# Saturday, 24 March 2007

I found this interesting article on The Independents website. A new mobile phone company called Blyk is going to offer free voice and text services to customers who sign up to receive adverts on their phones. I can see how this service may appeal to people wanting to cut their monthly phone bill. Personally I rarely use my mobile phone and have it on a “pay as you go” contract so for me large bills are not a problem. I have noticed that recently I am receiving frequent text messages advertising services that are of no interest to me. There is nothing more irritating than reading through your texts thinking they might be important and finding they are what I have started to refer to as phone spam. I get enough spam through email without starting to get it on my phone.

posted on Saturday, 24 March 2007 12:01:53 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

In many layouts it is necessary to link text so that it flows from one text box to another. This can be done by using the linking tool (shown below). Simply choose the tool from the toolbox, then click on the first box to be linked, followed by the box you wish the text to flow into. You will now see an arrow linking the two boxes to show the direction that the text will flow. You can link any number of text boxes as well as linking text boxes across several pages. If you need to unlink boxes you can do this by choosing the unlink tool, which is found in the toolbox right underneath the linking tool. Simply select the unlink tool and click on the base of the grey arrow which links the boxes to unlink them.

posted on Saturday, 24 March 2007 11:29:43 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 23 March 2007

I found an interesting article about what goes into a McDonalds Chicken Nugget. Apparently it contains 56% corn as well as another 38 different ingredients one of which is obviously chicken but disturbingly it also contains TBHQ which is an antioxidant derived from petroleum.

posted on Friday, 23 March 2007 15:13:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I saw this article in The Metro about a pillow that apparently helps prevent hangovers. The pillow is stuffed with various plant extracts including fennel, juniper, mustard and peppermint, all of which are meant to counter the effects of a hangover. Personally I frequently sprinkle lavender oil on my pillow when I am having trouble sleeping and use peppermint or eucalyptus if I have a blocked up nose. I find that when doing this I awake felling much more rested the following morning. At only £7.50 even if it doesn’t cure your hangover this pillow is likely to help you have a restful nights sleep.

posted on Friday, 23 March 2007 15:04:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Often layouts require several different text or picture boxes to be aligned along the page. For a long time I used to do this manually, either by eye or by typing the values into the measurements palette. A quicker way is to use Quarks Space/Align items command under the item menu (Apple key and ,). Just select the items that you wish to line up and use Apple , to bring up the dialogue box. Here you can align items either horizontally or vertically and specify how much space appears between each item thus saving you quite a lot of time and creating a neater looking layout.

posted on Friday, 23 March 2007 14:23:14 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 22 March 2007

The Playstation 3 is launched in the UK tonight at midnight. As someone who has owned a Playstation and currently has Playstation 2, I was eagerly awaiting the launch of the Playstation 3 until I read that it was going to cost £425. Although there appears to be the usual hype surrounding the launch and the usual queue of people waiting in line to be the first to own a Playstation 3, I can’t help wondering if Playstation have finally priced them selves out of the market with this new console.

posted on Thursday, 22 March 2007 19:30:33 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

As a regular user of Ebay I am well aware that I should avoid those sales where you get a "buy it now discount" if you contact the seller directly over email. This article on Ebay scams is useful reading for anyone using Ebay and shows how such scams work.

posted on Thursday, 22 March 2007 17:38:33 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I came across this article about a cat that can pronounce its own name. The cat called Agui apparently pronounces his name when he gets scared, usually whilst his owner is giving him a bath. Unfortunately there is no video of the cat actually talking so it’s hard to say whether it’s true or not. One thing is for sure judging by the picture below this cat really hates baths.

posted on Thursday, 22 March 2007 17:29:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

In Quark the position of objects placed on the page is measured by the position of the ruler origin. When you start a new project the ruler origin starts as default from the top left hand side of the page. This means that the x and y coordinates in the measurements palette show the position of a selected object from the top left of the page. However, when setting some documents it can be necessary to change the ruler origins so that objects can be measured from a different point on the page. This can be done by locating the ruler origin currently at the top left of the page. It appears in between the two rulers as show here.

It is then possible to click on the ruler origin and drag it to a new position on the page. You will see a cross appear on the page as in the picture above to show that the ruler origin is moving. Once you have done this you will notice that the ruler no longer measures from the top left hand side of the page, but now starts at 0 from your new origin point. To reset it to the default setting simply double click on the box where the two rulers join and its back to measuring from the top left of the page.

posted on Thursday, 22 March 2007 10:57:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 21 March 2007

It might come as a surprise to users of programs such as Word but Quark does not have the ability to produce automatic bullet points. There are two way to create the actual bullet point. You can either press the alt (option) key and 8. This creates a small bullet point but it can be a little hard to resize it in proportion to the text as it doesn’t always line up very well the text. Personally I prefer to use the Zapf Dingbats font and simply type a lower case l (L). This produces a bullet point that can be easily resized in the measurements palette in the font size section.

