TannieSpace

geekery, drawing and then some

Mobile site

Mobile site screenshot

I’ve tweaked and fiddled a bit, and now have a satisfying version of my website for mobile browsers. It all should just work, with a link to the full site on the top right should you prefer that.

I still want to tweak the layout, the pages list only shows up at the home-page, where it maybe should show up everywhere — navigation matters. Also the search box shows up at the bottom, but maybe I should move it to the top.

I’ve added the little snowman to the home-page at least, to sync it with the main site’s design.

I have also tried to keep it small. It currently loads at a 135kb for the main-page. Looking into making it less KB (the full version consists of 1MB of files, also trying to make it smaller). Just because a lot of us have fancy speedy connections doesn’t mean I should aim for that. I aim for the average speed and hope it doesn’t take too long to load either page.


The iPhone saga, part 3

I’ve not used my iPhone for a little over a week now, and I miss it somewhat. Every now and then I think %(quote)oh, I want to play ‘Spider’% or something like that, and then realise I no longer have my iPhone. I’ve noticed I don’t really want to use my current replacement phone. Pressing those buttons hurt my fingers too much. I love the touch-interface. I didn’t know — though I suspected as much — how much easier that touch-interface works on my hands.

Currently, the repair status (which I can check online) says “Your phone is in repair.”. The next step will tell me what they found, if anything, and what will happen next. I hope it’ll update before the weekend, but suspect it might take a few more working days.

I like the online status check. Thank you, T-mobile.


Eek! Shopper got really bad…

Shopper update. I loved Shopper for quite some time. It was one of the first (paid) apps I bought for my iPhone, and I have stuck with it for over a year. Recently though, the business model the developers have chosen started to irk me. I started getting ‘suggestions’ and ‘FDA alerts’ (whatever that means).

With the latest update, they introduced ads. Ads in a paid app. I have not yet received my iPhone back, but I looked at the screenshots and read what other users wrote. Their screenshots don’t show the real result, and in fact, the screencast on the website shows no sign of these annoying ‘features’.

p(clear). They state on their website (in the forums):

bq.. As you might have noticed, we have introduced a messaging capability to Shopper with this release. We are using it to deliver a number of different types of alerts, hints (based on your feedback) and brand messages. We think there are a lot of innovative and useful things we can do with this capability. Over the past week, over 14,000 people have checked out an alert from the FDA or USDA and 30,000 people have checked out a Shopper usage hint. So while they don’t please everyone, a great number of users find these features helpful.

p. So, not only do they introduce an annoying ‘feature’ they also track your clicking behaviour. First of all, you can’t really avoid clicking on one of those stupid ‘messages’ because they clutter your screen and get in the way. Second, eh.. hello… wtf do you check what I click on? They may or may not have mentioned that in the t&c, accessible from inside the app, so no way to read before you buy.

They also write:

(…) just so you know, the costs associated with all of the recent upgrades are now much greater than the $0.99 download fee. So in order to keep the platform up and running, while continuing to build your suggestions into the most capable shopping app available (including this months addition), brand sponsorship is needed. We hope you understand and stick with us, but if not - we will be offering an opt-out subscription in the next release (…)

I can only imagine that this opt-out subscription will consist of a paid subscription. When I bought Shopper, it cost me around €3, a price I happily paid. Why on earth they didn’t keep it there, or even now increase the price, still baffles me.

Instead, they have chosen a business model that forces ads onto loyal users, defending it with numbers and the current low price. When you as a company choose to take the more expensive route — not necessarily a bad thing — you of course have to get that money from somewhere. But with ads in an already-paid-for-app? Seriously?

Goodbye, Shopper, too bad our relationship had to end so horribly.


Software I wouldn’t want to live without.

Over the years I’ve collected software (for my Mac) that I use on a daily basis and wouldn’t want to live without. Sure I could find alternatives, but these programs suit me the most. I often pay for software, something some of my friends find ridiculous :) I’ll happily pay a hardworking person for their work, especially if their work makes my live easier. Before I buy software I check it out thoroughly, which includes not only the software itself but also its help-function/support, the update policy (when to pay for the next update) and how much I’ll get ‘locked in’. I don’t like getting locked in and choose applications that allow me to export to a sensible format. I also look for something that supports Applescript, because with Applescript I can do things more smoothly. I love it when I can script repetitive tasks, and I very much like using shortcut keys instead of a mouse.

