Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Technology

Excuses, excuses

Well, the huge mountain of ‘things that need doing’ which I have been trying to run away from (and which must be attached to me by a long length of elastic) has finally smacked me in the back of the head and I have been forced into doing something about it. Consequently, I have been working on the e-commerce web site I am designing for a friend and am almost cross eyed with the twin joys of html and css. The site will eventually sell hand crafted jewellery and the other thing I have been doing this week (and continue to do) is processing dozens and dozens and dozens of photographs (which I confess up front – I took) which are basically not very good so they need lots of TLC and Photoshop to make them useable. Removing backgrounds, adjusting colours, removing specks (hint- always clean computer screen before starting THIS job) cropping and more cropping – it has been endless. Still, I think it is taking shape and starting to look very good (even if I do say so myself.)

So not much else to report. I am continuing to post a photograph to my 365pix project every day because that is quick and easy but I may have to go AWOL here for a bit while I concentrate on getting the web site finished. Sorry I’m not checking out your blogs at the moment too. Anyway to avoid this post being a complete waste of time for you, here are a few random things I found today while I was putting off starting work (still procrastinating)

  • I read this on the BBC web site today.

“In 1778, the third Duke of Chandos arranged a christening for his new-born son. The whole of fashionable society, including the Royal Family, was invited, and the Duke commissioned a lavishly embroidered christening robe. At the moment of baptism the child was uncovered and found to have suffocated under weight of the robe, upon which the Duke died of shock.”

  • I have already put this on my Facebook page, it never fails to make me smile, so I am adding here too. Love it.
  • I found this photograph yesterday of my youngest son when he was tiny. I adore it..

That’s it. Back to work!

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Help!

you-v-tech

I have spent an inordinate amount of time this week trying to sort out my email settings. As you might know, I own the domain name dianealdred.com and it struck me that I don’t use the associated email so I decided to set it up as an alternate email address. My #2 son has been here this week too and as he has his own domain name and also wanted to use the associated email for business, I attempted to set both of them up. Oh my God! Why is it SO difficult? The domain names were registered with different companies so I had two separate and ridiculous sets of instructions to follow. I ended up (after much fiddling about), with me able to send emails but not receive them and my son, being able to receive emails but not send them. Nightmare.

chickenhold

Turns out my problem is that my domain name is now mapped to my blog and the emails sent to me at dianealdred.com are re-routed by WordPress to Google mail – but not my ordinary gmail account, oh no, to a separate ‘diane@dianealdred.com’ gmail account. Who knew? When I checked it, there were about 30 emails from the last two years stashed away there, unread, from various companies and an old boyfriend (which gave me a turn!) but mostly from my friend Claire in LA – sorry, love, wasn’t being rude or ignoring you – honest! My son’s email problem remains unsolved. We have copied the settings exactly as instructed but it still won’t work, there is some impressive buck passing going on by the company we have registered the domain name with and their website is confusing, unhelpful and clunky. Rubbish, AZC.

e-mailI now am suffering from tech support phobia and I am going to get on with making my books, a much more peaceful and stress free pursuit.

I went to Pittards factory shop yesterday and bought leather for several projects I have in the pipeline, two wedding albums, a ‘new baby’ album and a huge ‘our holiday’ album. The leather I bought was so cheap compared with buying it from the retailers I normally use, I couldn’t resist buying several pieces. Meanwhile, the work continues on the music anthology project (I am working on books 11 and 12/20) so I am busy, busy, busy, which is all good.

Right, I’m off, where’s the glue….

The bear necessities

There is rather a sweet blog called ‘Dear Teddy‘ which I have seen mentioned in various places around the old interweb (Daddy Papersurfer, 70steen and Olga, the Traveling Bra – I would have thought another kind of teddy was more her style!).

It’s a blog, by for and about all those old stuffed animals and other beloved childhood toys which have a story to tell.”

Well, a few years ago, I was given a rather strange bear as a Christmas present. I hesitate to introduce him to the other bears over at ‘Dear Teddy’ as I’m not sure of the reception he would get from Grumpy Ted, Snowy Bear and Busy Bear. He is a rather groovy if dare I say, freakish bear designed by Phillipe Starke the famous French designer. Here is a photograph of him….

