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raindrops keep falling ...


I had a go at my first “art” picture a couple of days ago – it was done in Paint Shop Pro, and not that spectacular, though I’m rather pleased with the way the plant seems to overlap the frame.

Then I saw a lovely pic done by Grandmage; Dumpr was mentioned, so I thought I’d check it out.

As I’d started with raindrops, I thought I’d carry on with them, so I’d have a common ground for comparison. Everything’s done on their site, you don’t need to download or install anything.

Several of the categories have subcategories to choose from

my original “art”

What Dumpr can do, or you can do with it …

I think I’m going to be going back to the Dumpr site a lot more, especially for the “round” effect – I can do “round” on Paint Shop, but it’s nowhere near as good as theirs.

:-) this is not a commercial for Dumpr – I’m sure that there are other sites that can do the same, or more – but it’s the first time that someone like me can produce “art” without necessarily having any innate talent for it!

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Nice effects Fran. I may have a look myself now that Picnik is closing down.

23 Jan, 2012


That looks fun fran

Why is picnik closing ?

23 Jan, 2012


They are part of Google now Sticki.. Closing for good in April..Everything is free on it from now till it closes.

23 Jan, 2012


I'd never heard of picnik before - but then I'd never heard of Dumpr before Grandmage mentioned it!

We're going to end up with two or three mega-corporations and face the choice of being forced to use one to the exclusion of the others - already I've been forced to have a Gmail account that's not very acessible, because Google has taken over YouTube and it won't allow any other email account in - I used my Yahoo email acount for years, but no more.

23 Jan, 2012


Well done,on your 'Dumper' pics,Fran..A few of us experimented with this as well,and quite a few pics on here,from us..Really good fun,isn't it ? must have another go ,sometime..:o)

23 Jan, 2012


lol it does get a bit addictive - one has to try all the varoius options to see what they come out like

23 Jan, 2012


yes very addictive, I got Johnjoe on there and he really did become addicted,

23 Jan, 2012


Hi Fran, it was Anchorman that started all this way back last winter, so one by one we all had a go, he taught me on here and if I can do it then anyone can!! I love your pics. Fran, they give great effect..

23 Jan, 2012


my main prob is I do'nt have taht many decent pics to practice on - I looked through my GoY pics but didn't see any I thought would be any use - I'll have to try to remember to take more artistic pics *s*

23 Jan, 2012


Why not try a few, thats how we all started on here!!

23 Jan, 2012


true, Grandmage, I just look at what others have done and sigh ...

23 Jan, 2012


Just have a go,Fran..doesn't matter what you will be so pleased you tried it,and it worked..There was nobody as hopeless as me..I asked advice as to why I couldn;t show my pics ,when I was new to all this.. The lead was plugged in,and nothing !...and then someone asked if I had turned the camera on ! No,I hadn't .Duh ! :o))

23 Jan, 2012


Practice with the rubbish one ..the the good one will be fantastic...We have all got rubbish pictures Fran.

23 Jan, 2012


Thanks, Bloomer and Pim. Only practice will help me improve and I should go by what *I* can do, not compare myself to others, or I'll never get started on anything.

I always use a card reader for putting my photos onto the pc - apart from me reading that doing that via the camera really uses up battery, I take the hint from a friend: the very first time he went to upload photos on his brand new £100+ camera (and this was ten years ago!), he accidentally knocked it to the floor and broke it.

So I take out the card and put the camera safely in the card reader box while that's being used, then replace card in camera, camera in case and reader in its box.

But if it's any consolation, Bloomer, you're not alone. I used to work in a local housing office, and people would constantly call me beacause their pc or printer wasn't working. Most of the time it was because the printer wasn't even plugged in, let alone switched on - or that the photocopier wasn't working when the cassette for the paper was on the other side of the room ...

23 Jan, 2012


A very tidy and careful mind then, least you are computer literate,and were able to help people..all trial and error for me,as mainly self taught,after a disasterous course was attempted ,along with other 'newbies' ..which lasted 4 weeks for all of us..a retired so called expert who tried to get us to run before we could walk..!..Anyway,all trial and error,and got there in the end..well,as much as I need to know .:o)

24 Jan, 2012


Nearly missed this blog! What a fantastic idea. Never heard of Dumpr before, either - always used Photoshop, but the recent versions are just getting too technical for me. I shall investigate! Thank you, Fran.

24 Jan, 2012


*s* Bloomer, the best mistakes to learn from are other people’s! I’m now in the habit of keeping the camera safe while I upload – you can bet that the one time I forget will be the one time that something goes wrong.

But I also bet that you’ll never again forget to check the on switch in future! Eddie Izzard does a great routine on “There’s an On switch on the printer???” – we’ve all done it or something like it (even if most of us wouldn’t own up to it). I had to call IT support when my work pc came up with “Error 945045” or some such large number – turned out that that was the code for “no paper in the printer”! Why didn’t the stupid thing *say* “out of paper”?? I’d have understood that.

It’s been trial and error for me, too – I’m by no means a techie! I’m no more than one tiny step higher on the ladder than you are. I usually call myself a techno-dodo – I don’t fiddle if I’m not totally sure I can undo anything I just did – and the few times I’ve forgotten that I’ve regretted it. But a lot of my "learning" has been by mistake; something happens, I think, how did I just do that? and sometimes manage to work it out and learn a new trick - that's how I learned to rename a stack of files in one go, for eg.

The prob at work was, I made the mistake of fixing a small glitch in the photocopier when other people were around, so they thought I was some kind of expert when I’m far from it, and they’d call me whenever there was a prob.

The no-paper one was a classic example of people not using their brains. If a printer or copier don’t work, the first thing I’d check is, is there paper in it? That machine had two cassettes, for A4 and A3 paper; you had to take one out to use the other one. I got a call that the copier wasn’t working, and walked into the copier room where two people were standing wringing their hands; I looked about, saw both cassettes on the table, picked one up, put it in the machine, and walked out again without saying a word. I spotted it instantly, and *I’m* visually impaired.

That sort of thing happened a lot, and used to wind me up. It reached the stage where I had a set list of questions before I went to check it out: is it plugged in to the wall socket? Is the socket switched on? Is the machine switched on? Is there paper in it? Are the connecting cables pushed in securely? So many times that was all that was wrong.

I got transferred to this office after my vision started to fail: I wasn’t allowed to do any typing that was urgent, which most of it seemed to be, so I was given rubbish admin jobs, filing carbon copies that were so faint that people with good vision couldn’t make out the words … but people would keep phoning me for Word help: how do I set tabs? How do I create a table? One “chum” had a problem with Word. I was in the middle of doing something, so I asked if it was urgent, and she said it was. So I went up, and her “urgent prob” was how to put a fancy frame round a poem she’d just written on her pc in work hours.

I still get a bit heated when I think about it, even now. I seem to have been be the only trained typist in the whole building – and I wasn’t allowed to do any typing. *g* I’m evenly balanced, I have a chip on *both* shoulders!

I’ve tried training courses, too, and didn’t find many of them that helpful. I did every course I could when I worked for the council – free training, not to be sneezed at! The first one was on the level of “this is a keyboard, this is a mouse” – I know it was called a “basic” course, but that basic? I did learn some useful stuff on others; I still have my scribbled notes somewhere, when I can find them and get them translated!

I did try an evening class on how to use a graphics programme, can’t remember which one, but it was a long time ago, so had to have been a pretty basic one – long before Paint Shop or maybe even Paint! I only lasted a couple of weeks: my vision was bad, they only had standard pc screens, so I had to keep asking for assistance, and that tutor’s main method of teaching was by sarcasm.

Ah well.

24 Jan, 2012


I've never used Photo Shop, Gattina; i've heard it's "the" standard software, and have wanted to try it, but there are so many options and variations, I'm not sure which is the basic program and which are add-ons that won't work without the basic one to be added on to.

