Hello Again

4 06 2008

Ooh blimey, first post in some considerable time; I’ve been a little busy.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a raft of exams and various bits of revision that come with it and so haven’t really had the chance to write any new material here. But not to worry! There’s a few things I can update you on.

First is that I’ve finally managed to upgrade my MacBook’s hard drive after the screwdriver I needed arrived yesterday, a Torx T8. I ordered the screwdriver off of Maplin about a week ago and, after being out of stock for a little while, finally arrived. When it was on the floor when I opened the door in the afternoon, I whipped it open went upstairs and got straight to work. Luckily, this being the 4th or 5th time I’ve opened up the MacBook it was relatively easy and the damned screws came out with out a hitch and in less the 5 minutes, it was done.

After the hassle I had with SuperDuper before, I decided that I’d just use Time Machine to restore to the new drive and it worked a charm. For anyone interested upgrading their hard drive, here’s the guide I followed over on MacInstruct and also the article that gave me the confidence to go ahead with the Time Machine route on DuncanDavidson.com, a very informative piece and also highlights some of the things that arne’t quite right straight away such as Mail having to rebuild it’s database, a process that took about 30 seconds with my thousand odd inbox.

In other news, that damned camera’s still on the walkabouts, looks like the day-to-day shot’s are a bit busted now then. Sorry guys.

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24 05 2008

As you may have noticed if you look at the time-stamp of my posts, there has a been a distinct lack of photos in the day-to-day photo series due to one very simple reason; I’ve lost my camera. Well, I say lost, it’s really at a friends house but you know how it is, it’s all the way at there’s and only having seen them the other day, barging back to just get hold of the ol’ camera may seem a little annoying. But let me assure you, when I do, eventually, get it back, I’ll update the series and then post the animated GIF that I found out how to create the other day. 🙂

In other news, the exams for this week are over and didn’t go too badly at all, I was pleasantly surprised truth be told. The first of the set of Maths, English, Science and DF are done and so we get a week off for half-term and then start again the week after, no rest for the wicked ey.

I’ll make sure I get that camera…

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23 05 2008

So as you may have read below, I am now happily set up with Firefox 3 RC1 on my Mac and have had no troubles as of yet, bar one.

I’m a massive tab user and usually have at least 5 open at any one go (like when you see somehting useful and think to yourself ‘Oh I’ll have a look at that later’ and then leave it in it’s own tab) and there was no apparent way to esaily navigate through these tabs via the keyboard, which is the biggest annoyance after moveing from Safari which use Cmd+Shift+Left or Right Arrow/[,] all until I stumbled across this post on WordPressGarage which stated that Ctrl+the number of the tab, ie, Ctrl+2 for the second tab selects the corresponding tab and so after translating this to Mac – replacing Ctrl with Cmd – I am now happily set with browsing through the myriad of tabs. 🙂

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My Firefox Experience

22 05 2008

Ah the beloved Firefox, hailed as the saviour of the opensource world and browsers alike. I have to admit though, that for the last few months I’ve been an adiment Safari 3 user since I switched to my MacBook last November.

When I was still on Windows I was a devoted Firefox user and barely even touched IE7, let alone IE6. However, when it came to my decision to start saving for the MacBook and Steve Job’s announcement that Safari 3 Beta would be coming to Windows, I hopped on the bandwagon, though, I do have good reasoning. The logic behind my decision was so that I could build up the bookmarks that I had on Firefox as well as getting to grips with how everything worked when it came to D-Day and I went OS X.

So after making the switch to Mac I carried on using Safari 3, though the main reasoning behind using it on Windows – building up a bookmark database to import onto the Mac – backfired. It wouldn’t import. After that little set back I decided to carry on using Safari but I felt the pull of Firefox on my shirt and so I caved in a week or two later and downloaded Firefox 2 as it was then.

I think it’s fair to say the after the suave and smooth look of Safari 3, and it’s Leopard window UI counterparts, the Firefox 2 UI looked dreadful. No, really. Even after themeing it it was still no where near as nice to use or look at as it’s exotic cousin and so I ditched Firefox and landed back on my Safari where I stayed until, again, I felt the need for Firefox in it’s current incarnation as Firefox 3 Beta.

Unfortunately, it still looked… crap. And so after another mediocre fling with Miss F. I ended back on Safari.

So let’s skip forward until last night (yes, this doesn’t make it a very in-depth review but the sentiment’s there) and a little post on Lifehacker about the new features in Firefox 3 (now Release Candidate 1 incidentally) and how they make numerous plug-ins for Firefox 2 redundant and so, again, I decided to give it just one little last try.

And boy am I glad I did. The interface now actually exceeds that of Safari, it really is very nice. I especially like the new bookmarks bar aswell as the redesigned, Leaoprd-esque buttons and colouring. Another, slightly bizzarre I admit, feature I like is the rounded URL and Google Search box’s, Safari has the rounded search box but the URL box is just plain old square; what a let down.

And so now that I’m on Firefox I can finally take advantage of the raft of plug-ins and features that Safari didn’t support and also return to the fabulous auto-complete search term in the Google search box, the Safari plug-in that I had to use to get a familiar function, Inquisitor, was no where near as nice or accurate to use.

