Thursday, August 27, 2009

Favorite friends

I received two messages today alerting me to new pictures on Picasa. One set was posted by Gabriel, who went camping with Peter and another friend. He posted a few photographs from Vermont that are very good -- he concentrated very much on composition, on color, on form. I also received an e-mail from Jody, who posted some shots of Minnesota that give a strong sense of place, and a strong sense of Coco, too. (How Jody found so many places without snow is a mystery to me.)

The notices showed up in my mailbox informing me that the photographs were available because I linked to their Picasa sites as a friend. To do this, you designate a person as a favorite in the right panel, triggering an e-mail to you whenever more pictures are posted. I find it a good way to keep tabs on what people are doing that I care about, and the person who posts them doesn't have to send out notices whenever something new is up.

I've linked to those I know who are posting on Picasa or who have designated me a favorite, but I am not aware of everyone who might be doing this. If you add me as a favorite, you will show up as a fan of mine, in which case it is easy to follow through and designate you as a favorite. Or drop me a line and I'll add you. Those currently on my list include:

  • Antonia
  • Darien
  • Gabriel
  • Jennifer
  • Jonathan
  • Marc
  • Martha (thanks, Mom)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Photo bacchanalia

Picasa now has a nice feature that allows more than one person to contribute to a Web folder. You initiate it through the share button when you open up the Web folder. There is a check box to enable contributions. While the contributor can add descriptions, he or she can't edit your own descriptions. (I consider this a flaw; I'd like that to be something you can turn on or off by user.)

I have set up a shared folder for Darien and me to begin putting images for ideas we want to remember as we continue to design the lower bathroom in the cabin. I've also included her and Gabriel on the cabin renovation as a whole. Since Gabriel is actually living in the cabin now, it will be easy for him to shoot some pictures if there are day-to-day developments that I can then review and decide whether to retain. The storage counts against the host (me), but that isn't an immediate issue.

I'm thinking of converting my Dukes growing up in Norwalk to a shared folder for any of the kids to drop images as they scan them. Maybe I'll do something similar for genealogy-related images. What do you think? Is it something you would use?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breaking News!

Yes, The Dip Mystery has been solved. To be more precise, it was solved on August 10th.

Perhaps you haven't gone back to read the ever-increasing comments to John's "Duke Dip Recipe" post, from March 29th?

To make it easy for you, I have included the last two comments below, from Chief Inspector Martha and Detective Janet. You will see that with perseverance and hard work, the key to the real, the true, the Original Duke Dip has been discovered! Read on:
Janet said...

From what I read Lea & Perrins made a wine based Worcestershire however it is now sold as a Marinade for Chicken, it still has the Green Label. I think it may be the product that is wrapped in paper.Someone had the question of "Where can I find the Worcestershire sauce with the green label" The quest is on...

John said...

My mother went to the source ("please relay to Janet") and called Heinz, the parent company for Lee & Perrins. They confirm that their white wine chicken marinade (with the green label) is what she is now using in Duke Dip. They are bottling it now as a marinade for wider use.

Why she didn't tell any of her children of her variation in the recipe is a mystery to me. Maybe she wants to stay ahead of us in the innovation game? I can only imagine, however, how crushed everyone will be to see traditional Worcestershire sauce out of the recipe. I'm guessing she will have few followers.

Comments, anyone?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bamboo Match Made in Heaven

Jonathan and the Speckled Bird are featured in a recent interview in Richmond's Style Weekly magazine. Through the magic of the Internet, you can read it online. Do you see all that bamboo in the background? If they stood in place another three minutes, it would have engulfed them. Welcome to the cabin.

You can also hear a preview of one of their songs, "Match Made in Heaven," from their upcoming EP, due out in October. It should be good! (That eerie sound you hear is what Jonathan in the interview calls Antonia's mock saw.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saving your books

Someone asked me for advice on caring for a personal collection of books. On my library's Website, we have several useful links for books and other materials. The Library of Congress has a page for the non-librarian that offers useful advice for storing and protecting your books, audiovisual, and other documents. It also offers tips for how to salvage your treasures in the event of a disaster, such as water damage or fire.

Both the Alaska Historical Library and Indiana University have put their book repair manuals online. Although the manuals are used by professionals, they offer useful guidance for everyone on how to deal with such tragedies as ripped pages, removing tape, fixing loose hinges, and much more. If you have truly valuable pieces (either monetary or sentimental), it might be a good idea to consult a professional conservator -- but they don't come cheap.

And for anyone with documents or pictures relating to our family, I am more than happy to take them off your hands -- the older the better. One day soon I hope to get back to Casimir's Dream.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Roots of the tree

As most of you know, I sometimes play around with genealogy. The program I use to record my findings is called Family Tree Maker. It is Windows-based only. There are many features that make it easy for you to trace and record family members, as well as to produce charts, media displays, and books. The latest edition is on sale for $20 plus shipping. If this is something you think you might be interested in, this is an inexpensive way to test the waters. To make it really fun, you would need to subscribe to some databases (I think at about $140 per year), which will give you access to such resources as census records, newspapers, military records, marriage and death records, and more. That, however, is not absolutely necessary. There are plenty of free resources to keep you busy for quite a while. I also think you may have trial access to the databases I use if you buy the program.

One of the advantages you would have if you do decide to do this is that I would give you all the work I have done so far, which includes information on about 1,000 names. (Unfortunately, most of these are not on the Duke side, but oh well.) Even better, you would have me as a consultant to help you learn the software and how to research the databases effectively. I would gain a research partner to make my work easier. Everyone is a winner.

Give it a try if you think this might be something you are interested in. The most you can lose is twenty-five bucks. Don't dawdle, though, since the price is going to go up after it is published later this month.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Buffing up

I've made a few changes to the layout of the blog. Check out the right panel:

  1. I have added a search feature so you can have fun browsing through past posts. What is nice about this is that after you run a search, you will be presented with three tabs. The first is for the blog itself. The next is for the same term that appears in links we make in the blog to other sites -- very nice. The last is for all of the Web. As more entries get posted (hint), this will become more useful. Try it yourself with a word like "computer" so you can see the differences.
  2. Another side panel addition is Family Bloggers. This is a convenient link to blogs being kept by members of our extended family. Some of these are no longer active, but are fun to look at anyway, and some of you may not be aware they exist. If you know of others, please let me know and I'll add them. (I know of a few inactive ones; I just haven't added them yet.) Better yet, start a new one. Everyone has something to say about something. (And some of us say too much about everything.)

If you want to add these or other gadgets to your own Blogger blog, look at Page Elements in the Layout tab. Use Add a Gadget to browse through what is available. Play around a bit and see what you like. You can change the order and position of gadgets just by dragging and dropping. If you use WordPress or another platform for your blog, there are probably similar tools available. I'm just not familiar with them. Why don't you let us know how to do it with a blog post of your own?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Better Google searching

You can now spend more time than ever on Google, trying to get the perfect search.

Also note that the options for refining image searches have been refined. I find that I can drill down and find things much faster if I use search refinement techniques.