Saturday, 30 June 2012

We just watched The Artist

I understand that some people asked for a refund in the cinema. That is quite reasonable.


I feel some kind of explanation is required.

For me, silent movies have inevitably been a frustrating experience, and it's likely I'm not at all alone. The 'classic' silent films that were shown on TV (what cinema would screen them?) were inevitable painful experiences for me: Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplain's various films, The Keystone Cops and various other nameless films that motivated me to get off my butt and go somewhere else.

I'm sure at the time that the novelty of moving pictures was absolutely wonderful for many, even when they repeated cliche after visual cliche to get the message across. But just like the early curtain call scene in The Artist, every gag, every point would be hammered home, emphasised, repeated and dragged out to the point of unbearability. Laurel & Hardy would always have a grandfather clock scene, where they get stuck going back & forth in the road for a couple of minutes before the inevitable car comes along to run over the clock.

The other raw nerve it really presses is that of communication between people.

I know that films ALWAYS contrive situations, forcing their victims into inevitable positions to produce the planned outcome, and it's sometimes bearable, sometimes not. But the emphasis on a lack of communication in this film made that experience almost painful, whether it's a refusal to communicate with an increasingly unhappy wife or the repeated requirement that the artist himself may not actually produce any audible speech. Just deeply frustrating.

Now on one level I can appreciate the mastery that went into creating this film, and the clever way it makes you feel you're both watching a film and participating in the story, the great camera work, careful continuity and even the little bits of humorous punning (like the 'bang' script in the suicide scene). But it makes me think this was a film produced for jaded watchers - those who have seen too many films and need something different, with a lot of highly recognisable references that enabled them to connect historically with it.

It's a clever film, and I'm glad we borrowed the DVD instead of paying for it!

p.s. It was nice to see David Niven's picture getting shown a lot. ;-)

Friday, 29 June 2012

User interface and intuity

Is intuity a word? Can you guess what it means?

My mum, at almost 80, still uses a computer. However for her it's been a struggle at times because she doesn't find the interface natural, and if the icons for the things she wants to do aren't in the expected places or for some reason things appear different from usual then it can become unusable until it's reset.*

So anyway, she expressed an interest in an E-book reader recently, so last night I took her Chris's Kobo touch to try.

Now, it might have been because there was someone present to say 'do this, do that', but she seemed to find the interface quite natural, and the idea of swiping to turn pages obvious and comfortable. I wonder if, because of training and familiarity, more experienced computer users find it difficult to judge what an intuitive user interface really looks like, particularly to a user without previous experience.

I'd say that's pretty much sorted then, though we should go look at the Kindle too, just to see if it is more responsive. Lack of response is really the only significant flaw with the Kobo - it's just REALLY sluggish, especially when used directly in WiFi mode, to the point where that side of things is almost unusable except for updates. I have wondered about one of the Android tablets for her, since they are the same price, but it's back to that non-intuitive interface, and the LCD instead of e-paper screen which makes the Kobo & Kindle a much nicer reading experience. Better to do one thing very well than a dozen things tolerably.

* When I moved jobs in '97 I shared a PC with my boss for a while. Being completely comfy with W95 at the time I just naturally re-arranged the desktop to more efficiency, just like we all used to do on the shared machines in the previous company. I did not take into account the impact this might have had on her, and didn't understand at the time why she was not relaxed about it, but soon got the message it was not welcome. Live and learn, eh? It probably also accelerated the acquisition of my own PC, so at least it was not all bad.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Today is the first day

That I'm going to try to leave off the painkillers.

I've been taking paracetamol 4 times a day, every day, for almost 5 weeks, along with regular codeine at night and occasional ibuprofen when things have become too difficult during the day.  A few times recently I've not taken the paracetamol until a couple of hours too late, and really noticed the discomfort. But now there is much more mobility, the 'open wound' feelings in my back are greatly reduced and the bruising has almost disappeared from my arm, so I take that as a sign the deep tissue damage is pretty much sorted.

But I've been feeling so confused, lethargic, tired all the time since the accident, and I'm sure the meds haven't helped clarity of thought, even though they've stopped the pain from being so intense and distracting. Now I want to reclaim both my body and mind, even if it does hurt for a bit. I want the 'old Toni' back, who was motivated and able to focus, instead of just wanting to hide in a ball of self-gratification.