I’m not entirely sure that any story this little bear has to tell would be suitable for kiddie’s ears. Quite how the puppy, the lamb and the bunny ended up where they did is a story for Hallowe’en I’m sure and would probably be a cautionary tale for us all.

And talking of Hallowe’en, (bear with me- tenuous link following)   Kim over at Laketrees is running another of her wonderful competitions to win a portrait painted by her. The prize will be a portrait of a subject of your choosing, painted in oils/acrylics on a 90cm x 100cm canvas. All you have to do is post about the competition on your blog with a link back to Kim, subscribe to her feed by email and then comes the hard part – choose your subject (you? your son/daughter? partner? pet?) and in less than 250 words say why you have chosen your subject and why you should win! The competition closes on October 31st (Hallowe’en – now you get the link) at 12pm (not sure what time zone that is so get your entry in early to make sure you beat it – Kim lives in Australia!)

Kim also runs the ‘Top Artists Directory’ blog which is a fantastic resource to introduce you to the many talented artist who have blogs. I am in there but I actually feel a bit of a fraud, I’m not sure I’m really an artist as such – and I have been so slack at making books recently (too many holidays, I hear you cry!) but I will get back into it soon.

Milo continues to be a total time waster, the only time I get anything done is when he is like this

He is just so playful and cute, I find it hard to ignore him. He is off for his second jab tonight so he will be allowed out to play properly then and can mingle with other dogs. I shall take him over to see my friend who has two Cocker Spaniel puppies ( who are quite a bit older than Milo) and we shall see how he gets on with them. He should be OK as he came from a house with lots of other dogs. In fact, I’m amazed at how well he has adjusted to just being with me.

I gave him a bath a few days ago. What a sad little creature! There is not much dog under all that fur and he stood there, shivering with fear and looking very bedraggled, skinny and sorry for himself. Once dry and brushed, he looks more like a teddy than Edward Puppyhands does…

Another teddy who I am quite enamored of is this one – the iPulse Teddy Speaker

Your iPod sits in a pouch on his tummy, the controls are on his paws and coloured lights pulse in his feet in time to the music. That is one hi-tech teddy – a Christmas present for the baby that has everything – including an iPod full of nursery rhymes and lullabies….

Here’s a track that should be on there, this is the original version of ‘The Teddy Bears Picnic’ by Henry Hall and his Orchestra – way before my time, you understand, but this is the version I remember from my childhood. And what about that record player? I’d like to see iPulse Teddy get that in his pouch…..


Back to the real world…

It already seems a long time since my holiday. I have spent the past week faffing about trying to fix my internet connection which has been sporadic at best, dropping every couple of minutes at worst. #2 son was here and his connection was fine, so it was obviously my laptop which was the problem. I tried everything I could think of to fix it, rang my Mac guy for advice, followed his suggestions but no joy. To cut a VERY long story short, after days of increasingly desperate measures (including buying a new router) I was diverted by a pop up which kept appearing during my few and far between connected moments. It was called ‘Real Player Downloader’ and had started appearing since I updated ‘Real Player’. I decided it was so annoying that it had to go. I googled how to get rid of it – and found a thread on an Apple forum suggesting that if network connections were constantly dropping, Real Player Downloader might be the problem. I deleted it and lo and behold, hallelujah! Internet restored and no irritating pop up in one fell swoop. Joy.

When I haven’t been fiddling with my laptop, I have been searching for the garage keys which I had just before I went to Los Angeles, but which have now vanished. Can’t blame anyone else, I have lost them. I have given myself until Monday to find them and then I shall have to call out a locksmith – so annoying! It’s a good job I am so mellow after my trip or I would be going mad after such a frustrating week.

I thought I would have been making lots of lovely books by now but I have been so distracted and next week looks no better. I have some lovely friends from Vancouver coming to stay next weekend as we are all going to a wedding together, so I have gone into sort-the-house-out mode, which involves lots of dusting and tidying up. I like it when I have visitors because apart from the fun of having people to stay, it also means my house gets a thorough clean. Housework is so not one of my favourite things.

