Happy New Year

A happy New Year to everyone.

2015 was not one of my favourites, hoping for a better 2016.


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Have a Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a merry Christmas.





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Getting Things in Perspective

No, not a philosophical analysis of the meaning of life but a look at perspective in art.

The use of perspective is is all about giving the illusion of 3 dimensions to a 2 dimensional image.

At the simplest level perspective can be summarised by saying things get smaller the further away they are.

Sounds pretty simple, and in many ways it is, however it very quickly can be come overwhelming when you try to apply theory to the practice.

There is a wealth of information available on the web but finding solutions to specific problems can be difficult.

I have three reference books that, so far, have answered the questions I’ve had and at least two of them are available as free downloads.

The first is Perspective Made Easy by Ernest R. Norling.

This is a good introduction to perspective and has good information on handling circles in perspective and uphill/downhill perspective.

The second is Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth by Alan Loomis.

Although, as the title suggests, this covers figure drawing there is a lot of useful information on using perspective particularly in depicting scenes with multiple figures at different heights and distances.  Available as free download from archive.org.

Third is The Theory and Practice of Perspective by G.A. Storey A.R.A.

This is a more scholarly work which examines perspective in great detail. Probably not for reading cover to cover but is a great reference for specific situations. Available free of charge from project Gutenberg.

These three books provide a wealth of information on perspective and it use in drawing, the basic mechanics but I would like to quote G.A. Storey from the end of the book, The Theory and Practice of perspective.


Before we part, I should like to say a word about mental perspective,
for we must remember that some see farther than others, and some will
endeavour to see even into the infinite. To see Nature in all her
vastness and magnificence, the thought must supplement and must surpass
the eye. It is this far-seeing that makes the great poet, the great
philosopher, and the great artist. Let the student bear this in mind,
for if he possesses this quality or even a share of it, it will give
immortality to his work.

To explain in detail the full meaning of this suggestion is beyond the
province of this book, but it may lead the student to think this
question out for himself in his solitary and imaginative moments, and
should, I think, give a charm and virtue to his work which he should
endeavour to make of value, not only to his own time but to the
generations that are to follow. Cultivate, therefore, this mental
perspective, without forgetting the solid foundation of the science I
have endeavoured to impart to you. — G.A.Storey

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40 years of programming

It been 40 years since my first experience of programming as an undergraduate at Strathclyde University.

It was very different experience from today, to begin with programs were written on punched cardsibm-punchcard

prepared on punch card machinepunch-card operator

with no delete, you punch the wrong character you discard the card and start again. Once you had typed your program it was handed over to the computer operations staff who would process the job and, depending on how busy the department was your output would be available on 132 char wide printout when completed. The last thing you wanted to see was a compilation error as you were back to punching a replacement for the card containing the error, back to computer operations then wait for printout. You certainly got into the discipline of ensuring that your syntax was correct first time. My first programming language was ALGOL68-R.

Since then I have dabbled in a range of other programming/scripting languages, Assembler, Pascal, C, C++, Prolog, Ruby, Python, Perl, JavaScript, PHP and Java to name a few. In most cases the reason for getting involved in a language came as I encountered a problem I wanted to get around where there was nothing available to do what I wanted.

It quickly became apparent that the best way to get to grips with a language was to use it to solve a practical programming program, not just learning the syntax, data types etc. Only when trying to resolve a real world issue do you get to grips with a language. Even then, as a hobbyist, you can miss more efficient solutions.

Today, with so many cloud services providing Application Program Interfaces, API’s there is great scope for developing utilities and tools that can customize how you access and use these applications.

I don’t have an idea for the next great app but there are times when I catch myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be good if……?”

Recently I have had more time to devote to programming, early last year I took an on-line course on Android Application writing, Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game, and subsequently was involved in testing a revision of the course moving from the use of the Eclipse I.D.E. to Android Studio.

This has got me more active in programming again and I am now working on developing utilities to personalize the way some cloud based apps work for me, and who knows, if I find it useful perhaps other folks will too.

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