On that note, time to start working.

The scammers are still at work

Just received the following:

Dear  Mr/Mrs ,

Your account have received a new amount , details are shown below :

From :
The Amount : $119.95 USD

Your payment is still on hold and waiting for your action.

To accept your $119.95 USD payment please follow this 3rd party single use link and complete the steps :

http://www.buty- _login-submit&dipatch= 563aee8d025ad32184r5d1az3d69f843rg21rg564az984

Once confirmed your payment will be reversed to your account and ready to be used/transfered to your banking account ect...


Copyright © 1999-2012. All rights reserved.

S.à r.l. & Co., S.C.A.
Company Limited by Shares
Registered office: 5th Floor 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg
RCS Luxembourg B 118 349


No-one owes me $119 and I am not giving your phishing scheme my bank details. I hope Jesus saves you instead, so you'll stop doing this and become part of the answer instead of being part of the problem.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Just deleted my Diaspora account

I loved the sense of people thinking freely in the beginning, but increasingly the place was being filled with propaganda by minds that hated and wanted to distort reality. There was a sense of community, but it was aggressive, rather than encouraging, and almost all from a single point of view. And finally there was a sense of entitlement to acquisition that really grated - the idea that if something was digital then it MUST be free (both as in thought and beer) and that they had a right to copy and acquire it gratis.

I'm also back to wondering about shutting down Facebook (and would have done so already if I didn't find it so useful to connect with some people).

Monday, 25 June 2012

A hidden guest.

Just walked a couple of miles this lunchtime.

And now my back aches. Think it's going to take a while to build back up.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Oh! I have it on.

Name that advert.

Chris got the reference immediately.

Monday, 18 June 2012

After the rain comes.....


More on photobucket and 500px.

Browsing phones.

There's been a lot of new phone designs appearing in the last few months, and I'm already thinking about moving on from the HTC desire that was acquired in Dec 2010, after the contract has expired.

The Desire has been a mixed bag. I like the availability of contact information on a real screen, but have been frustrated by the munged OSX compatibility (another nail in the coffin of OSX computing). Mostly it's been good, but sometimes has run slow and often complains about a lack of memory, even though most of my apps are on the SD card - I've had to be really ruthless with the few apps I have installed. In terms of usefulness, the screen is a decent size provided one does not need to view detail, thus simple text pages and images are OK, but web pages are too much faff to bother reading. Facebook have sensibly managed their data presentation, and the app is probably partly to thank for their present success. Finally, battery life has been *mostly* acceptable, with the phone often doing 3 to 4 days with occasional use compared to many similar phones that struggle to manage more than a day.

There will be a major temptation to just root & Cyanogen-mod the phone once the contract has expired, getting a SIM only deal from O2 or Tesco to save money, instead of just selling it on. Although it would be nice to try something else.

There's been a lot of talk about the new HTC one series, some good and some bad, and Samsung's new galaxy III sounds as though it's good (and Apple have tried to block it, which is a definite endorsement) so in abut 15 minutes on Saturday I had a quick hands on with the SIII and the new HTC range.

First impressions: I will probably not be getting a SIII or a One X or S: they are simply huge.

The smartphone upper echelon market is curious - I can't see how the different makers differentiate themselves. All the above 3 phones are basically similar to look at and hold, and to someone familiar with Android 2.2, the OS interfaces looked more or less similar. The Galaxy did some pretty things with transparency and backgrounds and all phones worked smoothly and quickly, but I could never have told you one felt better than the other. In terms of functions, again they were mostly similar except that the SIII camera is seemed very much better than the HTC cameras in terms of image quality, and, all other things being equal, that would clinch a deal for me.

But not all things are equal.

I tried HTC's newest One offering, the One V, and that made me wonder.

The One V had a smaller body, very similar in size to my Desire, but slimmer and with an angled lip at the bottom. Screen resolution is the same, but it felt really nice & solid in my hand, as though the body were metal instead of plastic.


