Sunday, 18 March 2007

digging around

I was digging around the other day serching freeware and open-souce stuff, i was looking for something inparticular in a cd collection lbrary application but failing to do so. I did however find a few applications that were a suprise quite frankly and thought that they may be of use to some people.

First off in the open-source bin we have Books which is book cataloging application to keep track of your library (requires OSX 10.4).

Secondly we have Cashbox a personal finance management application (requires OSX 10.4).

This one might prove a little tricky, i'm not sure but the instructions seem pretty straightforward and Home Media Librarian is a java application that uses MySQL database. It does what is says on the tin, catalogue your cd's, dvd's, records or music collection.

Now two freeware apps - eBook Library is an application developed to help you practice speed reading.

Luca is a fully featured and fully functional accounting application - snap it up, awesome freeware (requires OSX 10.4 Tiger)

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Wednesday, 14 March 2007


posted on Mac Beginners

Ok, 10.4.9 system update is out - if you didn't know check your "software update" now, as recommended on osxhints you should restart twice and do a permisions repair after the update and this should make all well. The first reboot may take a few minutes longer than usual, just thought i'd make you aware.

Now to the point of my post, now that you have updated to 10.4.9 your copy of MainMenu 1.7 wil not work and you will have to wait until 1.8 is released - "so, how do i repair my permissions then?" i hear you ask, well there is of course Disk Utility in the "Utilities" folder amongst your applications but - and here the main point of the post - i had seen stuff on this freeware application called IceClean.

IceClean is a system optimization and maintenance tool which utilises the built in unix system tasks to help keep your mac perky

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Friday, 9 March 2007

finally.... (so you're like thinking "rock" from wwe, well don't :))

Like wow, like damn, like yehaw, yoohoo, w00t and YES! I got me an interview and everyone is like congratulation, well done, great - but it's only an interview i ain't god the job yet , it's a step yes and at least it's into a company that is doing well and is secure unlike other companies i've worked for (or never got to as the case may be) but interview at last and i am happy i have an interview at least but sorry, you wont see me jumping up and down in excitement because i have an interview. Well lets hope i can secure the job, god knows i need one :D

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Wednesday, 7 March 2007

A map of the US states i have visited

create your own visited states map

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Sleep Naked!

"Not only is sleeping naked more comfortable, but it's good for your health too."

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Monday, 5 March 2007

what fruit may bare....

So i'm just finishing off an application form for a job in Edinburgh - in fact it's all ready to go tomorrow just need to get an envelope to put it in and stick said address on, then off it goes see if anything comes of it "i can but try". For the multitude of jabs i have applied for over the month of february i am desperate for some post to come through the door telling me either way "interview" or "thank you for your interest..." tis frustrating to say the least this job searching then to have companies drag their heels and then change their job descriptions too.

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Friday, 2 March 2007

security on mac

posted on Mac Beginners

Security and peace of mind on a mac may be simpler and somewhat less of an issue than what you had when using a windows machine, especialy when it comes to the virus perspective. That said however, for any computer connected to the internet a firewall is something that you need to keep from intrusion onto your computer or indeed your network in a business environment. Now for the average home user turning on your inbuilt OSX firewall in system preferences should suffice - you will find firewall options under “Sharing” - or if you are someone like me who never trusted the inbuilt windows xp firefall to start with or in fact you need something a little more in your firewall software as you need it for a network then there are some software you can look into.

First off we have a freeware application called WaterRoof which is a frontend for the Mac OS X firewall and will help you configure extra options and monitors with setup wizards and an easy interface. Second up is the commercial software DoorStop X Firewall which again claims to add extension to the built in OSX firewall control, and on the main page you will find another piece of software a book and most interestingly a link to their blog on security which may be worth a look.

Now on the business/networking side of things is Intego NetBarrier with firewall, anti-vandal tools, privacy protection, data filter and monitoring tools you can secure your computer/network and keep a close eye on what’s going on.

