Saturday, April 30, 2011

Learning Illustrator

After years of knowing that knowing Illustrator would make my workflow so much easier (rather than struggling with Photoshop to try and force it to do clean line illustrations for which poor PS is not totally suitable for), I have finally succumbed. Following the beginnings of my ClearlyChosen & Family Zazzle store, I have faced a stronger need than ever to learn Adobe Illustrator.

There are many good Illustrator tutorials (even free ones) on the net.  I use them but I do feel more comfortable with real-turn-the-page-paper books. 

And my little ramble here is to say that I do love the smooth sheet, colorful, fully illustrated, highly step-by-step details that are the calling card of "Teach Yourself Visually" genre of tutorial books.  

And I think that one of the things that makes them even more appealing, satisfying, and comforting is that ... you can flip through the pages (especially in the beginning) as if what you are about to learn is not so hard at all!!!  Because the first part is the detailed part that generally deals with the things you already know.  I know this is some kind of trick to help us want to buy these types of books, but I must confess that knowing all that, I am still Comforted and feel better about learning something new :)

God Forbid: Donald Trump as America's President?

I know from how elections go and how the most improbable results can arise from the "democratic vote" - but Lordy Lordy me, the world would be taking another step further into the realms of Insanity (and let me say, pure Stupidity) if Donald Trump ever gets elected as President of America.

God Forbid.

I don't want to have a big long rant, much as that would soothe my outraged senses, but people of America - please open your eyes and ears.  This is a man who thinks, in the midst of the current world crisis, terrorists and fanatics, droughts and flooding, that what is "really really important" is that he has made President Obama prove he is an a American citizen.  He, Donald Trump claims he was responsible for being able to make the President (re-) release his birth certificate. He, Donald Trump, proclaims to reporters "Today I am very proud of myself because I have accomplished something that no one else has accomplished".

What kind of idiot is this?  Can he manage to make a fool of himself and not even know it?

I think God sent him along to prove how good Obama is as President in comparison to Trump.

God Forbid that America would not see this.  We have enough heartache and disasters in the world.  Do we want a Trump on top of all of that?

God Forbid.

Pillars of the Earth - TV Series Review

3 nights of Pillars of the Earth that started so well and ended in a vastly different place.

Anyone who has read the thick (and I do mean Thick) volume that is now the universally acclaimed famous "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett will know it is no small achievement. (Both the reading of and the writing).

I must admit I read it a long time ago, way before it became so famous as it is today.  Maybe the TV series contributed to its recent resurrection and ascension to (increased) fame.

Anyway, we got caught up in the TV series that just ended tonight.  It promised well when it began.  Even my partner who normally cannot stay up past 8pm managed to make it to 10.30pm each night with not a yawn in sight.

Not tonight however - the Finale, the supposed Climax.  The diehard that I am, I lasted all the way through.  But only to be able to tell him how wise he was to give it up before the end.

The first night was the best.  Good acting. Great scenes. Captivating storyline.  Big promises.

By the second night, we saw little cracks happening but we hung on.

By the third night, the producers/director/scriptwriter .. someone .. they picked Common Sense up by its very balls and chucked it out of the window.  Scenes and storyline became improbable and downright ridiculous. Storyline was sacrificed on the altar of Big Scenes and Ridiculous Drama. My logic feels insulted!

Shame Shame.  And what I want to know is: who was responsible?

Rating: 4/10

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Google Crept Up On Me!

Now how did that happen?  One day I was just an indifferent Google search user and then when I look again, I seem to have become a Google-person!  Big as Google is, it has softly softly crept up on me.
Now I have like 22 Google products in my Google Account!!! Yikes!  When did I become such an avid Google fan and why did no one warn me!!!
The most notable of my Google products (notable as in most used/valued/treasured) are:
  • AdSense
  • Analytics
  • Blogger
  • Google Sites (new! yay!)
  • Gmail (but of course!)
  • Picasa Web Albums
  • Webmaster Tools
Are you a Google fan too .. or are you a Google fan but don't even know it?

