Sunday, March 15, 2009

Three Weeks (on my wagon and I'm still rolling along!)

Sorry - not a lot to Blog about - resting is hard work! Actually boredom is a good sign - I think that it shows that my body is getting over the battering and wants to get on again.  I've got loads more flexibility in my arm movements - although I still get discomfort in my shoulder, normally at the start and end of the day. 

One of the problems of having time on my hands is that I have been able to research and purchase some new gadgets.  Because of the challenge of holding my new camera to my eye to take pictures I have bought a tripod. Actually you have two bits to buy, the actual tripod and then the head that you mount the camera on.  The head allows the camera to be moved around but also includes a spirit level to ensure that the picture taken is level.  Getting level pictures is quite hard for me, especially if I am using my small Sony camera.  Mind you both Photoshop Elements and Picasa make it easy to get things level again.  (They are the two programs I use for reviewing and editing my pictures.)  In the end I went to - which has a load of info including videos on various subjects including choosing and using tripods.  I got a Manfrotto tripod and head in the end.

I have also bought myself a Graphics Pad (Wacom Bamboo fun - medium) so that I can use a pen when editing pictures.  In my past I used to design silicon chips - in the early days it was a job that involved, amongst other things, drawing a lot of shapes on a computer so I have used pretty much most types of mouse/pen interface. The pen makes it easier to be more precise when trying to tweak things.  One other bonus is that I can also use it to "write"  instead of type. An advantage when one arm is not working so well. Here is an attempt at a self-portrait.  No not drawn from memory - one feature that is pretty neat is that you can load up and then trace over a picture.  So I created this for use as an Email signature - only I use it at a slightly smaller size.

We have had a few postal deliveries recently. I use Amazon as the main website for my Internet shopping - their delivery tends to be the best in my experience. In this case the delivery company driver, who had seen me in my sling commented to my wife on his third visit in three days that it'll be a cheaper  when my shoulder has mended and I've got something to keep me occupied.

I have also been watching a TV series called Scrapheap Challenge - in fact two complete series were available on - 30-odd programs.  Essentially two teams are given the challenge of building a machine in 10 hours - the challenge being that they are based in a Scrapyard and have to source the bits for the machine from the scrapyard.  The two machines are then subject to a competitive test.  The machines range from snowmobiles through to human-powered rail vehicles.  For a geek like me it was a great way to pass the time - but had me wondering whether I should get myself some welding kit.  As a student I attended a course in Sheffield where I was taught to weld - it was great fun, we used all sorts of kit.  In the end common sense prevailed and instead I bought the book one of the presenters had written about the series.  

Yes I bought it via the Amazon website - although it was out of print and I bought one second hand from an "affiliate?" - the book cost 1p the post and packing £2.75 - I guess that the supplier then ends up paying less to Amazon that way - it does seem slightly odd though.  The book was a good read though.

One other bit of good luck - yes I am doing far too much web-browsing - I won a mobile broadband dongle in a competition.  You had to answer a simple question and 1000 lucky contestants then won a dongle - I know probably a way of getting more people using their services but hey it was free.

One final "rant".  If you check out the following webline - it reports on a day the local police spent in Histon (where I was knocked off my bicycle) checking for driving offences.  It turns out that they caught 180 drivers including 71 not wearing seat-belts and 41 using mobile phones whilst driving.  I had not realised what a hotbed of vehicular misdemeanours  Histon was - yet it is quite a small place. 

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