Antivirus protection isn’t really neccessary we are told but in the light of recent shenanigans and possible future developments i can’t help but feel viruses are on the way to OSX, so just in case get your hands on a copy of ClamXav to make your online and network usage totally secure for your mac.

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Thursday, 1 March 2007

bang up to date...

So here it is, Thursday morning and i'm sitting here at the computer drinking coffee - i'm really getting lazy (i blame the tablets for making me this way) or maybe it's just the way of things when you have nothing better to be doing, i would go down to seaburn and take my camera with me but it's raining and windy. This is coming upto 7 months now that i have been out of work - through my own over motivation to move on in my career and try something different i end up getting dumped in the shit yet again by a stupid little company going no place and basically bare faced lying to me about their situation.

Admittedly, with the thyroid thing i would have been on the sick anyway so that takes up 2 months, but saying that and making it 5 months is not exactly making it seem any better to me. I get to points where i get sick of this existance, sick of tv, sick of the internet, sick of the city i live in, sick of this country in fact most things including family and people in general have always been an annoyance to me they are so ignorant, rude, stupid, they daudle around the streets like they have no idea where they are going, i mean i never in a hurry but jees pick up the pace a little people - so i try to find different things to take my mind off it all and music is and always has been my savior it's the one thing i love, well saying that not much of this modern crap that's about, but i like what i like.

The internet, in all its grace, has also been a place to go endulge in and discover both people, friends and new stuff. Take this blog for instance - never before had i got the urge to go online and create a blog yet here we are, three attempts later perhaps but here we are at my blog v4 :D And to be able to search for and apply for jobs online is great, and although the job search is something which i MUST get on with searching everyday is getting pretty boring and unsatisfactory as there will maybe be somehing every 3 days i can apply for but, and that is a big but, you never know - talking of which the mail just came, an application pack for a job in edinburgh oh how i LOVE application forms.

But yeah, the net has been a great source of removing myself from reality to a point, i have found some great online friends - or they found me - who one day i hope i'll meet, then also with the walking and photography thing i keep myself going and friends and family alike really like my photography - especially one guy in New York, hey Archie how you doing? :D

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photography, flickr and osx

posted on Mac Beginners

So, i recently discovered flickr and started my hobbiest photography going around places for walks wth my camera taking shots - nothing specific in the way i go about my photograhs, anyway for thos of you that are also into photography on your mac a few things to help out with your photos and flickr.

First off, there is PhotoInfoEditor which enables you to edit the meta data of your photos, adding location details as in City, Area, Country, Lattitude, Longitude, Altitude with the assistance of google map and you can add descriptions and comments to each file also.

Now for those of you that are into creating panoramas and looking for good solid software to create and stitch together your panoramas - look no further than Hugin - Panorama Tools GUI, and yes it’s free! If you happen to download and use would someone be so kind as to teach me how to use it

I have also discovered some neat apps that work with your fickr account tickr for flickr and Sniper. Tickr - as the name suggests - is a ticker-tape effect of scrolling phtos across or down your desktop, you search using keyword box and the results are scrolled through of which if you move the curor over a photo the stream stops and shows information about that photo. Sniper on the other hand is basically a replacement for the flickr interface in the style of an iPhoto like image viewer application and has some nifty features to sort, view and upload photos as well as access your account details all within the application window.

One of my personal favourite freeware applications for things photographs and flickr is JetPhoto Studio which lets you creat backup web album of your photos with descriptions and notes, edit exif meta-data, works with google earth for GPS tracking of your photos and also the ability to output photos to a flash gallery along with a few other features bundled in.

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a few things to help your mac-life along

posted on Mac Beginners

Admitedly a few of these apps may be for the more advanced user, but they are pretty straightforward and easy to learn if it’s the type of thing you think you need. Much like your old windows box maintenance is the key - although not as often and not as intense, i have already mentioned AppDelete - an application that will delete the application you choose and any associated items (files and folders) that belong to that application - and Main Menu - an application that sits in your menubar and makes running maintenance scripts a one click easy job but i think it is worth mentioning a few other things to help with the mac-housework.