There's always a trade off. This is HTC's budget 'One' phone, and it has suffered in the execution. Worst of all is that they have crippled it with the same stupid 512Mb memory limitation that is present on my 3 year old design phone, meaning that storage space will always be inadequate and the phone will run badly when a 'reasonable' range of apps is installed. They also used a slower 1GHz processor, and while that might give good battery life, it was also laggy, and the phone lacked fluidity compared to the other higher spec models and even to my old Desire.


It may be very tempting to return to a dumb phone with a decent screen, that will sit more comfortably in my pocket and last a couple of weeks between re-charges. However Nokia announced a new Symbian phone (the 808) recently with a 41Mp camera. I have no need to stick with Android, and subject to testing, that could be a real possibility. The bit they get consistently weak is screen quality, and this one seems to be no exception. Sadly the Nokia shop in Banbury is closed now.

As always, my desires for function and form, as with so many other areas, run counter to fashion. With prices now tumbling I'm even tempted to look at an iPhone 3GS, though the thought of being required to do all computer-phone interaction through iTunes makes me feel a little sick. That's assuming I could overcome my dislike enough to buy another Apple product.

How are you? I'm fine, and you?

To mis-quote a phrase: There's lies, damned lies and greetings.

I participated in the above this morning before stopping, correcting and explaining. I'm in a lot of pain right now. My back feels like it has a deep open wound below the left shoulder blade, caused, almost certainly, by a nerve being in the wrong place. I'm guessing that's the case because if I get in just the right position then it doesn't hurt. That position is one where I'm reclining back with my arms by my sides, passive and resting. Not much use at work then.

Outside of that I'd say the recovery is doing well, and I'm mostly sleeping OK, although still right (wrong) side and back only, rather than on my left side where I would prefer. But this pain just drives me nuts sometimes, and really messes with my concentration and ability to just do normal things.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Chris made the comment

I'm running out of things to put on your card apart from church. There's a message in that, although not all bad.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The NAS is up and running.

Bought a D-Link 2 bay (empty) 320 NAS unit from ebuyer. The first was DOA, but its replacement worked OK.

I had a couple of 'old' drives sat around: a 3 year old 1.5TB Samsung unit that had automatically 'set' itself down to 500Mb* and a reconditioned Seagate 1Tb drive that was sent as a replacement for another failed drive. Initially both drives were detected as 'faulty' because they had been partitioned and used with a mix of EXT4, NTFS and FAT32, but once they were reformatted (FAT32, no partition) they were recognised fine.

D-Link provide a wizard applet, and configuring the unit was relatively straight forward. I went for a 1TB RAID1 arrangement, mirroring data on both drives, and the spare 500Gb was allocated as JBOD. Ben can use that for music etc if he wants, while we keep the 1TB partition for work data and images. The other thing to remember was to establish sharing rights on the NAS. Not difficult, but it just required a bit of hunting around to find the appropriate controls to enable that. The NAS came with free incremental backup software that is now installed on Chris's computer, and I'll probably look into deja dup for the Linux box. Ben may also want to do something, since he's got 500Gb space.

User IDs were created and passwords assigned and it seems I can access the shared drive wirelessly through the modem router/powerline adaptor network from this Macbook. I'm not sure about wired network data rates, but a 1.9Gb .iso file took around 9-10 min to write from here, and multiple simultaneous transfers seemed to go almost as fast. assigned to him.

Time I learned a little more about network shares and linux too.
*Talking of drives re-setting themselves, this is the second seagate drive I've had do this. I bought 160Gb drive about 5 years ago, and that first shrank to around 50Gb, then 36Gb with a couple of subsequent install & partitioning sessions. In the end I bought a 250Gb drive and abandoned that one as faulty. Having read up recently about this, it seems some drives have their internal limit reduced randomly, and require it to be reset for full capacity to be recovered. The current version of Seatools does this fine, downloaded as a bootable CD/DVD although not as described on the seagate website (it's a simple menu option, rather than requiring you to enter R as an option in a dialogue box).

One more thing to finish off the geek-out. I keep looking at SSD replacements for this Macbook. Half of me thinks it's a great idea to keep it going for another 12-18 months, half would like to drop it off a cliff right now. So I prevaricate, not making it any better and not spending any money in the hope of justifying a replacement sooner. The one thing I've not looked at yet is running Office under Wine on Linux. If that would work then I'd very seriously consider trying to get some or other distro (preferably with KDE, although Mint/Cinnamon might be acceptable) running on it, and that would give it a  much longer life.

