Tablets, Gimps, and configuration management

I’m supposed to be on a break from the software development industry, but it never seems far away. When I started coding for ICI in 1988, computers were something kids played games on; disheveled men in white lab coats used them to run nuclear power plants. When did technology become so pervasive in the real world? (Wait! Hold on, I’m supposed to be a science fiction author and know that sort of thing.)

Many times over the past decade, I have raised the importance with software developers (and pointy-haired bosses) of configuration management (being in control of all the right versions that make up your software or other product). This morning I used very familiar curses with regard to my Trust graphic tablet. I bought this to do cover and banner design for my Greyhart Press business I’m launching next month. Using the pen is a much better idea than drawing with a mouse. My tablet worked brilliantly… in everything except the main graphics tool I use: Gimp.

I could select and click and move menus, tools, and windows using my pen; but draw? No. So for a few hours when I really should have been setting up my new bank account and registering with the tax authorities, I was instead battling with configuration management.

I looked to download the latest drivers for my tablet but they were older than the ones I installed from the CD, so I left that route to last and went though Googling everyone else’s posts (time which wasn’t: I did learn that you have to launch Gimp using the pen and not the mouse, and not use the mouse while Gimp is loading). As a last resort, I did download the online driver from the Trust website. Not only did the driver have older file-stamps but the installer screen reported that it was installing the same version number as the de-installer screen I’d just run.

All this was merely misdirection to see if I was really worthy of the drivers. They were obviously different: documentation was completely different; tray icon and software different. More to the point, they worked!

This is a new cover I mocked up using the pen. Well worth getting a graphics tablet, but I wish they’d listened about configuration management.



About Tim C. Taylor

Science fiction publisher and author of the bestselling Human Legion series. I live with my wife and young family in an English village. I am currently writing full time, when I'm not roped into building Lego.
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2 Responses to Tablets, Gimps, and configuration management

  1. timctaylor says:

    Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on the first version. The cover art is meant to show someone driving where the sun doesn’t shine. I didn’t mean that in quite the way that a lot of people thought! So here is a second version.

  2. Mark says:

    Nice – are Greyheart moving to open submissions then?

    I’d still like to employ you to code our collection, assuming you’re not too expensive!

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