Surfing and butterflies

Butterfly_stone Cathy_surf

Jenny has not uploaded her pictures from her French trip yet, but here are some new pictures. Cathy has just had her first surfing lesson; and Jenny (with Cathy’s help) made a paving stone for the garden — a mosaic butterfly. ("Create a paving stone" is one of the craft projects you can buy at our local "fun learning" store, bought for Jenny’s birthday last August. I wonder what they will have come up with when we go to buy her a birthday presents for this year?)

Myspace goes book

While on the subject of Richard and Science Library Pad, I wanted to mention a posting of his about My Space and Technorati books. It is a good post, so do read it. I checked out My Space books and find that a top book recommendation is "Hairstyles of the Damned", closely followed by "Smashed: the Story of a Drunken Girlhood". Sounds awesome. However, the bestselling list is distressingly more boring, headed up by the dreaded DVC. There are also featured reading groups, including an Oscar Wilde group (1,112 members). There are 4,546 members of a book group called "the fiction files", 1,135 members of another one called "choke on words". Maybe MySpace is on to something.

Incidentally, for the geeks among us, Richard has a clever post about his visitor stats on his (Typepad) blog; he has activated a feature that allows him to track almost 200 subscribers he didn’t know he had. Links provided at the post.

Picasa and photo software

I noticed last week that Google has announced an upgrade or relaunch of Picasa, their online picture service. I was wondering whether to try it rather than Flickr. Flickr is very good, in fact brilliant, but you have to have a Yahoo! account to register which I don’t like (as I already have a Google account and a work account and I can’t cope with too many), and also Jenny (i.e. me) has to pay a monthly fee to Flickr to upload her pictures as her digital camera she bought with her pocket money is too good — the resolution of her pictures is such that she could post only half a dozen a month on the free account so she has upgraded to "Pro".

Back to Picasa — the message is, don’t bother. Richard Akerman of Science Library Pad checked it out, as he wondered what Picasa offered that other picture sites (well, Flickr) don’t. Here is his answer.

"Another mysterious unasked-for bit of functionality from Google, perhaps emerging from their now-a-public-company beancounter mentality. For this, they hired a zillion PhDs?

Anyway, Picasa is a great photo organizer for Windows.
Some wonderful features would be:
- make it available on Mac and Linux
- direct upload to Flickr
- integration with Google Earth, Google Maps and GPS data for geocoding (UPDATE 2006-06-18: I was wrong – there is a new Tools->Geotag menu that lets you manually geotag using Google Earth.)
- IPTC tags

We got… none of those.
Instead, they have come up with Picasa Web Albums.
Which are web photo albums… 1999 style."

However, after a bit more research, Richard discovered that Picasa does have some integration with Google Earth , albeit manual, as noted in the correction above; he shows an example of a photo from Mackenzie King’s formal garden at Moorside in Gatineau Park. (Susan and Amy, if you are reading this, Richard is a fellow-Canadian).

To return to Flickr vs Picasa, I love the Flickr tagging options. But I get those with the photo album that comes with this Typepad blog, so why Picasa can’t offer tags I don’t know. Richard, in response to my bemused comment on his blog, recommends two other photo sites, PBase and Kodak Gallery, and provides links. Thanks, Richard. All I need to do now is to buy a camera;-)  I have already suggested to Cathy that I might buy her "old" one (it is about 4 years old), as she feels it does not have enough functionality for her. I must stop hankering for the old days of SLR (though I do hear that it is coming back in some kind of digital copy version). As I think I mentioned, my old SLR camera was stolen years ago, so I’ve got by on scrounging family members’ cameras since then.

PS apologies if this posting is a bit staccato — it has been interspersed with about 50 googletalk messages with Jenny, as only one of her friends is currently on msn (which she tells me is much cooler than googletalk).

Polygon 19 June

Polygon puzzle
Using the given letters no more than once, make as many words as possible of three or more letters, always including the central letter. Capitalised words, plurals, conjugated verbs (past tense etc), adverbs ending in LY, comparatives and superlatives are disallowed.
You can make two words using all the letters.
How you rate: 12 words, average; 16, good; 20, very good; 25, excellent.
Click here for rules and tips on how to play Polygon Source: The Times
Answers in the comments.