface and one of the leading clients, TweetDeck, but I haven't found an easy way to find those tweets.

    So I figured I would try Twitter's Search interface. In some of my original attempts, I was not successful in finding individual tweets. Yesterday I sat down to clear out some old tweets on my phone. Usually, I'll just type the shortened URL into the browser, which alleviates the whole search problem. However, this time, when I typed in the URL an unexpected page appeared.

    Apparently I had misread a "0" for "O" or vice versa and retrieved the wrong page (you know those URL shortners can be tricky, for example, "1" or lowercase "L"), so I had to search for the tweet. The particular tweet I was looking for was a little dated. It was from Ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich about "social gaming strategies that can help companies like BP win public relations battles". The date of the tweet was June 4th, 2010. I pulled up Google's Twitter Search and typed in "gingrich public BP." Bingo! While it had replaced "gingrich" with "newtgingrich" (his real Twitter account name), the tweet I was looking for was second in the list of results.

    Just out of curiosity, I tried the same search on Twitter's Search Page. Zippo. I changed the search string to "newtgingrich public BP." Still, zippo! There it was, plainer than the nose on your face, Google's Twitter Search was better than Twitter's.

    This of course, should come as no surprise. For Google, search is core to their success, it's what made them the number one search engine. However, for Twitter, search is context. It's a feature they added to help increase adoption of their micro-blogging platform. It is, among a long laundry list of features they need. Hint, that's a lead in to my next post.

    Note: For more on "core versus context," see Geoffery Moore's "Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution." There's a summary the book's webpage.


    Saving the world, One princess at a time

    Today was going to be the day
    I'd worked out the plan
    I'd even written it down
    I was going to take the time
    To work on things that mattered
    At least to me

    I was going to change the world
    One piece of sculpture at a time
    One drawing, One poem
    One article, One blog post
    Day by day
    I was going to shake the Matrix
    Until the foundations
    Begin to falter
    And the social disruption
    I envision would begin to
    Fall into place
    Replacing sixty years of indoctrination
    Buy, Obey, Consume, Reproduce

    With a fools belief
    at the heart of my plan
    I was certain
    That I could make a difference
    Patience, optimism, persistence
    We shall overcome
    These were my new battle cries
    I could see it all coming together
    starting on just this first day

    Instead my six year old
    awoke with a fever
    So she stayed at home with me
    I took her to the Doctor
    Where we confirmed
    She had an infection
    I went to the pharmacy
    I bought the medicine
    And I made her drink it
    Even the bad tasting one
    Yes I was going to
    Save the world today
    Instead I ended up
    Saving a princess


    The return of mofo

    I'm back!

    Ready to stir things up again. One of which will be resurrecting the old shockobabble.com, including all those wonderful blog posts that everyone seemed to "love" so much. Until then, peace out.

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    Finally, my old tablet still has legs

    Man, I was almost ready to give up hope on my old Aiptek tablet, but it might still have some life left in it. In connection with downloading a new driver, I also put in a fresh non-rechargeable battery in the pen. And now it seems like's it might be up to the task of sketching my comics directly into Inkscape.

    Here's a fist study I copied from George B. Bridgeman's "Constructive Anatomy" using myAiptek tablet, I'd have to say that's it a lot better than any other time:

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    Cartooning with Inkscape

    So I've been playing around a lot with Inkscape, it's a very impressive piece of software. At this point it's looking like the tool I'll be using to digitize my comics. From what I've been reading it has benefited from having developers that are also cartoonists, so while I haven't gotten very deep into some of the more sophisticated features it's comforting to know that someone has developed features that I'll come to rely on.

    I've been through all of the basic tutorials that come with Inkscape, so now I've moved on to what I can find on the Internet. One of the first I came across was Slime to Start! by David Shaw. It was a really nice first step towards actually creating something comic book like. Overall, the tutorial was pretty good. It's a little old, so I think there might be some version creep between the version I'm using and the one used to create the tutorial, but it's good enough for me to reproduce the slime shown in the tutorial.

    After realizing that I was getting lost in the Internet early today, I'm glad I took the time to finish this tutorial. It's been a real eye opener. I'm getting closer and closer to actually visualizing the images in my head coming out of Inkscape. So with out further adieu, say hello to Sammy Slime or maybe he's Jimmy Jello, I guess which ever you see slime or Jello:

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    The results are in...

    A while back I participated in my first mail art project. Over the holidays I drew up a couple of pieces and sent them in. I just remembered to check and see if they arrived on time. So I'm happy to see that, at least one of them did make it in. You can see all of the submissions for 1rst International Art Mail Exhibition of Puerto Rico 2010 here. You can see one of the pieces I did here, under Iggy Kantoo.

    Here's the other piece that I did:

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    Cartooning treasure chest

    I usually pay attention to a website that I end up landing on through a set of random links. For me, it's like the whole "law of attraction" or whatever, for me it's like the universe is shoving something in front of your face and saying, "uhum." Then it rolls it's eyes over to point at the site and then winks. Or hell, maybe I'm just rationalizing it in order for it to be something other than just a coincidence. Anyway...

    A site I've discovered seems to be a real gold mine. As I've mentioned before, I've been pretty obsessed with doing my homework before launching some of my publishing projects, especially those which involve me having to draw, such as my comic books. While I'm still sort of torn between the idea that I'm "paying my dues" by gaining skills I currently don't have, or merely disguising my studies and practicing as a way to avoid from actually having to ship out any finished product. Again, it may be more rationalization, but I'm just not happy with my drawing skills. I've greatly improved my ability to draw faces, but have recently detected, that another troublesome area, hands, are still weak. So I'm drawing daily, copying examples, and I know that I'm getting much better.

    So through a couple of unrelated links at Boing Boing, except that they were both about cartooning and caricature, I found the wonderful site for the Animation Archive of the International Animated Film Society: ASIFA-Hollywood. Really, I'm simply overwhelmed with the depth of instructional material available on this site. They have archives of legendary animators like the Grim Natwick's Scrapbook as well as an odd collection of Mexican Lobby Cards. With a mountain of other other instructional material, any aspiring cartoonist would do well to research this site closely and time permitting, study as many of the tutorials as possible.

    Sure a lot of the material is old, but as an avid book reader and collector, I've found that some material is simply timeless. Most modern books are merely just rehashing material presented 50 years ago by the masters. This includes not only cartooning, but topics such as self-help, leadership, and motivation. For my money anything written after Norman Vincent Peale and Dale Carnegie is just a rewrite of their timeless advice, but I digress. The bulk of the tutorials listed on the Animation Archive can be found on this page, which is a massive collection of links for "The Top Ten Reasons To Contribute To A-HAA." Enjoy, and may your cartoons become reality soon!

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    Accepting a challenge, with optimism

    While I had been really gearing up to make this a visual journaling year, I've been tempted to try something else. Smashing Magazine challenged everyone by posting "Design Something Every Day!"

    As stated in the post: "I challenge you today to design something daily. Take fifteen to twenty minutes that you would normally use to surf the Web today and devote it to designing something." The post offers some valuable suggestion, to keep you hooked an producing. So far I'm two for two. Wow, right!

    My biggest challenge I think will be keeping the design to under 20 minutes. I tend to obsess on the details of my drawings and that can end up sucking an hour from life, easy. So I've got to keep the drawing fluid and rapid. Regardless, I'm stoked and ready for this challenge, I think it's going to be greate exercise practing my cartooning. I'll be launching a new blog to capture my daily images, so stay tuned for that.

    I'm not sure what bug crawled up my ass New years Eve, but I suddenly want to engage in more activities. I know I still have pending projects, but somehow, I think I'll be able to make progress on multiple fronts.  I also want to get back involved in open source, which is a nice surprise. It's taken me 3 and half years to recover from my fall from grace, but I've got some ideas to do something a little different that might be appreciated.

    Once again, I thank KathySierra of Creating Passionate Users and Head First fame for the inspiration.