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Uninteresting technical note: I’m currently upgrading my websites, so please excuse things occasionally not working overnight and on Monday morning.
If anyone needs urgent cartoon assistance please contact me via info -at- cartoonchurch.com.
Posted by Dave at 9:51 pm on September 6, 2009 and filed under Technical.
I made the transfer from PC to Mac about a month ago. Here are my thoughts about it, numbered because the ordered list tag exists and I just don’t use it enough:
- I changed computers because I had worn out the keyboard letters on my other one out through my furious and continual typing. Also because I had filled its hard drive up with diagrams. And because it wouldn’t play Youtube videos properly owing to a minor but incurable error. And for other reasons I have long since forgotten about.
- The Mac is more shiny, has rounded edges and the keyboard is the best I have tried.
- It takes a bit of time to get used to a new way of doing things, but most of it you can work out using experimentation. You don’t need to go to the Apple shop for special seminars really.
- Most things on a Mac ‘just work’, but some things don’t, so you still need to do a bit of hunting around for drivers and those sort of things.
- It still crashes, but rarely. To be fair, I found Windows XP also crashes very rarely if you have enough memory. Unfortunately Firefox makes XP crash continually because it uses excessive resources, but it is still my favourite browser.
- It is so good not to need antivirus programmes. They are all troublesome. I’ve had to swear at the ones everyone else swears by.
- I love that thing on the Mac whereby you can press the buttons on the side of the mouse and make all your different open programmes appear and disappear (I do it repeatedly just for the joy of it).
- I suspect any new computer would have been a huge improvement on what I was using before, but I don’t think a new PC would be this good.
- I like using the Mac mouse, but sometimes it stops working. Getting anxious about this and then discovering various remedies is a bad 10 minute experience every new Mac use must go through. They should explain about this ’10 minutes of doom’ in the shop.
- I still haven’t got the hang of organising my files and finding things quickly (edit: without typing). The PC system for doing this seems easier to use, but it could just be me.
- People on Twitter are very helpful at offering instant advice for which I have been continually grateful.
- I still need to decide which programme to use for doing my diagrams. I’ve been spoilt on the PC by the superb but deeply unfashionable Microsoft Image Composer which offers 1) the ability to instantly change canvas sizes by dragging the sides in or out and (2) the ability to drag sprites/layers in and out of the work area. if I find something that can do those things I will be overjoyed.
- Unfortunately at the time of writing I still need Microsoft Internet Explorer for my work. Do not ask me why. It is a frustrating set of circumstances which cannot be circumvented by using Safari, Firefox, Opera etc etc etc. This means I still have my PC working in my office and the Mac working in the second bedroom and I wander between the two writing web addresses down on little bits of paper in a deeply ineffective manner. I may have to put IE on the Mac but it is oh so complex to do so.
- Overall I am very happy with the Mac and glad I made the change. It is a lot of money to buy one, but when using a computer all day for your job it is worth having good kit. Unfortunately I still need to use both computers at the moment, making my computing the least efficient it has ever been. This is a lamentable set of circumstances that exist because of my peculiar needs.
Posted by Dave at 5:08 pm on June 7, 2009 and filed under In-depth analysis, Technical.
A small announcement of interest to those who use the Facebook internet website: CartoonChurch.com now has a ‘page’. If you need to find it in a hurry just remember this address: http://www.facebook.com/pages/CartoonChurchcom/134147785593
I posted it today as Facebook has redesigned its homepage, although not everyone can see it yet. For various uninteresting technical reasons launching a Facebook page is now a worthwhile thing for someone with a website a bit like this to do, so I have done it.
I have added some cartoons to the page, but at the moment there is nothing on there that you will not find here, although clicking through the cartoons on Facebook is a bit quicker than on this site, especially if you are good with a mouse.
I will perhaps add some exclusive content to the Facebook page to make it really exciting. Perhaps an unseen-until-now photograph taken in my office. Maybe of my pencil case or something like that. The possibilities are endless.
Posted by Dave at 10:27 pm on March 12, 2009 and filed under Cartooning, Technical.
I went to the Apple store in London.
The worship space was brightly lit, and row upon row of devotees stood at wooden benches gazing in adoration at white machines of varying shapes and sizes. A glass staircase lead upwards, where further rows of worshippers were doing much the same as those downstairs. People wearing bright shirts stood behind other desks, and names appeared on large screens. In the upper sanctuary a gathering of the faithful sat on wide comfortable pews and listened to a sermon.
I found the whole experience quite baffling. I could not see any orders of service anywhere, so it was rather difficult to know what I should be doing. Eventually I plucked up the courage to approach a sidesman, who explained what the worshippers were all doing and answered some of my questions about the basic tenets of the faith. He took me over to one of the white machines and explained some of the ways in which I too could become a follower should I choose. There would of course be very real costs involved.
Wary of making a commitment on my first visit I thanked the sideman and explained that I was in a bit of a hurry. To his credit he did not seem to mind.
I left clutching a parish magazine and thinking that returning on another occasion might not be entirely out of the question.
Posted by Dave at 11:52 am on January 3, 2009 and filed under Technical, Utter nonsense.
I have written 7 ‘notes’ on Facebook during the last month, which the website owners consider ‘abuse’ as they have blocked me from posting any more. I had been using a facility whereby when you write blog posts they are imported into Facebook as notes, but it is obviously intended only for very occasional users. The help page:
Unfortunately, Facebook cannot provide any specifics on the rate limits that we enforce. Please know, however, that the speed at which you are acting and the sheer number of actions you have made are both taken into account.
It is true that when I was updating this blog daily my notes were at the rate of about one a day. Perhaps I am being disciplined retrospectively.
As punishment for the sheer number of my sins my Facebook notemaking powers have been removed and the red ‘you’ve been naughty’ sign above pops up to remind me of my guilt whenever I try to look as notes that anyone else has written. As an additional reprimand notes from others do not show up in my feed at all.
I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the misery that my excessive notemaking has obviously caused. I will, in order to spare everyone further unhappiness, refrain from posting any more notes from this day onwards. Assuming i can work out how to turn them off of course.
Posted by Dave at 5:23 pm on October 9, 2008 and filed under Blogging, Technical.
I’m aware that there are currently some problems on the cartoon pages of CartoonChurch.com and on the category pages of this blog.
I’m looking into them, but at the moment I am slightly mystified. I’m being told “Got error -1 from storage engine”, whatever that means.
At the time of writing the cartoons can still be accessed via this page. Otherwise there are a few cartoons here on my backup site if you need one urgently for a parish magazine.
Sorry for any inconvenience or complication that this may cause you.
Posted by Dave at 5:51 pm on October 7, 2008 and filed under CartoonChurch progress, Technical.
Just to say I’m aware we have problems in various areas of the Wibsite.com site. Apologies for this. Will update when I know more.
Posted by Dave at 12:08 am on February 27, 2008 and filed under Technical.
This cartoon is available at We Blog Cartoons and can be freely re-used on your blog.
[Tag to help searchers: Nintendo wii cartoon]
Update: Aaron has named this cartoon ‘The Three Wii Men’. Very good.
Posted by Dave at 6:38 pm on December 18, 2007 and filed under Advent, Cartoons, Religion, Technical.
I’m at my parents’ house in Wales for a day or two – hence no diagrams as I didn’t bring any means to make them appear on the internet. Normally I use a reconditioned tin-opener, a broom handle and an A4 sheet of paper with a knot in it.
Talking of diagrams and technology, I have a question. I need to think about getting some new software for editing cartoons and I thought you’d be the people to ask. Now, I know I ask you things like this all the time, but you are so good at answering that it seems a shame not to. I hope you don’t mind too much.
Let me start from the beginning. At the moment I use a splendid little programme called ‘Microsoft Image Editor’. It is a very good programme for doing what I do – scanning and editing black and white line drawings. In particular I find the interface far more intuitive than Photoshop or ‘The Gimp’ (an open source version of Photoshop) and it makes the whole ‘editing of drawings’ process much quicker than using those aformentioned programmes.
It is, unfortunately, a deeply unfashionable programme to use in the black and white drawings industry. I endure much scorn from my peers whenever I mention it and there is much tutting and shaking of heads behind (and indeed in front of) my back. In the light of this constant hounding (and for other less interesting reasons) I must now find a new image-editing programme to use.
This is what I need it to do:
- Scan A4 sized black and white drawings using an HP scanner (I don’t want to use the software that came with the scanner as it is rubbish)
- Edit the images (which at this stage are usually about three-thousand-and-something pixels by two-thousand-and-something pixels) getting rid of blemishes and numerous errors
- Move misaligned bits of the drawing hither and thither
- Make badly bits of drawings look as if they were supposed to be that way
- Make the drawing the required dimensions
- Save the drawing into jpeg and gif formats (feel free to lecture me about pngs)
- Save the drawing into different sizes for the website and blog etc
I have used Photoshop, but found that:
(a) It doesn’t get on with my scanner. I’m willing to buy a new scanner, but I’d need to know that Photoshop would get on with it.
(b) It is very slow compared with my beloved Microsoft programme. Perhaps that is because I’ve used it a lot less, but it still seems laborious in comparison.
(3) I experienced other miscellaneous problems that frustrated me at the time which I have now forgotten about. These were almost certainly down to user inexperience and idiocy.
I know that Illustrator is widely used in the ‘black and white drawings’ sector. But it is dashed expensive. But sometimes expensive works out cheaper in the long run.
No, I’m not getting a Mac.
Any advice on the programmes you use for editing images would be most welcomed. Their ability to do things to black and white line drawings in particular is especially of interest. Thanks in advance for any replies – they really are appreciated. I’ll probably have some follow up questions to ask too, so if you do comment do check back.
Posted by Dave at 8:12 pm on November 27, 2007 and filed under Technical.
This is not that interesting, but then it is Friday and none of you are reading anyway. Happy Thanksgiving, by the way, to readers from the USA.
Blog comments. As I mentioned the other day I’ve been having some problems knowing what to allow and what not to allow on the SPCK threads. There is much righteous anger which I’d like to allow, but on the other hand I don’t want to get into trouble. I’m still in the process of writing a clearer comment policy which should make the boundaries a bit clearer.
The other issue I face at the moment is comment spam. Lots and lots and lots of it. A few months ago I put some miraculous measures into place which halved the amount of spam I get overnight. I can’t tell you what those were in case the spammers are reading. Unfortunately the situation with spam has, over the last 10 days in particular got significantly worse. I’d say I now average well over one spam comment a minute – at times it is about 100 an hour. I’ve always accepted that wasting hours scrolling through spam is just a part of writing a blog you have to live with, but the amount of time it takes to go through them all is beginning to get ridiculous. I have reactivated the ‘Akismet’ anti spam device, which does a very good job of not letting very much spam though at all. The problem with it is that I have found that it marks a reasonable number of legitimate comments as spam too, meaning that you still have to go through all of the spam comments. I’m not alone in this unfortunately.
As I see it there are 3 options for the Cartoon Blog comments:
- Allow comments as they are, but we must all accept that the Akismet device will eat about 5-10% of them, so those ones will never see the light of day
- Make everyone fill in one of those CAPTCHA things – in other words a series of numbers or letters that you, the commenter, have to type in.
- Give you the option to register, so that if you are logged in you can be sure your comment will get through. I know some people don’t like having to register for more and more things, so I’d still like to make it optional if I go this route.
Any thoughts welcomed. Which option do you find best on your blog? (As a side issue I’d also be interested to know whether certain blog platforms perform better then others when it comes to comment spam. Do you Blogger / Typepad / Movable Type users find that your anti-comment-spam measures work for you?)
Meanwhile other bloggers in the UK Christian sort of world are debating whether to have comments at all. Adrian Warnock has done away with comments, owing to the amount of time it takes to moderate them. Peter Kirk sees this as a refusal to be accountable, and a debate has sprung forth in his comment section and also at Methodist Dave Warnock’s blog. Dave is an unrelated Warnock, in case you were wondering. See also Dave’s post ‘Do blog comments work?‘.
All in all a bit of a kerfuffle, but there are some interesting points being made for those who are interested in such things.
In the meantime if any comments posted here don’t appear after 12 hours or so send me an e-mail and I’ll try to fish them out of the fiery comment furnace.
Posted by Dave at 10:19 am on November 23, 2007 and filed under CartoonChurch progress, Mundane, Technical.
There is now a new feature on Facebook called ‘pages’. Pages are a bit like ‘groups’, except they allow third party applications to be installed, which in theory means that pages are far more modifiable than groups. The very good church and technology blog ‘digital.leadnet.org’ (no idea what the name means) explains how a church can use this new feature to set up a page. It involves clicking the ‘Businesses’ link at the bottom of a Facebook page.
I tried setting one up for the Parish of Langdon Hills – the page I made is here. I have to say I remain to be convinced, as the pages seem to lack certain features of a group, such as the ability to appoint admins, the ‘recent news’ section and the ‘posted items’. Pages also have ‘fans’ rather than ‘members’, which is a little odd for a church. I suspect though the advantage of a page will come when you add third party applications, which I haven’t got around to yet. If any of you technical whizz kids can make better use of this pages feature then please do show us.
So, in summary: Interesting, but not that interesting.
Posted by Dave at 1:24 am on November 11, 2007 and filed under Church, Religion, Technical.
I am of course only larking around. I love and adore Facebook, just like everyone else. However, I have been thinking about a few Facebook-related things that might or might not be causes for concern and worry.
1) Facebook is now allowing feeds of some content to be posted outside of Facebook
You can now get a ‘feed’ of your friends updates. I’m not talking about the standard ‘News feed’, but RSS feeds like the ones that blogs have. For those who don’t know what feeds are – see the link on the right hand side of this blog entitled ‘what is this orange thing?’. You can find feeds in the right hand column on such pages as your ‘status updates’ page. This means that people can read your Facebook status updates using a site like Bloglines or Google reader. This is good news, but it could be concerning news if your privacy is important. If you have the standard Facebook settings there is now nothing to stop one of your friends publishing your status updates to the world, say in the sidebar of their blog or somewhere. From now on you need to have friends you can trust.
2) Some of the ‘applications’ in Facebook are being rather naughty
See this link on Techcrunch for details. In summary, some of the applications such as ‘My Questions’ and ‘Superwall’ have been engaging in something described as ‘notification fraud’. I have noticed this very thing. The My Questions application makes up questions you don’t know about, and then e-mails friends without you knowing. I was very surprised to find people answering a question I hadn’t asked the other day. It was nice of these people to answer my question of course, but it was worrying that I hadn’t asked it and that the application had contacted them all of a sudden without my knowing. Very very naughty.
3) Er… that’s it
Usually I try to have 3 points to a blog post, like in sermons.
For a Facebook cartoon you can post on your blog and for more information about how Facebook will destroy us all, see my previous post on the subject.
Posted by Dave at 11:40 pm on August 18, 2007 and filed under Technical.