Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bloggin Off

Hi everyone,

Yes, I'm bloggin off to WordPress ....

Here's a link to my new site ... http://mrjoelsepics.wordpress.com/

and my new name on this site is one of the pet names our girls call me
... Mr Joel or just Joel (so please would you use this one, if you leave
a comment on my new site?)

The new site is essentially a photo-blog, and it will be more bland in
terms of satirical content than this one. I'm making it bland and inoffensive,
so that I can share it with family and friends. It will be like an extension
of my Flickr site, to allow me to showcase a few of my best photos, and
comment about them / what's happening in my life at the time.

The WordPress theme is Nitisha, and it was easy to set up. A bit harder
was to find a unique name for the site (I ended up using one of my old
website names), and to customise it somewhat. Nitisha offers two photo
sizes you can use ... 1024 px and 768 px widths, and options as regards
layouts (colour, number of columns, etc). I've used 1024 px width for
the banner and 768 px for the photos below it. My self-portrait is 128 px
square ... taking this photo by myself was the hardest thing to do ... I
should have asked someone else to take it for me. :)

WordPress dot com is free to use to set up your own blogsites, and WP is
happy to let you set up more than one. WordPress dot org is more for
commercial use / more serious web design and has loads of useful add-ons
to add to your chosen theme. I'm using the dot org version to set up a site
for my singer-songwriter niece (and got a lot of help from GoDaddy in
setting it up initially ... GoDaddy is hosting the site for me). This new site
is still "under wraps", but if you'd like a preview of how talented my
niece is, have a look at these YouTube videos ....





Thursday, August 02, 2012

Problem of sizing of photos in Blogger

Sorry to bore you with this topic again, but I've been trying out
uploading photos of various sizes on a New Blogger site (which
I set up for teaching purposes). I found that I've got the same
problem with my New Blogger site as with this one, in that all
my pics are set at about 300 pixels in width, regardless of the
larger widths of the originals.

Here are three versions of one of my holiday pics to show you
what's happening ...  (the widths are 1024px, 800px & 450px)

None of these look very good (especially the smallest one), until you
click on the photos to enlarge them.

In New Blogger, you can manually scroll through the enlarged images,
if you so wish. The new layout reminds me of Picasa Viewer, which I
think Google is using in New Blogger.

As I've said before, I think the new layout of photos in Blogger is very
poor. I wish to showcase my photos for you ... I don't wish to show
you poor quality miniatures. So in the next few months, I will abandon
Blogger and will switch to using WordPress or perhaps Tumblr.

One of my favourite WordPress sites is Donncha's photo-blog.
Here's more info about Tumblr ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumblr

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back from Scarborough

I've spent the last two days sorting out my holiday snaps and putting the best
ones up onto Flickr. It was lovely to see our four girls together again (which
doesn't happen very often, though we do see them individually a lot more).
We were very lucky with the weather again ... the sun shone most of the
time, though the sea breeze was chilly at times. The rain is back with us again
today ... not good for holiday-makers.

So what did you think of the wonderful opening ceremony of our Olympics?
I thought most of was a load of rubbish, but I did enjoy the fireworks and the
orchestral playing, plus a brief video of our Queen being met by James Bond.
I also liked the bit where Kenneth Branagh (aka Kurt Wallander) recited
Caliban's speech from "The Tempest". However, the rest of it was staged
like a bad school play, which I thought will have bored most viewers around
the world.

We'll be in Cromer (at the seaside again) next week, so my next post will be
in about two weeks' time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Going off to the seaside

This heading reminds me of one of Enid Blyton's Noddy stories, when Noddy and
Big Ears set off in Noddy's car for the seaside. I don't recall much happening,
except that one of them gets pinched on the foot by a crab. I read it as a kid
myself, and to 
my children when they were young. I can remember feeling excited
when we went 
off to the seaside with my mum and dad.

Our grandchildren M and D are getting excited about going too. M has been going
to bed early, thinking that the sooner she gets to sleep, the sooner she'll get to the
seaside. She asked her mum to put her to bed at 3pm this afternoon. :)

M has been packing her suitcase (a Trunki) today. She'd written a list of things to
take with her, and her mum told us that she was carefully crossing off the list,
things that 
she'd packed. "Just like me," her mum said. Her sister D is into
delegation of the 
packing ... just like her dad.

