Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books

Friday, July 01, 2011

Comic Cuts - 1 July 2011

Readers following the rambling and (seemingly) neverending saga of my computer will be pleased to hear that the end is in sight — and it has a happy ending. We won't be skipping off into the sunset, but I'm happy with the new machine.

The bulk of the work of migrating everything from one machine (the old one in the pic above) to the new one took place over the weekend. The bit of wire I picked up to connect the new computer to the monitor (mentioned last week), which was indeed the wrong bit of wire, turned out to be unnecessary as I already had an adaptor. The new machine was turned on for the first time last Friday evening and it did everything it was supposed to do. Data files were copied overnight and on Saturday we began the task of piling on programmes and updates, which continued on Sunday.

So by Monday morning when I needed to be in a position where I could do some work we were almost done, although the system at the moment looks like spaghetti junction, with wires trailing all over the place. At this precise moment (Thursday evening) I'm running a trial version of photoshop, because the old version wouldn't copy over and I've no idea what happened to the discs it came on, and my sound recorder doesn't work... it can play back music and sounds but can't record off whatever is masquerading as a sound card in the new machine.

This is a bit of a pain as I like to listen to different things when I'm doing different tasks: music is fine while I'm writing but I can't listen to, say, factual programmes or dramas because the bits of my brain dealing with words are trying to concentrate on what I'm writing; I can listen to a whole episode of something and not take in a single word. So I save those for when I'm cleaning up artwork or plugging in metadata. I listened to the whole of the recent BBC4 Extra version of On the Beach this morning, which I wouldn't have been able to do if I'd had to rely on the BBC's iPlayer. I'm not knocking the iPlayer — I use it a lot to catch up on things. I'm just saying that a week sometimes isn't long enough and I'd rather record something so that I can listen to it when it's convenient rather than miss it.

Until I can get this fixed I'm operating two computers, with two keyboards and two mice.
Apart from that inconvenience, I'm slowly getting used to some of the changes that have occurred since I last upgraded my computer. I've grown used to Windows XP and Word 2003, or whatever version it was. I've upgraded to Windows 7 and it has a very different user interface. Not impossible to navigate around but there are certain things that I'm finding difficult. For some reason every company seems to be obsessed with tabs. Rather than opening in a new window, a programme will open in a new tab. As I'd started with Windows 3.0 back in the early 1990s, I'm used to shutting down windows when I want to close something... so I'm finding that tricky, as I keep closing down the whole programme rather than the tab that I should be closing down. A minor inconvenience and something I'll get sorted once I can retrain the 'muscle memory' that takes the mouse towards that little red 'x' in the top right corner.

Apart from that I've not come across any major problems. I've managed to turn off all the annoying sounds, got rid of the preview panel on the folders and reformatted the 'normal' in Word so that new documents look like they should. I'm still trying to sort out the desktop as that's where I keep a lot of work projects, rough scans and oddments that I intend using here on Bear Alley, but for the most part I've managed to get everything looking like some approximation of how I like them.

Enough of the computers. They have rather taken over my life this week and a few minutes thinking about something completely unrelated might not come amiss.

After the news that October will see the release of a book about Commando, I spotted that another title related to the famous series, now in its 50th year, has just been released... a CD collection of war themes under the Commando banner and an gorgeous Ian Kennedy sleve design. The CD contains 24 classic war themes ranging from the themes from Lawrence of Arabia, 633 Squadron, The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, Reach for the Sky, The Battle of Britain, and other well recognised tunes like 'The Dambusters March', 'Cavatina' (from The Deer Hunter), 'The River Kwai March' and 'The Colditz March'. There are a couple of surprises, including the recent Schindler's List theme and themes from Gunfight at the OK Corral and True Grit, but it's a solid selection.

The album is available on CD and as a download.

Random scans. First up is a cover by Barbara Walton that I stumbled upon during my digging around the net looking for information on her sister, Eileen Walton. This one dates from 1957, which is the earliest cover I've found from Barbara. Beacon Books was a paperback imprint of Odhams.

And here are three covers by Jack Hayes from the 1970s sent over ages ago by David Roach and rediscovered while I've been trying to rationalise some of the dozens of folders that I have clogging up my harddrive.

Next week... um... I'm really not sure. I need to get the scanner up and running, which I'll try to do over the weekend.

No comments: