Thursday, January 28, 2010

ATTN GEEKS: I Learn So Much From Dan99

Dan99 is one of the reasons I was able to understand how to run the wonderful program known as Sure Cuts A Lot. The man has a fantastic blog, with many easy to understand videos explaining SCAL, how Inkscape works and how it works with SCAL, and some great tips on how to manipulate files we want to convert to a form SCAL understands.

The poor man has been missing online for some time due to a horrible illness in his family, and my heart goes out to him. Although he doesnt know me from Adam (or Eve!), I and many others on our Yahoo groups feel as if we know him, as we've all benefitted from his kindness and talents in sharing his ART online. So we've all been saying prayers for him in all the months he's been dealing with his mother's illness...

Even though he's going through such an awful time, he's still found time to make files to share, and has a free file he's sharing this week. I always look at his blog when I can because there's so much to learn (and he has a lovely accented speaking voice, which definitely adds to the whole presentation! :) and I love the graphics he designs....anyway, he happened to mention that he was storing his documents differently, and as I went to the download site, I realized I had seen it before....GoogleDocs.

I don't actually remember doing anything @ that specific site, but there it is, undeniably in my own saved folder....a file named "my circular text". I instantly know what that is, and approximately when it was made...Last year Kay from Clever Someday and I were talking about making WordArt text and I did some expermenting, and this apparently was one of them.

I have a Gmail account with Google and use it frequently with the Yahoo groups I'm on, because it does a wonderful job of filtering incoming messages into "conversations" that I can sort according to my needs. And I use Blogger to make this blog that you're reading, which is another Google company. And now I've got access to GoogleDocs, which is rather new to me! Even though it's been sitting on top of my Gmail window...forever, apparently! Since I saw long ago that Dan was hosting his files with them, I assumed that he was paying for the hosting. Then, in looking at his file, I see that I've created a file with them, too. And I've certainly never given them any money!

Bear with me, I promise this is going to pay off big time for us SCAL/SVG creator geeks!!! :)

So I somehow I got on a page showing me new features that GoogleDocs has, and one of them is being able to upload files in any format, which apparently you couldn't, before. So I start wondering about storage, because I'm always thinking about backing up my saved .svgs and where to put them safely. And I start thinking that maybe this is the place to do it...? So I started looking into storage limits and how big a file can be uploaded, etc, etc. It seems it will not only allow you to store your files there, but to host them, as Dan has done. WOW, that is fantastic! They talk about uploading your files into a "cloud" so that is definitely allowed...! They limit your storage by the number of files, apparently - not the size so much, although there ARE limits, they are well under what most svgs you know how many svgs we could save there??? :)

But this STILL isn't the cool part! :) (Although if you don't design your own files you may not be as interested as us geeks!) :)

Another new feature they have is some kind of update for the drawing portion of GoogleDocs. So I started playing around in the program, and I see that it has premade shapes available, along with text and some other cool features. And then I clicked a button and I got an option that said "Download as" and a couple of of which is....

wait for it.....


WHEW, I'm drained!!! Hehehe. Just kidding. But I was so excited at the implications of this for you, dear reader! And more importantly, our SCAL and MTC programs...:)

Unfortunately, it seems as if it needs a bit of tweaking to work completely perfectly with Scal. BUT I had at least one shape that translated perfectly, and there are several built into the drawing tool.

There is a lot more testing to do on this cool feature, and I know a few of you out there will want to make your own discoveries (Yes, I'm talking to you, Kay!), so let me give you the basics:

You have to have a Google account, for certain. Free, of course. And as I mentioned before, if you don't use Gmail to organize your groups mail, you don't know how much easier it will make your life! But that's beside the point! But that's how I found how to get to GoogleDocs, you will have it easier. I clicked My Account, and was introduced to all the options Google has given us. What a great company, to do it all for free! The address is

Once in your folders, on the upper left side, you'll see Create New. Click it, then click Document. I have my new windows set to open in a new tab, so that's what I get, but I'm pretty sure you'll get a new window. Click Insert, then Drawing.

When you do, a window opens on top of the document text window, seen below. Also seen below, click on the Shapes button (next to the white arrow in the picture) and voila! Look at all the shapes available to us!

You'll notice there are many other tools, including a line tool and what I suspect is a node tool, apparently new in this version of GoogleDocs. Below, you can see I've chosen a nice banner type shape, and then clicked Edit, Download as, and SVG is there!

I did save this file and although I didn't cut it, it looks perfect in the SCAL window. I tried adding some text to it, and it did NOT look perfect, hehe. So as I said, it needs some tweaking, and definitely some more experimentation...does it weld, for instance??

I can't test it right now, but I wanted to spread the word about this incredible tool for us SCAL designers! If you make anything using this technique, or learn some new techniques or tips, please share!

Oh, and see how much Dan99 has to teach us? Even if he doesn't realize it? LOL!

Thanks for looking! Now, go cut something! :)


Dan said...

LOL... what have I started? Seriously, thanks for the kind comments, I really appreciate them. Until today I always hosted my files in my googlepages area, which is also free and lets you upload any kind of file. It is being discontinued by google though, and googlepages areas are being moved to googlesites, which doesn't allow file hosting. For months now there's been a message at the top of my googlepages window, basically saying "your hosting days with us are numbered"... I've been biting my nails wondering when my storage would suddenly disappear! There has long been a rumour about google launching an online storage service called G-drive, which has never appeared. Periodically I look for articles that might say when it's coming, and while doing that today I read about how Google Docs is now effectively like a 1Gb online storage area, and free! The drawing/SVG is just another bonus, Google rocks! :)

Susan E said...

Whew, I got all the way through your post! I even bypassed the link to Google Docs to finish reading. I'm off to see it.


Karma said...

Thanks so much for the info, Dan, I couldn't find an actual number! Here's the page where the info about the new features is:

Thanks, Susan, for sticking through to the end of the post! Sometimes I get carried away...:) Thanks for looking,both of you! And for taking the time from your day to comment...I appreciate it! :) And stop biting your nails, Dan! :D

Lynette Batton said...

Thanks for the info. I've had google docs for a while and stored speread sheets and stuff. I have just seen the little message you can upload any file but it still didn't register to me to store my svg files there. Thanks for putting 2 and 2 together for me. I've just started organizing my yahoo groups in gmail, would you share how you organize them? Have you got a into the google wave yet? As Dan said, Google Rocks!

Cricut Essentials said...

Thanks for your tips :)

By the way: I love Gmail and google docs!