Besides, three's so much on Paint Shop that I don't know how to use, no point buying another one that I wouldn't know how to use! and I'd want to know how to use it all if I spent £££££££ on it.

24 Jan, 2012


Many years ago, I did a "European computer Driving Licence" course at the local "College for further education", along with a load of silly, giggling youngsters, who spent the lessons talking and texting, and thought I should have dropped off the bough years before. I didn't find it at all easy, but I had sticking power, and kept at it 'til I got it right. I was so chuffed. I was the second in a class of 18 to pass, so I didn't do too badly. Needless to say, it's now all totally out of date and been superseded by loads of other stuff that I can't even begin to understand. I even did a course in Photoshop 5, and got very competent with that one, then when I had to change computers a couple of years ago, the guy that set it up for me thought he was doing me a huge favour by upgrading to the Photoshop version that came in about 10 years after the one I was used to, and now I'm completely at sea. It's got hundreds of bells and whistles which I don't need, and the good solid basics that I used to use daily have all disappeared. Why can't people let well alone? Why is change always good?

24 Jan, 2012


Good for you! I hope those kids were suitably impressed and took the hint about actually studying the subject.

They have to keep "improving" stuff, they want to keep making money by forcing us to change whether we want to or not! I'm still using XP - did try 7 recently but was glad to return to something that actually worked for me. No doubt I'll have to upgrade when/if I get a new PC, but - if it ain't broke ...

Can't you downgrade the Photoshop back to one you're familiar with? I know that software doesn't like it - I've tried reverting to a previous level, and got told that it couldn't install because there was a newer version already on the pc - I uninstalled that and then I could install the old one.

I've tried reverting Windows Media Player, but that won't let me uninstall because "there's a file missing", so I reinstalled it to make sure it was complete, then tried to uninstall again, but got the same message. And it won't let me just delete the whole thing.

I was only able to go back when my whole Operating System needed to be reinstalled, after I'd tried Windows 7 and decided against it - then I got the original Media Player back, which does all I want it to do - sort my music and play it. (I have tried other music players, but I need large text and full screen, and I couldn't get any of them to be readable.)

I'm still using Microsoft Office 2003 - I tried 2007 when I got the Windows 7, and hated it even more fervently!

But the companies don't get any money from us using the same system that we bought five or ten years ago, any more than car or fridge makers get any money out of making their products last longer than five minutes!

24 Jan, 2012


Oh! I just wrote you a long answer, and it's got lost! I was saying that I changed from a PC to a MacBook, so I couldn't use the original software 'cos it was incompatible. (shortened version)

24 Jan, 2012


lol thanks Gattina, hope the full one emerges - if i feel that I'm going to write a long post, I do it in Word, then copy it in - easier to spellcheck *s*

I went to the Apple Shop in London, a few years ago - at the time (and maybe still now) it had the largest possible screen, and I needed that - but even just buying the monitor I'd have had to buy the pc to go itih it, and I wasn't quite ready for that. But now I'm using a 42" TV as a monitor, don't need to look further (lol but still need to look closer at times)

24 Jan, 2012


It took me quite some time to get used to a tiny laptop screen instead of a decent-sized monitor. I must find out whether it's possible to link up something that means I can stop peering quite so much. 42" sounds great.

24 Jan, 2012


smiles, told people that I woudln't get a laptop till they did one iwth a folding screen that opened up to mega-wide!

Besides, I'm a trained touch-typist (learned on manual typewriters, somwhere back in the late Stone Age!) and laptop keys just aren't where my fingers expect them to be.

Did try to help a friend whose vision is worse than mine to set pu the laptop she'd been given for her birthday, but was hopeless - and athat damn mouse-pad was enough all on its own! talk about bendy-thumb syndrome ...

someone said I could plug the laptop into the TV - yeah, and plug a keyboard in, and a mouse ....

one consolation: my pc's so "old hat" that no burglar would want to take it - or probably be able to lift it if he did!

24 Jan, 2012


Ours is probably the only computer for at least 2 miles around. Little Maria has absolutely no comprehension of what one might be. Tried explaining. Useless.
I have been useful to the community, though, by photographing everyone's tumbledown collections of stone and rusting corrugated iron for them, and storing them on my computer, so if the busy-bodies at the town hall come demanding to know why Gianni, or Marco or Franco has built this spanking new garage without planning permission, I can wheel out the dated photos to prove that there has always been a building there, and all they've done is "improve and maintain" it.

25 Jan, 2012


good for you, Gattina! and for them, too

25 Jan, 2012



25 Jan, 2012


power to the people! as Citizen Smith used to declaim.

25 Jan, 2012


Yes, he did, didn't he? Always fancied Robert Lindsay.

25 Jan, 2012


Can't anything be done for your vision, Fran? I wouldn't even like to be in the same room as a TV screen that's 42"! We have a 24" TV screen & I find that more than enough!

The computer monitor is only 19". I'd like a wide screen monitor as so many pages are now made so wide they are off the sides of the monitor! It irks me no end having to more the bar at the bottom of the page all the way to the right to get to the Login/out button. At least in GoY that's not necessary! :-))

I wear reading glasses but only 1.5 any more gives me a headache! I bought a pair once that were probably 2.0 but the label had been changed or put on the wrong glasses. They made my eyes water & I found I couldn't wear them for more than a few minutes at a time.

A few years ago I went to visit our family in Cuenca, Spain & our oldest son took me to the cinema. We sat in a small sala with a screen as big as a two storey building I hated it! Yet my son said he would normally sit in the front row! We sat 5 or 6 rows up from the front. If I ever go back there again I'd probably sit in the row furthest from the screen!

25 Jan, 2012


Moorfields told me years ago that there was nothing that could be done about my vision: the left eye has bleeding in the dead centre, so I get a fuzzy greyish blob right where one normally looks to read; my right eye is just generally fuzzed; retina pulled out of shape due to pressure. but my peripheral vision seems to be perfectly ok in both eyes - I usually describe it by saying it's sort of like tunnel vision the other way round: centre's blurred, edges are clear.

When I first went to Moorfields, they got all the students in to have a look, which reassured me no end! They didn't talk to me about it (I was only the patient) but I haerd one of them say to another "it's cracked like crazy paving".

This was back in the days when the Russian Hospital Ship was touring the world doing eye operations - at a price, which I didn't have. Now I'm stuck with it, if I wasn't before.

I did ask Moorfields what had caused the damage, and could only get "It's hereditary" - I asked *what* was hereditary, what bit had gone wrong and how, but they didn't seem able to answer.

I'd had an overactive thyroid gland as a teen , which had gone undiagnosed for years; apparently one of the effects can be to affect one's vision; it was shortly after that that I had to start wearing specs. And my vision finally cracked shortly after my doc had put me on anti-depessants: I found out years later that one of the side-effects can be visual damage. thanks a bunch, doc. I can't prove a connection, though, and it might have been coincidence.

It was a bit of a shock, she understated - there was no gradual decline (or none that I'd noticed) just suddenly realised one day that I coldn't see proerly from my left eye, and a few months later, my right eye came out in sympathy.

I'm one-eyed when it comes to reading and writing: I find it easier to actually close my left eye, because I need to be within a few inches of the paper, and that don't half get confusing when you've got two images that overlap by inches. The only way I can use both eyes is to make the text large enough that I can back off a bit - and the large print sort of overlaps the black spots at the centre of my vision.

When I got my first PC I traded up for a 24" CRT monitor, it was the largest they did then. weighed 33kg, so not exactly a "portable" - and even then I needed nose-on-screen a lot of the time, which did my back sooooo much good! That's why I got medically retired from work: my employers took six whole years to get me specilised equipment, and by that time my back had had more than enough.

It wsa only a year or so ago that I got this new screen: Argos had a sale for 42" TV, so I got one; had thought of using my old 32" as a monitor, but twit here had bought the cheapest version: no Freeview, no PC socket (you had the choice in those days!) I hadn't wanted to plug PC and DVD player in at the same time, it had never occurred to me that I might use it for that later.