Friday, 15 June 2012

We did pretty well in the auction

Hopefully the kit we won is decent and works. The mean/prudent side of me came into play quite strongly as it often does at these times, and capped bidding on one particular item before it escalated out of control. Someone was very determined to have it, and since it's not *essential* (and I have one already) then prudence seemed the best course.

It must be very difficult pricing items of scientific equipment in a big pharma lab, and some of the pricing was clearly wrong: of 2500 lots, nearly 1000 didn't sell, either because the start price or reserve was too high. I can remember shaking my head at some of the starting prices - who would spend £300 on some rather manky looking pipettes. Some very high value kit didn't go even at trivial prices too.

Of the stuff that's left, I'd really like a microplate filler (there was a lot of competition for them yesterday) and an HPLC system (but they had really high starting prices, £3500-£4000) but it's unlikely to happen. We'll see.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Talking of spending money......

We've still not *quite* managed to book our holiday.

The bottom corner of France is STILL going to be the best place to relax, and we've not had a relaxing holiday for some time. But we also have too many friends scattered across the world now. Difficult.

Slightly on tenterhooks here

There's a large industrial auction site that is being used to clear laboratory kit from the Pfizer Sandwich labs that were closed last year, and not surprisingly, there's a bunch of stuff I'd find really useful.

So now we wait.

The most important things I've put real money bids on - less than I'd spend buying new, naturally, but still real money. Many items have gone for a relative song, but one in particular obviously had a bidding war over it, selling for >£900 instead of the £300 that it should have gone for.

Some prices were excessive for used kit. I'd have liked an HPLC system, but a start price of £4000 was too much, even if the new price was 3 times that. So I'm waiting to see what the outcome is. God knows what I need and what the right price is. And patience is a virtue (along with hard work - something I struggle to manage right now).

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Been taking a few more pictures recently.

Including this immaculately restored Jaguar. I believe there is a garage on Heyford Park that restores cars, and this is the second one I've seen. It was parked outside while I walked past, and while no-one was looking I took some pictures.

There's a bunch of other semi-random stuff in the gallery as well.

Talking of photography, after the closure of lightbox I've been looking for a photographic home. Nowhere has seemed quite right, with everyone either wanting the user to compete, or placing other restrictions like being allowed to upload one single photo per day. Thus far I'm trying the following sites:

Openphoto - looks quite good as a host, though a little bland.
500px - all desperately professional and monetising. Also you have to detail each image while posting.
ePhotoZine - a 'serious' photographic community with a club feel. Limit to one image per day.
Streamzoo - all terribly competitive in a way that feels like facebook farmville. Silly.

Any other suggestions of friendly photographic sites welcome.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Back to work full time this week.

It's been hard in some ways: difficult to concentrate and, as it turned out today, hard to work without pains in either back or chest (or both).

Never mind though - it could be so much more difficult.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Codeine mouth?

Slightly concerned that yesterday I was suffering 'codeine mouth' a little.

Not ideal when preaching.

Codeine mouth is the result of taking that particular analgesic, causing the mouth to sometimes freewheel, saying things and rolling places one never intended it to go. Nothing heretical was said, but I had to stop myself a couple of times, which is not particularly good. Also it seemed that my 20-25 minutes was quite a bit longer - not at all the plan.

Still, no-one yawned while I was looking, got up and walked out or threw things. I'm not sure that is justification, but anyway.

Who is a sucker for punishment?

So I've been using Pear Linux for a couple of months now. Based on Ubuntu, but with the look & feel changed to resemble OSX it generally works well, handling window resizing better than Apple and disc/USB drive mounting and ejection better than both Apple and other Linux base distros. But it still looks and handles like OSX, right down to previewing images by pressing space bar, having an expose type feature and the window control buttons on the left instead of right.

And this is starting to be part of the problem.