The other problem with bullet points in Quark is that when the text runs onto two lines it does not automatically indent. To combat this problem I insert a tab on the first line of the text after the bullet. Then simply use the format menu to set a left indent also set a first line indent but set it as a minus number. For example if your left indent is set to 5mm set your first line indent to minus 5 mm. This will have the effect that the bullet point is set back flush with the left margin of your text box and the text will be neatly lined up underneath each other.


posted on Wednesday, 21 March 2007 11:19:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Stressed at work? You need Virtual Bubblewrap. This site has all the stress reliving properties of popping real bubble wrap and comes complete with a timer to let you know how you doing. See if you are quick enough to get onto the scoreboard.

posted on Wednesday, 21 March 2007 11:16:54 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 20 March 2007

We all have our problems at work, perhaps you are not paid enough or you work very long hours, now it appears that your office could actually be killing you. According to an article in The Daily Mail there are many factors in every office that can damage your health. Sitting at your desk for long hours can put you at risk of deep vein thrombosis whilst air conditioning in the office can lead to dehydration, as well as making you more prone to viruses. In addition your chair can cause back pain and your computer screen can cause eyestrain, headaches and problems with vision. Even your computer keyboard can make you ill as it can harbour more germs than the average toilet seat. You may also think your phone is clean but it is actually a prime breeding ground for bacteria. So its official work really is bad for us.

posted on Tuesday, 20 March 2007 14:38:47 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

It occurred to me the other day whilst I was doing some typesetting how much I rely on shortcuts in Quark, so I thought I would post a series of handy tips which I use frequently.

Sizing pictures can take a little while when using the measurements palette so I use the following shortcuts.

To size a picture proportionally without using the measurements toolbar, first draw a picture box of the size you want the picture to be. Then import your picture using the get picture command (apple key and E). Next hold down the apple key, the alt (option) key and shift, press F and the picture is automatically sized to fit into your picture box. It might sound complicated at first but I find it saves a lot of time as you only need to press the combination of keys once rather than typing different percentage values into the measurements palette.

If you want to change the size of the picture once you have imported it into the picture box, then it’s also possible to do this without typing values into the measurements palette. Simply hold down the apple key, the alt (option) key and the shift key and press < to make your picture smaller or > to make it larger. Using this shortcut also keeps the proportion of the picture so you know that’s its not going to appear squashed out of all proportion on your final layout.

posted on Tuesday, 20 March 2007 11:17:22 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 19 March 2007

I watched Over the Hedge at the weekend and as with most of the movies from DreamWorks Animation I loved it. The animals wake up from hibernation to find a large green hedge all around their home. On further investigation they find that during the winter whilst they were asleep their forest has been turned into a housing estate and only a small square of their home remains. This means they have to look for other methods of foraging food. At this point a mischievous raccoon arrives in the forest. He has a dilemma, having just upset a very large bear whose food supply he has destroyed. The raccoon decides that the best way to solve his problem is to use his new found forest friends to collect food for the bear so that he can avoid getting eaten. This leads to a series of amusing scenes where the forest animals are introduced to human food and after having a taste of what looks like Doritos they suddenly don’t find their usual diet quite as interesting as before. The raccoon goes on a number of expeditions over the hedge to collect food causing a lot of commotion with the humans who would rather not have vermin running around the housing state. Once enough food has been collected the raccoon betrays the rest of the animals to take the food to the bear and save his own life. Unfortunately because his exploits have upset the humans they call in the verminator, a pest control expert to get rid of the animals. Luckily the raccoon eventually sees the error of his ways and returns to rescue his friends. His plan involves feeding fizzy drinks to a hyperactive squirrel who is then able to move faster than the eye can see and save the day. In all it’s a funny movie and great family fun.

posted on Monday, 19 March 2007 09:27:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Have you ever been at the train station and noticed people apparently dancing randomly. Well they could just be crazy but the chances are that they are at a mobile clubbing event. Basically people are notified on the internet when an event is going to be held. All they then have to do is turn up at the designated time and place with their ipod and choose a song to dance to. The same company also runs a pillow fight club which works along the same concept. You just need to turn up at the venue with a pillow in your hand ready to fight at the allotted time.

posted on Monday, 19 March 2007 09:24:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 18 March 2007

It was Rory’s birthday this weekend so Tamsyn, Brad and Jim came over for a Braai (BBQ). We spent much of the evening playing on the Wii console on Wii Sports having tennis and boxing tournaments. Although I proved to be fairly rubbish at the Wii Tennis I managed to emerge as the ultimate champion of the boxing knockout.

Brad and Jim playing Wii boxing.

From the left: Rory, Tamsyn, Me, Brad and Jim tired out after the Wii Sports tournament.

posted on Sunday, 18 March 2007 13:38:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Tamsyn and Jim visited this weekend just before they went off to a Barbie and Ken themed party. These blonde wigs are available online from the joke shop.


posted on Sunday, 18 March 2007 13:17:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 17 March 2007

I have heard of many DIY disasters but this story in The Metro about a pensioner who managed to stick himself to his own roof has got to be one of the most amusing. A police spokesman said "when we got there, he was like a beetle on its back, with his arms and legs sprawled out and completely glued to the roof."


posted on Saturday, 17 March 2007 12:35:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Want to know how English you are? Try this English Test from the bombardier website. I managed to score a rather poor 52 per cent.

posted on Saturday, 17 March 2007 12:27:31 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback