New Editor, no not Osborne

I have several excuses for not blogging more often than I do, and many of these reasons are almost entirely spurious. In my defence, although my claim that “a hundred giraffes prevented me from reaching my keyboard”, the truth is that the number was far less. Exactly a hundred less, in fact.

One thing I do find slows me down is the WordPress editor, which seems to conspire against me a lot of the time, particularly when it comes to placing pictures, or general layout considerations.

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Whilst looking on the internet for substantial giraffe excluders, I came across the program I am using now – Open Live Writer, which is a free piece of software that is, essentially, Microsoft Word, but connected to your blog. Well, my blog. In theory, it should allow me to use a Word-like program, which I am extremely familiar with, to create my posts. Here goes… I am going to place some pictures of small cute animals I met last week at the Small Breeds Farm in Kington all over the page and see what happens.

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I still need to publish this as a draft to my blog first because I don’t seem to be able to set up the Featured Image and the Twitter message, but it is still quicker to write and handle the pictures in Open Live Writer first. Oh, and picture captions don’t seem to be a thing either.

OK, well that seemed easier! Now, where to buy those giraffe excluders…

oOo

Open Live Writer is available as an app thingy from the Windows store – I think it only runs on Windows 10 at the moment.

Categories: General silliness, Writing | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Dodging the Landfill

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Waste Generated by this Exercise

The choices for my (t)rusty old PC were pretty clear: replace or reuse. The former was the easy option, although there was the small matter of a new hard drive and a new graphics card fitted 18 months and 6 months ago, respectively. The latter was hard to believe as being even possible – after all, operating systems are made obsolete to make you buy a new machine, right?

I like my desktop machine. It has two screens attached to allow me to write and research simultaneously (and by that, I mean gaze half the time at a blank page and the other half at social media), something that isn’t quite possible with a laptop. Its Vista operating system worked well enough.

Not for long. Vista will be ditched completely by Microsoft in  April and most browsers no longer work properly with it anyway (I had put up with Firefox’s shenanigans for the last year but only just. I have less hair as a result.).

 

So, my delight at discovering that I could upgrade for fifteen quid to Windows 7, still supported until 2020, was more than it should have been for so mundane a reason. And after about 9 hours, the upgrade worked and my beloved desktop PC was once more running, albeit with a Chrome browser rather than Firefox (which seemed to just collapse under the regime of a new operating system).

No waste to trouble landfill, no energy needed to produce new hardware, no packaging to recycle.

This is how technology is supposed to be in the 21st century, isn’t it?

oOo

Categories: computers, recycling, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ascent of Machine

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Kodomoroid will read the newspaper to you but probably not do a sudoku or understand the cartoons

Their faces, if that’s what you can call them, stare out from the display cases, imploring you to imagine that they are still alive, telling you the stories of their lives from all that time ago. You know that these are relics of the past, from a time before evolution had shaped the common features that everyone recognises, the delicate noses, the deep eye sockets, the curved forehead.

You know this and are comforted by it. These faces belong to a bygone age when things were less civilised.

Then one of them moves.

Its eyes open wide and a perfectly pitched voice says “Well, hello there! Aren’t you a shiny, happy person?”

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Winner of the “Creepiest Robot Ever” Award

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“To be or not to be”, that depends on your programming

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The Grand-Daddy of them all – well, some of them

When I go to the Natural History Museum in London, and gaze at my ancestors’ skulls, I find it a little disconcerting. These were real people once, from the dawn of human time, from before we as a species started to mess things up properly.

The row of old robots I found in the Science Museum in London were a mixture of the scarily realistic and the just plain creepy. And one was a movie star, so not a ‘real’ robot at all.

One day, you might imagine these machines (and their descendants) being in the Natural History Museum, with some cyborgic entity laughing at how primitive their ancestors looked and how they seemed so ape-like, before heading off to recharge “the ol’ batteries” (possibly literally) at one of the museum’s cafés.

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All me own teeth!

“Robots – The 500-year Quest to make machine Human” is on at the Science Museum London until 3rd September 2017 or until a robot army liberates the exhibits.

oOo

Categories: computers, Films | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Hungry Birds – The Movie

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The bird feeder at Denmark Farm attracts all sorts of avian visitors, hungry for peanuts and a natter with their mates. Here is a time lapse movie, shot over five and a half hours and compressed to just under four minutes so that you can see how fast those peanuts disappear! And watch for a few non-blue tit arrivals too!

oOo

Categories: birds, camera, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Wednesday Space

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Wednesdays’ don’t fare well in song lyrics. The best they can hope for is Freddie Mercury bicycling in their evening*; the worst must surely be Robert Smith who plans for either a broken heart or a heart attack** (he clearly isn’t a fan of Tuesday either).

Even Paul Simon decided that early on a Wednesday morning was the perfect time to ponder the recklessness of his youth and the fact he had just robbed an off-licence***.

My Wednesdays are far less eventful, and thank goodness. There are too many hills for bicycling, my heart is perfectly fine thank you very much, and I think the nearest off-licence is about twenty miles away, and possibly located in 1996. No, I choose to come here – my “office” at Denmark farm – to work on the two books I am currently writing.

Out the window there are birds squabbling over the peanuts in the bird feeder. I have a camera set up taking a picture every 15 seconds. After a few hours, I will retrieve it and put together a time lapse movie of bird shenanigans. Meanwhile, I am in an old mansion in a Scottish forest in 2083, about to fool my main character into thinking he has found his grail – a tin of baked beans.

And even better, someone has just brought me a cup of coffee.

What’s with Wednesdays? They’re great!

oOo

* I go out to work on Monday morning
Tuesday I go off to honeymoon
I’ll be back again before it’s time for sunny-down,
I’ll be lazing on a Sunday afternoon
Bicycling on every Wednesday evening
Thursday I go waltzing to the zoo (Lazing on  a Sunday Afternoon, Queen)

** Tuesday Wednesday break my heart (Friday I’m in Love, The Cure)

*** My life seems unreal,
My crime an illusion,
A scene badly written
In which I must play.
Yet I know as I gaze
At my young love beside me,
The morning is just a few hours away. (Wednesday Morning 3 a.m.)

Categories: Auguste, Writing | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

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