Posted by: Na Ceardan | 23/06/2010

Notes on Amazon’s Kindle

Pam & I had been debating whether we should get a digital text reader for several  months. We  weren’t in a rush to get the Kindle as it wasn’t available in Canada at that time. So I took the subject to my favourite webpage “GOOGLE” &  checked out what was being said about them. Luckily there were only 3 at that time so the surfing wasn’t so bad.  The Kindle 2 & the Sony Reader & more recently the ‘Kobo’ from Indigo/Chapters.  After a lot surfing; blog reading & just plain wandering we came to the conclusion that the Kindle 2 had exactly what we wanted in an electronic reader.  The Kindle DX 10.4″ size was too big for me as was the  price so picking the Kindle 2 was a no brainer. :) { I just noticed that the Kindle 2 is now down to $189 compared to the heaftier  $259.00 that we paid last month! }
My/our ‘Kindle 2′ arrived 2 days before our trip down to Ottawa giving me lots of time & conditions under which I could check out all of it’s features; uses & weaknesses.  (A journey of approx.  3527kms (2020 miles)) . The Wifi / 3G service up here in LA (La Ronge, SK) wasn’t strong enough to even register the device itself with Amazon.  Although I was still able to access my ‘Kindle’ e-mail  & webspace & I could still buy & download books to the device via the computer.
Ideally for the device to access Amazon Books or the Internet it needs to connect with either Amazon’s own WhisperNet WiFi service. And was available in most of the larger cities from here here to Ottawa but the more commonly available 3G phone service worked as as well the in smaller urban centers. The EDGE connection (the 3rd WiFI type) worked very poorly … mostly not  at all! {EDGE is not much faster than a 56k dial up connection but  3G offers broadband speeds. } BTW; All of these connections are Free to access.
There was a strong 3G in PA (Prince Albert, SK)  where we spent our first night on the road. After registering the device I immediately went to Amazon’s Kindle Books page & bought 2 excellent books for us to read on our journey. { Wicked Cool by Diane Farr & Nowhere to Run by C. J. Box } After I jumped on it’s basic Web Browser connection which works best on the text-centric Web pages. Web sites like Google and Wikipedia; the Weather site &  a number of  Mobile friendly sites. I even managed to access my Gmail account  & checked my e-mail. I didn’t try to write any emails but the keyboard is easy enough to use should I had been so inclined.
There’s  quite a few Public Domain sites that also carry FREE digitized books. Seem to be mostly out of copyright books & a lot are the old classics.
For example; “The Munity on the Bounty”; “Tresaure Island; I even found some of James Joyce’s books” now in the ePub formats. One site called  Archive.org also has some conversion utilities attached to documents that will also convert them to a Kindle compatible format (*.AZW or the .MOBI or .PRC as well as other formats). I downloaded a few of the century old Scottish Gaelic titles & got them them to work. Only problem with that method is the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) isn’t always accurate so you can get a lot mispelled words. The images came out clearly & sharply. It has a high-resolution screen & 16 shades of gray.
I found that some  PDF’s will work while others won’t. Haven’t yet figured out the reason why but will one day!! What I am doing is just trying them out & if they work great but if they don’t … well the heck with them, eh?  :)
There are a now few software conversion packages available that will convert a most of texts types to a Kindle friendly format. Here’s a couple that I’ve tried out. The Mobipocket Reader & the  Auto Kindle eBook Converter I created a 23 page document with OpenOffice then converted it to the a Kindle friendly digitized form with decent results. And except for the font size which came out several sizes smaller than I had intended. And I used a font size that would be normally be considered too big in print form. Although still legible I’d like to have to have the results come out as they’re originally laid-out. Oh well, I guess that’s another area for me to take my wrenches & explore..  :)
I also ran a Microsoft .DOC file through the converter & it worked but the line length & spacing didn’t display in the same manner as document’s original layout. I’ve been messing about with a lot of types of files & so far I have been pleased with the outcome inspite of the little flaws. On a brighter note those flaws will give me an interesting challenge.
To make a long story short, we really like the Kindle. So if you’re looking to get an e-reader for just reading then I would definitely recommend it but if you looking for colour, bells &  whistles beyond reading a book then get an IPad or better yet get yourself an adult sized computer! :)

-=-=-=

“Bha mi a’ feuchainn aisling-latha ach m’inntinn air falbh! ~~~ I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.” — Steven Wright

Posted by: Na Ceardan | 06/01/2010

Paiute Cutthroat Trout to Tagua

I’m having a bit of a problem finding the right colour mix for my present carving project. A Paiute Cutthroat Trout indigenous to north western part of California in the Silver King Creek basin. So I have set the fish itself aside & am continuing on with the carving & painting of the rocks & grasses as well as taken on a new project.
There’s a number of artists these day using the Tagua nut for a Japanese art called Netsuke. I have had some tagua nuts in my materials box for a while now & the other day I came up with an idea for carving one. The nuts when finished & buffed up take on the exact whiteness of ivory. While not as hard as ivory it is hard enough to require the use of my mini-drem & needle files to shape. My main subjects in most of my work are freshwater fish & habitat & local animals & this time is no different.
The project I have decided to work with the Tagua on is a ‘Jack’ fish (aka Northern Pike) pendant …
This link will you give an idea of the what the nut looks like finished;
Well that’s all for now folks ….
Sàinte mhor a h-uile duine                                                                                                            Best to you all!
“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.”

