Sunday, September 17, 2006

Potatoes on the way

Julie gave me instructions on building a potato tower, so today I did it She 'seeded' me with three potatoes - a kipfler, a King Edward, and a Nicola. The tower is really a hessian bag, and it is supported with a circlet of chicken wire. Let's hope they do their stuff!

Today is the first time I have used the Blog This button on Picasa, having downloaded the pics from our new Canon digital camera to the laptop. Also for the first time we have viewed photos from the camera on our TV. Wowee.

On Monday night we are going to Japan for a week, and I have been deliberating hard about what camera(s) to take. The small digital? Portable, for sure. The video camera? Also portable. But no, the purist in me has ruled for the Canon EOS Elan 7e SLR, with both lenses, the remoter, the tripod, and five rolls of slide film. The camera shop man looked at me as though I was from the Dark Ages when I asked for slide film, and recommended a digital SLR as my next purchase. No, I love my EOS (it is my second) and we LOVE slide nights. Maybe one day.

This weekend we were surrounded by babies. On Saturday we celebrated Rosie Wendy Steeden-Beach's Australia naming ceremony, and we were surrounded by babies. Rose was a dab hand at turning her head away from the camera as soon as it was pointed in her direction.

Then later on Saturday we celebrated our neighbour's finished renovations. More babies, ranks of prams, wall to wall plastic toys. It makes us happy to see all these future taxpayers coming up the ranks!

Pics from Japan will be uploaded as they become available in the coming weeks. Digitals quicky, but the slides will take a little longer.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Technomoment 2

An age ago I blogged about setting up our "home entertainment" centre. (Really, the Pug provides as much entertainment as one needs.) Well I have to confess that I didn't entirely succeed. Yes, the set top box worked with the television. Yes, the DVD/VCR worked with the television. Yes, they both worked with the hi-fi system. But the set top box would not work through the DVD/VCR, and that precluded recording anything off digital television, and necessitated lots of button pressing to switch between the two. Months went by. Confidence failed. Finally, we called in an expert. Hmmm, he said, after fiddling with all the same buttons and cables I had done. He pronounced the set top box faulty. (On later reflection I don't really think it was, I think it needed a different setup and more cables.)

Sigh. We took it back to the long-suffering Harvey Norman where we had bought it, and showed them the receipt and diagnosis from the expert. They replaced it.

We took it home, and I set about connecting it all up once more. I had some brainwaves that resulted in an emergency dash for another s-video cable. It all seemed to work ... except that now we couldn't watch any videotapes (DVDs just fine.) Another component cable was plugged in. Does everyone else have a cable stash as well as a yarn stash?

Finally, everything was hunky dory, it all works. Most of the time. Sometimes the set top box decides to get stuck, so it has to be re-booted.

But Sunday night came a crisis. Searching for something to watch I plumped for Quark. Quark is one of my very favourite ancient TV series, and Julie can attest to that. She finally found me (on ebay) tapes of all the episodes. I shoved one in, the picture appeared, but NO SOUND! Oh my god! What have I done now?? Too shocked (and too late at night) to try any cable wiggling, I substituted a cooking program on DVD. That was fine.

A day later, feeling stronger, I put Quark back in. Same thing. Tried another video... sound was just fine. Oh NO! It must be my Quark tapes! An emergency read of the manual led me to try manual tracking. Found the buttons, pressed them, and lo and behold everything was fine. The picture improved, the sound was heard. PHEW! Quark defeated Zorgon the Malevolent, Ficus the Vegeton was delivered from the clutches of Zorgon's daughter Libido, and the rest of the team went back to being galactic garbage collectors.

Now by coincidence, on Thursday and Friday last week I attended a two-day seminar on (wait for it) preservation metadata in building trusted digital repositories. Fascinating. But this close call means I now know that preservation of my Quark episodes is extremely important and that I must quickly transfer those precious tapes to a digital format and entrust them to some trusted repository out there somewhere.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Project pipeline

I am told that it is good to have many projects on the go. A small portable one for public transport, a veggie-knitting one in stockinette for watching TV, and a highly complex one to keep you interested.

Right now, I only have two projects going. The first is the veggie-knitting black jumper, and I have finished the back. The second is slightly more complex. I had three and a half balls of white Rowan Cotton Glace left over from a cardigan I did years ago. Expensive stuff, and I couldn't waste it. It is now being knitted up into a baby pram blanket, with a moss stitch border and a middle of the "Little Birds" stitch from the Harmony Book of Knitting Stitches. Pictures will be posted when I have made further progress.

I finished Tam 2, and that was fun and very successful. When I get it off my mother's head I will post a pic of it (and when the digital camera is repaired.)

But what's in the pipeline? Always a question for us knitters.
  1. I have two balls of purple Elann sock wool, and am contemplating the sock pattern I want to use. Toe-up, I think, as I haven't done that before.
  2. Then there are the five different colours of Bambi which will go into a new tam for my cleaning lady's daughter.
  3. And for variety I have a kit for a beaded purse, small black beads, from PurseParadise. I'll post a picture later from home. (I'm doing this at work, where Content Keeper keeps me from all the good knitting and crafty websites)
  4. And just the other day I couldn't resist buying Knitting Out of Africa, (hope that link works) and am going to have to decide which one of those glorious creations will be mine.
Is that enough? Even as I write I am thinking about the daffodil tea cosy that I really do need.