I really like the quick behaviour, snappy interface etc, but even with the expose-style feature available (like it is on this Mac) it simply doesn't handle windows as well as having a taskbar where open windows show up. Why is this a big deal? Well, in a work context it's not too unusual for me to have anywhere between 5 and 10 separate documents all open at the same time. At home when I prepare for worship I will often have several folders including a CD open, VLC (as a drag & drop audio player) Audacity (as an audio editor) and a browser for finding words for new songs that I can paste straight into a Libre Office writer document. Suddenly everything is very crowded and hard to find.

Now I knew that Sabayon 9 has been released and in spite of the various hassles I've had before, it is already downloading for copying to a USB stick. This is despite downloading the beta 1 version of Pear Linux version 5 at the end of last week (not had time to install yet).

There is something RIGHT about a KDE/Windows classic style interface for me, and something not so right about an OSX/Gnome 3 interface.

In fairness to Ubuntu I've not given the Unity desktop a chance yet, and although Dreamlinux did handle quite well, at least on first cursory glance, I don't know that it is sufficiently KDE-like in its handling of folders and application windows that it would work or not for me.

So yes, sucker for punishment.

Sabayon 9 is a big (2.4Gb) download. 6 hours to go.

Once again, I'd recommend Pear Linux for a Mac user that wants to try Linux, and as a decent version of Linux generally, especially with its own take on the Gnome 3 desktop. But as for me, I just want that windows classic management style.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Intimacy with God is so hard to talk about

Not for the 'obvious' reason of God being invisible, un-touchable, infinite, holy and un-knowable.

The difficult bit is that so many of the model He uses to describe His relationship with humanity are explained using examples from marriage and physical interaction. Our society is pretty badly wound up about sex, love and confused about how they inter-relate that using Song of songs and parts of Ezekiel to illustrate our relationship is pretty much a non-starter.

Cue sermon re-write for the second time.

Wonder if I'll manage to *usefully* offend anyone this morning.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Today we said goodbye to some old friends

We finally replaced our toaster - a wedding present, so 1981 vintage (Ben asked for it! Sometimes it's really hard to ditch everything you've grown up with) and our microwave oven that was old fashioned even we bought it used 20 years ago.

Mr. Tesco provided a set of vouchers on a £2 for £1 coupon basis. The microwave itself was one of their own designs with 1 knob for setting power levels and 1 knob for time. Perfect. And when we looked more closely at the higher end units we found that they were based on EXACTLY the same steel box and door, but with different control panels and badges. Power levels etc were similar, so we seem to have got essentially the same cooking ability as a £70 microwave for £33.

I'm starting to wonder about a replacement mower under the same scheme!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Having a ratty evening.

Does anyone else ever feel like this - all edgy and a bit out of sorts, like you want to be snappy and write sharp comments to people on Facebook & stuff, or be sarky face to face?

Last night before the church meeting I was tired, in pain, struggling, yet when I got there the weight lifted and all was fine. Tonight I've got a bunch of stuff to do and various parts are hurting, plus I want to be difficult and a bit bad tempered. My natural inclination is to find more ways to just please me, with various forms of entertainment etc. Settling down for work is not what I had in mind.

I'm kind of grateful for the present situation. It's given me opportunity to find out a little more of what I'm made of, see me a bit more clearly (only a bit!) and provided an opportunity to push against difficulty and struggle.

Sunday I'm preaching on intimacy. Now my preference for intimacy with God is to go for a walk, be moving forward all the time so that distractions don't hang around, while at the same time finding opportunity both to talk and listen. I'll walk round Heyford park a couple of times a week, praying for the area and trying to listen, but the route I use is a couple of miles, and I can barely walk 100 yards right now as my chest and back can't take the shock of each footfall.

There's a certain sense of deja vu from when we first moved to the Chapel and I was not able to play in the worship - it was almost like someone I'd been sleeping and having sex with regularly suddenly required me to be celibate. It's nothing like that bad, at least partially because I've learnt from that lesson, but it HAS worked to prevent me from being intimate in the ways I usually would.

So Mr. Grumpy has to deal with himself tonight. Probably all good practice.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sparrows and dunnocks

Who'd have ever thought there was more than 1 kind of identical small brown British bird?

The Dunnock - dark, ground feeding:

The Sparrow (female) light, feeds from platforms and perches:

Monday, 4 June 2012

How do we see God through all this stuff?