Posted by: Na Ceardan | 05/01/2010

‘Prentiss is 4 months old today!

Last night ‘Prentiss got her last set of puppy shots. Fortunately there’s is a person up here that does the puppy inoculations for the Animal Rescue group so we won’t have to go down to the vet in PA. That saves us over 5 hours of driving … & a lost day.
For those of you looking for a new animal companion look no further. The La Ronge, SK Northern Animal Rescue group always has a wonderful selection of dogs & cats.
Speaking of the NAR here’s a little fellow who just moved in next door. He came over with his owners for a visit recently & met our dogs. Here’s  Molly is giving him the rules of the house . :)

Molly, 'Prentiss & PatchWell that’s all for now folks ….

Sàinte mhor a h-uile duine                                                                                                            Best to you all!

“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.”

Posted by: Na Ceardan | 04/01/2010

Santa collection

At Christmas each year I give Pam a Santa or a reasonable replica. Sometimes they’re store bought but mostly they’re something I’ve hand-carved myself.  Here’s a few of them.
Santa Collection

Pam's Santa collection

Since Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle  has been depicted in many forms. The 1881 illustration by Thomas Nast  to the Haddon Sundblom’s  have created the most widely known depiction of the jolly old fellow.  I’ve decided to start researching this years Santa right away.  … good thing I’m starting early.
Well that’s all for now folks ….
Sàinte mhor a h-uile duine                                                                                                            Best to you all!
“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.”
Posted by: Na Ceardan | 03/01/2010

Out on Lac La Ronge

On Boxing Day I had the chance to go out onto Lac La Ronge in a ½-ton. The weather that day was -27ºC (-16.6ºF), partially cloudy and calm. There was very little snowfall before the lake iced over so the ice at that time was approx. 2 feet thick & quite safe for driving on. I’m told this is an unusual occurance…

Lac La Ronge is approx. 546 sq1 mi. in size & dotted with hundreds of little islands some of which have cabins / cottages built on them. I took over 320 photos that day but I will only be posting a couple here.
The first is a view of downtown LA from out on the lake. We’re 1½km or so  from shore facing to the north.

Downtown LA on the lake

A beautiful day to be on the water ...

The next photo is of the old outpost of the last remaining building of the Hudson Bay Fur Trading Co. in LA. They are now located on the main street of La Ronge. When you go in the trading post now there’s usually all sorts of fur lying around getting sorted. We shop for our fresh veggies & fish & meat there.
last building at the outpost

The last building standing ...

Well that’s all for now folks ….
Sàinte mhor a h-uile duine                                                                                                            Best to you all!
“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.”
Posted by: Na Ceardan | 02/01/2010

Molly’s ‘Prentiss is growing up

Well here I am again … slacking off on my writing. Tha mi dulich a h-uile duine! ~  Sorry folks!

Now down to the task …
It’s a beautiful day out here in La Ronge  quite a bit warmer than New Years day which hit balmy -39ºC {-35ºF ) at one point but leveled off to -33ºC. A tough day for the dogs but we have worked out a way to make it more comfortable for them.
Speaking of the dogs, ‘Prentiss is now 3 mos. & 29 days old. Growing like a weed & is a holy terror & has taken over most of the house. Well she thinks has anyway but Molly hasn’t been convinced yet!  While she is forever annoying the other 2 & always wanting to play!  Quite entertaining to see her get those other ‘couch potatoes’ up & playing again ….

‘Prentiss has proved many times over that she will be a great help to me down the down when Molly retires. No sign of that happening any time soon so we’ve got lots of time to train her. She’s very quick at understanding what I want her to do & is very curious when Molly does something for me. For the most part we have been doing basic obedience training with her & introducing her to the other commands through play.  If has a problem anywhere I would say it’s her enthusasism for visitors. Jumping up on them. Not just annoying & definitely a bad behavior … not a habit that we allow with our dogs! As usual ‘Prentiss is improving here too. :)

She is a very inquisitive little lady & most definitely a treasure !

Not much get's by our girl 'Prentiss ....

Sàinte mhor a h-uile duine                                                                                                            Best to you all!

“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.”

Posted by: Na Ceardan | 23/10/2009

Molly’s new apprentice

Thought you might enjoy a few pictures of Molly’s new apprentice. She’s a Miniature Fox Terrier who be probably be about 13lbs when full grown … just a little bigger than Molly.
‘Prentiss @ 6weeks WEE GIRL-4.jpg
The plan is to train her to be my next workin’ gal. :-)  Molly & I are going to train her to perform some tasks to help me in my daily routines. As you can see I’m not looking for a sled-dog to pull me along, open doors & such. Molly (& one day ‘Prentiss) helps me with jackets shirts, etc., brings my chair back to me when it rolls out of reach, gets my wife when I need some help & am unable to reach her any other way, picks anything that I accidently drop or I point out to her. Or any other tasks I might need then  … … just like Molly presently does now. Molly plans to retire, lay back & get a tan & sip Mint Juleps & read.
“Are you talking to me! … Are you talking to me!”
Molly’s_Prentiss.jpg
The new pup’s Offical name is going to be ” Betchel’s Molly’s ‘Prentiss”

Thought you might enjoy a few pictures of Molly’s new apprentice. She’s a Miniature Fox Terrier who be probably be about 13lbs when full grown … just a little bigger than Molly.

