The View From 32



Adobe Kuler color scheme generator

Designer color wheel

From Adobe Labs comes the oddly named kuler,  one of the better online color scheme generators I've used. My  previous favorite has been the Steel Dolphin Color Scheme Tool.

With Adobe kuler, the most obvious difference is an unusually pretty interface which is fairly intuitive to use, and the ability to upload color schemes to the site where they can be voted on, yielding lists of Highest Rated and Popular schemes.

It's easy to find the cream of the crop, so to speak, without scrolling through endless lists. The creator of each scheme can tag it with descriptive words which are searchable, giving you a way to get started choosing the best.

If you're interested in a "spring" color scheme, type that in the search box and you'll find 134 candidates to consider. Compared to similar software I've used, the Adobe schemes seem to be more visually pleasing. I'm not sure whether this has to do with the specific way the software generates colors, overall better taste on the part of the users who are uploading schemes, or the fact that the elegant black interface may make everything look good.

In about an hour of noodling around with kuler, and multiple attempts at googling an answer to my problem, I've been unable to save more than two color schemes. When I save a third, one of the previous two gets knocked off my list. Very frustrating.


Iraq in Fragments

Image of hundred of Islamic militants from film Iraq in Fragments

This still image from the film Iraq in Fragments by James Longley shows one of the striking differences the documentary reveals: large parts of Iraqi culture are totally dominated by men.

Through the entire movie, you see just a handful of women. Only one speaks, pleading for the release of her husband who was captured by radicals and accused of selling alcohol.

The three parts of the movie, which each follow a particular Iraqi through his daily life, are both beautiful and frightening. There's everyday destruction, scenes of modern buildings in downtown Baghdad with smoke pouring out of them from bombings. And there are scenes of radical Muslims rallying against the American occupation.

There are no smiles, no happiness until the third part, set in Kurdish territory. There we see young children—finally including a few girls—enjoying a snowball fight in much the same way children everywhere do.

This isn't a pleasant movie, but then it isn't a pleasant time in Iraq. As for me, even though I've opposed the war from the beginning, I felt like I needed to at least try to understand what my country has done in that part of the world. Iraq in Fragments opened my eyes to a situation far more complicated and grim than what's on the daily news.

As a work of art it's a stunning accomplishment. Mr. Longley, who spent two and half extremely dangerous years filming in Iraq, shows things that I can't believe they let an American view, let alone capture on film. Things we need to see if we ever hope to understand what's going on there.