Archive for August, 2009

In Honor of a Fallen Politician

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

As some of you may be aware, the world lost another Kennedy this past Tuesday night. Ted Kennedy, the longtime Democratic Senator of Massachusetts, passed away at age 77, after a battle with brain cancer. The Senator will be remembered as a champion of civil rights and equality along with his brothers, as well as for his stance on international issues, which helped broker trade deals between the United States and Southern Ireland; he also assisted in bringing peace to Northern Ireland while he was at it. Now, along with his many achievements in life, he will add something else to his belt after his passing: he will have a comic book devoted to him.

Bluewater Productions, the same folks who brought us comic books about Sarah Palin, Barack, Michelle, and even Bo Obama, will now add Ted Kennedy to that list of names. In a twist Bluewater certainly could not have seen coming, their press release promoting the issue was released the very day that news broke of his death. They immediately issued an addendum to the release to reflect the news when it broke, and to ensure to everyone they were not simply capitalizing on the situation.

When Bluewater planned out the first year of biographies, Kennedy’s name was always at the top of the list. In fact, this issue has been in production since March and was solicited to retail shops through our national distributor in June. We will, of course, pay final respects to this American icon by adding a page to the completed issue to close the last chapter of his remarkable life.

We mourn his passing with the rest of the nation.

While this may be a tricky situation, I am happy to see Bluewater going forward with the publication. As Politico reported on Wednesday, the book chooses to focus more on Kennedy’s accomplishments than his defeats in the political spectrum, while also tying in his relationship to brothers, Robert and John. This allows it to stand as a tribute to Ted Kennedy quite easily. Bluewater did get a bit lucky with their timing in other ways, as the comic is not out of the copy-editing stage yet, giving them time to add a page reflecting on his passing without having to pulp any already printed books. The comic, a part of Bluewater’s “Political Power” series, is currently solicited for release in November, although it may be delayed slightly to make whatever changes they need to make.


Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

What’s this, another computer post? Purely a coincidence, I assure you.


Ubunchu is a manga detailing the trials and tribulations of three members of a high school sys-admin club as they attempt to install and use the Ubuntu operating system. Written and illustrated by Hiroshi Seo, the comic first appeared in ASCII Magazine “Kantan Ubuntu!”

That would be the end of it for us English-speakers, but for the intervention of Martin Owens. While browsing the web for Ubuntu-based artwork, he came across Ubunchu, and a few weeks later had worked out the rights to translate the comic into English with the help of Fumihito Yoshida and Hajime Mizuno. Not only has it been translated, but even the artwork has been flipped for those who prefer to read comics western-style, from left-to-right. Those who would like the art untouched have no need to worry: right-to-left is available in English, too.

Two chapters of the manga are available in English right now, as well as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese and a few other languages. Chapter 1 has more languages available (at the time of this post) than Chapter 2.

I can't play games

There are three main characters: Akane, the club president and an aficionado of Linux; vice president Masato, a Windows user, and Risa, a Mac person. Akane is a strong believer in the command line and thrives on complexity, while Masato seems to prefer Windows for what it lets him do, namely surf YouTube and play porn games. Risa is the one who brings Ubuntu to the club in the first place, mispronouncing it as “Ubunchu” repeatedly.

Though the comic bills itself as a “Ubuntu romantic school comedy,” there’s little romance to be found. Instead there’s plenty of hijinks and Ubuntu usage. The first chapter covers the installation of Ubuntu on their computers, while the second chapter focuses on the Command Line Inferface. And that’s fine, because it achieves exactly what it should do—get people interested in Ubuntu.


Sugar, Sugar

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Sugar is a computer environment “designed to help children from 5 to 12 years of age learn together through rich-media expression.” It was originally developed for the One Laptop Per Child program, which provides disadvantaged kids with rugged, low-cost laptops to improve their education. Even if you are not one of the lucky recipients of a OLPC laptop, you can still reap the benefits of the Sugar Learning System by downloading it from the Sugar Labs website and using it on most computers.

A noble goal, to be sure. So why then do they insist on depicting the Sugar experience like an acid trip?


Option 4

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Last year we reported on the efforts of Sean Tevis to run for Kansas State Representative in his district, as memorialized in a xkcd-style strip. He managed to pull more than enough funds, only to lose by a little more than 400 votes on Election Day.

Though he hasn’t ruled out running for office again in 2010, he’s decided to try and do everything he promised to do anyway. And there’s a strip outlining his plan.

Can you imagine if all politicians had to wear their contributors?

I wish I had posted this sooner, because he was trying to raise $9200 by June 1.  The goal was to have him wear a t-shirt with the names of his contributors as he visits 50 different politicians over the next year—a new t-shirt for each politician. But hey, it’s been less than three months, so there’s plenty of politicians—and t-shirts left.