Log into your Google Account to find out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Google Sites and Zazzle

Yay! After days of mugging through technical uncertainties, my Google Sites are coming together and are proving a very viable (and Faster and Easier) alternative to my Drupal sites.  I have even (in my usual obsessive self) been documenting the step-by-step how-to to make using Google Sites easier for any other newbie :)

And I am also FINALLY getting into Attempting to do my Zazzle sites.  I have promised my brothers I would set it up and share with them .. and that promise is now growing Wrinkles.

So in the same vein of being fastidious (coz blimey .. there is Always so much to learn and remember when one enters the world of another software platform) ... yup, you Are astute ... I have been documenting step-by-step how to open Zazzle store too.  This is still WIP (work in progress) ... but the key word is PROGRESS!!!


And inbetween times, I rotate my very achy neck and shoulders and play with my precious shinny beads :) 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

DNS, CNAME, and other technical Horrors!

That is where I am today ... bogged down in the extremely confusing world of DNS, CNAMES, name servers, mapping .. yuk yuk yuk.

Yesterday I was testing out how a personal Google Site worked.  All happy.  All good.

Today I am trying to use one of my domains to point to a Google Site I created.
So instead of having to type something like:
I can just type in

And I fell immediately into the technical gooblely-gook technical jargon swirl.

  • have to map domain to google site
  • have to not have naked domain
  • have to have CNAME aliased as www in my Registrar's DNS management system
  • have to CNAME "destination to the following address":
I am now stuck and just felt I had to tell someone, even if that someone is just Me!!!
Waiting for registrar to get back to tell me if they can help.  If not, will I be looking at transferring registrars (to someone where I can supposedly change the name server records, and CNAME, and all that stuff .. whatever they are!)?
Should I try to read more endless FAQs and forums.

Nope.  My eyes and brain have given up.

Thank god for the peaceful beads that are waiting for me!!!
update: 21Apr 2011 1:04pm

ooh, that was so fast - I got my first response from my registrar (DirectNic).
I just hope they can help me out.
I would not like to have to transfer my domains as I have been with DirectNic from my very first domain registration in 2001 and I have been happy with them all along.
Fingers Crossed and Waiting .....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Goodbye Drupal, Hello Google Sites?

Let me start with a groan.  Maybe you are groaning too as I am back .. after a  very long absence.

Zazzle was something I was meant to be doing today.  I have talked and thought about Zazzle for months and months.  I even have people waiting for me to get started. I bit the bullet this morning, sat down, and got started ... oops, no wait ... hiccups time ...

I need to document stuff .. at least basic stuff, so I can find them easily again.  How many times have you spent hours looking for info and then later to have to do all that again just coz you didn't put it somewhere safe.  As for me .. too many times to want to repeat.

So off I go to document my new found Zazzle info.  And I like to do it on my sites coz I can get to it at anytime plus it might benefit someone else out there one day.

Then I realized I need to upgrade my Drupal sites.  Core modules upgrade, patches, themes upgrade, contributed modules upgrade.  AGAIN.  I started and then thought in frustration - there must be something better.  These endless upgrades eats up a whole day at times especially when something worrisome goes wrong and all sites become corrupted and/or inaccessible.

AND I an also fedup with my hosting going down, ever so often, (like once a day lately) for more than a few minutes at a time.  So I hope the alternative I find will give me both robust hosting and software solutions.

So hours in looking for alternatives, not really believing there was anything out there.  Then I found Google Sites that just may do basically what I need - store categorized information in an easily accessible way.  And without the horror of endless technical background maintenance fraught with worry and downtime dangers.

I now have to put Zazzle aside yet once again as I work on the Google sites and check out
1) it works
2) what it can do and cannot do
3) what I have to do to transfer information over from my Drupal site (TONS of work here alone)
4) how to map to my true domains
5) what happens to my eCommerce platforms
6) ... if I am ready for all this work and already itching to get back to some creative crafting.

This is my life for the next foreseeable weeks.  Is this a groan or what?!!!