After a while the 42" got a bit small - I have to watch TV with my feet up on the sofa, otherwise I tend to lean formward, elbows on knees, to get closer, and doing that for hours does my knees and back no favours. With my feet up I can lean back against the cushons, but it does mean that I have to be half my body-length away from the TV. I could still see the pictures ok, but trying to read subtitles was getting hard - and I do love my Jackie Chan films! I'd rather have him speak proper Chinese and strugle with subtitles than hear it dubbed itno fluent American!! (why do they never get English-speaking Chinese actors do the the dubbing with the right accent??)

Then Argos had another sale, so I boght a 52" TV and had the 42" moved over for use as a monitor. Can't descibe the simple pleasure of being able to sit up striaght AND see the screen! I'd had to lean so far forward with the CRT, and so much, that my left elbow is still damaged - being a right-handed mouser, the left elbow took most of the weight.

But I still need to have the resolution set to minimum to give the biggest display, and the zoom set to 125-150%, both of which mean that some websites are unusuable - at that rez and that zoom, the text on the webpage overlaps and blleeds into each other and becomes unreadable. The only way to get a better image is to zoom out - and then the text's so small that I can't read it anyway. And some softare won't load with the rez I have; I don't see the point of changing the settings just to use that program when it means that I won't be able to use anything else.

And a lot of websites don't have scroll bars at the bottom: apparently it's never occurred to them that not evenone in the world can use stanard rez and zoom. The right side goes off the edge of the screen and there's no way to access it (Yahoo is a sod for that: trying to set spam filters means that I have to have thre zoom so small that I have to stand up and lean almost nose-on-screen to get the right edge of the page onscreen.)

This is why I can't read pdf or ebooks: I can set the zoom high enough to be able to read, but only a few words at a time - constantly scrolling left-to-right-and-back-again puts too much strain on my arm. And I have to read sentences a few words at a time, try to memorise them till I get to a full stop, then reassemble the sentence bit by bit.

But I know what you mean about overlarge screens: a group of us went to an Imax cinema (only once for me!), and I wanted to lean back and couldn't get far enough away. In-yer-face is not the same thing as "visually accessible". Someone I used to know, with normal vision, bought a 52" TV (because someone he knew had just got one). I said to him at the time, you'll have to sit in the next room to watch it! council flats rae never roomy at the best of times, and his was even smaller than mine. Still, some blokes still think that size is important ...

I have to have daylight bulbs in all light fittings: I can see much better under white light than standard yellow-y. That's a tad expensive: daylight bulbs were a fiver each when ordinary ones were under a quid. And now I'm having to buying energy-saving daylight ...
*s* I can read in the garden, but only when the sun's out! tiny cloud comes along, I have to wait for it to move on before I can read again.

Sorry if I've gone on, but it's not a question one could give a proper answer to in a few sentences!

26 Jan, 2012


oh, something I meant to add, Balcony - I was reading a GoY blog that said that the person had been in GoY x years, and I thought, how do they know that? I can't find my joining date - I checked, and lo! there was a whole panel on right hand side, coyly hiding off the edge of my screen! I still keep forgetting to check right sides of web pages ...

26 Jan, 2012


That's one of the things I find about many web pages now, they are far too wide for my screen & I have to move the bottom bar over to the right to centre pages or see what's on the right hand side. They are always designed nowadays for wide screen monitors but mine is the traditional 4x3 as is our TV. This is frustrating at times as parts of the picture are off screen.

29 Jan, 2012


nods! I'm using a wide-screen TV but the display is set to square; i did try wide-screen but it stretched the pics too much, distorted them 'orribly. Someone that I knew to be fairly slim turned out like the Michelin Man. And sometimes I can't get a whole pic onscreen even so unless I zoom down so much that I can't even see the caption, let alone read it. So it's constantly zoom-out, zoom-in, back and forth like a metronome.

