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How are the Penguin Greetings' cards made?

Edouard cyclingThe cards included in Penguin Greetings reflect my own personal tastes.  As a UNIX user, I dislike cards that depend on plug-ins or specific email clients.  Most of the photos for Penguin Greetings were taken either at my Mother's house (she is quite a gardener! :-)) or around the Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette area (part of the San Francisco East Bay.)  Many of the pictures have been taken while cycling in the area (see the self-portrait at right.) Still some other photos come from my more exotic hobbies of scuba diving and amateur astronomy. A number of photos in the main collection and obviously all of the photos from the Savoring the sights of Seattle collection were taken during the fall and winter of 2004-2005 while I was working at Believe it or not, there are even two new poppy photos in the California Poppy Collection that were actually taken along a railroad siding in Seattle (hardy little flowers aren't they! :-))

Most of the photos were taken with a 27 year old 35mm SLR camera.  I has the photos digitized and put on a CD when the film is processed to avoid the need to scan the images by hand.  Until the fall of 2004, I used my trusty Apple Powerbook G3 (1999 - Lombard) as my image processing tool.  While working at, I upgraded myself to a 17" Powerbook G4 (employment has its virtues!) Once the images come back from developing, I archive them in Apple's iPhoto.   To create the cards themselves, I use the multipurpose graphic tool Canvas from ACD Systems.  Canvas incorporates both image processing tools like Adobe Photoshop and vector drawing tools like Adobe Illustrator so that a single program can handle both chores.

The cards featuring Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the saints are little bit more complicated. The holy figures are statues that have been photographed and then digitally inserted into a background. When possible, I've tried to make images that are at least reminiscent of common portrayals of the holy figure involved.

Penguin Greetings History

Back in December of 2002, I decided to upgrade from my crummy command line program for sending out web-based Christmas cards to some sort of web-based ecard program.  Attempting to avoid the instinct to reinvent the wheel, I tried to find a simple open sourced ecards program and I settled on Les "Buddy" VanBrunt's WebGrams program.  WebGrams is a simple, robust, and easy to use program.  Alas, it lacked two features that I really wanted: scheduling of ecard sending and multipart MIME (HTML) email.  As an unemployed Perl programmer suffering from "code monkey" withdrawal, I decided to make a "few changes" and before too long ended up with a completely new program!

Penguin Greetings has continued to grow into a very unique tool that combines the power of Perl and CPAN to provide a potent efficient engine with the avantages of a scripting environment provided by Embperl or HTML::Mason. The latest releases of Penguin Greetings illustrate this power with different features implemented at different levels. Some features are delibrates embedded in the software engine to spare developers/adminstrators unnecessary hassles. Other features like scheduling when card categories are display during the calendar year are implemented deliberately at the embedded perl layer to simply development (in this case localization issues.) Logo

This page was generated from file history.epl.html which was last updated on: 5/9/2005

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