Friday, June 22, 2012
I enrolled in MiraCosta college to engage in a surgical training course. However, this course was exclusive to vocational students...to the point that, on the day the course started, I found out it had a THREE YEAR WAITING LIST. On the other hand, I managed to get enrolled in a class on Adobe Photoshop. It's a decent and academically relevant way to defer student loans, especially since CS6 extended (and yes, I own a legitimate copy now, thanks to student discounts) handles DICOM files, which are the format for medical imaging systems. Basically if I requested the raw data from a CT scanner, I could have the full imaging data for a patient. If I needed data between two "slices" (images taken on a given plane) for details on a surgical site, I could work it out from the same data. The radiologist would be important for interpretation of the information, whereas I'd need a map for the procedure. Ah yes. The photoshop class has been immensely beneficial. After years of pirating Adobe Photoshop, I can now say...it is worth every penny to actually purchase a legitimate copy with a license. (To anyone trying to sue me or press charges...screw off. I'm doing genuine academic work, and I have invested in your product now that I know it is worth every penny. I have a recipt. Just one more case where piracy has led to long-run profits.) Also, I recently acquired a used Wacom Intuos2 tablet. The surface works great for my optical mouse, and the medium-scale tablet area gives me plenty of room to work. I need to set the pen buttons, but the tablet works great. Wacom tablets rule. I mean if you want to even do amateur work, it's worth investing in a basic tablet. My old Graphire lasted me since college (1999) until I lost the pen and couldn't get a replacement. While the science involved in making them work is a hair on the complicated side, the result is a robust and long-lasting system. It's like the Logitech of tablets. (My logitech keyboard has thus far exceeded 10 years, and looks near to pristene after I did a thorough cleaning of it...even without cleaning, it operates damn near perfectly.) A good used Wacom tablet will yield some great service life. Primarily, don't be concerned about gimmicks if you're an amateur...a pro would invest the thousand bucks in a Cintiq (that's basically a Wacom tablet with a built-in monitor so you see what your pen is operating on). A basic tablet gives you the operating surface of a notecard. If you can work that area, great. In fact I used it for fine work in my early photoshop projects. However, a medium-area tablet (6x8 active area) gives plenty of room to work. Even older models like the Intuos2 (the current one is Intuos4) are very good. My replacement tablet was a used model, US$50...didn't have the mouse, but since I used a Logitech optical mouse it didn't matter. The pen was there and the damn thing works like a charm. With my editorial done, I'm going to put up my first photoshop project. All subject matter is used either because I built it, it was public domain, or I obtained express written permission. The image links back to my DeviantArt site, which has links to the authors of other material...worth checking out if you're a fan of space exploration. Orbiter, the XR1, and the Arrow (from the UCGO add-on module) are awesome. The only hardware reccomendation I would make would be a cheap joystick for atmospheric maneuvers (launch or re-entry). Logitech makes a good one for $20 that handles the basics. Thrustmaster is another brand I've known to have a good track record...while more expensive, they are very versatile. Here's the product of assignment #1: From: I may not be able to build an FTL vessel in my backyard...but...Einstein is one of my heroes for one reason. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." We have to dream to come up with imaginative twists, new hypotheses, new ideas. Science is a modality of reason, not blind faith.