I'm planning to preach on intimacy this coming Sunday.

We have a book that's been laying around for some time by Tom Tenney called Experiencing His Presence (devotions for God catchers) and I thought I'd have a quick browse through to see if there was anything that might be interesting or helpful. There were some bits and pieces, but with it there came a whole constructed viewpoint, intended to be helpful, certainly, but pretty much man-made as far as I could see, that was all about locking ones thinking into a particular paradigm.

With the preaching course we did there were a whole bunch of books referred to, and for the assignments (that I have not done - possibly never will?) there was a requirement for perspectives to be taken and argued, all referring back to these books. That's all fine, since one needs a perspective to argue from, if one is to argue.

There's a phrase that annoys intensely (because it's a pompous way of speaking) but which also fits the situation: to have one's opinion informed by this or that person.

Where is this going?

The more 'stuff' that is cluttering up my mind, the more constructs I create for me to follow, the more one-way streets put in place to ensure I have 'right thinking' the more distant and less meaningful seems God and my relationship with Him. Should I try to hear what He's saying to my Spirit-man first, or do I need to claim the blood of Jesus  before I can enter His presence, and if I do that, am I standing in the full armour of God, and shouldn't I call Him 'daddy' because that's what Abba means etc etc etc.

The God I know is there when I'm sat on the loo, he's there when I make love to my wife (do we think He waits without seeing us, knowing when we're done and it's safe to look again?)and He's there then I'm surfing the internet late at night. I don't need all the 'stuff' to be able to come before Him and I don't have to wear strange clothes and follow curious rituals (which are really all for people's benefit anyway) that tick all the right boxes, as though we were summoning a spirit by some dark art instead of meeting with the omnipresent God.

So I really struggle with all the books that are churned out in their thousands, year after year, all full of ideas, philosophies, opinions and constructions, each one making the author a little or sometimes a lot of money.

Now I appreciate that I am a naturally minimalist person in my approach to God. My concept of a perfect church space is the opposite of some - I would prefer a simple, empty room, walls painted a light neutral colour with just enough furnishings to facilitate people being present for several hours. Take all the 'stuff' away so that I can just meet with God and God as He is instead of how I've been told He is to be.

Of course for some, the idea of meeting God without stuff is more like hell (to loosely quote a friend).

But the point is that I just want to know Him, to be close and to hear Him for myself. And that's where I struggle with all the carefully learned junk we keep producing. Sure, if a paradigm works for you then it's likely that it will work for a few others too, but it just feels sometimes like a ceaseless flood of clever ideas instead, always being re-invented, instead of just trying to help people reconnect to God first and foremost and worrying about the technique afterward.

One of the things that prompted this was a 'conversation' (it felt more like a trial) on Diaspora. The person I was trying to talk to seemed to see all kinds of extra things in the words I used, as though there was a whole other conversation going on that I couldn't hear. I wonder if this is how it is with God sometimes, we bring all the stuff that's been patterned onto us and the conversation goes something like:

God "Hi Toni."
Me   "Oh great and mighty father, how great is your grace. I will come before you with thanksgiving and enter your courts with praise, as your word says we should do."
God "How do you feel this morning?"
Me   "Loving heavenly father, you made the sun to shine on men so that they might have joy in their hearts at the start of a new day. Your rod and your staff comfort me so I have peace."
God "Looks like it's nice and warm this morning."
Me   "Thank you, Jesus, that I can bask in the warmth of your love, the radiance of your grace to me etc etc"

This is one of the reasons why I generally avoid Christian books these days. It's not that I'm some kind of hippy, trying to get 'back to nature' so much as I want God as He is, without the add-on bits. Yes, I might develop a deeper theological understanding of various points if I read a never-ending stream of books, but I also have an expectation that my theology will deepen as I spent time with Him and read the bible anyway.

Guess this is the fundamentalist in me coming out.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Sometimes it's good to do things differently

Like this picture, taken last Saturday at Lower Heyford when we had our picnic.

