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Dom Mooney's Website

June 2008

Faster, Faster, PowerPoint!

It's been an evening of updates on the computers - some OS X patches, and then two wacking great Microsoft Office updates. These are 11.5.0 for Office 2004 (which I still have on the machine for speed for Powerpoint, and for VBA compatibility on Excel) and 12.1.1 for Office 2008. Although the latter was only flagged in passing as having some minor performance gains, it has made a really significant difference to the speed of PowerPoint 2008 on the G4 processor, moving it to the point of being usable, which was quite a shock. Word seems to have got nippier too, although that is more subjective, as it could always update faster than I could type.

Thank you Microsoft, this moves in the right direction. Now, restore the access to VBA macros in Excel and I'll be very very happy! Of course, Scrivener still meets my writing needs!


Currently feeling: Surprised
Currently listening to: Nothing.
Currently reading: Lost in Transmission (Wil McCarthy).

On the Beach

We've just had a lovely week away in the Southern-most part of Devon, the South Hams. We stayed in a bijou chocolate box cottage in Galmpton, just outside Hope Cove.

Elliots Cottage, our home for the week.

Nathan had his first visit to the beach, and loved it. Thanks to Water-Babies, he wasn't scared of the water; however, he was unsure of the waves when the sea was a bit choppy.

Wading out to sea!
Hope Cove adventures.

We generally chilled out – as much as one can do with an energetic 17 month old – and visited the beach everyday, and had a few trips to Salcombe and Kingsbridge. The weather was glorious, aside from the day we arrived when we were greeted by a thunder and hail storm.

On the Beach!
Having fun at Hope Cove.

I read much less than usual (only 4 books), but did a bit of work on a secret RPG project (tm) which was good, and got me back into writing stuff. It was a real shame to have to head back home, and if I have one regret it was that we only had 7 days there.

Rock Pools
Rock Pool fun.

The South Hams are a lovely part of the world, and I spent a lot of time there as a child as my parents regularly took a cottage there as our main holiday. I'd recommend it wholeheartedly. Nathan loved it!

Loving it!

The journey back and forth got spread over three days each time to ease things on Nathan, and we stayed at my parents' house in Cheshire and my aunt (and godmother) and uncle's house in Somerset. With the exception of one leg, he was as good as gold! Our only worry on the journey was whether we'd be able to get fuel with the Shell Tanker driver's strike, but we didn't have a problem.

All in all, a lovely break away from things (especially as the mobile signal was poor!).

Currently feeling: Tired but relaxed
Currently listening to: Nothing.
Currently reading: The Wellstone (Wil McCarthy).

iPod a-go-go

Gadgets are one of my weaknesses, but also one of those things that Jill says that to get me one every now and again keeps me quiet. However, with a young Nathan around, it doesn't always make sense to be chasing the newest and best (hence my computers are still G4 PPCs and so on).

Anyway, I was a reasonably early adopter of the iPod (with a 30Gb 3rd Gen model) thanks to my gorgeous wife buying me one back in 2003 when I became a chartered engineer, and despite having travelled several times around the world, it's still going strong. About the only thing that disappoints is the 6-8 hour battery life, which seems low against the 14+ hours that Jill's 5.5G 80Gb iPod manages. If you're on a long flight, or train journey, with no scope to recharge then it's a pain. We did have a Belkin external battery pack, but haven't seen it since we came back from Australia in 2005 (!).

Anyway, I idly googled iPod batteries and now have a significantly higher powered one from
iPodjuice.com, which I fitted and charged last night. It cost a very reasonable $36, or around £18 at the time I ordered, so slipped under the import tax limits. The fitting was a challenge, but the kit that came with it was spot on, as were the instructions. The internals of the iPod are something to behold with lots crammed in. Anyway, in theory I've about 80% more power, so I'm hoping for a battery life much closer to Jill's unit.

The only other thing that could do with improving is the HDD space, but I'm managing that by being selective as to what I sync from iTunes.

Happy Winking

Brief Update

Okay, it's been over a month since I last properly put some posts together, but life (at work and home) has been busy, and we've been away to Devon (more on that later, as I'm waiting for the photos to complete uploading to Flickr) on holiday and visiting as well. I'll remedy this drought over the next few days, honest.