African American software products have been on the market since the beginning of the personal computer revolution.
BlackSoftware.com has the first African American software package suite in its archives. On this site, you will find the first black software advertising brochure ever composed for a software package.
You can try SUNGO - a PC game from Africa that test mathematical logic in a quaint, fanciful manner. All together, we distribute over 15 PC games made by African American programmer and many are card games such as BidWhist, Checkers, and etc.
When Harvard's African American studies department chair Henry Louis Gates formed a partnership with Bill Gates at Microsoft to publish and distribute the Encarta Africana encylopedia in 1999, BlackSoftware.com had supplied desktops across the world with thousands of African-made software products before its time.
History has proven to us that being the first out with an "early adaptor" strategy is not a guarantee for mass-market acceptance because so often, the market is simply not ready to accept breakout first-time ideas when product and service is consistently delivered.
For the sake of simplicity, we'll use the word African American and black interchangeably here.
Software is useless without hardware so let's start at the beginning when an African American made a breakthrough discovery. The first African American college student to receive the Ph D. degree in computer science was Mr. Clarence A. Ellis in 1969.
See this transcript to read what WikiPedia said about our "ethnic software" proposal.
Remember Mavis Beacon?
Her image appeared on a software box a few years after Dr. Mark Dean developed his invention for the IBM PC.
She changed how everyone would use computers. She made them master the keyboard. The Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing software title began selling in 1985.
The face on the retail box package was adapted from a model and Haitian-born Renee Lesperance, a black woman who was discovered by one of the software developers at Saks 5th Avenue in 1995 at Beverly Hills, California.
Ms Lesperance's face became the symbol of Mavis. She was chosen because the software developer's favorite singer is Mavis Staples and Renee reminded him of her.
blackSoftware is code, text, images and multimedia that is actively representing African-American and Black peoples lives and culture when expressed with computerized pencils, software code, and colorful electronic crayons.
blackSoftware.com works with products categories such as games,black fine art, general use clip art, multimedia, educational reference packages, tutoring software and web sites, crowd-source opportunities, SaaS based products and services, the mobile platforms and Windows, IOS and Linux.
African American software choices are expanding. There is strong interest among consumers and educators. We've been developing our mailing list to keep you informed.
Black Clip Art Reviewed
URBAN CLIP ART - is the software package from Cultural Skies and distributed by COSMI. Contents are: 350 Black clip art color images and 10 design templates.
For clip art, there are Black Church Clip art kits, Business Clip art, fashion, hispanic/latino and urban clip art packages. The artist were mostly influenced by street scenses and hip hop - in fact, most African American software artists today were born during the 1990s when hip hop culture and rap music were banging setting trends.
The package arrived in a vibrant, well-illustrated package competitive for the retail shelf in a brick and mortar store. Open the case and there's a black CD enclosure covered by a cellophane wrapper. You can see the CD title imprint through it and the words Urban Clip Art shines boldly through.
Its a well done product package.
To use the clip art you'll insert Urban Clip Art CD-ROM into your computer CD/DVD drive. The disc might spin up to speed and a pop-up window may appear on your Windowsscreen asking you what do you wish to do. On the Apple, the disc mounts itself and you'll see its icon on your Finder. There is no installation executable setup file with this product. You will not have to make installation decisions but you will need to know how to manage files and folders to keep track of all the individual image files.
Your computer will offer you choices to continue and they are: Open Folder to View Files using Windows Explorer; View the Photos ( computer automatically senses the clip art files as photos, which is normal but there is no photo stock on the CD); Print the Pictures, View them as a Slide Show, Copy Pictures to a Folder on Your Computer; and Take no Action. The disc has 4 folders named urban clip art in JPG, PNG and WMF and a folder named Urban Templates and a file titled "License.rtf."
Feeling adventurous, I chose the View Them as a Slide Show disc insertation pop-up option. After a few seconds, one image appeared,stayed on the screen for seconds, then another clip art image appeared. The slide show was on! It was time to sit back and watch the images fly by to get a feel for you'll get.