I also love the bookmarks sidebar. The full screen method of Safari is no where near as nice to use and who needs to see an entire page of book marks anyway, being a list, they tend to go down rather than across but that’s just my preference.

So that concludes my little round-up of my Firefox experiences over the past 6 months or so, I hope it was enjoybale to read and maybe some of you may make the jump to the much improved Firefox 3, RC 1. 🙂

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A Slight Hickup

21 05 2008

I thnk I’ll make a change to the usual post and let you in to a little story.

So the other day I was happily importing some more music into iTunes when I noticed I only had 3GB free on my MacBook’s hard drive. Oh dear.

So after doing some shopping around I found a 250GB WesternDigital hard drive and 4GB of RAM (an upgrade I’d been telling myself to do for a while now) and ordered promptly. I would like to note that I specifically ordered it so that it would arrive after 12 o’clock when I would be home from my exam. Typically enough, the only time when I want it later than I ordered, it arrives 45 minutes early at 11:15. Not only does it not get delivered at the time I set, and paid for, it then gets returned to the depot so I have to re-schedule it! Anyways, this was yesterday and so it finally arrived this afternoon (a big thank you to the next door neighbour who took it in 🙂 ).

So after I returned home from another exam I got to work cloning the original drive to the new one, a very slow process I assure you, and not only does it take an age, it gets to 97% done and then hits an error and has to abort! I was using SuperDuper for those interested.

So by this point I was rather disgruntled with the whole ordeal and decided that I would just go with restoring from a Time Machine back up like I had originally intended, so anyway, I made one final last backup and then shutdown and popped the hood.

I decided to start with the one component that I had upgeraded before, the RAM, which went much smoother than I remembered last time. I then slid the HDD out of slot and began to follow the instructions on Macinstruct and hit another problem. Not having the right bloody screwdriver. Now my father is a builder and general handyman and even after searching through his entire tool set there was no sign of the elusive “Torx T8 Screwdriver” or even one looking remotely similar for that matter.

So now we return to the present after deciding to ditch the HDD upgrade for today and just to enjoy the new 2GB of RAM which I have to say makes a vast imprvement and now it’s only ~£60 for the 4GB set, you can’t go wrong.

After my final exam of the week tomorrow I’ll pay a friendly trip to the local hardware store where I *hope* they’ll have the wretched screwdriver and try again tomorrow.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks 🙂

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Day 4

20 05 2008

Here’s the 4th installment in the day-to-day series, still not a lot has changed unfortunately.

If anyone has any other good ideas then please leave a note in the comments.


In other news I sat my English Literature exam today, an hour and 45 of ‘Of Mice And Men’ and poems, I could barely contain my excitement. However, Science tomorrow, much more up my street.


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19 05 2008

I hate to admit it, but I’m an absolute sucker when it comes to Photoshop brushes and so when it comes to free resources such as Brusheezy, I just can’t help myself. 

Now that I’ve added their RSS feed, I’m never more than a couple of minutes away from the latest and greatest brush to come about and, not only does it provide me with some more tools, it gives my imagination plenty to consume after looking at the artists preview images. 

To anyone currently not taking advantage of these resources, now would be a fantastic time to start. Not only can you create more consistent shapes than you could by hand but you can also easily impress your mates and, possibly, clients, with an image you created with a simple gradient backdrop and a smattering of the new shapes, although be prepared to be in-undated with comments along the lines of “Did you create those *insert shape here* by yourself?!” and, if feeling less than modest, you can go and claim you did, although for honesty’s sake, say “No, but my imagination led to the masterpiece you see here”… It’s a guideline at least.

There is a point to this post, I promise. After looking through various sites I thought to myself “Here’s something I can’t get enough of, maybe someone else would like to have a look at my favourite brush sites”. Well, not those exact words but when it came to writing down my thoughts, that sounded concise.

So here’s the run-down of my favourite brush sites, starting from the top *I didn’t even try to get them in alphabetical order, they’re ranked by how much I like them. 🙂

  • Brusheezy – As their tagline says: stupid name, cool brushes; and I assure you, there are plenty of extremely cool brushes on offer. All the brushes here are free and user submitted and so are mostly royalty free (though check the specific brush) which makes them perfect for your own work or paid-for commissions. Not only does this site contain hundreds of brushes, it also has a range of patterns on offer which, to me at least, tops it all off.
  • deviantART – Second to Brusheezy is devinatART’s brush section. The brushes here are of typical dA quality, ie, *usually* very high, as well as nearly all of them being of high resolution – perfect for those larger projects.
  • myPhotoshopBrushes – A site that I’ve only found recently and is quite fantastic. Not quite as much content as that of Brusheezy or deviantART but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quailty; a very impressive showing.
  • PSBrushes – Lastly on this little list is PSBrushes, another site that I’ve found useful. The content isn’t quite as nicely presented as that of the other contenders but the content’s there, and plenty of it. The previews provided also aren’t quite as good as those of Brusheezy or devaintART for example, and so it’ll take a bit more trial and error to find the gems on offer.
Well that wraps up my tiny review of Photoshop brushes that I use, but I hope it may prove useful to an aspiring Photoshopper out there or simply help pass a few hours creating a nice little piece. 🙂

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