We're all setting off for Scarborough on Friday morning, and the brilliant news is
that the UK weather will start to improve this weekend ... we're hopefully in for a
and sunny week ahead. Yippee!

I must get out my bucket and spade, and have a look in the loft for my Trunki.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's been a topsy-turvy day

Yes, it's been an odd day today ... I've done a lot of things, but I feel
I've achieved very little.

Mrs C has a bee in her bonnet about getting things ready well in
advance, for family members (The London Crowd) coming to stay
with us in a week's time. They'll be with us for a day, and then
we'll all set off for a week's holiday in Scarborough, followed by
a week at our house with L and the girls, then a week in Cromer,
and then L and the girls back with us in Nottingham for a few days,
as her sister is expecting her third child in Nottingham (on about
10 August).

So getting things ready, has included a huge spring-clean of all the
junk in the spare bedroom (so a lot of the junk has ended up in my
room, or has been lobbed), clearing cupboard and wardrobe space
in Mrs C's room, including lots of old family photos. These are
currently on the landing in various piles, as the box we put them
in became damp owing to a slight water leak we've had with the
recent downpours.

I put my mobile phone down in amongst all the photos, while I
was rapidly sorting them out (with view to finding the damp photos
for drying out) ... and later spent about an hour trying to find it
again. If only I'd left the phone switched on!

While Mrs C was making a large fish pie (to keep in our freezer
until our guests arrive), I spent some time sorting through piles
of unread magazines and newspapers, picking out a few articles
to put by for future reading (as I tend to do, but eventually throw
out, unread!).

Earlier in the day, we both went to Victoria Centre Market in town,
where there's an excellent stall selling bedding plants. Mrs C has
spent hours spring-cleaning the garden, throwing out loads of
border plants, but as it now looked bare, Mrs C decided that we
needed more colour back in the garden again. So we came back
from town, laden with plants. To be fair to Mrs C, the plants she
threw out were far too tall, so tall that we couldn't see our new
rose bed. The roses are thriving with all the rain we've been
having, and some are about to flower.

Today, we moved three armchairs around the house, one of
which is partially broken and is awaiting repair (when I can get
a replacement spindle). This is a comfy leather swivel armchair,
which has ended up ... in my room.  :)

Today, I've also re-hung a large mirror and one of our large
paintings, on different walls in our house, which required putting
up two heavy-duty picture hooks ... a easy DIY job really, but all
part of Mrs C's home improvements plan.

This evening we watched a couple of cop dramas on the telly ...
Case Sensitive and The Closer ... both of them were excellent.

I've been typing this on my revitalised PC ... revitalised with
Linux, I'm pleased to say. I've just got a few more bits of
software to add onto the system ... Gimp in particular.  I'm
also thinking of switching from Libre Office to Open Office, as
I prefer using fonts like Arial, Tahoma and Lucida Handwriting
Italic. However, I'll see if I can add these fonts to Libre.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Higgs Boson

Well, what are your thoughts about the discovery of this new sub-atomic particle?

It seems that a lot particle physicists including Professor Brian Cox, are over the
moon about it. I have my doubts about it all, however ... but then who would
take my side ... an ignoramus like me? Could this particle be entirely man-made
... artificially created by these collision experiments?

I can see how this research can satisfy the curiosity of the top physicists, but
is the practical benefit of it all?

Will it help us in future years, devise a safer form 
of energy production than
nuclear power, or help us become more effective 
at harnessing the power of
sunlight, the wind and the waves? This is the research
that we should be spending
more money on, and focusing all our attention on.

The fossil fuels that we take for granted: oil, petrol and gas, will gradually run out,
possibly in our children's life-time, which I think is a very worrying prospect.

The school "sports day" we went to last weekend, went very well ... it was well
organised and had an Olympic theme to it. It wasn't a sports day really ... it was
more of a huge garden party, mainly for the children. Some time next week, I'll
post some photos of the event onto my Flickr site, for you to see.

