Click for a much larger image.
Photographed in Edinburgh Zoo today – through glass (naturally)
Olympus E-PM1 with 45mm f1.8 lens
1/250th second at f4.0 and -1 exposure compensation.
This is another grunge cherry blossom shot from the Meadows in Edinburgh.
And here’s a link to an article on the glass and steel buildings in London that peep from behind the older buildings like invaders in HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds.
And here is a link to an article about old and modern attitudes to the European Union – and an old French poster from the early days when the union was proposed.
And to round off this Friday afternoon – a shot I took last week of the Euro protecting the downtrodden outside the European Union Parliament in Brussels.
I saw a grunge photo of a lone flower in a vase, and I thought I would try with a shot of the cherry blossom I photographed in Edinburgh today.
The little figure walking along reminds me of a figure in a naive painting.
The weather has been borderline amazing – everything from bright sun to hail – and all in one day.
When I was in conversation with front-end web developers trying to describe a certain kind of website appearance that I liked, I would name those that I had in mind.
One of them was A List Apart. I liked the overall effect of the pages very much.
It’s hard to say why. I think many visual effects operate at a level that defies being explained aloud.
Be that as it may, a while ago I looked at A List Apart, and it had changed. It was now 21st century with a capital S (for SHOUT). I can’t take the new appearance. I feel like I have to stand up and walk back a few paces so that the page is less in my face.
Who reads A List Apart? Well, as it describes itself – ‘For People Who Make Websites’.
I made a screen grab of the old style page and chose to grab it at 1,000px wide by 700px tall. But with the new design, even 1,000px wide couldn’t grab the whole of the page as it displays on my Macbook Pro.
I do. I think the new design looks bad. I think it’s uncomfortable to read.
Please take a moment to look at A List Apart (the link opens in a new window/tab) – because you really have to see it full size to understand what I mean – and maybe let me know what you think?
The Web Archive doesn’t store everything on the web, but it stores a lot of sites and a lot of pages. The page I grabbed is from a random date in 2011, but for a popular site like A List Apart, there were many from which to choose.
I just clicked a link on the A List Apart site, and it goes to A Book Apart. Strangely, that page is more in the old style of the site.
We got back last Thursday from a week in Brussels. It was a dual-purpose visit – part holiday and part investigation – and we wrote about it on the Quillcards Blog under the title Brussels – Hiding in Plain Sight.
Please consider taking a look and commenting.
Meanwhile, the photo here is a shot of one of the buildings in the Grand Place in Brussels. I took it using the Camera+ app on my iPhone and then ran it through the PhotoStudio app which has some ‘effects’ including this one named Burnt Paper.
I took most of the photos during the week with my Olympus E-PM1 and a little kit zoom lens that worked out pretty well. It’s a 14-42mm lens that is equivalent to a 28-84mm in standard 35mm, so it covers that range from pretty wide to short tele.
The lens costs less than £70.00 (about $105.00) so it is not expensive as lenses go. And it closes up fairly small as well. All in all – not as sharp as the 45mm Olympus I have, but good enough.
I have been using Notational Velocity (nVALT) for a couple of years. It’s a note-taking app (Mac only), built by Brett Terpstra that describes itself as:
… a way to take notes quickly and effortlessly using just your keyboard. You press a shortcut to bring up the window and just start typing. It will begin searching existing notes, filtering them as you type.
A couple of things I like about it are that it saves work automatically, and any URLs that I type in are kept as live links. There’s more, including the ability to type using Markdown markup language.
I could use nVLT to format drafts of blog posts – but the Markdown keystrokes are not second nature to me, so I don’t use them. *
MacUser – my favourite Mac magazine – has a feature this month on note-taking apps, including nVALT and a similar app named Nottingham.
I’ve had a Simplenote account for a while (probably a couple of years or more) but just don’t use it. It’s web-based and there are also iPhone and iPad app versions.
Simplenote can be used as a standalone web-based note-taking service.
Here’s the thing though. It can also be used to backup or sync your other note-taking apps.
In other words, if you want to back up the stuff on the note-taking app on your computer, you can back it by syncing to Simplenote.
And/or if you have a home machine and a travel machine – you can sync your note-taking app on both machines via Simplenote.
What I didn’t know until I took another look at Simplenote today is that it is now owned by Automattic – the makers of WordPress.
Here’s an extract from the Simplenote blog post of Jan 24th this year:
Simplenote has a new home! Our company, Simperium, has been acquired by Automattic, makers of WordPress.com. We think this’ll be great for everyone, especially you, our beloved fans
So there you have it: Use Simplenote as a web-based note-taking app, or use it to sync or backup your machine-based note-taking app.
Markdown is both ‘plain text markup syntax’ and a software tool that converts plain text markup to HTML.
In plain English, it is a simple way of writing an article that contains the code to make text that displays with formatting and that can also be displayed as a web page.
For example, it can make bold text and italic text, as well as headings and links. It was invented by Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball fame and you can read about it on Daring Fireball.
There is more than one flavour of version of Markdown, and the one we use on Quillcards is slightly different from Jon Gruber’s original version. The reason is that when people are writing text in ecards, they expect that the return key will start a new paragraph – except that in the original Markdown it doesn’t. With Jon’s version, it requires two returns keystrokes to start a new paragraph – one keystroke just makes a line break.
So the version we use is the Github-Flavored Markdown.
I am slowly learning the Markdown keystrokes almost by default because, as I say, our own site at Quillcards uses Markdown markup language.
The MadMimi email service that I use also uses Markdown, and as does Google+, and as does Marsedit, which I do use for writing blog posts.
Here are a few examples Of Markdown Syntax
## Put two hash marks at the beginning of a line to make larger size text.
*Put an asterisk either side of the text to make italics.* ( works with underscores as well _ )
**Put double asterisks either side of the text to make bold text.**
First the free font – which is available from Creative Market – and is named AZ Claire. It is by Andre Zottolo of AristofDesign. Normally it is $20.00, so grab it quick.
And here it is:
Secondly, I passed a flower shop and bought a Calla Lilly. I really should have set up my tripod and checked the light, but time was pressing, so I just shot and hoped. I do too much of that.
I went into the customisation options for this theme to see whether I could change the colour of the font in the sidebar because it seems a bit unclear. That is, the contrast between the yellow font and the white background means that I have to peer to see the lettering.
I don’t mean that I actually bend forward towards the screen, lift my fictitious glasses, squint, and utter small sounds while trying to make out the lettering.
I mean that inside my semi-conscious mind, my inner ‘me’ is doing that.
Notice that the yellow lettering changes to dark blue when you bring your mouse over any of the sidebar widgets. It is so much easier to read with the mouse at on-hover over a particular sidebar widget.
But that is not the default position for a general view of the page, and the yellow is too light and unclear, in my opinion.
I went into the customisation options, to see whether it was possible to change the colour of the font. There didn’t seem to be an option to do this, so I went into the custom upgrade options.
That’s when I saw the information (see the image above) that the option to change the colours will be available at some time in the future – and without buying the custom upgrade, of course.
The Superhero theme is made by Automattic (the makers of WordPress), so I would think it would be high on the list of themes for which they will be making this feature active.
The Superhero theme is available for self-hosted WordPress sites and I have this site that I keep for testing themes, which is at DBWORDPRESS.COM.
I went into it and activated Superhero, and then in the stylesheet CSS I changed the colours of the font in the sidebar from #F6C628 (yellow) to the same colour blue as the headings in the main body content, which is #1E4A66.
Then, when WordPress.com introduces Custom Colors, I will have done the groundwork and be able to change the colour straight away to something that ‘works’.
I use Colors On The Web for playing around with colour palettes. Go to Color Tools in the main navigation bar and click on Color Wizard in the drop-down menu. That will bring up an interactive color-matching application like you can see here.
You can start from scratch or you can input a hexadecimal if you have one that you want to use. Then you have various choices like the one shown here – ‘split complimentary’.
By the way, the font in Superhero is Carrois Gothic, which is a Google font, available by going to the Google fonts pages.
Have you tried Rebel Mouse? I am not sure where it is going with its service (oh, yes – they introduced a ‘pro’ service recently) – but whatever may or may not happen with the service, it is pleasant to see all my posts gathered in from here and there.
And I have a couple of extra tabs set so that I can see the latest updates from one or two people. I’ve got tabs for Bianca Bosker from the Huffington Post, and Kristi Hines from Kikolani.com
As you might see, my URL is https://www.rebelmouse.com/moi
The word culture comes from the Latin word meaning to cultivate, as in agriculture. It gained its modern usage in the 1800s.
What is this culture of which we speak?
Is in the brightly-coloured baubles in the shops?
Is it in the high-flown opera to which I do not go?
Is it in the book I am reading?
Is it in the conversations I have?
Where is it when the conversation runs dry?
Where is it when I am silent and meditating on my breathing?
Is it given to me or do I have to find the key?
Is there more to come or is this all there is?