First a neat little trick.

set menu shortcut

Which reminds me of this neat little trick I discovered for Snow Leopard — I don’t remember where I read it, otherwise I’d link it.

First, make sure you set up your keyboard preferences correctly: System preferences ⇒ Keyboard ⇒ Tab: Keyboard Shortcuts. Select ‘Application Shortcuts’ and then ‘All Applications’. The top item should read ‘Show Help Menu’. For me, by default the key was ⌘ - / but that caused issues because the default help-hot-key is ⌘ - ?. I changed mine to ⌘ - ⌃ - /.

Menu

Whenever I press this hotkey, I get the menu on the left. When you type a few letters it’ll show you all the possible menu-items and you can simply select them here with your arrowkeys or by clicking on the item with your mouse. It saves me plenty of time not having to look for a certain item in the menus.

Programs

I have the following programs in use nearly daily (in random order):

iTerm
A tabbed terminal, alternative to the default terminal (free, supports applescript)
OmniWeb
An alternative browser by the lovely people of OmniGroup (free, supports applescript)
Tweetie
The desktop client (free with ads, excellent keyboard support)
OmniFocus
A task-manager, based on the GTD-system. (non-free, supports applescript)
GraphicConverter
A wonderful photo editing program that converts between many formats. After years of use I feels as if I still have only scraped the surface of what this program can do. I use it to organise my photos, edit them somewhat (change levels), crop them and rename / edit the IPTC data. (free-with-delay-until-you-pay, supports applescript)
MoneyWell
Personal finance program. Has excellent budgeting capabilities. (non-free, doesn’t support applescript)
LaunchBar
Switched to LaunchBar from QuickSilver. It has an excellent page with a FAQ for QuickSilver switchers and does pretty much the same things. I haven’t missed anything I used in QuickSilver. It lets you create you own actions with applescripts or shell scripts. (non-free, supports applescript)
TextMate
Very extensive text editor with plugins (non-free, don’t think it supports applescript, has excellent self-scripting :) so I never needed it)
Scrivener
Writing app. (non-free, no applescript so far)
MarsEdit
Blog publishing software (non-free, supports applescript)
Plugins

The following plugins sit in my menubar or run invisibly in the background:

Mail plugins

Mail Tags and MailActOn
both excellent plugins to extend the default Mail.app’s behaviour. MailActOn lets you sort mail into folders and do all sorts of things with your e-mail with the stroke of a few keys. (non-free)
Visor
A system-wide terminal accessible via a hotkey. (free)
Growl
System notifier. (free)
FastScripts
Applescript management utility, gives you access to your applescripts from anywhere through a menu and hotkeys. (non-free)
Hazel
A utility to automate actions with/on your files and folders. Most of it you could probably do with applescripts and automator and the folder-actions, I like the interface which makes it much easier to do. (non-free)
TextExpander
Sits in the background and replaces certain abbreviations with a pre-defined text. It also runs applescripts and shell-scripts with these abbreviations. Very useful for inserting snippets — of code, standard e-mail replies etc. (non-free)

The iPhone saga, part 2

Leaving the iPhone at the store. Today I went to the T-Mobile store to drop off my iPhone. The Customer Service didn’t phone me yesterday and I didn’t want to wait till after the weekend. Unfortunately, I have no way of informing them they don’t need to phone me anymore, so I suspect they will still do it Monday.

The guy at the store looked at my — complete — copy of the receipt and asked what I brought last time. I pointed it out and he said I brought enough, the guy should have taken in my phone.

This time, the other guy filled in the forms, gave me a copy and told me they’ll call me in about a week or two. Keeping my thumbs crossed. And fingers too.


Sprouting lentils.

Sprouts . After roughly 24 hours in the bag, the lentil-seeds have started to sprout.

I have never sprouted lentils before, so I don’t know if these sprouted faster. I do like how easy I can rinse the seeds, simply hold the bag under the tap and go — or dip it in a bowl with water. I added the sunflower, broccoli and pea seeds a little later, I hope they’ll sprout tomorrow.

The other bag has some quinoa from my pack. Normally I don’t expect something like that to sprout, they do however sprout. I like it!


The iPhone saga, part 1

new phone Now that my iPhone has gone hysterical, I have put my SIM in my old SE K810i. As a phone, it works pretty well, and I like the camera in it more than the iPhone’s. The buttons however need a harder push than I usually give them, which annoys me a little, and doesn’t feel too nice on my fingers — the reason I got the iPhone in the first place.

