Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Your circuits dead, there's something wrong...

The other night I watched the DVD "The Martian" starring Matt Damon, a sci-fi adventure film with touches of humour, and some great atmospheric shots.

During a U.S. manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after an intense storm hits and he is left behind believed dead by his crew, as they abort the mission and return to Earth. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet.
Trapped in the mission's habitat, with only insufficient meager supplies and some humble spuds, he (‘a biologist not a real scientist’) must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist, and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
Watney's own potato famine
Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home, while his crew-mates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission.
As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to champion for Watney's safe return - to ‘Bring him home’.
The Mars long-range scenes were shot in the Jordanian desert at Wadi Rum. The habitat and surrounds were shot inside the Korda Studios in Budapest, Hungary.
The "cloak-and-dagger" meeting to propose the Rich Purnell Manoeuvre is dubbed Project Elrond after the Council of Elrond in the "Lord of the Rings" series. In the scene concerning Project Elrond, Teddy Sanders (the Head of NASA, played by Jeff Daniels) quips that he wants his Codename to be Glorfindel. When this name is questioned, the first character to explain the connection is Mitch Henderson, played by Sean Bean, who played Boromir in “The Fellowship of the Ring” and was present during said council.
Author Andy Weir originally wrote the novel as a serial on his blog, then a Kindle title, publishing and film deals.
With regards the music in the film , the soundtrack to the film is "Bring him home" from Les Miserables.The soundtrack also quotes the ping at the beginning of “Echoes” by Pink Floyd.
When Mark digs up the Radioisotope Thermometric Generator (RTG) to provide warmth to the interior of the Rover, he plays an appropriate selection from Commander Lewis's dreaded disco collection - "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer. 
Other song titles also pull directly from the action “Rock the boat”, “Don’t leave me this way”, and “I will survive”. Bowie’s “Starman” was a must, but they could also have played his “Space Oddity”.
Moments in the film are reminiscent of the classic "2001: A Space Odyssey", the sling-shot manoeuvre has appeared in several movies, and the duct tape on the helmet visor => “MacGyver”.
Another great Ridley Scott venture into space, and wonderfully portrayed by Matt Damon with just the right amount of larrikin.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Time for Thing 18

Have I got time for Thing 18 Productivity apps?
It is about being efficient and effective and some tools on mobile devices can help organise tasks and schedule activities, provide reminders and help with motivation and time management. 

And while I utilise the phone's calendar and alarm, I still carry the old-fashioned paper diary for appointments, notes and various slips of paper, and not just for its Pooh cover.
The Discover task was to check out- Remember the Milk  is a task and time management app. It integrates with Evernote, Gmail, Google Calendar, Siri, and Twitter. You can even email tasks to your Remember the Milk account. You enter your task's properties (due date, priorities, tags, alerts), sync it with all your devices, and get reminded by email, text or Instant Message.
Doodle  is a scheduling tool, for coordinating times for meetings and appointments. It's 'MeetMe' coordinates your meetings with colleagues or friends, it shows them when you are available and how you want to be contacted.
Pomodoro technique is a productivity system that breaks work down into 25 minute chunks to improve concentration. To get the tomato timer you need to buy 8 for 60Euros.
Lift  (now called Coach.me) is a goal setting app, helping you to set goals, monitor progress and tap into support groups.
For me, I prefer my productivity less interferring, is that an oxymoron
unstructured organisation?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Crumbly craving

Cookbooks are a dime a baker's dozen, and heaps pass across my desk, but this one cried out to me to open it...cook it...eat it!

It is "Mug crumbles" cooking or microwaving in just mugs is one of the trendy fads at present, however this particular book looks particularly appetising, and the idea of a crumble on top - yum.
Whether you're after a late-night treat or a super- speedy dinner-party dessert that will still impress your guests, Mug Crumbles will have you sorted. 
With over thirty recipes for delicious crumbles that require minimal effort and time, all you need are five minutes to spare and a serious crumble craving! 
Prepare an easy fruit mixture and a quick crumble topping, put in the microwave for a few minutes, and zap! You have a heavenly crumble to indulge in.
From your classic apple crumble, rhubarb and strawberry, and pear and ginger, to flavour combinations that give your taste buds a kick, such as rum and raisin crumble or raspberry and matcha green tea these recipes will bring new life to your crumble repertoire.

