Thursday, November 16, 2006

iPods and Podcasts

The last few days have been very hectic, catching up with some work and running errands. DIY enthusiasts know that when you start repairing a nagging water leak in the house it normally leads to carrying out repairs to many other long-standing-waiting-to-be-repaired problems.

Timmy the cat is still on his discovery trails. His latest discovery is Linda’s cordless mouse. While Linda was in the kitchen cooking he managed to paw her mouse from the dining table onto the floor and at the same time somehow managed to sit on the mouse usb connector bending it beyond repair. Linda is quite fond of her mouse, which she’s had for years. Actually the mouse was rather worn and due for replacement, but Linda would have preferred this to have been done on her terms, not the cat’s. Anyway, that resulted in a trip to the computer hardware shop in Beirut. While there I picked up a webcam, which now means that I am no longer faceless to those who want to speak to me on Skype, msn, IM or any other instant messaging program.

We also went around looking for a calligraphy set for Kina, but we couldn’t find anything suitable. The ones that are available in specialist stores are specifically for Arabic scripting. The nibs for those are slanted, so are unsuitable for traditional calligraphy. We’ll have to see if Amazon.com will deliver those to Lebanon.

I’m also on my discovery trail. My latest discovery is rss feeds. Ever since I’ve noticed them on newspaper articles I’ve wondered what they were, now I know. And wow, am I amazed! Actually, over the last few days I’ve been quite busy catching up with all the feeds I’ve subscribed to. All are free, including the rss reader, or aggregator, which you will need to download and install if you want to subscribe to rss feeds. It is estimated that there are over a million publicly available rss feeds, from news articles, to technology, to business, to shopping to internet gaming etc., not to mention the private ones such as blogs and private websites. I’ve subscribed to articles from various newspapers and a number of blogs and websites. With news articles you can choose what your interests are and subscribe selectively to them. Some of you may have felt the effects of my subscriptions when you suddenly started receiving articles I’ve been sending you from Reuters, AP, CNet, Washington Post etc…

Next on my to-do list is Podcasts; and learning how to upload soundtracks to my blog.

A few of you have berated me for being stingy and not posting more pictures on my blog. So I’ll make up for this shortcoming in this and future posts. I was also slated by Hind Abboud when I spoke to her while in Damascus. She attended our wedding at the British Embassy in Beirut and the reception afterwards and was upset that she hadn’t seen the pictures yet. Out of 900+ pictures that were taken we chose 380 for printing and including in 3 wedding albums that took us 3 months to complete. The DVD wasn’t finally completed until 6 months later. I wanted to be absolutely certain that we edited our choice of music to the DVD. However, the end result is outstanding.

Solhi before his illness

Mum and Solhi sharing a joke

Young lady Maria

Halloween girl Rama

The problem with posting pictures on blogs is the amount of time that is required to resize them, unless you take them in the required size initially. I use ACDSee to resize pictures, if anyone knows of an easier way to do this could you let me know, as long as it doesn’t mean I have to learn to become proficient in such programs as Photoshop.

This reminds me, I have to resize the 2006 BHS reunion pictures too to be posted to the BHS70s website. The technique for resizing the pictures is exactly the same, although an FTP is required to handle the pictures for the website. (Listen to me talking like I’m an expert at programming and web designing, although I’m getting there.) Speaking of the BHS70s Website, Debi has posted the November update where she’s also posted the remaining galleries of the 2005 reunion.

Lori’s husband Simon is in the USA for a conference. A business trip which just happens to be in New Orleans, which is a couple of hours drive from Baton Rouge where Linda’s brothers Sammy and Danny live. So Simon was bound to meet up with them at some stage in the week he will be there. Exploiting this opportunity, Linda has ordered my Xmas present from Amazon. An 80Gb iPod. This is another toy that I have increasingly wanted to get. Everyone I speak to either has an iPod or wants one. Those who have one have said that it has changed their lives. Of course Nassif Aoun would say that, wouldn’t he. Anyway, iPods are about $150 cheaper through Amazon than they are here in Lebanon, and about $100 cheaper than you can pick them up in Dubai airport Duty Free, which don’t have the 80Gb version anyway. But iPods cannot be delivered to Lebanon, like CD’s and DVD’s can, so she ordered it to be delivered to Danny’s house. Simon has actually now picked it up. It will be here in Lebanon tomorrow night, but I won’t see it till Xmas Eve. We’ve also ordered something for Simon and Lori’s boys Peter and Jason to be brought back from the US, but since they are likely to read this I’m not telling what it is, but it will be a very nice surprise boys!!. We should have ordered a calligraphy set for Kina at the same time. Just proves you can’t always think of everything.

Linda's mother Naimy

David and Nancy


Nancy and David's son Michael

Nancy and David's son Paul and Simon and Lori's son Peter

Lori and Simon


Lori and Simon's youngest son Jason

The Three Lions played the Oranje last night in a friendly football match at the Amsterdam Arena. I would have put money on England losing, but they managed to hang on to a draw. I supported England during the World Cup, even did the traditional Lebanese thing of having an England flag fluttering from our veranda.

I have no idea why I support England, I guess it’s the fixation of siding with the underdog. After all I support Newcastle United. A stickler for punishment!!

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