I mentioned already that I'm looking into using Ubuntu Linux on my Windows XP
PC, partly to improve the PC's performance (as it's become very slow), but also
to extend the life of the PC. I don't wish to scrap it when Microsoft stops
supporting Windows XP in April 2014, and then feel obliged to buy another PC
Windows 8 on it.

What I've found out is that you can run Ubuntu Linux alongside Windows XP on
a PC or laptop ... and you can switch between the two, by a dual booting facility
set up by WUBI ... have a look at these links, if you're interested ...



I've also found this YouTube video all about Linux (one of many vids) ...

The good thing about this is that I will be able to carry on using Photoshop 
Elements on the Windows XP side of my PC, for processing RAW images, and
use Ubuntu Linux 
for everything else.

No need to buy Windows 8, and no need to buy Microsoft 
Office. Ubuntu has
Libre Office, which is said to be similar to Open Office (or I 
could switch over to
using OO, if I so wish).  At present, I use OO for creating text documents, PDFs,

slide shows and spreadsheets also ... no fancy "ribbon" toolbars that you see
with Microsoft Office.

I've already downloaded Ubuntu Linux (12.04) via WUBI onto my PC, but I'm
having to borrow a friend's wired keyboard, to be able to switch it into Ubuntu
mode when 
initially booting the PC up. I've got a wireless keyboard (with a wireless
so I'll be looking for drivers for these, so I can use them with Ubuntu.

Friday, June 29, 2012

We're in London this weekend

We set off very early this morning (6.40am) for London, to avoid road closures
in and around Nottingham, with the Olympic Torch procession billed for later 
in the morning. The roads were closed from about 7.00am to 10.00am, which
will have caused major traffic disruption, as it did 
yesterday evening when the
OT arrived.

I didn't feel at all interested in seeing the Torch myself, which looks like a giant
Cornetto ice-cream cone with a flame on top. I gather that there are several
copies of it, being used up and 
down the country. I'm not interested in the
Olympic Games either, though I probably will 
watch a few of the highlights being
shown on 
the telly. I will be more interested in watching the Mens and Womens
Tennis Final on the TV.

Tomorrow we're all going to a school sports day in Kingston (London), during
which one of our granddaughters (Mini) will be competing. Her classmates will
be having their bit of fun 
at the beginning of the day (around 11.00am), but we
are all expected to hang around for 
four hours, to watch other events & for the
awards ceremony at the very end. "All children 
will attend, and all children will
wear their (award) badges / ribbons at school 
next Monday" ... so the headmistress decreed.  Groan!

We'll be on the motorways going back to Nottingham on Sunday, while the Euro
2012 football final 
is being played. I predict that the roads will be very quiet that
evening, so it 
should be a fast journey home. I look forward to seeing the highlights
of the match when we 
get back. I'm not one for sitting around watching an entire
football match on the telly ... I just 
like watching the highlights (the best bits)
at the end of a match, and while the match is on, I prefer to 
watch some more interesting on the box instead (e.g. comedy or drama, on "catch-up").

Yesterday, Mrs C and I went to Scarborough with my mother-in-law, J, for a
family funeral. 
It was C. of E. church do, which we didn't really like ... too many
references to the dearly 
departed going off to Jesus' / God's home, which we
don't really believe in.

For those who 
are believers in Christ / God, it is obviously a great comfort to them
that there is an after-life, 
and that one day, they will be able to meet up with their
loved ones in the next life. 
Not so good however, if the person you married had
run off with someone else, and 
had made your life a misery. In the after-life, all
you'd wish to say to this person is: "Fuck off!"  

After the church service, we met up with the widow and her family for a chat over
a cup of tea and nibbles, which went very well. The widow is a distant cousin of
Mrs C, whom we last 
met in 1999, at a family get-together, when a New Zealand
cousin and his wife came over 
to see us all.

Between the showers of rain, the sun shone brilliantly in Scarborough, and the bays
glorious. We'll be back in Scarborough in early August, to celebrate our
40th wedding 
anniversary with our family (daughters, partners and grandchildren).