Blog assimilated

Well that took longer than I’d expected — mostly because I accidentally renamed a critical file before uploading it and couldn’t work out why nothing was changing on the site! — but I’ve now given the front-end of this blog a make-over to make it look like the rest of my site. More or less.

Windows XP SP2

Well, I’ve gone and done it: I’ve installed Windows XP SP2, which I got on CD with this month’s PCPlus magazine. But not before completely defragging and backing up my system using O&O Defrag and Norton Ghost 2003, respectively.

Thankfully it was all fairly uneventful, with a fairly quick installation. The new Security Center (sic) settings were a bit annoying until I turned off their incessant nagging (I already run a 3rd party firewall and anti-virus solution); and for some reason Windows Media Player didn’t work at all afterwards and I had to reinstall it.

The addition of a pop-up blocker in Internet Explorer 6 and the news that IE won’t be upgraded until the release of Windows Longhorn in 2006 is, I’m afraid, too little too late. I’ve already abandoned IE in favour of Mozilla Firefox, which I thoroughly recommend, particularly with its plethora of very useful extensions and add-ins.

Cellardyke

A piece of news that was on my old blog (probably still is!) is that Jane and I have bought a house in Cellardyke, Fife.

I say we’ve bought a house, we will have once it all goes through. We were supposed to get the keys a week past Friday (20 August) but there have been delays at the sellers’ end in tying up lose ends regarding planning permission for the conservatory; Cellardyke is in a Conservation Area.

More news, and photographs when we get them. There are a few photos on my website photographs section.

Paint Shop Pro 9 Beta

Paint Shop Pro 9 Beta

I’ve been a fan of Jasc’s Paint Shop Pro since I encountered it in version 3 under Windows 3.1, so I was excited to read yesterday that Jasc Software are shortly to release Paint Shop Pro version 9. And not only that: I can try it out for free right now!

Jasc have released a Public Beta version for free download; mind you it is a 101 MB download, so if you’re not on broadband then I’d give it a miss if I were you, to be quite honest.

Having been using PSP 4.15SE (which didn’t have GIF support), which I got free from PCPlus in 1997, I upgraded to PSP 7.02 a few years ago when I saw it with 50% off on Amazon.co.uk. A couple of months later PCPlus included PSP 5 on one of their cover CD for free. I was tempted to upgrade to PSP 8 when it was released a while back but couldn’t really justify the expense when all I really wanted from PSP 8 was the halftone effect and the background eraser.

This afternoon I installed the PSP 9 Beta and I can say that it’s very different to PSP7. My immediate thoughts:

  • It’s got quite an Adobe / Macromedia feel to it, in terms of the docked pallettes
  • It feels like it uses far more system resources to run, I’ll have to check this, as some of the effects feel sluggish and slow to respond (and my system isn’t exactly poor: Athlon 2800+, 1 GB RAM, Radeon 9800 128 MB)
  • It takes 7 seconds to load, compared with 2 seconds for PSP7
  • I like the way it handles some of the Preferences, for example File Locations, and the Image Browser options are better, with a thumbnail now available up to 250 pixels instead of 100 px.

I have 64 more days to check it out before this Beta release dies on me.

Content Management System

I wish I’d found this website a few months ago when I was looking around for a good Content Management System (CMS) for a couple of websites I was working on.

I discovered Open Source CMS in an article in last month’s PCPlus magazine. It’s a wonderful site in that it has all the open source CMS packages featured installed on their server allowing you to try them out first-hand; each of the packages is then reinstalled anew every two hours.

It was on this website that I discovered this blogging software, WordPress. Marvellous!