Saturday, November 21, 2009

In which I pretend to be a techno-minded person

Tom has been grumbling about the slowness of the computer.  The blue screen of death has been in abeyance of late, but has occasionally shown its baleful visage.  I promised to defrag to improve the former problem, but when I did, I was informed by the sagacious wizard that it was quite unnecessary, it wouldn't help, but that there was a mere 18 g free space left in the memory. 

Time to face facts, we are carrying too much and it could all disappear never to return.  We need an external hard drive.  Perusal of Amazon revealed for 40 quid I could buy ten times more storage than the computer ever had, and we could buy it from the UK in sterling, which is a somewhat more ready resource than the euro for us at the moment.  It arrived today, and I am really quite taken with it, even though I've not used it yet.  That something the shape and size of a paperback can potentially contain so much is a mighty wonder to me.  Yes, yes, I know you all know about such things already, but I am still quite unworldly in these matters.

But a detail that really impressed me was that the power adaptor comprised an interchangeable plug,

just slide off the guard and you can slide on the plug interface of your choice, chunky British oblong three pin, or neat continental round two pin.  Sweet!

Then just when I'd sent off the order, my memory card reader, a very tacky blue plastic thing which came in a bundle with the Canon, died a death at the point where the cable goes into it, the metal bit just collapsed (I'm good at these technical terms as you see...).  I was obliged to download one lot of pictures directly from the camera, a tedious and cack-handed procedure if ever there was.  Now, I may not be very multi-media savvy in many regards, but it always surprises me how many people don't use card readers, even printing and developing businesses don't always offer to print your pics straight off a card, but require you to put them onto CD or USB key.  I suppose it depends on the procedure you're used to, and I know many 'puters have them built-in (oddly, it seems to me, our printer does but the laptop doesn't), but they really are a boon, in my opinion, and you can get one from Amazon from under two quid.  Plus postage, so having missed the chance to get one with the bigger order, I decided I needed it too quickly to wait anyway and went and bought one from Leclerc's Espace Culturel or Media or whatever it's called now, for about 9 euro.  Again, I am disproportionately charmed by it simply as an object.  It looks like a USB key, but pop each end off,

put the card in one and put the other into the USB port, and off you go, no annoying cables, no batteries required.

So, time to get shunting.  Well over a year's worth of photos, incompletely edited, a few little movies, all my amazingly important documents, can simply be dragged and dropped into the outside hard drive, where, in all probability, they will never be looked at again.

One of my excuses for doing daily blogging this month was to go through and use some of the old photos that were thus languishing, but I keep taking more instead.  My mother had a fabric hoarding habit; she collected pieces of fabric, all kinds of lengths and types, from market stalls, material shops, remnant bins, clearance places, and stored them in chests and hampers.  We were great makers, and whenever two or more Masters sisters were gathered in one place we always had a glorious rummage through them, and bore them off with projects in mind or got sewing there and then.  Nevertheless, her acquisition of material outstripped our ability or will to use it up.  I don't know what happened to it all in the end.  I feel that my photos are a bit like that; I keep hanging onto them becasue although only some are really worthwhile in themselves, I can often see a small section and think 'oh but that would be nice made into something else...' but I don't get around to doing the snipping and stitching and shaping required to do it. 

But here are a handful of snippets, bits I've cropped out of otherwise mediocre shots which I feel stand up as abstracts or vignettes on their own. 

Faded celandine

Burned out log

Small fry

Reedmace papyrus

Grub on a post


More of the same tomorrow.


Zhoen said...


Pam said...

Splendid, especially the wee caterpillary chap. So smart!

Is Tall Girl all right, by the way? She seems to have vanished.

Bee said...

Well, I thought that you spoke quite intelligently on these techno matters. You certainly lost me more than once.

I like the analogy with the fabric. I've known more than one fabric hoarder in my time! As for photos, except for holiday pics and ones of the girls, I'm remarkably unattached to mine. I may erase the lot during the winter holiday. Of course, you are a photographer who can make a GRUB a thing of translucent beauty.

marja-leena said...

It's amazing really how inexpensive these backup devices are these days, and how compact. I remember carefully carrying one of those heavy hard drives, like your top image, up to the studio to print my work there. Today I can carry it all in a tiny USB thumb drive which I have to be careful of not losing, it's so tiny! My card reader isn't that small.

Well, I'm one of those hoarders of both fabrics and photos, sigh. Those latter do come in handy for the blog though, don't they, and lovely they are!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Wonderfully cropped photos, specially the grub...

