More Blog decisions

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A little while ago I went through this whole exercise of switching our web host to mobileMe and deciding on which blog service to use. Initially, it looked like iWeb would do it all, but I found that the blog part didn't do all I wanted, namely categories.
So I went back to blogger and linked my personal domain to my blogger site and just linked back to my iWeb site, where I keep my photos and digi-scrap layouts. You'd think I'd be happy now, right?
Wrong! Of course, I can't leave well enough alone and soon got picky about the theme of my blog. I didn't really like the ones that come with blogger, so I tried to find others. A couple of Twitterers I follow helped and I found some nice ones to use.
Ahhh, so when I say use, you might think go into your dashboard, load the XML file, save and all your stuff is there in the new layout, right? Wrong, again. The themes I found were converted from WordPress to be blogger compatible, but you still had to find a place to copy image and/or javascript files. Then you had to edit the xml file to fix the file references.
Having done all that, I saved the template and went to view the blog. Hmmm, looks like the widgets I had on there before didn't make it to this new layout. Drat! Well, I guess I'll have to add them back in. Ok, no problem, I can do that...hmmm this widget doesn't display the same way it did in the other theme, and, uh, now I only have one area where I can add widgets--don't really like that (sigh)
Ok, at this point I'm starting to get into complaining mode (or perhaps whining depending on how far into it I am). This is why I switched from a PC to a MAC--I got tired of taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to do anything on the computer. I have that at work--I don't need it at home. Also, I found that as you get older, your attention span gets shorter: "geez, can't I just change the Theme and have everything work?" Yea, I know, whaa, whaa, stop whining already! Hey, it's my blog and I can vent!
So I started looking at WordPress, because I read an online survey (via a Twitter link) on what blog platform is used most and thought hey, that sounds easy enough, I'll try it...
So right away, I found out that with you can only use the themes they supply (groan) unless you use the client app with and host your own. Ok, I can deal with that, I can find one that I 'mostly' like and maybe change the colors... It's not like I don't know how to change the CSS, I don't want to if I don't have to.
Oh yea, I can't add my Amazon widget either, because it's an iFrame (nervous tick starting) and those are evil and not allowed on
I guess I'll go find my screaming pillow and practice a few colorful metaphors :)


The elusive CamelFrog

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I saw some cool animal compositions and thought I'd give it a try. I have some free Stock photos and found two that looked like they'd work for what I had in mind.
I think I got the overall alignment right, but I'm not quite happy with the transitions. I've tried clone stamping, smudging and patching followed by blending, but I'm still thinking I could do more. The green background is just so I can see better--I do have the CamelFrog on separate layers. Of course, I also have no idea what to do with it once I'm finished. Should I use it in a layout, create some appropriate background (CamelFrog environment--lush, yet dry :D)?
Anyone have any ideas?

Here it is without the background--still not quite there.


Mommy, can I have a Mac too?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We are a pretty geeky family, as evidenced, I think, by the ratio of people to computers in our house. We have wireless coverage all over the house and into the garage and the garden out back. We've had computers as early as PC's were available for the masses to purchase (and more or less affordable--which means you only had to take out a small loan).
Anyway, after much deliberation (well, maybe more of "I'm tired of fighting Vista, I wanna Mac") we both got Macs (see previous blogs) and have been very happy with them. For example, at work when I get in, I start up my PC (XP) and wait for the login stuff to come up. Meanwhile, I take the MapBook Pro out of my bag, plug in the power cable, open the lid , wait, oh about 2 seconds, and I'm ready to go.
Not so on the PC side. While I'm putting my bag away and get out my notebook, the login screen finally comes up. I log in and wait another 5 or so minutes for everything to load. But wait, that's not all, I also need to open Outlook to check mail and calendar--which takes another 5-7 minutes. One reason to sync my calendar with my iPhone is that, if I have any early meetings, at least I get a reminder, 'cause I I'd be sure to miss anything waiting Outlook.
So, what has all this to do with the title of this blog, you ask? Well, nothing, really, I just wanted to get that off my chest. :D
So, back to the computer count. There's the two Macs, then Nick has my old Dell Inspiron 8600 and Katie has Mark's (really) old Dell Inspiron 3700. Then we have the server. We had another (really really) old Dell desktop, but we finally retired that.
Both of our Kids have been using computers since they were about two. Nick, who is 9, is getting pretty good at looking for games online, so we have to make sure he doesn't start downloading a bunch of junk. We used the IE parental controls for a while, but it got to be such a hassle when we have to approve every single page that pops up (that means you Disney!!). So we told him to let us know when he downloads something so we can check it out.
Anyway, it's been a while since we've checked his laptop and it had gotten slower and slower and he kept complaining about it. Then today he kept getting popup windows in IE, which I thought we had turned off. So we took a look at it and found that we had another default search setting, toolbar, etc, which had probably attached themselves to the last downloads. So, I went into the control panel and uninstalled them. Then I downloaded and set up FireFox for him, which we like better anyway.
So, Nick is happy and starts to go to his favorite Lego site when he keeps getting popups (in FireFox) with Windows Internet Explorer in the title bar--huh? At this point we decided it was time to just wipe everything out and re-install XP. Wen I first gave him the laptop it had all my apps uninstalled, but still had some utilities from when I used it, so we figured we might as well start over. For him, this would be like (almost) getting a new laptop.
Except of course we had forgotten how long and painful this whole 'new PC setup from scratch' was. That one of the reasons we got Macs. Well, long story short--ha! Too late, I guess. It took just about the whole day to re-install and set up the OS and we're still not done installing all the apps again. Nick, of course, is complaining how he can't do anything because all the cool websites use flash and we haven't installed it yet. This is when he says "Mommy, can't you just buy me a Mac, too?" Believe me, Kid, if I had the extra cash, I'd love to avoid wasting a weekend plus to get your OC back to where you had it, just to have the next Windows Update/Patch mess something up again!

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