About the Images
I took in the first twenty images, turned and climbed back into this review I'm writing to tell you what I saw so far. The first twenty images were people represented equally by men and women. Not one of the first 20 images of people was younger then 20. Most likely there are clip art images of children on the disc, but I hadn't seen them yet.
One image sticks out in my head as very memorable. It was the clip art image of a black woman with a bush of gold colored hair. She could have easily been Hispanic, Latino, African-American, Indian, White, Black Jewish, or mixed. It was a side view of her and the bush was a big as Angela Davis's bush. Now, the men clip art images were not recognizable men, in my opinion. Its been my experience that people who are shopping for clip art have an idea of what they are looking for and aren't too willing to choose from the vanguard unless their creative work demands it.
I hear people tell me they don't want cartoonish-looking characters. People that do are unique in blackSoftware.com's black clip art client universe. At least, it has not been the norm for our followers to want a stem-winder of an image. The more the artwork is like a real person from around the neighborhood or across town, the more likely people will want it. On this disc, the images of men and most women in the first twenty pieces were stemwinders.
Most of the characters were unusual. I had to stretch my imagination to see how I could use any of these hip-hop type urban clip art images in creative work I'm likely to work with.
EUREKA! I've discovered a perfect pitch for the stem winders. Consider using them to replace your social media profile pics when you want a change.
Traditionally, my interest is in print and web image use. I don't think the first batch of clip art images I am viewing relate to hip-hop or hipster culture, but they try. I think they are relating to the characters you see in a Fat Albert cartoon tv show or in a Flintstones comic book. They don't look like real people - the artist knows that these are visual examples of what he saw or was instructed to draw. I'm looking for images that look like real people in life. Let's keep looking.
Now, I'm excited!! I've rolled through the next 30 images on the disc. I see some exciting images among them. They appear after the two image panels titled "mind" and "spirit" as the slide show cntinues. There are at least 6 really good ones in that set and they are equally divided between men and women.
There are more adult images than children on the CD.
The Urban Clip Art product has 350 images and 10 design templates. Considering the above, we have reviewed the first 60 clip art images of the 350 total in the product. We are not covering the templates in this review. We're stopping here on content coverage. You can explore this product and I'll betcha you'll find items you like.
Image Sizes - the Urban Clip Art product images are at least 2,550 pixels wide by 3,330 pixels high. Depending on their orientation they can be larger.
the license agreement
Now, we take a look at wording in the clip art disc license agreement file enclosed. We don't like its software license. There is no reason why anyone who sells content for a creative universe should include limitations on how they intend it to be used. The conflict is - the box cover describes what's in the box and how the software should be used while the license agreement disagrees with the freedom of its intended use.
Take a look at these parts of the Urban Clip Art package software license where it says: you may not use the software on or over a network ...skip. You may not copy the printed materials accompanying the Software or distribute printed copies of any user documentation provided in electronic format.....skip. And it says .. you may not publicly perform or publicly display the Software...
Where the license refers to "software," this is not software. Its a collection of files that have certain rights -- but, there is NO programming code in the package at all and software has programming code. There is no executable SETUP.EXE software installation file in the package. The publisher fails to consider how the product will be used when they selected the wording for the license they have enclosed.
This Urban Clip Art product "license agreement" should consider using a more appropriate license. Rather than read as it is, I like the one below that I wrote.
"This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the manufacturer).
You saw on TV how the PBS Special "Finding Your Roots" traced the lineage of Oprah Winfrey and others. African-Americans find looking for descendants fasinating as would any other race whose heritage chain has been broken. You can use any of the programs linked above while you check with U.S. Federal Census where the starting point for African-Americans is about 1870.
Features of the Family Tree Maker African American software sections help you compare the family trees of ancestors from a database with 250 million names. Also online are African Americans slave narratives and journals. In an article on The Root web site, Henry Louis Gates identifed five sources of DNA testing African Americans can use to find out what people they come from.