squeeze days :)

Christmas is over and now we have a few ‘ordinary days’ before New Years.

In my native tongue, this type of days …. that falls in between two holidays … are called something that would translate to «squeeze days» [klämdagar]. Guess they get squeezed in between, in this case, Christmas and New Years.

People can save and accumulate vacation, so that they can take time off, but usually there are fewer work days in between — this year Christmas fell on a Sunday. In November, there used to be a «squeeze day» always, thanks to All Saints Day.

As most people there have five weeks of vacation each year, they usually save one week so that they can take a day or two off every now and then.

A couple of days before Christmas, I came across one of Google’s, so called, Easter Eggs: In the regular, Google search box, you typed in the words ‘let it snow’, [you can still do it] and little flakes started falling, slowly, all over your screen. If you just let it stay there, after a little while, you’d have a total white-out, with only the blue DEFROST button visible. If you clicked and dragged your mouse over it, it was like cleaning off the snow.

I’m a child at heart, so I enjoy those little things immensely, and told Gerry to do it too. Nothing happened! What they hadn’t told me was that it only worked in the Chrome- and Firefox browsers. Gerry still uses Internet Explorer.

Which browser do you use?

rearranging

These last few days, there’s been some re-arranging going on — both in my ‘real’ surroundings and my digital world.

When we moved in to this apartment, having emptied and left the house in Quebec, we had the chance to start from scratch almost, as we brought very little stuff with us. We said to each other that this place will be entirely for us … arranged with no regards to «what others might think» — we don’t have any plans to entertain here in this little apartment. So … only what was convenient for us, no matter what it looked like.

The drawing room is shaped like an L. One part is the dining area, nothing much to do about that part. Then there’s always the TV-set … you get sort of stuck with that, unless you have very long cables ‘n stuff. Besides, I don’t think we’d placed it elsewhere anyway. This picture is from when we’d just moved in and didn’t have any stuff at all. Dining area off to the right… outside the picture.

Gerry has some back problems, so he wanted his desk and a good, ergonomic chair. I wanted a couch, witch lots of cushions where I could curl up as much as I wanted. This was placed in the middle of the room, which caused a space to be unused … not taken advantage of at all, behind the couch. This has irked me, because that space tended to be a place where you put stuff that you didn’t know what to do with.

At the time, I had the desktop computer and that got a room of its own. Guess that worked alright … even though, deep down, I didn’t feel all that good about having to go in to another room each time I wanted to go online even though I had my little ‘sanctuary’ in there.

Then my laptop came into play in September, two years ago. When I unpacked it, I put it on the coffee table in front of my couch, and it never left. I’ve spent two years on that couch, I was almost growing roots there.

To make a long, tedious story a little shorter, we’ve now moved my desk into the drawing room … that space is now fully taken advantage of … by me! I have a very nice «computer corner» here behind the couch, I can still watch TV at the same time when I want to, or gaze out the windows. It was very hot [still is] when we made the move — I was sweating gumdrops, but I felt very pleased with the result.

Before I got totally lost in the description of our computer spaces, I mentioned the digital world too. Well … I don’t know how many of you who use Gmail as your major email client, but I’ve done that since day one. Now Google is going to do some general overhaul of the interface so that you’ll get the same experience no matter which part you’re in … Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs even Blogger … and you can already get a preview of it in Gmail by changing the theme. There’s a post about it here. So I did that, and it looks great. The bar with the buttons follow you down as you scroll, for one, which is very convenient.

WordPress released a new theme last night, that I’ve applied to my blog here. Usually I find something that I don’t like about those themes — most often that the main column is too narrow for my taste, or the navigation bar is pitch black. This new theme was all to my liking.

Do we need another social network?

Tuesday, Google released Google+ to a small group of Beta testers. I said to a friend ‘I’m so glad I’m over that type of stuff … a couple of years ago, I would have been all over the place, looking for an invitation’. This wasn’t entirely true — yesterday … the more I read about it, the more curious I got. It didn’t take long before I had my grappling hooks out, looking for an invitation. Eventually got one from some journalist in NYC, so now … instead of blogging as usual this morning, I checked out Google Plus.

So far, I feel that it has great potential. I just wish it had come earlier, instead of their other sorry attempts at social networking [Wave, Buzz]. This could have been a great thing, but I just don’t see people migrating in droves from Facebook where they have all their friends and games.

One of the things that used to make me feel a little uncomfortable about FB is that I have very different groups of people on my list. I have ‘real-life-people’ … be it family, former co-workers et cetera, people from here in Saint John … and also a large group of ‘online buddies’… people that I’ve met online over the years. Okay — a while back FB introduced ‘groups’, which made it a little easier to post to the different groups but I don’t know that it has really taken off.

In this new Google+ they chose to call it ‘Circles’. You can make up as many different circles as you want. For example, I have a big group now, of people from way back in the heydays of FriendFeed, that I’ve reconnected with. That’s a lot of fun! But as the invitation system starts to work again, I’ll be able to invite my friends and online buddies.

I’m in no way finished exploring this … just wanted to write a few lines about it as I saw the WordPress team’s suggestion for today. I don’t know the answer to the question … ‘need another social network?’ I don’t need anything, but I’m always up for something new, especially when it comes from Google. It’s nicely integrated with my Gmail, so  that I see a discreet number in the top bar, telling me how many new posts there are in ‘my circles’.

«Sparks», is something that one could turn into a filtered news feed. That’s something that I’ve missed in my Twitter stream, where I’m subscribed to a number of news sources.

Like I said … I wouldn’t foresee any greater migration from Facebook, BUT I think there are people who are getting fed up with it, who are beginning to feel it’s getting old … irked by the constant alterations of the privacy settings. For them, this could be a great, new alternative!

For the moment, I can’t invite anyone — I think they got overwhelmed last night, so they shut down the invitation system for a while.

wild

This time of year is wonderful! Everything is so lush, green and juicy. Lots of flowers … wild flowers that might look ‘insignificant’ at a glance but are truly gorgeous when you take time out to really look.

Imagine that all this has been buried underneath the cold snow all winter!

I don’t know what this white flower is, but it was growing quite abundantly outside town … near Boars Head Rd. At first, it led my thoughts to a common Spring flower back home … Vitsippa, or Anemone Nemorosa … but this flower is larger than that and the leaves are different.

A white flower in bright sunlight … that’s not the easiest thing to photograph … and it’s still a little overexposed, but it was the best I could do.

It was a fine day yesterday, and today is looking good too, so far. It’s only 8 o’clock in the morning. Got completely side-tracked here, when I found a little speaker icon in the Google search box, that I’d never seen before! Clicked on it, and it said «Speak Now!» I said “hello”, and I was stunned to see the word “hello” appearing in the seach box. This whole internet thing never ceases to amaze me. I tried many words after that, and it all worked great as long as I kept it in English. Tried the name of my hometown several times, but that didn’t fly.

UPDATE: Found the flower –it’s «Canada Anemone».