I went to the T-mobile store where the kind gentleman looked at my phone and said %(quote)Oh, that looks bad!%. He explained that I needed to bring a full copy of my receipt (silly me, I forgot to copy a certain part) or that I could fill in the online form and arrange it with Customer Service that way. He said I have a two year warranty by default, I’ve only had the phone for fourteen months, well within those two years, yay! I filled in the form online and the CS will phone me tomorrow to arrange everything.

I worry slightly that it will take a couple of weeks to get this resolved, with the holidays coming and all. On the other hand, I immediately noticed how much I rely on my iphone and I’ll take this iphone-less time as a sort of experiment to see how I handle life without the iphone. It feels weird.

Funny how easy one get used to things.

Can you imagine not having an internet or mobile phone connection? Ten years ago I had my first mobile phone and used dialup, I think my first digital camera followed later. Now I have a mobile phone with internet and camera. And DSL. Not that I mind.


Sprouting sprouts

Sproutingbags

Sproutingbags

Sproutingbags

For some time now I wanted to try sprouting seeds in a (hemp) bag and when I found some on Ebay, I ordered them. I soaked some seeds (quinoa, lentils, sunflower and broccoli) and put them in the bags today. They should sprout soon.

I like the idea of sprouting bags. You soak the seeds for a few hours or overnight, and you soak the bag. Then you place the seeds into the wet bag and let that drip for a bit. After a few minutes or so it’ll stop and you can hang it wherever you like. I kept mine over the sink, to make sure it doesn’t drip all over the floor. Will make more photos in a few days. :)


The supermarket broke my iPhone

Crap. :( Today I ran some errands. I got prints from my lab-work and then headed to the pharmacy to pick up my medication. My MTX went up in dosage so I had to get new prepared syringes. I left my prescription there on Saturday and they told me then to pick it up on Tuesday / Wednesday. So I went today. Unfortunately, when I got there and after waiting for a bit, they told me they wouldn’t give me more because I picked up my prescription two weeks ago already. I explained that I got a new prescription for a higher dosage right after I picked the other one up. The girl at first thought the prescription said 15mg (old dose) but upon closer look, it did indeed say 20mg. The note, made by the person accepting my prescription Saturday, said 15mg however — someone screwed up. She did promise me to order it right away and to come back tomorrow. A bit annoying.

I then went to the supermarket around the corner to buy some fruit (tangerines and bananas) and some crackers. I happily listened to my music, feeling slightly annoyed by the pharmacy thing but also looking forward to some nice tangerines. When I got outside and checked my iPhone for the time, the screen had gone nuts. All the while my music played, but the screen won’t display anything sensible.

I suspect tangerine-envy.

Tomorrow I’ll go back to the store to have it repaired. I miss it already.


Away with the nausea.

When I woke up from surgery, about half an hour after they sewed me up again, I felt nauseous. They gave me an injection of something which helped a little, though I did stay nauseous all the time in the hospital.

I have an anecdote there: I got this medication that didn’t help so much, so one of the nurses (bless her) switched me to something else, and that worked great. This after exclaiming:

But this stuff relaxes your stomach! You don’t have that anymore, I will give you something else.

The stuff I got after that worked great. The next time they wanted to give me that other stuff again, but I protested heavily and I got the other stuff again. They also turned down the epidural (took away one of the opiates) to help with the nausea.

It never went away completely.

Now that I’ve removed certain foods from my diet (wheat-products and milk) and have stopped taking the Plaquenil I have a lot less nausea. It hasn’t gone away completely (yet), however, it has gone away a lot. Instead of mostly nauseous with some nausea-free hours, the reverse happens most of the time. I only have the last week or two to look at, so I won’t yet do a little victory dance. It looks good, though, and that makes me happy.


New foods.

img

I’ve tried a few gluten-free options this week, including a pre-made gluten-free bread. It doesn’t taste much like wheat-bread and it crumbs easily without having that spongey texture — somewhat like a loaf cake — but it works as a base to spread something (peanutbutter, creame cheese) on and it gave me no issues. Success!

Today I also tried some quinoa with grilled shiitakes and that didn’t go so well. I thought the quinoa did not work for me, however, on testing, it turns out the shiitake caused the problems. When I checked the date it had passed its sell by date for some time already, oops. The rest of the quinoa went well, so I’ll call it success too, hurray!

I found out it helps a lot if I keep on snacking / eating all day long. It prevents those moments I feel blown up because I ate too much. This makes it clear to me I have to stick to eating small meals, because my body can’t handle the bigger once — unlike some other people in my family.

