Nothing beats resourcefulness. It’s an essential survival skill. Making the best out of what you got. Usually, too, the most resourceful people are among the most creative. I mean, look at all that recycled art out there!  It’s one thing to imagine something and make it.  It’s another thing to make something out of existing materials.  It’s a greater discipline, like limerick versus free verse.

One example of this that has always amazed me is that of ASCII artASCII can be thought of as the "base" set of characters you have to deal with on a computer.  Everyone knows what emoticons are and they can be thought of as the most simple of ASCII art though the Homer Simpson is impressive: ~(_8(I).  Sometimes people have cute like ASCII caricatures of themselves in their signatures.

ASCII art was far more complex than that right from the get-go.  Kenneth Knowlton, a programmer at Bell Labs and mosiacist by night, developed the field in 1966 and has some pretty impressive works in his collection.  Among my favourite is the portrait of Einstein composed only of 5 characters: e, =, m, c, and 2, being the equation that made him famous.  What made Ken famous, though, is taking an image, scanning it, and then re-rendering it based on a scheme of using a particular character with a particular halftone level.

This is the same process VLC and MPlayer uses to play videos.  Yes, you now can watch the tikit videos in ASCII.  Similarly, a computer generative process is used to create an ASCII version of Google Maps and to generate phrases in different ASCII art fonts.

But what takes the cake is open source, cross platform ASCII drawing program/image editor JavE.  You can do all sorts of things with it including all the things you would expect to do with a similar program.  You can even convert/export to/from ASCII from/to a variety of standard graphics formats.  To show you its power, I give you this:

Stick that in your signature file and post it! 😀

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