Welcome to Diana's Blog

I blog about anything that interests me - my local area, things I've seen or heard on the news, politics and human rights, gardening, arts and crafts, poetry, photographs and general advice.

And, when you've finished reading, don't forget to leave a comment - I love hearing from people

Monday 11 June 2012

Fun With Photoshop and Waco Bamboo Pen Tablet Graphics

I've been having a lot of fun the last few days, along with some hard work and a serious learning curve.
I was given the Photoshop Elements 10 programme for Christmas, and wouldn't allow myself even to open it until I had organized my thousands of photographs into folders which I could instantly find and identify.  As I keep taking more photographs, and adding to the chaos, this took an alarmingly long time, particularly in the light of losing everything on my crashed computer and having to restore it from my Norton Symantec Backup Storage System.  I was still able to use the photo editing programme which came with my computer, but it doesn't have the niceties of Photoshop.  
 Meanwhile I have been reading the book, and practising the arts, including using my Waco Bamboo Pen Tablet, which I have had for a few years now.

Here's a picture I drew on my Bamboo Tablet.  Do you recognize the lady concerned? (I don't!)

The Waco Bamboo Tablet which I have is a relatively simple one compared to the one pictured above, but the principle is the same - you can draw with it, point on the various elements in your photo editing programme instead of using your mouse, and you can also write with it - I sign email letters with my signature sometimes, which is just amazing technology. The Tablet shown here is the latest generation, and this is Amazon's product information:
"Designed for both left and right-handed use and for both Mac and PC, there are simply no restrictions. You can take and make notes directly on your documents, draw, paint and share spontaneous ideas digitally."
If you want to buy this via my blog, I will get a small commission from Amazon - by hovering on the link, you will be transported through to the Amazon.co.uk website where you can view this in more detail.

And below is the Photoshop Elements 10 Programme I am using - It's very up-to-date, and at the cheap end of the market - ideal for enthusiastic amateurs like me, and with sufficient versatility to keep me happy playing for hours, and satisfied with the results:

Finally, below is the book I am studying, to learn about Photoshop Elements 10.  It has very clear instructions and lots of pictures to simplify the learning process -
Photoshop Elements 10 by Mike Wooldridge and Brianna Stuart:

I'm learning a lot from this book, and find all this so enthralling that it's hard to tear myself away from the computer. I've barely noticed the disgusting weather, which is just as well, as there has been heavy rain for days, and floods in Wales (somewhat incomprehensibly,we still have a hose-pipe ban here).

Oh, and you might like this Kindle - I love mine: 


Wednesday 28 March 2012

The Spanish Demonstration in Madrid - May 2011

A Guest Blog by John Parker Written in May 2011

Of course, since then, we've had the Greek Bail-Outs, but this is an interesting view,  interesting because we see history repeating itself over and over again.

"Is the Spanish Street Protest the Start of the Broad Masses of the World Confronting Global Capitalism?

Spanish students have taken over a square in Madrid - hopefully this will be the start of the Western World telling the banking institutions and the IMF that the broad masses are not going to pay for their bungling greed, and that the broad masses are going to tell the banking systems and their representatives that the slate should be wiped clean and that the banking systems will all start again from scratch.

What they are saying on their placards is that they are not going to pay, but Spain on its own could not achieve that without global capitalism.

The banks say we're broke, you bailed us out.  We've taken your money and you will now have to be poor for another decade, but we'll still pay ourselves bonuses out of your money.

The demonstators in  Madrid hopefully will be followed by the rest of the Western broad mass of people and none of us will suffer for the banks' greed and bungling.

Spain, Greece and France are all shouting, but not together - it needs at least the Western European countries to be really demonstrating together and to tell the large corporations and their bganking stystems that we're not going to pay for their greed and mistakes, and hopefully the American people as well.

This happened in Central America, when Cuba led the Central American countries and told the IMF clearly that they were not paying, in the early 80's.  And it was very funny because the IMF said"you've got to pay - have some more money from us so that you can do so."  Then everything fell silent.

What are we to read into it?  That the IMF didn't want other poor countries following suit?

They offered to lend the Cubans more money in order for the Cubans to keep up with their payments.  We don't know whether Cuba accepted the money or not, because everything went silent.  If Cuba had indeed borrowed more money, they would not have been able to repay it.  The whole situation is ridiculous, because if they can't pay money that they owe, why lend them more?  Only to prop up Capitalism which had collapsed.

We have never heard anything about it since then and don't know whether the Cuban debt was written off or not. A UK representative was at the IMF talks, but the Public weren't told of the outcome.

The reason we are currently in debt is because the financial institutions are lending the broad masses more when they can't repay it.  It is a mere pretence of paying.

The IMF is like a bank, and the countries are like the bank customers.  The countries are run and owned by large corporations and we don't have a say about how our financial affairs are run.  But, for the first time, we see Western people - the Spanish unemployed - saying "we're not paying!"

For Spain to win, all the other countries would have to follow suit. I wonder what would happen - would it be like Cuba in the 1980's?  Because of the silence, we don't know what happened. Would it be "Don't give us more money, we'll give you more money so that you can continue to pay us", or would the debt be written off?"

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Don't Call it Failure - Call it Practising for Success

Many people get discouraged if they don't succeed immediately when they try something. Sometimes the fear of failure is so strong that it even puts them off trying in the first place. But success isn't a black or white conclusion, it is more of an ongoing process, where you learn by your mistakes, try things out, see what works and what doesn't, and begin to understand things better, step-by-step.

There are many sayings and proverbs in the English language which reflect this:

  • "Rome wasn't built in a day"
  • "from the smallest acorn mighty oaks grow" 
  • "Many a slip 'twixt cup and lip"
  • "If you don't ask, you don't get"
  • and even "God helps those who help themselves" 
         ( I can't help adding here "and God help those that do!")
And here are some classical oft-repeated sayings which have  become part of our culture:

  • from Confucious, followed by Mao Tse Cheung: "The longest journey starts with a single step"
  • from Aesop's fable, The Tortoise and the Hare:  "Slow and steady wins the race"
  • and from the poet Robert Burns: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again"

Here's an impressive Tweet from @WMoss. I found it on Clipboard:

"Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock, put up for adoption at birth, dropped out of college, then changed the world. What's your excuse?"

If you want to follow up this subject about how to achieve success, I have expanded on it in my Wizzley article Don't Call it Failure, with a list of things to help you achieve your goals, and a poll.