We had an external hard drive that broke and we couldn't access anything on it and lost quite a lot of stuff as a result. It would have cost an absolute fortune to rescue the stuff from it....

HLiza said...

I realized some time ago that you decided to post everyday..but I really can't be that faithful to blogging these days..I'm getting back to normal life. But every time I come back I see nice things here and wonderful comments you left. Thank you're such a gem!

Roderick Robinson said...

Really, Lucy, this is appalling and what's more there's a news story running in Britain which has some (admittedly indirect) resonances with what you have posted. Many Anglican clerics are fed up with the CofE's acceptance of women as wine distributors and the crafty God's Vicar has let it be known that such apostates will be welcome with his lot. Your post echoed the tone of one of these men of conviction, having crossed his own Rubicon, emerging into the blinding light, struggling with the new jargon and whimpering to discover that the Spanish Inquisition is still in business. Now I think I've stretched that metaphor until it's bust and, in any case, I think you're fibbing about your techno-innocence. The key lies in the words "they will never be looked at again". You have seen the future and you know it doesn't work. But praise be to Gates - and I share this tendency with you - you may have consigned this stuff into oblivion but you haven't deleted. For deletion carries the same stigmata as suicide and most of us reel back from the consequent proscription.

You won't be at all surprised to know that I'm presently watching the BBC4 series "The History of Christianity" and a rattling good watch it is.

Rosie said...

Nothing like a good clear out I always say.
I have an image in my mind of the sisters sitting in a sewing circle like the characters from "little women". I do hope it was like that...

Fire Bird said...

I loved the bit about your mum and the material. And your fragments are well worth keeping...

Lucy said...

Thanks all. Caterpillar seems to be popular. There were quite a lot of them like that back in the summer which seemed to be attracted to the front fence, rather annoying while I was doing the cuprinolling.

Z - thanks for your regular attendance!

Isabelle - message left.

Bee - that's very admirable. Actually, if they disappeared, I think I'd be quite fatalistic about it, though going through them, there are some it's really nice to be reminded of. Some are a bit sad. Though they aren't often of people, they still bring back moments. There's always the blog, its automatic Picasa albums and Flickr for keeping some of them.

ML - we've got a little USB thing for documents and very important stuff too. anyway, you're an artist so you're allowed to hoard stuff!

CGP - Yikes! That made me think... best have a second back-up, like the USB key, for really important stuff. The drive's got a 2 year guarantee so I guess they'd be obliged to retrieve the stuff if it conked out in that time, but I'll make sure I keep the box and papers. In the event though, I suppose I would be quite fatalistic about losing the photos, as I said to Bee, many of them are saved, albeit in reduced form, on Picasa web anyway.

HLiza - it's only for the month, and it's really meant to be more to challenge myself than put a burden on my readers. We've spoken before about blogging coming and going in our lives, and you're a good enough poster and visitor for me! And I'm so glad you're getting back to normal life, you've had a rough few months.

BB - yes, it's a bonkers metaphor but I loved it anyway, especially the image of those anglican reactionaries finding to their horror that the Spanish Inquisition is still in business. Mind you some of them might be quite happy about that. There are, apparently some more progressive and enlightened Catholics who are pretty pissed off by the move, which may indeed be its main aim. And have you heard Ratzinger's going to make Cardinal Newman a saint? That's nice, I thought, with the sort of typical woolly rosy feeling that the thought of eminent and poetical Victorians, English hymnals, Trollope and the like tends to engender, then I thought twice and realised what a bit of shameless politicking it was. I wonder how they're going to claim he's worked any miracles though? Though posthumous ones are acceptable, I gather: 'Cardinal Newman cured my shingles!'
That H of C programme is quite brilliant isn't it? Best telly for ages, he's such a fantiastic, erudite, shrewd presenter, it really has us riveted because he's just delivering so much in a short space. And the photography and locations are gorgeous with it. Would that more documentaries were a tenth as good. I like writing you long replies because I know you'll usually come back and read them!

Rosie - well, I suppose it might have been a bit like that, minus the long frocks and the Civil War...

TG - Thanks darling. Have you seen Isabelle's worried about you?

Roderick Robinson said...

How could I not read your commponses? (Think we'll have to retire that one - it's what you get fed in a retirement home.) Your comments are where the real Lucyan (Lucullan?) agenda is to be found. The somewhat steelier tone, the throwaway apophthegms, the burden of being Prophet in Residence for Brittany, the revelation that you've heard of someone like A.G.Hales ruining my belief that I am his only surviving reader. You keep me from productive work and surely there's no fairer compliment.