Category Archives: Uncategorized

Color and Light

I was given a copy of the book Color and Light by James Gurney for Xmas, if you are at all interested in painting, no matter what media you use, take time to have a look at this book. The explanations are enlightening (pardon the pun) and structured in bite sized chunks that makes learning easy.  The book is full of diagrams and illustrations and is a pleasure to browse. I’ve learnt things that I wished I’d known when I was much younger! You can find the book here and James Gurney’s blog here gurneyjourney.


Gmail sent before you are finished?

Once in a while I’ve had the problem of being halfway through typing an email or an answer to one and lo and behold the email becomes “Sent”. I had disabled keyboard shortcuts in Gmail thinking this might be a contributor to the problem but in fact this is not the case. The “error” occurs when by design or accident the ‘Tab’ key is pressed; followed by the ‘space’ bar or the ‘Return’ key. What happens is that the Tab key changes the focus to the Send button, hence when you hit space or return the button is effectively ‘clicked’ and the email in progress gets sent. There is apparently a whole debate on this but Google, probably correctly IMHO, argues that they should not redefine the standard action of the Tab key on a web page which is indeed to switch between fields. Now that I am aware of this, I’ll be watch my typing, especially near the Tab key which on my French keyboard is right next to the ‘A’ key.

There is a Google labs widget “undo send” to allow you to unsend an email.

Blackberry season

The blackberry’s are doing very well this year, perhaps thanks to the rain we had during July, we have been making Bramble Jelly which is delicious spread on toasted baguette!

Blackberry Jelly

My recipe is as follows:

Pick and clean the blackberries

For each kilo add approx 20 cl water in a large pan. Bring to the boil and stir to gently crush the fruits for about 15-20 minutes.

Strain into a another pan for 2 hours or even overnight using a stainless steel fine strainer. (Passoir ou chinois en français). If your strainer does not have a fine grill you can add muslin sheets to help strain any fruit pieces.

Weigh the strained juice and add the same weight of crystal sugar.

Add the juice of a small lemon, 1 lemon per kilo of juice and bring to the boil whilst stirring. When the temperature reaches 104°C, remove from the heat and ladle into previously sterilized jam jars that have been kept warm in the oven, I use about 140°C for the oven temperature. Screw on the lids or cover with wax disks et voila!

Swedish authors

It occurred to me that I’ve read quite a few books in the last year or so either in English or French that have been written by Swedish authors. First, Stieg Larsson and the Millennium Trilogy, then Camilla Läckberg and a number of books beginning with the Ice Princess and most recently I have come across Åke Edwardson and his Detective Winter series, link to his fan site here since his own site shows a blank page. I have enjoyed them al but must admit I’m getting a little tired of the ‘domestic overhead’ in Camilla Lackberg books, to the point where the plot gets lost in the mundane background stuff. Stieg Larsson has just the three books and since he died in 2004 that’s it. I’m over half way though my first Åke Edwardson book (in french translation) and look forward to reading more.

Your comments are welcome.

School Dinners – Neverseconds

Not strictly about the Vendée but certainly about change.

This time a Scottish council changed their position on a ban and have helped a young girl boost her charity drive through her blog. Well done Veg!

Ubuntu 12.04

The new version of Ubuntu was released today, 12.04. The update process worked perfectly with no problems with the download bandwidth. I like the new HUD (Heads Up Display) feature, it means less mouse clicks to call programs and is very slick. Go here if you want to find out more.

Upgrade problems

I have recently posted about problems with upgrades to Itunes and LibreOffice, I hadn’t mentioned that I also had some issues downloading any large files and problems with Youtube hanging after about 30 seconds. It occured to me that perhaps the problem was firewall related and I have found on the McAfee forums that indeed it may well be caused by Net Guard, for any others out there here is the link to the forum topic
A release to fix the problem is imminent, if it works I’ll report back.