First off, something that comes in usefull every now and again to clean out my browser caches, history, searches etc is a little application called AfterSurf - basically quit your browsers, tick a few boxes and hit “clean” and job done - relieve that sluggish browser affect and check out AfterSurf.

Now this one may seem a little advanced but it is worth mentioning as a lot of people seem to use this - it’s called AppleJack and its troubleshooting assistant and maintenance application that runs from the command line, if you like, in a menu base system. I don’t personally use this but people do tend to find this a handy tool so it’s worth checking out to see if it’s for you.

A little tip to win back some space from osx on your brand spanking new machine is to remove the extra language support files that osx installs - like for instance, i’m british and personally only need the british and american english language files all the rest like africaans, basque, etc are just laking up space. To help you do this there is an application called Monolingual just tick the boxes to the languages you DON’T require and hit “remove” and job done - takes a while for the files to be extracted and deleted, and remember to be carefull to ONLY remove the languages that are not required or it’s to the install disks for you and i don’t want to be the cause of that.

Punakea File management - “Punakea is a little app trying to help you cope with the day-to-day struggle of managing your files. Designed to complement Spotlight, it allows you to tag your files and bookmarks, freeing you of the strict hierarchy of the Finder’s folder structure.”

Set your default applications to open certain file types and file extensions with RCDefaultApp and you’ll never end up opening up your heavy duty image applications when all you want to do is view a jpeg in preview.

In the menu under the open application name there is a submenu called “Services” and with ServiceScrubber you can trim it down to only the services you use like the screen grab service - for instance i also use thesaurus, translation service, omni dictionary and they go into the service menu for use within applications - check it out if you haven’t discovered the service menu yet and make it work to your needs.

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a recommended software starter pack for switchers

posted on Mac Beginners

someone suggested the idea of recommending a sort of “starter pack” of freeware apps that are going to set you on your way with Mac OSX, ok then a great idea lets see.




Butler or Quicksilver



OpenOffice or NeoOffice


All your basic needs covered there i think.

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a thought - what applications do i need, and where do i get them…

posted on Mac Beginners

If that is your train of thought, then i maty be able to help. The best thing i have found about Mac OSX is the freeware available for it - freeware that is of such great quality and diversity, you can get a piece of software for almost anything you can imagine you need for the mac and then some you would never think of. Ok lets start with the all important nitty gritty of replacements for microsoft office, as i don’t imagine you’ll be going out to purchase that straight away - or at all, try OpenOffice or NeoOffice for full ooffice suite replacement but if you are like me and just needed Word every now and again try AbiWord for your document needs, as it can open and save to .doc file extension. Another thing i feel i need to tell you is about system productivity and maintenance applications, first off you may hear of have heard about Quicksilver or Butler or maybe not - check them out they will make your use of OSX much quicker, easier and refreshing - my personal pick is butler, but why not try them both out and compare as there are a few others out there similar to these two. Secondly, maintenance - keep your mac upto scratch and in perfect running order, this is not the ordeal you had to go through to try to keep windows running smoothly, check out and install MainMenu - a simple one click autoomated maintenance application that sits in your menu bar. Other notable apps you will need are the likes of Adium for all your IM communication needs on AIM, MSN and Yahoo, with plenty more things to discover in freeware software i won’t spoil the experience for you of discovering cool OSX software, gadgets and tools i suggest you keep an eye on sites like Cool OSX Apps,, Super OSX Menubar Items, iusethis and then you also have Versiontracker

As an example of what is available in freeware and which apps are most usefull that your mac cannot do without, my list is as follows - that is the list of freeware that is actually on my machine and which i use constantly.

