Here's a neat idea. Take a photo of the wall behind your laptop, then set that photo as your desktop wallpaper. You end up with something like this:
'Transparent' PowerBook Flickr photoset of similar images.

The Two Ronnies are returning to the TV! I watched Ronnie Corbett host Have I Got News For You a few weeks back, and it was hilarious. Even when he wasn’t telling jokes I was laughing. He could read a tax return and it’d be funny.</p>

Last week I had a sudden revelation, and replaced the 60W incandescent bulb in my desk light with an 11W low energy bulb. Like most people these days, I have these bulbs fitted in many of the lights in the house. For some reason I never thought to put one in my desk light. It used to be too hot to touch within 5 minutes of switching it on, now it runs cool and remains easy to move around. Yes, I know I sound like a bit of a dork putting that in my blog. :) P.S. My desk light is an old original Luxo L-1, with a clamp rather than a base. My father-in-law gave it me when he rescued it from the office where he worked.

Chemistry professor claims his discovery will spell the end for soap powder on wash day

Richard Pashley, a professor of physical chemistry at the Australian National University in Canberra, has discovered that when tiny air "particles" are removed from water - a process known as "de-gassing" - the water lifts oily stains from the surface of clothes, allowing soap-free cleaning. Prof Pashley said that the technique was so effective that even the greasiest stains could be removed. "You can use de-gassed water to clean whatever you have dirtied. We even experimented with Vaseline. We cleaned it off completely. This is a new area of science - the mixing of oil and water. It could be a cleaning revolution."
Read the full article on The Telegraph

The only piece of DOS or Windows shareware that I ever registered was a message editor for FidoNet called GoldEd. Through many years of Linux usage, I was sort of proud of the fact that I didn't need to buy any software for it, because everything I needed was available as Open Source. In a previous job I did buy an excellent piece of Linux backup software called Arkeia. Since switching to Mac, I have bought the following software:


  • Menu Calendar Clock (Objectpark Software)
    Runs on bootup, I don't use its "special features" all that much, but I appreciate the fact that I can customise the time format in the menu bar. I have (at the moment) "Fri 4 Feb 12:26"
  • Side Track (Raging Menace)
    Superb piece of work! I can't live without the side scroll-wheel emulation.
  • Salling Clicker (Salling Software AB.)
    I used to use it loads, now not so much. Now I've got iWork I might use it more so I can control Keynote from my phone.
  • Audio Hijack Pro (Rogue Amoeba)
    Comes in handy every so often. Nice for archiving material from the BBC Radio player.
  • Konfabulator (Pixoria Inc.)
    It was a cool gadget for a week or so. Then I just got bored with it. These days I never use it.
  • xScope (ARTIS Software & The Iconfactory)
    It works great when I don't have an external monitor plugged into my PowerBook. When I do, xScope crashes when the Loupe tool moves across to the other screen. I've reported the bug twice over the last year, and even had an email confirmation of the bug, but they still haven't fixed it.

Commercial Applications

  • iLife '04 (Apple)
  • iLife '05 (Apple)
    I use iPhoto quite a lot. I ordered my first Photo "Book" the other day. I bought a DV Camcorder just after Christmas so I'll be making a lot more use of iMovie and iDVD soon.
  • iWork '05 (Apple)
    I've only just got this, but it looks really good. I'm working on a presentation in Keynote, and I've written a few letters in Pages.
  • Quicktime Pro (Apple)
    Well worth it and only a few quid.
  • Photoshop Elements 2.0 (Adobe) (came bundled with a Wacom Graphire 3 graphics tablet)
    I don't use the tablet as much as I thought I would.
  • Photoshop Elements 3.0 (Adobe)
    I wish I could afford the full version of PhotoShop. Every tutorial ever written seems to assume you're not using Elements. The main thing I wish Elements had was guides.
I don't know what this proves. Mac users buy more software? Mac users don't mind paying for good software? At some point I should dig out the receipts and add up what I've spent so far...