Laughing is good

It’s fair to say that we are both fairly stressed with the ongoing ‘lack of kitchen’ saga, so it’s been good to have a hearty chuckle over the past couple of days. The cat flap we fitted for Ollie is working fine. It uses a magnetic lock to stop just any old feline wandering in, and means that Ollie now has a small magnet dangling from his collar. I’m sure there are other cats in the area with the same cat flap fitted in their homes but it will stop the strays getting in. Unfortunately for Ollie, having a magnet attached to collar makes life… interesting… particularly when your food and water bowls are made of metal … *CLUNK* … …

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Remember to live

It seems I can’t avoid this blog post so I may as well crack on and see what falls out of my head. My father-in-law lives in small town in Spain and, as such, is part of a tight-knit ex-pat community over there. Early this week a man we’ve met a few times, and who was always friendly and welcoming, dropped dead. We saw him just last month. Quite a shock. Then I read this post from Tom about a man who dropped dead in the street. Tom closes his post with some advice: …live life to the full. Make yourself happy. Try to make those that you care for happy. Your life is the only thing that you truly …

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Hello to ISTC Communicator Readers

I got home this evening to find the next issue of Communicator sitting on the mat. Thankfully it was in one piece so obviously the cat hadn’t found it… Anyway, just to confirm that, yes, I am the same Gordon McLean who features in the final piece in the magazine. Worryingly that means you now know what I look like, so I can only hope it doesn’t put you off visiting my blog again in the future. I’m also going to be featuring in the monthly newsletter, but more on that when it happens. The article was a “day in the life” style piece and although re-reading it brought a few omissions to mind, it remains a fairly accurate portrayal …

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Current Mood: Ranty

Idiots: Take 1 Orange have dropped my line rental by 20%. Yay. Orange have offered me an upgrade on my handset, and I hate my current handset. Yay. That would mean a new 18mth contract. Boo. And despite having chosen the phone on Monday, I was told yesterday that I’m in the “wrong band”. Boo. (That last one is odd, I’ve never even been in a band, unless you count noodling around on keyboards in Martin Gillespie’s garage when I was 14….) This is not the first time I’ve ended up having to chase two different Orange departments because THEY screwed up. So, as soon as I can, I’m off to O2. Idiots: Take 2 I put up an item …

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Upcoming

This post is entirely to save my own sanity. Feel free to skip it but if I don’t write all this down my head will explode. Today I await the arrival of a new kitchen worktop and need to visit the doctor (well the nurse) to get my blood pressure taken again. I’ve been pretty good watching what I eat, not adding salt to anything (well a tiny amount to that tasteless bowl of chicken soup.. ick) and I’ve also managed to lose about 5lbs so it’s all good, I hope. Tomorrow night Louise is out seeing South Pacific. Not my favourite show so quite glad I’m not going, it’ll give me a chance to sort through my bookshelves (some …

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Move over Adobe

As we are in the midst of rethinking our publishing processes, I’ve been looking at the current crop of tools, and (for our needs) three of them stand out over their competitors. Adobe, AuthorIT and MadCap seem to be heading for a battle royale, with the latter two the David to Adobe’s Goliath. But who will win? Before yesterday I wouldn’t really have put MadCap in that battle but it’s been a busy time for MadCap, who (yesterday): ..unveiled its roadmap for the first complete, native XML software family designed to solve all of a company‚Äôs documentation and authoring demands. The MadCap family will include five new products: MadCap Blaze, MadCap Press, MadCap Team Server, MadCap X-Edit, and MadCap X-Edit …

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The art of complaining

Apparently we are rubbish at it, us Brits. We’d rather quietly seethe than give voice to any kind of negative comment or any hint that we are complaining. I’m an occasional complainer, mainly because I just don’t see the need to bother with things I consider mundane so I tend to save up my complainments* and currently they are all being focussed on a letter of complaint. There is a twisted joy to writing a nice meaty letter of complaint, I guess it’s akin to actors preferring to play the bad guy, it’s much more fun. That said I have never ever written a letter of praise. Maybe I should do one of those too, balance out the karma?? Anyway, …

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The one where I don't read any books

Some wise person once said “Best laid plans are soonest avoided”. Admittedly it may have been me… My weekend was hiijacked by shopping (whilst we waited on the electricians finishing) so I have a couple of new shirts, a night out with our friends (and rather delicious steak!), and a car boot sale which included getting up in the middle of the night to get there, and having people peer into the back of your car the second you pull up. They had torches and everything, these are serious people, organised people, do NOT get in their road! Also managed to fit a cat flap which Ollie has finally figured out how to use, although it will mean building a …

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Are online communities worth it?

The boom of the internet is better documented elsewhere but the one key and founding principles is the ability to converse with anyone, anywhere in the globe. From the early days of IRC and email, onto graphical websites and instant messaging through to the current swathe of, for want of a better phrase, Web 2.0 services. Twitter, blogs, social bookmarking, and online communities are the current rage but, do they work? I’m a member of several email lists, swapping emails with a large number of people on a range of topics. I spend a fair amount of time filtering out topics which don’t interest me, and over time I’ve come to recognise various people by name. However email, whilst great …

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We can haz electricitics?*

We can!! Lessons learned, if you know someone in the ‘trade’, ask them for a recommendation. Not only have the guys done a bang up job, clearing up after themselves in the process, they were HALF the price we got quoted for a job that would’ve taken twice as long? When we told Danny, our newest bestest electrician friend, about the other quote he was gobsmacked both at the price and the length of time quoted. If you are in the South Lanarkshire area, I’d recommend you steer clear of “First Call Electrical Services” and Mark Rodger. And if you need an electrician I’ll happily pass on the number of our newest bestest electrician friend. So, step one in getting …

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