Monday 2 April 2018

Apple Pencil is a game-changer 🙂

I WAKE up to a dozen or so emails from a web client – she’s forwarding security notifications and worried her website’s been hacked.

I have a dig about and find it’s automatic updates to the her website’s XML sitemap which is triggering the alerts. I create an exception to avoid the notifications and send her a message telling her all’s OK snd not to worry. Still, that’s an hour of my morning gone already…but she’s a good client and I don’t want to charge her.

Margaret’s embarking on a fitness program, so I head out with her and am glad to get some fresh air for half an hour. Everywhere’s still shut for the Easter weekend so things are a little more relaxed today.

In the studio I revisit the song idea I’ve been banging around for the last week. It’s on the short side, so really needs another verse and maybe a wee instrumental bit. Think I’ll wait ’til I do a songwriting livestream and  get some feedback from folks while coming up with that…might be a useful experiment.

Dunno if it’s last night’s red wine excess or the fresh air earlier, but I’m knackered by late afternoon. Margaret takes a walk along to see Betty and I get some more practice in with the Apple pencil. Still infatuated with it! I download a vector drawing iPad app called Graphic which, especially when used with the pencil, is another amazing revelation.

Another air fryer experiment – I don’t usually do anything to the tofu (other than press it) before putting it in a green curry, but I decide to air fry it first. Comes out great texture, but overall the resulting curry is a bit salty. Think it must be the soy sauce in the marinade for the tofu on our next trip into the Chinese cash’n’carry.




Monday 26 February 2018

My favourite spot at Milarrochy…and an ideal place to try out the Headspace meditation app. It’s good! Click on the pic to find out more.

AS SOON as I have the routine tasks out the way I get to work on creating a map of our recently created community trust boundary.

Margaret volunteered me to undertake what she thought would be a fairly quick and easy job. But , of course, it isn’t!

The trust area is extensive geographically and to get any decent level of detail in a map, I need to take about 60 screenshots of maps of the area and then try and piece them all together in Photoshop. It takes about three hours to get it together. Marking the boundary is relatively more straightforward, although establishing where the boundary lines should go a little harder.

I go back to the house and make us lunch then  pick up on some other work needing done – voting in the UK Blues Awards closes on Wednesday and although – as I mentioned before – I’m not a huge fan of ‘popularity vote’ affairs, but this one’s a bit different and there is some degree of credibility in that finalists are nominated before the public vote.

I see there’s a community lunch on Saturday, so spends some time putting it on the website and social media. Then, a delivery of velcro means I can start integrating the Fractal AX8 and new wireless into my pedalboard case…but not before I replace the bust headlamp bulb in the car. Not a difficult job, but a little fiddly in the bitter cold.

I decide to leave the pedalboard and other work ’til after I’ve had a walk. When I get to Milarrochy Bay I sit on my favourite spot and launch the Headspace app on my phone. It’s a meditation aid that our pal Lucy told us about when she was up the other weekend and I’ve been more than intrigued. The first guided session is only ten minutes and I rather enjoy it.

It’s after 6pm when I get back and continue on the pedalboard/case job. The phone rings midway through. It’s my pal Chris from down south. He’s not keeping well and I’d left a message for him earlier. I close up the studio and go back to the house and chat for a good while.

Next job is preparing my eNewsletters. Normally they go on the first of the month, but as the blues awards voting ends on 28 February I wanna give people a gentle reminder to check it out and vote if they feel so inclined.

Also, there’s an Edinburgh gig on Thursday (1 March) and Glasgow on Saturday (3 March) so an extra day’s notice is probably no bad thing. I don;t get far before Margaret alerts me to an email problem..she can’t get emails to send from either her laptop or iPhone. I check and can;t find anything wrong and discover I have the same problem. Mmmm…IP address blocked by the service provider perhaps? I start a ‘live chat’ with our email hosts and discover there’s a global problem…they;re working on ti and it should be sorted soon.

By now it’s after 9pm and I’ve still to make the tacos for tonight’s pulled pork. I made the dough earlier, so roll it out, cook the tacos and we eat. 

Back in the office I get all the eNewsletters design, written and scheduled…jeez, what a day!