Of course, I don't have standard rez, which doesn't help. More than one website is unusable to me because the difference in resolution makes the columns over lap each other and none of them is readable - I contacted one, DisabledGo, about this overlap; they said it sounds like my PC resolution isn't set at standard. No sh*t, Sherlock, I thought - but what's the point of changing a setting that I need to be where it is? Other websites seem to be able to display their contents adequately.

Worst of all is when there's no horizontal scroll bar, so I have to zoom right out to get the right penal onsecree - have to do this with Yahoo filters, beacuse the tick-boxes are on the very right edge of their page.

And I'm still trying to find out about Direct Payments; they gave me a CD-Rom, but, because of the rez, the full page didn't show onscreen and there were no scroll bars to move the image down till I could find "next"

Installing software is also a prob: the boxes use my standard PC settings, which means I have to struggle to get down to the "next" button there too.

lol I did think of setting up as a disabled-awareness consultant; how qualified do I need to be to tell them the problem and challenge them to find a solution???

29 Jan, 2012


Although my sight problems are not the slightest patch on yours I have found that by changing the resolution things become unworkable.

You would think that nowadays with all our modern & sophisticated technology they could make websites accessible to anyone, whatever their visual capabilities. Have you ever tried a Reader programme like JAWS? As I've never seen it in action (better said, heard!) I don't know if it might be suitable for you but a nephew of mine in the States uses it & a couple of years ago he had a blind girlfriend & I sometimes had conversations with her with her using Windows Messenger & it was almost as quick & easy to talk to her as with a sighted person! Shame they broke up & we lost contact as it was fascinating especially as she didn't mind me asking her personal questions about her blindness. As I was into making up webpages at the time I often asked her how they resulted to her. Then I'd make some changes that would enable her to "see" my pages better!

As the sites I made up were dedicated to a Belgian singer both my wife & her sister like I made them in English & Spanish. But the guy has become a "hermit" since getting married for the 2nd time & no longer makes CDs the sites I made up are all out of date as I've done no work on them since shortly after his marriage, several years ago. I've forgotten a lot of what I learnt while making them. :-((

29 Jan, 2012


They can make the websites more accessible - it takes a bit more time and a lot more thought, and that's the real problem: people don't realise unless they're in the boat themselves, or know someone who is.

The RNIB has an "accessible website" campaign: I searched their site for those words and found several, here's the link to the search results:

I've "contacted us" on several sites that were particularly egregious: only one had the courtesy to reply, and that didn't amount to more than "we'll think about it".

But so much could be done with just a little time, thought and effort: I have Dragon Naturally Speaking, a talk-and-type software. Ideal for vis-imp, you'd think ... but you have to read a set paragraph to give the software some idea of your natural speaking pattern, and that's in tiny text, and who can speak "naturally" when they're hunched over, nose on screen? if they'd only do it in large print, or even speak into headphones for the person to repeat ...

Good for you with your websites, if only other people bothered. But we don't exist as "real people" (despite one person in four having some form of visual impairment, from having to wear specs all the way through to complete loss of vision, so we're hardly a "tiny minority"). Proportionately, far more people have visual impairment than are in whelchairs, so the standard sign for disabilty is a tad unfair.

When I had a website, it was large, clear print and plain backgrounds with good contrast: I hadn't learned then how to put tags on pictures, so it wasn't perfect by a long way, but that was the only fault RNIB found with it when I asked their opinion.

29 Jan, 2012


Thanks for that info. I've visited the page you linked to & some of the links on there as well! I found it very interesting!

I learnt to put the alt text in photos right from the very beginning so on my sites they are always visible on "mouseover", I don't know if the speech programmes can read them but I imagine they can.

You might like to have a look at one of my webpages & tell me what you think, one word of warning - there are lots & lots of pages with links taking you back & forth! I'll give you the URL of one in English as I doubt your Spanish is up to my level! LOL! :-D)

It hasn't been modified in several years as Helmut hasn't made any new CDs since he got married though he keeps promising to make a new one.

30 Jan, 2012


I'll go and have a look, thanks - *s* my Spanish is virtually non-existent

30 Jan, 2012

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