I’m really looking forward to the wedding. The bride is the daughter of some friends of mine and as they are an Indian family the wedding is going to be a traditional Sikh ceremony and we have all been requested to wear traditional Indian clothes. Most of the female guests are looking forward to dressing up, but from what I understand, the English male guests have chickened out and are wearing lounge suits! I am SO looking forward to wearing the shalwar kameez I have bought – which is a 3 piece outfit consisting of a knee length tunic over loose trousers with a matching shawl – all made out of silk and beautifully embroidered with sequins and beads. I promise you lots of photographs after the wedding next Saturday. One good thing is that I intend to make them a photograph album as a gift so at least I will have a new book to show you. The groom is a photographer – so no pressure there then….

Finally, à propos of absolutely nothing – but especially for Creechman who has a penchant for blonde actresses (and brunette actresses come to think of it…..)

This is SO cute, I’ll never eat octopus again (not that I could ever eat octopus now – all those tentacley suckery bits…..

Lots of stuff (or I’ve run out of titles…)

I was driving into Dorchester yesterday to the hairdressers (no major disasters there, hair same but shorter, hairdresser fully mobile again!) when I passed through an area called Poundbury. This is a ‘model village’ (read ‘housing estate’) which is being built on the outskirts of Dorchester by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

It is a very contentious development as opinions are divided about the architectural merit (or otherwise) of the houses being built there, the density of the development and its eventual size. This quote is from a local web site and reflects some of the ‘anti’ feeling about Poundbury (the full letter can be read here, it’s hilarious!)

“In my understanding, be it correct or otherwise, the Poundbury development was intended to reflect the architecture and community of a traditional West Dorset country village. This, I assume, is the brief that the designers, architects and developers are working by. It is possible that I am not the only person who is struggling with that concept, considering that the Poundbury development is quite possibly the diametric opposite of that brief, in every perceivable way.

I am no designer, nor an architect or a developer, but it doesn’t take an expert in this field to reach the conclusion that the surreal, and quite frankly “fake” Poundbury development appears to be taking heavy inspiration from the following:

– Kensington & Chelsea
– Walt Disney
– Regents Park Residencies
– 18th Century Normandy
– Southern European/Spanish
– Rural Germany/Austria
– Peckham
– Far-Reaching corners of the Milky Way.”

Personally, I think it’s dreadful and I could fill a whole post with my objections (hmm, now that’s an idea for a dull day) but one good thing that comes from all the digging and excavations that are going on are the poppies which spring up along the roadside. I was driving past and screeched to a halt to take some photographs of them. You can see some of Poundbury in the background.

I don’t mention Dorchester much but I went into town the other day and walked through the Borough Gardens and spotted the clock and the bandstand which have just been freshly painted and look really good.

All the bandstand needs is the Wessex Military Band which plays in Bucky Doo Square in Bridport on Saturday market days. They look amazing in their scarlet uniforms. I managed to get a shot of them last Saturday.

It makes a change to be showing you shots of the towns instead of the coast – I thought you might be getting a bit bored with those. I had a lovely surprise yesterday. My book swap book arrived. It was sent to me by Crazy Daisy Girl (alias Diana Waite) all the way from Utah. It’s a gorgeous little book and to tell me something about the town she lives in, she made the cover from a flour sack from a local flour mill, the pages are red to represent the red rocks which are from the area. Here are some photographs of it.

My album is coming along. I have finished sewing the pages together and have started to make the cover. It has been a nightmare! I am using thicker than usual board as the it needed to be sturdier due to the size of the album, so I had to take it to the gallery I used to work at where they have a huge guillotine which made short work of cutting the board to size. Of course I always have problems with glue and manoeuvering large sheets of gluey paper is just so difficult. I originally intended to have leather corners on the album but to be quite honest it would have made it even more difficult to position the marbled paper so I chickened out… Anyway, progress so far…

So far, so good, so stressful….now I need a lie down :-)

Instead, I am going to go and play with my Wii fit. I am trying to lose weight as you know and this is such a fun way of exercising. I love the step class and the hula hoop and the jogging and the downhill skiing slalom and the yoga….brilliant fun. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, check this out.

I have to close the blinds in case the neighbours think I have gone insane….next thing I’ll be moving to Poundbury :-)