I like bright, sharp, crisp and clear pictures, but that wouldn't do softly dappled sunlight any justice. Using DigiKam, after straightening it, lightness was dropped slightly and gamma increased to balance the contrast without turning it to grey mud. Next I increased saturation, but dropped vibrance to keep the colours present but softly muted fitting the mood. The image was then resized down to 900 high and sharpened just enough to bring out fine detail before applying a mild blur and finally a film grain effect. This approach kept more detail in the image, yet gave it a soft, almost painterly look.

It's a lovely spot.

Looking the other way.

And going to the opposite extreme now, there were a lot of sedges around, bobbing up and down over the grass and waiting for the evening when they would become fish food.

The long 'antennae' are actually legs, hence the knee joint half way along.


The bod, it is a changing.

Colour mostly - my shoulder & upper arm are now a nice shade of yellow, while purple marks have appeared on my left pec like someone with inky fingers grabbed me from behind. The area between my neck and the joint is also still a little swollen and warm to the touch compared to the other side, confirming that there's a lot of metabolic activity and some inflammation going on locally, presumably as part of the damage repair process. It's been frustrating to find I tire quickly, and various parts ache after just a few minutes of standing, where they are trying to support a load while compensating.

Although things are still stiff and tender, I seem to be pushing my own limits occasionally, which is good because it should help to re-establish mobility and strength when it comes to it. Hoping to manage going to bed tonight, for the first time.

Chris has also been unwell, suffering severe tiredness & exploding tummy syndrome. She was in bed about 8pm last night, and slept through to 6.30 - pretty tired!

In other (IT-related) news, the house is now networked with powerline adapters (WAY better than wireless) but my NAS box from D-Link was DOA and has had to go back, so we don't yet have our central back up and data repository sorted. I've read that it's possible to connect directly over the internet, if one can set up the gateway etc correctly - if it appears secure and feasible then I may well have a go. I had a look this morning at my ebuyer account, and the last RMA was 2004, returning a failed MoBo, so that's a pretty good history from them.

I'm already getting itchy feet on Linux distros, since so many have been released in the last few weeks. Mint Debian with Cinnamon as the desktop looks really neat and quick. Dream Linux (basically Ubuntu 12.04 with low-latency kernel and some AV tools, very much like Ubuntu Studio) also ran quickly from a bootable memory stick, and Linux Mint 13 (Maya) with the Cinnamon 1.4 desktop again ran really well, with some of the classiest animations I've seen yet in a linux distro. Finally, there's a new release of Sabayon Linux (SL9.0) out as an upgrade for existing users, and I'm half tempted to plug my 'archive' hard drive back in just to see what it looks like.

Another driver to change is that there have been new releases of my favourite software, and Comice is lagging badly behind the curve in terms of what's in the repositories. DigiKam is up to 2.5 with various refinements and better tools. Audacity has just has version 2.0 released, and this is very much a 'coming of age' upgrade to the already intuitive and powerful interface (the plugins are excellent as well). Finally GIMP 2.8 has been released with the highly desirable 'single window mode' (previously there would be at lest 2 floating toolbars plus a main window as the only option) and a bunch of new and powerful tools.

I could just install the upgrades myself, but then they wouldn't be maintained by the software manager, and might get broken in further upgrades.

And the final driver is that I'm starting to want to get back to a better way of working. I've found Comice to actually be better than OSX in the way it does window size management, but just don't like a dock-based system. If KDE wasn't quite so heavy on resources I'd have gone straight back, but I've also come to really like some of the little bits of rationalisation that have come from an Ubuntu heritage, like CD/DVD behaviour being logical (ask the OS to play or eject the disc, and it does it without fuss). Sacrilege to a Linux purist, but good sense to someone who wants to use the computer to watch movies. I'm also impressed that *most* incarnations of Ubuntu seem to have fixed their font issues (U studio seems to be the exception) and is now on a par with Apple.

So I'm just not sure yet. Might well do a trial install of Mint Debian on t'other box (with the AMD processor) just to if I like it. That may get donated still, but we'll have to see.

And if you want to try Linux risk-free, I really do recommend downloading UNetbootIn (available for Windows, mac and Linux) and making a bootable USB stick. You might be surprised how well it works - I watched a DVD in Mint 13 Cinnamon running live from a stick, and it was glitch-free.