News and Links for Early February 2012

This blog post is divided into three sections.

In the first, I give you my latest personal news. It’s mostly social events, and can be thought of as a continuation of my previous post. In the second, I share some interesting links. Since this is the first time I’ve shared links in 2012, a few of them go back to last December, though most are more recent. In the third, I mention a few customisations I’ve made to software on my new computer.


I had my third and final Austalk session on February 2 (I wrote about Austalk last time). Now I’m just waiting eagerly for the results to be made available on the web, which I expect to see later in the year.

Socially I’ve had some good times in the last month, catching up with friends and so forth. I won’t go into details, but January 26 was the day I spent an afternoon with my excellent friend Julia. Julia and I met at work, where we used to sit next to each other on Wednesday afternoon shifts. Later she changed shifts and so we were no longer there at the same time, but we stayed in touch and always intended to get together socially sometime. We’ve now done that, and I look forward to doing it again. In fact, I’m taking her to see Eidolon at the Adelaide Fringe in March…

I also caught up with other friends that same week: the Lauries at a restaurant in Murray Bridge on the Tuesday and the Twelftrees at their place in Unley on the Wednesday. These are all friends I don’t see very often, so it was good to catch up. Mum and Dad were in town that week to go to the cricket and socialise, so we all got together with friends those two evenings.

Dad’s birthday is coming up on February 11 as I write this, and I bought him a copy of Blood Work by Holly Tucker which I gave him on February 6. That was the day my parents and I went to see John Cleese on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre. That was a good night out, and my cousin Caroline was there too (we caught up during the interval).

Photograph of me wearing new sunglasses. My old ones broke over Christmas (the bit that goes over the ear snapped).


[Update: The following links were originally posted in early March, but during an archive clean-up I’ve decided to add them here.]


There’s plenty I could say about my new computer, including which software I have installed and which has caused me the most grief. But that would be tedious, so this will just be an arbitrary sampling, covering some customisations I’ve made to Firefox, Skype, and Microsoft Word.

For web browsing, I’m still using Firefox. I’ve installed the Quicktime plugin so that I can play MP3/WAV links inside the browser (since Quicktime Alternative doesn’t work anymore), as well as some add-ons that I also had on my old computer — the Planets Close-Up theme and the indispensible Tab Mix Plus extension. Add-ons that I used on my old computer but haven’t got around to installing on this one include Cookie Monster, Character Identifier and Link Visitor.

In Skype I’ve changed the sound that plays when I receive a new Instant Message, because I wanted something that would grab my attention even if I’m elsewhere in the house. After browsing the sound files available on the Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time CD, I selected the voice of Eric Idle saying, “And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for“. At first Skype refused to play the sound, but then I modified it based on instructions here (see comments), and everything was fine. Here is the Skype-compatible WAV file in case you’d like to try it. (Incidentally, on my old computer I had various Windows system events set to play Monty Python quotations, but on the new one I’ve kept the defaults, except that the event Microsoft calls “Asterisk” has been silenced.)

When I use a word processor, it’s usually to print articles from the Internet so that I can devote more attention to them than I can from the screen. I’m now using Microsoft Word 2010, and items currently on my Quick Access Toolbar are: “New Blank Document“; “Quick Print“; “Undo“; “Redo“; “Select All“; “Advanced Layout: Size“; “Square“; “Align“. Some of these were a challenge to find on the alphabetical list of available tools — for example, who would think of looking under A for Advanced? —  but now that I’ve found them I can format articles reasonably efficiently. I’ve also made other customisations, such as font settings for styles.


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