The recipes are:
Apple Mug Crumbles

  • Cinnamon & apple mug crumble
  • Apple & caramel mug crumble
  • Pecan &​ apple mug crumble
  • Apple, dried fruit &​ nut mug crumble
  • Carambar &​ apple mug crumble
Fruit Mug Crumbles

  • Rhubarb, apple &​ almond mug crumble
  • Blackberry &​ apple mug crumble
  • Apricot, apple &​ pistachio mug crumble
  • Banana, apple &​ coconut mug crumble
  • Raspberry, apple &​ matcha tea mug crumble
Chocolate Mug Crumbles

  • Vanilla, apple & chocolate mug crumble
  • Choc-nut &​ apple mug crumble
  • Raspberry, apple & white chocolate mug crumble
  • Pear &​ chocolate mug crumble
  • Cherry, apple &​ chocolate mug crumble
  • Strawberry, apple &​ double-choc mug crumble
  • Pear with gingerbread &​ white chocolate mug crumble
  • Ganache mug crumble
Creamy Mug Crumbles

  • Pear & chestnut puree mug crumble
  • Fig, apple, yoghurt &​ hazelnut mug crumble
  • Blueberry & lemon curd mug crumble
  • Red berries, apple, lemon & cream cheese mug crumble
  • Banana, apple & peanut mug crumble
Biscuity Mug Crumbles
  • Pineapple, apple &​ caramelised biscuit mug crumble
  • Red berries, apple &​ shortbread mug crumble
  • Damson plum &​ apple with Breton butter biscuits mug crumble
  • Mirabelle plum, apple &​ shortbread mug crumble
  • Raspberry, apple &​ pink-wafer biscuit mug crumble
  • Peach & strawberry biscotti mug crumble
Savoury Mug Crumbles
  • Salmon with courgette &​ hazelnut mug crumble
  • Cherry tomatoes with three cheeses mug crumble
  • Courgette &​ feta with polenta mug crumble
  • Olive, tomato & Parmesan mug crumble. 
I'm going to trial the 'Raspberry, apple & white chocolate mug crumble' and the savoury the 'Cherry tomatoes with 3 cheeses mug crumble'.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Everthing from Evernote to Zotero

Thing 17 is Evernote and Zotero.
Playing with Evernote to scan a business card - which worked except it chose to ignore the 'Wimmera Regional Library' bit and came up with the company name 'Corporation', liked that it would then add those card details to your contact list - easy! (the Evernote Team do seem to pester my email with with 'must have' tips)
I wasn't familiar with Zotero - open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research material. It can do your citations and bibliographies (think Endnote), organise your files:PDFs, webpages, images, into a searchable tree interface (think iTunes playlists), and syncs your data to your other devices (think Google.docs).
Even though both products have mobile apps, some of their capabilities are really only suited to a pc web browser - I'd like the Evernote web clipper to work on the phone or ipad and easily save text, links and images I come across.
Checked out Zotfile the advanced PDF management tool for Zotero, but the rules and configurations looked a bit off-putting, so I backed out.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

When in Benalla

The Thongaphones

Found this interesting sight when crossing over the bridge in Benalla.

The ceramic mural which incorporates mosaics, pottery and tiles, began as a community arts project in 1983, the mural was created in 1985 and the whole project took 27 years to complete, it was officially opened in 2010. The mural is situated on the northern bank of Lake Benalla, (near the Information Centre and Museum in the old Mechanics Institute building). 
Overhead from Benalla City
The Gallery from the mural

It forms part of the Art Gallery's collection - the Gallery is across from the mural on the southern bank.

The structure includes an amphitheatre, viewing platform and two sets of sound pipes (Thongaphones), tuned to a pentatonic scale, they are played with a thong. 

Benalla also has some great painted street murals, including works by Adnate (there's also an Adnate in the Art Gallery), Guido van Helten & RONE.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The 'e' of books n' things

Thing 16 eBooks and eBook apps is related to the previous Thing 15.
It covers some of the challenges faced by libraries providing ebooks 
There is the device dilemma - tablets versus readers for eBooks ; the difficulties of proprietary material ; why libraries don't have all the latest bestsellers in the eBook collection ; patrons with El-cheap-o devices that don't access app sources like Google Play or iTunes ; and well-meaning family who gift elderly parents with eReaders without explaining their use.
We still have a few DRM controlled eAudio titles, and it isn't that obvious they have restricted rights when you're browsing, luckily they are being fazed out.
In the Explore I checked out the LibraryBox 2.0 - a Kickstart Project it is a "combination of a router (a variety of hardware will work), USB drive, and software that, when combined, give you a small, low powered webserver. The webserver acts like a captive portal, and delivers files that are stored on the USB drive". The portable digital file distribution system is designed to share digital information in areas of limited or no connectivity (that can be us).

 In the Thinking Points it was how to display and promote ; the different devices, vendor selections, and file formats of eBooks.

It is vital that the eAudios & eBooks are viewed as part of the larger collection, so hurry on eRC (eResource Central) integration - providing our eContent in the general catalogue, so it can be searched alongside the traditional physical collection - you're looking for a copy of "Brave new world" and don't care if it is in large print, CD or ebook format, you just want it NOW.

Also thinking about the born digital local content and historic content converted to digital.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Classic book to tv animation

I missed the lead up to this one. The BBC has made a Bottersnikes & Gumbles tv series. I read all of S.A. Wakefield’s books, and have a paperback copy of the first – “Bottersnikes and Gumbles”.

Bottersnikes and Gumbles are fictitious creatures in a series of children's books by Australian author S.A. Wakefield and illustrator Desmond Digby (who died in April this year, Wakefield died in 2009). Four books were published between 1967 and 1989. The series is a classic of Australian children's literature.

Deep in the bush live some very strange creatures ...
Bottersnikes live in rubbish heaps along dusty roadsides in the lonely Australian bush. They have green wrinkly skin, cheese grater noses and long, pointed ears that go red when they are angry. Which is most of the time.

Giggling Gumbles live in the bush, too. They are cheerful little creatures who can be squashed into all sorts of shapes, but cannot pop back into their proper shape unless helped. This makes the friendly Gumbles useful to the lazy Bottersnikes, who have some very nasty plans ...
The Bottersnikes may have some tricks up their sleeves, but so do the resourceful Gumbles.
The battle has begun!

The Bottersnike King & Gumble Tink
The animated tv series is by the BBC (yes British not Australian) and the Seven Network and has it’s own webpage with videos, the character bios, and an ‘About’ page which includes a ‘making of’ clip.
The major difference in the animated series from the books is that while the stories recounted conflicts between the lazy, destructive Bottersnikes and good-natured, hardworking Gumbles. The two species were intended to represent opposing attitudes towards the environment; those who destroy the bush, and those who clean it up, this is missing from the new stories. Inspiration for the original stories came from the emerging environmental movement in the 1970s.
Chank the sneaky 2-I-C to the King
Read the complete adventures of the Bottersnikes & Gumbles, and watch the premiere on 7Two on 22nd December at 7:30am.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The highs & lows

A little ancedote from lunchtime today,  
I was out in 30+ degrees (today 36 max, Thursday 38, Friday 40 and Saturday 43 degrees) purchasing a rain gauge, and then buying lunch.

Four people made comment on the gauge
  • 2 liked the look
  • 2 asked where I had bought it (was the last in stock!)
  • 1 told me I was wasting my money it isn't going to rain
  • 1 that I was being over optimistic
So maybe I'm optimistic as it can record up to 250mm (that's nearly ten inches - should be enough)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Identifying Adobe

I've neglected the 23 Things for a while, so to rectify things, here is Thing 15 - Adobe ID. Your Adobe ID is for using Adobe products such as Adobe Digital Editions and Photoshop.
The Discover task was to get an Adobe ID or Bluefire Reader. We need Adobe Digital Editions for Bolinda's eBooks when you are downloading it to a computer or laptop. 

The Explorer tasks were to investigate
  • Project Gutenberg (where I had downloaded my classic eBooks - Sherlock Holmes, 1984, For the term of his natural life, and so on)
  • The website list of options for locating free ePUB books (which was huge, and included things like the original 1892 edition of Mother Goose
Mother Goose's 'There was a crooked man'
 The Thinking Points wanted you to ponder
  • if you provide information to guide your library clients in downloading eBooks and reader apps? We provide a link to Abobe Digital Editions, User Guides for both our eBooks and eAudios, and a Troubleshooting Guide for eBooks
  • the user experience downloading eBooks in comparison to other library experiences - where I feel we are more at the whim of the vendors of eproducts than other collections, and must provide it as they require
The Adobe Digital Editions' "Alice" with Arthur Rackham's illustrations