Episode 061: Up to the Stars!

Download the Video!
Download the companion file! (…if there is one…. πŸ˜‰ )

Made by Philippe DeMartinDownload the Video!
Download the companion file!

This week I have outsourced the show again! Philippe will take us all along to a ride to the stars – building an image like this one from scratch.

The TOC will follow when I have seen the video again – I was so absorbed that I forgot to make notes.

I promised a link for the “User Filter”, which allows to use Photoshop filters in GIMP.

Do you like this kind of GIMP usage in the show? I come from the photographic side and made this podcast according to the stuff that I can do. But with Phillippe’s help a lot more is possible. What do you think? Post your comments here!

I just adopted Rosie! Because Land Mines stink!

This is Rosie, a HeroRAT. Rosie is still in training to become a professional land mine detector in Africa, but I expect outstanding performance of her. In one of the Focus Ring talks I already plugged this project, but the adoption link was not working. But now it is. πŸ˜‰

From the website:

HeroRATS are trained sniffer rats that detect explosives and diagnose disease. This unusual idea has been developed into a competitive technology by a group of Belgian and Tanzanian researchers and animal trainers under the umbrella organization called APOPO. APOPO was initiated in response to the global landmine problem. In the mid 90’s it was well recognized that most mine clearance techniques in use were slow, expensive, and dependant on foreign expertise.

Bart Weetjens, the founder of APOPO, got his first experience with rats as his childhood pets. Years later he remembered his pet rats when he became discouraged by the scourge of landmines in African countries and the expensive, time consuming, and foreign technologies available to clear them from the land. With their terrific sense of smell and trainability, rats could provide a cheaper, more efficient and locally available means to detect landmines. These would be HeroRATS.

Through partnerships with Antwerp University and Sokoine University of Agriculture, Bart set up laboratories in Belgium and Tanzania to begin training and testing African Giant Pouched Rats in the detection of explosive materials. Bart’s hunch about rats proved correct and the trainings were a tremendous success.HeroRATS can use their highly sensitive and accurate sense of smell to identify the presence of both metal and plastic cased landmines, and can be trained to detect a number of different things like explosives, tuberculosis bacteria, tobacco, contraband, etc.

Working with the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining, accreditation standards have been established to license the mine-detecting HeroRATS and over 30 trained HeroRATS are now working to demine Mozambique. From these beginnings, APOPO has also expanded its HeroRAT programs to detect Tuberculosis. Further uses are being explored, such as the ability to conduct search and rescue operations in rubble after disasters.

I pay 5€ a month for Rosie’s needs and hope she’ll have a long and successful life. BTW, they are too light to set off the mines – the just sniff them out for a bit of banana.

In the video you see one of Rosie’s colleagues at work in a Tanzanian mine field. The area between the two men holding the line is still not demined. The men are walking on strips of land cleared by hand – a slow and dangerous process. The deminer is kneeling on the ground and pushes a steel needle into the ground in front of her. Cautious of course. If she finds something hard, she starts to dig. If it is a mine she retreats and a specialist either defuses the mine or blows it up. This demining by hand takes a very long time.
Metal detectors and these rotating chain drum machines are not of much use against most anti personnel mines. They don’t find 100% and the chains destroy the top soil. Both is acceptable for military use, but not for making an area habitable again.

The rats are trained to sniff out TNT. If the find it they start to scratch the ground (1:11 in the video). Then the handler makes this “knickknack” sound with a toy, the rat comes to him and gets some food. The position of the scratching is marked in a chart. This is repeated with an other rat. Then a deminer takes care of the marked spots. Up to now the rats have not “oversmelled” a mine. There are false alarms, but not many. BTW, the code of honour among deminers requires them to have the first walk over an area they have declared as cleared. So quality of work is assured by simple darwinism. πŸ˜‰

Under the week this is the only food for the rats, on weekends they have a feast. On workdays they are either on a real minefield or on an already cleared strip with training mines. So they get enough to eat – but only by working for it. Has some parallels to the human condition…. πŸ˜‰

I said once: “No ads here!”, but here is one:

Test run ahead!

The next show will be released from the new server and not from the reliable podzilla.de machine. Marcin has implemented some safeguards – but who knows.
For you it’s business as usual. If the load is to high for this server I’ll switch the load back to podzilla. Everything is prepared for the worst case this time…..
Just a number to get an impression of the load: on the two days following the show release about 160 Gigabytes are pumped into the net. Let’s see how well the new pump works. πŸ˜‰

EDIT: 1:15h and 240 downloads after publication: Made a test download and got 800kB/s! WHOW!

Offline for a week!

No Panic! Not the server again! Only me! πŸ™‚

I am off to a class trip from Monday morning to Friday noon. Old fashioned hostel (Schullandheim) without things like internet. There is a payphone in the hall…. πŸ˜‰

The next show is recorded and will be edited the next weekend. So expect a show on June 17.

The show will be late today!

Just a short messaeg during breakfast:

Don’t expect the show at 1700 GMT today, I am a bit late. My job came into the way and the video is not finally edited and has then to be rendered and uploaded.

I have an interview with Sven Neumann (GIMP maintainer) for you. He has a very interesting announcement to make – which I am very pleased to get exclusively before it gets out on the mailing lists this night. So keep some disk space left for downloading….Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β  Enough said! And off to school.

What a day!


First I got a nice mail from Geoff:

Hi Rolf

I was just busy with my archive of your MtG podcasts, an noticed that
with episode 31, we now have 1Gb of truly excellent informative video on
Well done!



Then I checked the site stats and found a surge in page hits, comparable only to “The Day the Poles came” (Oct 25). “Meet the GIMP!” has been featured on the front page of Groklaw, the site that became famous as the publisher of all the facts around the SCO Unix copyright affair.

Double Whow! πŸ˜‰

Programmer needed! (solved)

Dear Programmer,

can you please write me a little program that displays keystrokes on the screen? In a window that stays always on top, has no borders and sits silently in a corner of my recording area? And everytime I press a key it displays the pressed key(s), like “SHIFT-CTRL-A”, for a second or so?

I forget so often to tell the people the keys I press and they complain in e-mails.

Your reward will be FAME in the show credits and on the website. And of course 10% of the money the show earns after taxes. πŸ˜‰

Thank You!


PS: System: Ubuntu 7.10 plain vanilla, X11 with driver “nvidia”, and I know how to compile stuff.

Contributing to meetthegimp.org

If you are tinkering with GIMP and other Open Source graphics software, surf the web for tutorials, plugins or news about such stuff, then you might consider to become a “Correspondent” for meetthegimp.org.
Then you can write an article which appears just here and makes this site more interesting and useful for us all.
There are no obligations with being a writer except to follow some sensible rules. You don’t have to write if you have nothing to write about. πŸ˜‰
The rules are:

  • You stay on topic
  • You use moderate language
  • Your posting’s title doesn’t start with “Episode ….”
  • You accept my decision to pull something off the blog or edit it if I think it violates one of the above points
  • You keep your login data secret

If you are interested, drop me a mail at info@meetthegimp.org

Frohes Fest!

In this time of the year, when the days or nights are the shortest of the year, a lot of people celebrate a lot of different festivities. I wish you all Happy Days, even if you are not included in this “one size fits all” sentence.

This image was sent to me by Reiner. Thanks! It is made with GIMP. πŸ˜‰

Tux im Schnee