'Prentiss @ 6weeks

'Prentiss @ 6weeks

The plan is to train her to be my next workin’ gal. :-)  Molly & I are going to train her, along with the help of a Professional Dog Trainer to perform some tasks to help me in my daily routines. As you can see I’m not looking for a sled-dog to pull me along, open doors & such. Molly (& one day ‘Prentiss) helps me with jackets shirts, etc., brings my chair back to me when it rolls out of reach, gets my wife when I need some help & am unable to reach her any other way, picks anything that I accidently drop or I point out to her. Or any other tasks I might need then  … … just like Molly presently does now. Molly plans to retire, lay back & get a tan & sip Mint Juleps & read.

"Are you talking to me! ... Are you talking to me!"

"Are you talking to me! ... Are you talking to me!"

The new pup’s Offical name is going to be ” Betchel’s Molly’s ‘Prentiss” .  Keep watching for updates. 8-)

Slàinte mhòr a h-uile duine

“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.”
Posted by: Na Ceardan | 21/10/2009

… summer’s over already??

Wow! It’s been a busy, busy, busy summer!
We’ve been busy getting the yard the way we like it. Pruning, fixing a few of the logs, as well as other problems caused by lack of maintenance. Most of the debris & dead branches, shrubs & stuff were cleaned up. Have build some sort ramp or other access to the lower level of the yard so that it can be finished. Too late now … maybe next year.

Wow! It’s been a busy, busy, busy summer!

We’ve been busy getting the yard the way we like it. Pruning, fixing a few of the logs, as well as other problems caused by lack of maintenance. Most of the debris & dead branches, shrubs & stuff were cleaned up. Have build some sort ramp or other access to the lower level of the yard so that it can be finished. Too late now … maybe next year.

The mess in the backyard ... little or no maintenance in the past while

The mess in the backyard ... little or no maintenance in the past while

We also wandered over to Alberta & then on to Prince George to visit nephews. From there we went down & wandered around Barkerville – “Gold Rush Town”. An amazing wheelchair friendly place as well very interesting to actually see a real gold rush town.

... going through the street of Barkerville's Chinatown

... going through the street of Barkerville's Chinatown

After that we travelled down to Williams Lake to put our feet up & relax at a friend’s log cabin in the BC interior. When we pried ourselves away from that wonderful place on the lake we then travelled over to the Yellowhead Rd & up the Rockies to Jasper over the Columbia Icefields & then onto Rock Mountain House and on to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, AB. Then back home to northern Saskatchewan. Not much time to write but I did take lots of photos … almost 5000! Fortunately for the rest of the world I’m still sorting them. So no long & boring slide shows when you visit here … :-)

a  view of Lake Abraham as we travelled thru the Columbia Icefield Area

a view of Lake Abraham as we travelled thru the Columbia Icefield Area

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, AB has got to be the most awesome place on earth!! One way you can the Rockies & looking east you can see forever … well to PEI at least. LOL
A view from the top of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, AB

A view from the top of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, AB

I  just started the Advanced Gaelic course from the Atlantic Gaelic Academy so don’t be surprised to come across some different words in future postings. :-)  I’ll try & remember to put the translation there … maybe??
Suas leis a’ Ghàidhlig!!
Sàinte mhor a h-uile duine
Best to you all!
“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.”
Posted by: Na Ceardan | 21/03/2009

Is it really the 1st day of spring

So it was the first day of spring & it was showing it’s beautiful head!

spring rear's it wee head ..

And even though I thought I’d never see anything as beautiful as an icicle … icicles are starting to appear. They may be small but they are a sight to behold after such a cold winter. It gets much too cold up here for them … lots of others too! :-)

bright sun in spring brings icicle

Because of the setting sun the icicles are too bright white to photograph clearly but it is an icicle. I counted 3 on the whole roof! WoW!! Spring just might be here …

‘S e an t-earrach a th’ ann!                                                                                          It’s spring!

Posted by: Na Ceardan | 20/03/2009

nobody here but us dogs …

It’s Friday evening … nobody here but us dogs … the cute young fur-kids & this ugly old dog {me}. While Pam is heading off for a weekend writer’s brainstorming weekend a few hours away in the south. Here’s a picture of the writer putting on her creative ‘face’ … bet some interesting story developments will happen for her & others. Have fun folks!

 A writer's weekend ...

So Molly, Chesney & I have decided to eat fatty snack foods, play a lot of fetch & play really loud Gàidhlig radio, music & storytelling… glè mhath!

-=-=-=-=-=-= 

Bu mhath an sgàthan sùil caraid.

[A friend’s eye is a good looking-glass.]

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