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April 2009

A Quiet Weekend

It’s been a quiet weekend, as we couldn’t really go anywhere as Nathan has the lurgy, but I think that it was a nice one. All the usual stuff happened, with the exception of swimming, and a few other things got sorted as well. Oh yes, that’s how Nathan confesses to having done something: “Happened Daddy, Happened!”. I digress; more flatpack was built, and the new turf in the garden watered. In the latter case, the heavens have been doing their own bit to help the last 24 hours. We seem to be into rain and overcast from the glorious sun of last week.

One pleasing thing was that Jill brought back the final copies of the leaflet and poster that I’d prepared, and they look pretty good. Certainly, they look as I hoped they would and as the preview suggested. Always a good thing. So I’ve now taken an InDesign CS4 file from concept to print, which is a good thing (tm) if I’m to have a hope of preparing Wordplay properly. I know where the bodies were buried (mainly to do with discipline around paragraph styles) and used some functions I didn’t expect to (object styles). All in all, a good experience.

Nathan is bearing up well, and likely to get a trip to his grandparents to allow me to deal with some work things that I need to be in for. Jill is away on a training course in the Big Smoke, so it may end up feeling very quiet and empty around here pretty quickly. All in all, the week promises to be interesting.

Oh yes, and I’ve experimentally enabled comments on the blog!

A Pox on it! [Updated]

A dedicated follower of fashion, Nathan has decided that having Chicken Pox once was not enough. He has caught it again, which bodes well for the next week! It seems either he had a different virus last time, or that it was too mild. Camomile lotion, here we come! Chicken Pox has been going around the nursery the last month, and also in wider circles as at least one of our friends’ little boy has had it.

EDIT: This is the poster I’ve been mentioning. I’m pretty pleased with it digitally, but await the printed version nervously:

Poster for Launch Weekend

I also know the proof copy has been approved by the senior steward at the church, but I haven’t seen a final copy yet. I managed to suss out the way to do full bleed (ie pictures to the edge of the paper) and confirmed my suspicions that, despite what the Adobe website says, InDesign CS3 cannot open .INDD files from InDesign CS4 well. Luckily I did .INX and .PDF too...

EDIT: The bit I forgot. I picked up a French CD and textbook today in the hope that I can get myself some confidence back in the language before we visit the country on holiday!

Finally, I forgot to mention it yesterday, but Happy Birthday Phill (Nathan’s Godfather)! (St George’s Day, which is why it’s a birthday I am better at remembering.)

And now, finally...

It’s time for a short update...

Since the last time I wrote, Nathan has been fine, with no reoccurrence of the symptoms that sent him to hospital and no sign of any after effects. Long may this continue. As usual, he’s been bright as a button, and continues to set the pace of our lives.

Thomas Day: Big Smiles

He’s had a few special days recently, with the best probably being the Thomas Day out at the Bolton Abbey and Embsay Railway. The steam engines were all dressed up as Thomas, as was Nathan (he had his best Tank Engine outfit on and looked delightfully cute). It was Jill’s birthday, and we spent most of the day in and around the steam trains with a very excited little boy. We had a great time, and I’d recommend the day out, albeit a quite expensive one.

The other really big change is that my mum is finally out of hospital; she came out just after her birthday at the start of April, and looks a lot better for it. It’s really good to see her home, but I suspect that it’s equally hard work for my dad at the moment until mum gets some more mobility back and recovers her stamina. It’ll be a long road, but it’s great to see her out of hospital and back with us after 3 months or so away.

Big Bag of Gravel

We’ve had to re-gravel the drive after 6 years, partly because one of our neighbours insists in treating the shared section as the starting position for a 0-60 drag race in a very Demon Tweeks fashion. Anyway, after two big bags, it looks pretty good. Nathan was a star and ran and got his buckets and spades the moment that he saw the bags. I do assure you that we didn’t use child labour for this, no matter what the picture may suggest. He was also very taken with the “crane-lorry” that delivered the big bags.


Of course, from a personal position, the picture of the little lad above is the best achievement we can do. Wear him out with a life of fun and games!

I’ve had some fun gaming recently, including a run out of Singularities setting I mentioned some posts ago, for Graham’s Wordplay RPG. This went well, but prompted some questions to do with how one of the mechanics worked. Interestingly, I used my Flip Ultra to try a tutorial to explain the changes we were thinking of and it seemed to work well. I think we’ll be doing some of this kind of stuff once Wordplay is boxed off to go on the website. It has to be said that Tom Zunder played his character absolutely fantastically, double dealing and out for a quick profit in a way that really added to the fun of the game.

Work have given me a Blackberry, which I’ve yet to decide if it is a benefit or a curse. Mad busy otherwise with a major safety report.

I’ve been using InDesign CS4 in anger for the first time this last week as I have been producing some leaflets and posters for the local church. I’m on tenterhooks to know what the final result will look like as the project I’ve produced has been quite ambitious. I’ve been very impressed with the changes from CS2, and the whole workflow was much better. How much that ties to having a faster computer too, I don’t know.

We have followed up the success of the IMechE Annual Dinner in Merseyside and North Wales, held in Chester, with the IMechE Yorkshire Region’s version which Jill was key in organising. It was a more initimate affair (60-70 people rather than 250), but a great kick off for the event. The speech by Colin Brown, the IMechE’s technical director, was very good (by far the best that I’ve seen by someone in the Institution and better than the professional at Chester) and it was superb to actually see our professional body taking some steps to have a view and take a position. I took a lot of pictures, and used the Flip for the speech, and I was happy with the results. Would have been better with more notice, but you can’t win them all!

Facebook makes you lazy...

I’ve been too quiet here of late, mainly due to those black-holes of time, Facebook and Twitter. I joined Facebook a while ago, and followed up with Twitter recently, mainly to keep track of friends who use the net (a fair few don’t) a lot.

I enjoy them both, in the sense that they’re a good way to while away some slack time, but do I need them? I suspect not, as I forever tell myself that I haven’t enough time. That was until I discovered Eventbox, which is an OS X RSS reader style tool for social networks, and seems to deliver much the same functionality.


“What’s an RSS reader?” you may ask. In a nutshell, it’s a program a little like a browser that allows you to subscribe to certain websites and get summary updates on new posts. Very useful, and very time-saving. I use one called Newsfire which is pretty and effective and changed my online life. Others exist, and I believe Google has a similar tool. Eventbox promises to do the same for Social Networks. I can quickly scan all the feeds and home in on details if I want to now. Very nice, and very useful.

Eventbox came as a free program (in my case) from the recent MacHeist 3 promotion. I had written a long and rambling rant about certain individual’s response to MacHeist (James Wallis, you know who you are!) and its somewhat innovative promotion techniques, but I’ve decided that it wasn’t worth it. I followed one of the two best bits of advice a former manager game me, namely to “Save as Draft, and see if you feel the same in the morning”. I did, and I didn’t, so it’s gone.

(The other was “In projects, the key thing is to identify your long lead items and deal with them first”, but that’s a bit more specific).

Anyway, I’m hoping that this will a new start...

Adobe's Brave New World

I’ve just upgraded from Adobe Creative Suite 2 to Creative Suite 4, and I cannot believe how changed the interface is, yet still the same, and how improved it is. Plus, it’s faster than CS2 was under Leopard! Nice one Adobe; this is more what I expect from an upgrade!

Spun and rotated image by Picturesque, which was part of the MacHeist bundle!

PS Some personal posts soon, I promise...