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Reasons to be Cheerful (#r2bc)

Shit Creek Paddle Stores.  We’re all saved!

Finally getting summer! And on my day off, as well.

Watching my middle 2 sons at swimming. The confidence they’ve got in the water is leagues ahead of where I was at their age.

Elderflower wine. Racking on today, smelling fantastic already.

Stephen Fry. The world would be quite a lot less interesting without him. Actually, following on from the “Celebrities I’d like a beer with” post, getting him and Bill Bryson together in the Stonehouse pub for a long afternoon would be pretty amazing.

Now for more reasons to be cheerful, have a look here

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Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

A new discovery for me, Reasons to be Cheerful and one that will join the ranks of the semi-regular ramblings on this site.

This is going to be the thing (or things) that has tickled me the most in the past week, made me genuinely laugh out loud, made me grateful to have my family and friends around me.

F’rinstance.  A couple of nights ago.  Tidying up the lounge with my sons.  Not the most auspicious of things to cheer someone up, especially given the cries of “Awwww, dad!  Do we have to?” and you really can hear them pronouncing the italics there.  But there’s some big cushions in the lounge that needed to go back on the sofas.  Eldest weighs cushion thoughtfully in one hand then hits me with it.  There’s the quiet pause where the rest of them wait and see what sort of mood dad’s in tonight.  Am I going to explode with anger, shout at them, get massively cross?  Was I serious about just getting the job done before mum got home?  Or do I pick up the nearest cushion and return fire?  No contest.  Return fire!  And for the next while all 4 sons and I fought, wrestled, jumped (well, they did) and generally battled around the lounge.  The best parts?  1) they were all exhausted and bedtime went really well.  2) the lounge got tidied up as we went along, generally preventing injury from landing on sharp, spiky toy.  3) They all got to laugh at how rubbish I was at doing press-ups when Eldest decided to get us all doing his gymnastics warm-up.

F’rinstance 2.  This story on Newsbiscuit.

F’rinstance 3.  The weather up here.  It’s nothing short of insane!  In the space of an hour yesterday we went from driving drizzle and punishing winds (“Hark? Is that the building roof I can hear?” “Pardon?  I can’t hear you over the sound of the rain on the roof!”) to no wind and glorious sunshine.  Stuff I’d been putting off doing all morning because it was, quote, “in the other building” suddenly got done.  I was happy, other people were happy.  Great stuff all round.

F’rinstance 4 and final for this week.  Discovering a whole new chunk for my blog.  Thank you.

Now.  What’re your reasons to be cheerful this week?

 

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Tech Monday – Holidays

A new, occasional, feature.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful holiday, made all the better through the tech taken along – and through the tech left behind.  I’ve had a smartphone now – an HTC Hero running Android 2.1 – and it was invaluable this trip for the following app- and hardware-based reasons:

The Digital Camera

I’ve waxed lyrical about Vignette before, the excellent Android camera app, and others with iPhones will regale you with tales of Instagram and Hipstamatic.  The traditional point-and-shoot digital camera is dead, being killed by these built-in cameras.  With the advent of additional lenses such as those here, the funeral service is over and the mourners are now polishing off the cucumber sandwiches and vol-au-vents.  Throw in a bit of instant sharing via Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Molo.me. Instagr.am, Pixelpipe, and so on, and your holiday snaps arrive home before you do.  A stark contrast to the old days when you’d be belting around like nutters on day 1 of the holiday searching for postcards to get written and sent then waiting for them to arrive once you’d got home.

Left at home: One digital camera, batteries, USB cable.

Sat Nav

This trip was the first time I’d tried Google Maps navigation feature in the car in anger.  I’d used it walking around Aberdeen before, and it seemed pretty neat, but in the car it shone!  No problems going around the backroads of Kent, no problems coming out of the Channel Tunnel into France (once I’d hooked up to the local network and sorted a data package out with T-Mobile).  Excellent.

Never had to purchase: One sat nav unit, charger, in-car mount, etc.

Left at home: Massive road atlas of Great Britain and France.

MP3 Player

Another role handed to my phone rather than left exclusively with the iPod.  I like being able to purchase albums and download them directly to the phone – it takes a couple of steps out of the equation.  Granted, we did take my iPod with us for additional music as I’ve not got everything we want across onto the phone yet.  And the hire car we took had an AUX-in socket so we weren’t stuck with just the CDs or the radio.  Nice.

Left at home: iPod charger.

Books

The Kindle app handled most of our holiday reading needs.  We did get a book on the ferry south – Chucking it All – but that was a spur-of-the-moment thing, not something that you can easily do on the Kindle.  There is, of course, a Kindle version of the book available (I just found that out) so we should’ve saved ourselves a few quid and bought that instead.  But the bookshop on the Northlink ferries is getting better (and a lot more random) so it’s good to support it from time to time.

Left at home: Heavy paperbacks that consume luggage space.

So there you have it.  Saved on the packing, saved on the purchasing, used some of Disney’s electricity to keep my phone charged up.

What have you replaced with tech for your holidays?