Some time after surgery I went to see a dietician and she told me to eat at least 150 gram potatoes, 200 grams of veggies and a good chunk of meat (100-150 gram) for dinner1. This qualifies as a normal meal, for people with a stomach. This will never ever fit into me during a normal dinnertime. Apart from the amount, the time I need to eat has changed too. It takes longer. I could technically eat the above meal in around 2 hours or so. I don’t like that, I don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes on each meal, unless I go out to eat with friends. I want to have time away from food too :)


  1. This, by the way, despite me telling her at the beginning that I don’t eat meat and she still thought she had to suggest the 100-150 gram portion, and suggest it several times. Stoopid. And tiring. ↩

The medication rollercoaster

img

My new rheumy — so far, very pleased — agreed that nausea caused by Plaquenil doesn’t help me. I didn’t even have to explain it, he told me to stop taking them right away and to increase my MTX. This means I need to get new pre-pared syringes.

This makes the MTX basically the only ‘real’ medication I still take, apart from the occasional naproxen or paracetamol (Tylenol).

I do take a decent load of vitamins in a medicinal way, not taking them causes plenty of issues, and they may interact with each-other / other meds so I always count them as medication.

My last blood-test showed a deficiency of vitamin D, ferritine, low B12. Still waiting for the vitamin B1.

Currently I take:

MTX once per week, as injection, for the RA folic acid once per week, to counteract the side-effects of MTX vitamin B12 once per month injection due to inability to absorb vitamin D as cod liver oil, twice per day, also comes with vitamin A, and as tiny tablets, four per day, for ‘senior citizens’ which just have D in them multi-vitamins also for ‘senior citizens’ which has extra vitamin B1, iron and zinc, twice per day calcium twice per day, with extra vitamin K and D

Mixing and matching turns into another juggling game because too many of certain vitamins (A) and minerals (iron and zinc) poison my liver, and my liver has a hard time dealing with all the other poison already, so I don’t want to push that ;)

My body needs lots of fine-tuning. *[MTX]: Methothrexate


You can’t ‘be’, unless you do.

Procrastinating from my Nanowrimo-novel (3471 words) I found Hugh Macleod’s article ‘ don’t worry about being an artist. just worry about getting the work made. ’.

It reminded me of how I know some people that graduate in something or the other, and then say ‘Oh, now I am a real \<insert random profession>’. When then asked what they really do then, they usually don’t have an answer to that. But at least they can say ‘I’m a \<insert random profession> now!.

Apart from these, a lot of people also seem to think that creativity (in any shape and form) requires talent. They don’t really know what this talent actually means, but clearly some people have it and some don’t. You get born with it, or maybe some fairy comes by at night and sprinkles it on you.

I don’t believe in talent (or that evil cousin called ‘luck’). I believe in (hard) work. I believe in doing. I believe that when you have an interest in a subject you need to dig in and put in the hours and hours of work to get ‘good’ or ‘great’ at it. Getting good / great requires work more than this vague talent. Sure, some people seem to do it more easily, however, most of these creative things take practice. And practice means work. It means failing and loving your failure because of the unexpected result. It means hating your failure and deciding you want to do the opposite. It means challenging yourself. It means stretching out to the borders of your sanity to see if you can, and then crossing it. It means stretching to the edges of your ability and finding you can go further than you thought you could go.

So I make this bold statement that you cannot be unless you do. You can call yourself a writer, an artist, a whatnot. But if you don’t actually do it, then you just stuck a label on yourself. Ask yourself what you would like more.


Dear Nano, don’t scare me like that.

Stuck under the sofa.

This morning I got up and walked into the livingroom, finding Nano (looking smug) on the sofa with an empty chocolate-bar wrapper between her paws. I thought I had stored the bar away, ‘cause I always do that. Not last night, unfortunately, so when I saw her looking at me and the leftovers of the wrapper, I freaked out a little. A call to the vet calmed me down (kudos to the other person on the line), as we calculated how much she had and what type. She had about half of the ‘minimal toxic (not lethal)’ dose, the vet said.

The vet told me to keep an eye on Nano, feed her some extra to dilute the chocolate somewhat and check to see if Nano drank enough. She drank a lot today, and spent some time on the sofa making small whining noises (I suspect a tummy ache) and seems otherwise fine.

This of course happens right after boyfriend suggested poisoning the dog in my Nanowrimo-novel.