IM Chat - Adium X, CD Media - LiquidCD, Email - Thunderbird, System-wide Productivity - Butler, Maintenance - MainMenu, Time and Date - JetClock, FTP - CyberDuck, Photo Gallery and Flickr - JetPhotoStudio, Screen Capture - SnapNDrag, Font Management - Linotype Font Explorer X, Disc Image Mounting - FlashMount

And i do have a few notable others on my machine, it is of great interest to me to see what is out there and test out anything that i may find usefull.

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Not updated or written a blog entry in ages, thought maybe a start over would get me going again as the stuff i was talking about (see first post) was kind of a weird subject to get my head around and it kind of dried up. So far gone is the cancer stuff now and at the moment looking for work - which is proving to be very hard and very frustrating indeed as i find i'm either over experienced for some roles and then under experienced to get a chance at others and have only one outlet being retraining - and even then i coul'd even get an interview for a trainee mac technician of which i use macs every day and in a general studio you do technician stuff as a standard, but life goes on eh...

I'd taken to try a chill and do something to keep me out and about - walking mainly and also taken a fancy to photograhy, a trip to Edinburgh was the start and 240 odd photos later (mostly touristy shots) and now taken to going for long walks around where i live snapping here and there.

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me, my health and i - a harsh introduction to me

Thought i may as well use this and start the blog about me and my thoughts etc. i went to see the doctor the other day and she said i should write a book about myself and everything thats happened to me and how i cope with it, well i though a book may be a good idea but i find it hard to write a letter never mind a book.

So, "a blog" i thought, and here's my opportunity. You see what the doctor meant is that with the condition of health that i have gone through and the affects of it that if i wrote about it it may help not only me but others too that are having long term health problems or any illness to be honest.

For those that don't know, and i actually don't think i have told anyone on here - maybe i told anne, i dunno, some of you will know i had an operation recently to remove my thyroid gland this was a precaution against cancer and the future perspective of getting cancer. Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs, an' aa'll tell ye aall an aaful story, ....when i was 4 years old i was diagnosed with having a brain tumour ( medulloblastoma ) and i was 70/30 to survive too - yet here i am writing this .

Anyway, the treatment after the successful operation was both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These treatments were directed at the back of the head, more or less the base of the skull and top of the neck, with me being so young the radiation also affected the front side of the neck, which in essence set off the growth of suspicious and possibly cancerous tissue. Hense the the op to get the thyroid removed to ease my mind of all possibilities that would lie on my mind.

Taking two tablets a day for the rest of your life is not the worst thing in the world for having a clear worry free mind, compared to the worry and constant upheaval of my life to keep a check on the situation if i hadn't had the op.

But i have only told you the beginning and the current status of my problems - other things ensued as an affect of the treatment i had too - but leave that for next time.


Later on in life i found out that whem my mother first took me to the doctors he actually missed the symptoms of the brain tumour and said something like i was just seeking attention and needed to be given a good smack, it was actually a doctor at the eye specialist hospital that discovered the tumour. I really felt full of anger and i wanted to get face to face with the guy who said that about me and shout at the weed of a man untill he felt so small, but then what would that have achieved. Maybe if it had been discovered earlier, just maybe - who knows, i hay not have had the after effects i have had, but still not much of a professional doctor if you come out with something like that especially when you havnt checked out all avenues of possibility.

This experience is probably the one that made me have a loathing for going to the hospital, close to a month if not a month (i.e. four weeks) in hospital is enough to put anyone off i imagine - still the food was better back then even if it was mince beef in different guises throughout a week. Plus i used to get loads of toys, lego, star wars figures and stuff like that to balance the constant number of scans, injections and regular procedures of which the removing of the staples from my head not being too pleasant but the worst being a lumbar puncture to remove the fluid from the spine, jees that makes me shudder looking at that link even now.

I remember i used to like the tea time because i used to get lemon cake - mediera cake with lemon jam and cream through the middle with yellow lemon icing on top yum. I still love that to this day, i get it in the supermarket every now and again. I also remember the walks out (well - rides out for me in a chair) to the shops near the hospital with my mam, dad and grandparents, nice doctors in that hospital too although i remember the guy who did my operation i kicked him - not on purpose i dont think, you know the relex test well i have tickly feet or did hehe.


Something has just come to mind as i think about what i write about today, the process of the radiotherapy treatment involved me having to lie belly down on the machine and in order to do so and let me be a comfortable as possible in such a situation a mould to fit my face needed to be made for me to rest my head in. This was not my most favourite procedure as it involved making a plaster cast of my face - i.e. covering most, if not all, of my face in order to make the mould for me out of plastic - not the most pleasant thing for a four year old boy having your face covered in plaster cast you can imagine, so i guess i wasnt all that pleased if you get my meaning.

I recall that i was on steroids which had the effect of making me bloat, i remember that the buttons on my shirts kept popping off - which was kind of funny, imagining i was turning into the hulk hehe.

That place certainly left its impression on me and i remember vividly having some strange dreams involving that place in great detail and even places that my mind just totally made up.

Having a stroke while in hospital also caused further complications as in i ended up with a condition called lazy eye.


Now then, where was i - oh yeah, the eye thing. Well to get the eye condition corrected i needed to go into hospital (sheesh, again!) this time to the eye hospital. I was five by this time, nearly six as i remember having my birthday in the hospital.

Amazing how painfull it is to try and open your eye after you had an operation on it - eek! - don't recall much really apart from having a big old pad taped over my eye and having to wear an eye patch for a while. Turns out though that the surgeon/doctors had overcompensated in trying to correct the lazy eye and as a result i have double vision, as it wasnt't enough trying to get my coordination and balance back to an acceptable standard after the removal of the brain tumour i now had to work on getting my vision. I have had double vision so long now i'm used to it, doesn't cause me any bother really unless it's on my mind - as in its a topic of conversation then i notice it - as i write this it has come to prominence.

Had to wear geeky glasses with thick lenses for a long while ~ cringe. But that really got to a point where i couldnt stand them, apart from the constant jokery at school , the lenses would have to be so strong to correct the double vision they would probably do more harm than good, plus the fact that my actual vision is fine - not exactly 20-20 but good ennough.

the only thing is that i am unable to drive, well not exactly true but as far as my opinnion goes anyway, which if i'm brutally honest saves me one hell of a lot of problems and money not running a car and i do quite enjoy the travel on public transport - mostly - so all in all its all fine by me .


Now then, the adverse effect of the radiation to my body was that it stunted my growth, the radiation from the the two treatments affected my bodies ability to produce growth hormone at a normal capacity - i don't recall weather this was a total stop in the hormone or just a slow in the rate of production. Either way i then needed to be put on a course of treatment to give me back growth hormone, this was done in a method much like that of diabetics who inject themselves with insulin. I had all the supplies, i had my nifty little (well, rather big actually) injection pen thingy and the vials of erm...stuff..hehe to inject myself again much the same as a diabetic using the leg, belly or erm bum cheeks .

You see the thing is the skin hardens if used too many times for injecting, therefore there is the need to move around areas and locations to inject and the only way i can describe the actual injecting process is "throwing a bart into a dart board at close range" - you literally keep the pen straight and jab forward as if you can imagine you are throwing a dart, obviously you don't let go , then push the top of the pen to inject simple as.

I don't recall how long this treatment lasted, but i guess i wouldn't be 5 ft 7" without it and looks as though i was meant to be much taller - well over 6 ft and to be honest i don't think i would really have enjoyed that all. The weird (disturbing rather) thing is the doctors always said i might have the tendency at leaning towards being diabetic - now thats definitely something i hope does not happen, and not only because i don't want to go through that process again but i just don't think i'd be able to cope - that would definitely be the last straw.


Complications all the way, there's always something else to rear its ugly head but i've learned to live with it not happily though thats for sure. The growth hormone deficiency, not caught as early as it should have been i'm left to believe, has left my body slightly - lets say not normal as it should be, i have longer legs and shorter torso as in not a balanced medium. To boot i already had a weaker left hand side due to the stroke affecting both strength, movement and coordination in the arm, hand, leg and foot to a certain extent.

You'll forgive me i'm sure, these thoughts don't come out chronologically; Once well enough to get back into schooling i was enrolled into a specialist school for all varying degrees of disabilities until i got the point when fit enough to go into a mainstream school. I remember i had to wear this padded helmet type protection for my head - same sorta shape as a cyclists helmet only with....well kinda hard to explain.

So that was, kinda weird to say the least. Some nice teachers there i remember, Mrs MacNight was my teachers name i recall yep that was it. I can clearly see the place in my minds eye as i write this, a good place in all for its purpose a mix of junior school and therapies including indoor heated pool, physiotherapy - i also remember a cooking class, computer room and things of all weirdness a hair salon .

Heh, learning to swim eh? never a big fan of water and still not, don't think i'm any good at swimming - although i guess i could muster something if necessary . I had the lot, the inflatable wings and the floating board, mostly learnt the pushing off from the edge of the pool and swimming on the back thing, what's that one? haha oh the backstroke? that sounds about right. So not exactly a natural to water and don't really participate in that sort of thing to this day, not even on holiday i hate those sit on the beach or around the pool all day holidays - would rather go do something interesting go see Sheswan and China, Machu Pitcchu, Scandinavia, i'm more a doer than a sit and relax type of person.


It eventually came to the point where i was able to back into mainstream schooling, and i recall the hassle and all the fighting that my mother had to do to get me into a decent school as we really do have some nasty schools with bad reputations of the pupils and teachers. The school i was put into was a Roman Catholic School where the head, and deputy head were Nuns, the head teacher was a nice woman i recall but the deputy head was a bitch and then some .

The teachers were nice - mostly, you always get a couple - and life goes on as normally as it possibly can, school was school, kids were kids you know what i mean. The usual check up appointments at the hospital to see everything was going smoothly - which is now evident that it wasn't, but they hadn't spotted anything at that point - not till i was transferred over to a sister hospital and switched to the children's outpatients there was the growth hormone problem spotted (i think) yes must be.

This is a bit of a blur, i don't remember exactly which way this goes around but never mind i'll continue. It was either in the summer of 1991 or just after i'd started the senior school that September , incidentally the senior school was a Roman Catholic School which was all boys - not mixed like the junior school as there was one all girls school just down the road, the sister school if you like of the one i went into.

Anyway, slight detour there, yes, so summer or just after starting senior school not sure.
I was standing talking to my mother in the kitchen one day when all of a sudden something strange happened, i started to go all tingly down the left hand side of my body - a feeling like pins and needles - mostly in the hand and arm to start off i recall then the sensation became stronger and moved up to include my face and as i was talking, explaining what was happening to my mother, my speech became affected as i slurred words while the left half of my face and mouth became numb.

A most worrying and horrible experience as i had no idea what was happening, as you could probably imagine if this happened to any of you. After what seemed like far too long, but in actual fact was only a few minutes it passed over me and i was back to normal. A hospital appointment most quickly ensued and a scan took place of my head to see what was wrong, a calcified blood clot was discovered that was thought to have caused a mini stroke. Thankfully this causes me no bother now although from time to time i do wonder as on odd occasions my left hand and lover part of my arm will get pins and needles and go numb to the point of dead then suddenly spring back after a few minutes, whether that is remnant of the clot or just a trapped nerve at the top of my arm i don't know.

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It's ME!

A Collection Of Thoughts On Anything From Apple Mac And Freeware To Fonts And Photography

Struggling IT Professional, Mac User and Photographer.

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