Monday 27 March 2017

Amazing tool for working out where the light’s coming from – I go back at 7.15pm to take my pix of the hall!

WE’RE not long finished breakfast when Betty and Joe drop by for a coffee.

Joe’s interested in getting an iPad and I recommend and iPad AIr 2 – it’s long been the best iPad other than the ‘pro’ versions which would be overkill for what he wants. Turns out to be perfect timing as Apple have announced a new iPad (just named “iPad”) to be made available soon, so there’s some great refurbed iPad Air 2’s via Apple. The Air 2 is lighter than the new model and more than adequate for Joe’s needs.

I’ve talked them into ordering one before they leave…I think it’ll be a game-changer for them – along the lines of their switch from PC to Mac a few years ago 🙂

I’ve got a buyer for the Zoom multi-track recorder so I get it parcelled up and take it to the post office, and plan to take some photos of the Memorial Hall (for possible album art) en route, but the car park’s full of road maintenance vehicles and the sun’s in the wrong place! 

Back home I find a great online tool for working out sun angles in specific places called  Photographer’s Ephemeris – it lets me work out exactly when IO need to go back to the hall to get the light I want! The desktop version is free – try it here – and they do  an iOS and Android app version (paid for) too. Works a treat. I’ll go back at 7.15pm.

I get busy with other bits of planned artwork for the forthcoming album and re-string the Lowden F32 acoustic guitar I have for sale on Gumtree.

Just after 7pm I head back to Memorial Hall to take pix…I’ve just moved some bins out of shot and got set up when the Masons – who use the hall on a Monday night – start arriving. Jeez. Ah well…I manage a few snaps. And in hindsight it might be better to do them even later.

Been curious if tofu can replace our usual chicken in a green curry and tonight’s the night to try it. The tofu press is put into action – it is an amazing thing and has improved our tofu dishes tenfold. It’s so good I bought one for our pals Martyn and Louise. Check it out on Amazon here 🙂

The green curry – even with cauliflower rice – is amazing. Definitely gonna use tofu in it again.


Wednesday 6 April 2016

I’VE GOT someone coming to have a chat about web design…I did her website 15 years ago and it;s still going, but definitely time for an update. Our paths crossed recently for the first time since!

She’s a wee bit early, and I’m not quite through the stuff I wanted to get done but that’s OK. We discuss options and ideas and she leaves with my promise of an email outlining our chat and documenting my proposals.

After lunch I have a meeting with my other recent web client. Now the site’s live, I need to sit down and show them how to update/add content.

Last night’s Facebook Live video stream is still getting a lot of traction…an amazing amount for what is effectively a Facebook page post. I threw a small budget at it to ‘boost’ the post and it seems to be helping too. Check it out on my Facebook page! If you have a verified Facebook page, check out Facebook’s Mentions app and give it a whirl…it’s so good, I have a feeling it won’t last in it’s current form for long, so if you can, jump in and give it a bash while the going’s good!

I’ve some other stuff to do and can’t find my notebook…Margaret’s not seen ti either. Odd. The I realise we may have left it at Martyn and Louise’s last night. I call. Yup, it’s there. Martyn’ll be home in half an hour so I arrange to drop by and pick it up.

While I send some poster art and stuff down to our pal Becky for a show we’re doing together at the end of May, Margaret tries to firm up an Aberdeen show for Thursday 9 June and a BBC Radio Scotland session for earlier in that week to promote the new EP.

I have a coffee and a chat, pick up the notebook and get home just as Margaret’s got the dinner ready.

We eat and chill – I read one of the latest Mac magazines on iPad (free, courtesy of Zinio and our library!) – while Margaret watches the telly. My upper back, neck and shoulders have been really, really achy the last month or so and reading an article about laptop use makes me think I really should put my laptop on a stand (or something) and use a separate keyboard. I’m already using a bluetooth mouse ‘cos the MacBook’s trackpad’s knackered. It makes sense, especially as I’ve been pretty busy on the computer the last few months and not been getting out for as many walks and breaks as I should.

I’ll try putting the MacBook on a pile of books in the morning..and grab a bluetooth keyboard from the studio….



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