Google+ Adventures of a Southern Gentleman: May 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cool Site: Library of Congress on Youtube

Discovered this through the Lifehacker RSS feed….


The Library of Congress has it’s own Youtube channel.   Doesn’t appear to be much there yet, but if it’s anything like the Library of Congress Flickr photo feed then eventually there will be some pretty incredible stuff available.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Movie Review: Letters to Juliet (spoilers)

Yesterday, as is my practice, I took my daughter out for the day to celebrate her birthday and she chose to see the movie Letters to Juliet.

Letters to Juliet

Released: 2010

Go to IMDb page

Information ©

Normally, this is not the type of movie I’d choose to spend money at the theater to see myself, but having seen it I must admit to enjoying it.   It is a fairly typical romantic comedy, unlikely couple thrown together by events which lead to their falling in love.
While one could certainly make parallels to elements of other movies, I found that story and plot, while fairly obvious, to be engaging enough to make the movie entertaining.   It wasn’t overly mushy and romantic, nor was it overly comedic and absurd.   For everyone who’s ever loved and lost, or laments missed opportunities for love, this will tug at your heartstrings and make you think about the “what ifs”.
From the official movie website

Letters To Juliet is an enchanting love story --  a tale of encountering new sparks and rekindling old flames.  When Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a young American, travels to Verona, Italy -- the romantic city where Romeo first met Juliet -- she meets a group of volunteers who respond to letters written to Juliet seeking romantic advice.  Sophie finds and answers a letter that has been lost for 50 years, and is stunned when its author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) arrives in Italy with her handsome but overprotective grandson (Christopher Egan) to find the fiancĂ© she left decades before.  Fascinated by Claire's quest, Sophie joins them on an adventure through the beautiful hills of Tuscany searching for Claire's long lost Lorenzo. The journey will change their lives forever, as they discover it's never too late to find true love.

Cool Site: AfriGadget

I’ve always been interested in gadgets, taking things apart, that sort of thing.   It’s always been a dream of mine to have a work area where I could fiddle around with stuff.  

Hence, I have an interest in web sites that have to do with what is commonly known as “makers”, the most well known of these is the website of Make Magazine.   I’ve amassed quite a collection of these sites having to do with hardware hacking and making stuff.

Recently, I came across a very interesting site called AfriGadget which documents some of the ingenious solutions that folks in Africa have come up with to deal with every day problems, things that we in the “developed” world take for granted because we can easily go to a store and buy something.

I have a great deal of respect for these people who, despite living in conditions that most of us so called modern folk would piss and moan about, come up with creative solutions and ways to re-use what we’d consider junk.

Check out AfriGadget at

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Interesting: "The only perfect reference work" Nelson's Perpetual Loose-Leaf Encyclopaedia

Ran across this brief article on Boing Boing about the Nelson’s Perpetual Loose-Leaf Encyclopaedia and was struck by the fact that I not only own a complete set of the regular encyclopedia but a set of the medical encyclopedia as well, plus several updates.

I happen to love encyclopedias, especially old ones, and these are my favorites (though I would love to get my hands on a set of Encyclopedia Britannica from the late 1800’s).

Check out the article here…

Good Information: Preserving Memories

A word of warning for those of us that have physical photos taken before the widespread use of digital cameras.   I was looking through an album of photos taken in the late 90’s and discovered that a couple of ultrasound photos for one of my children had degraded quite a bit, which is no wonder since they were printed on thermal paper.   I promptly scanned them in order to preserve a digital copy of them, though much of the original detail was lost.

This incident prompted me to consider the relative longevity of certain types of photos such as those printed on thermal paper like the ultrasounds or those little Chuck E Cheese photos, or the Polaroids from the 70’s and 80’s.   While I don’t have many of these types, the ones that I do have are showing signs of fading.   Even normal color photos run the risk of damage by heat, water or fire.  

How many photos do you have stuck away in boxes that you haven’t looked at in years?   Have you lost any precious memories without even knowing? 

I plan on taking stock of these old photos and scanning them to create a digital backup.   I have a scanner, so I will probably do it myself, but there are also services out there that will for a modest fee scan them for you.

We tend to forget that digital cameras haven’t been around for that long, though it seems like it’s been forever.   While digital photos are hopefully backed up many times on hard drives, CDs, DVDs, Flickr and other places, those hard copy photos and negatives aren’t.  

Take steps to preserve those memories.

Cool Site: Library Thing

Booklovers should check out a website called Library Thing.   It’s intended for people to share the contents of their personal libraries and allows for reviews, recommendations, discussion and even links in to book trading sites.   You can enter your books in one at a time, or upload a list of books for it to process.   It offers some built in collection types such as Your Library, Wishlist, Currently Reading, To Read, Read but unowned, Favorites, plus the ability to add your own custom types.

Though my personal library is at the moment boxed up for the most part, I plan on adding my modest collection of books and sharing that link on this site.

For now it only has a few books listed, but you can find my library listing at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Good Article - Our Innate Desire to Quit When the Going Gets Tough


A thought provoking article on quitting…


I have seen a pattern amongst many people in life; the pattern of quitting when times get tough. Quitting is perhaps one of the easiest things to do because it requires no effort at all. Quitting on your business, quitting school, quitting relationships, quitting on goals that you are pursuing.

Our Innate Desire to Quit When the Going Gets Tough

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good Information: Simple Color Theory

From the Tutorial9 website

"The mastery of color theory, relations and harmonies is one of the primary steps to uncovering the full beauty and potential of your images (in the realms of art, design and/or photography). Find out more in this simple, practical, colorful guide."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

VisiPics – an Excellent Duplicate Photo Finder

My digital photos are a mess, disorganized and full of duplicates.   Fortunately, there’s a really nice utility that is helping to rectify the situation.

VisiPics will scan your photos, finding and displaying duplicates.   It scans the photos themselves, so it will find actual duplicates regardless of how they are named or where they are located.


It allows you to adjust the sensitivity so that you can do a strict scan finding near exact duplicates only to loose which will find photos that might be edited versions of the same photo.

Once finished scanning, it presents you with groups of duplicates which you can mark and then batch delete or copy.

It’s a must have utility for anyone with a digital photo collection.    It is a Windows only utility.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes


I watched the Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. last night with my daughter.  Having been a great fan of Sherlock Holmes ever since discovering the stories when I was a teenager, I watched with a bit of trepidation since lately modern moviemakers have been taking liberties with interpreting old established characters from some of my favorite books.    But, I have to say that in this instance they did a good job.   Holmes is portrayed as a brilliant but  eccentric character which is exactly how he’s portrayed in the books.   The little mental vignettes showing how he analyzed and deduced things were spot on.   The plot of “magic” ending up being a put on using science was in keeping with Holmes stories like Hound of the Baskervilles where what appeared to be a ghost dog turned out to just be a manipulation of the legend.

If I have any beefs with this movie it would be that Holmes seemed too modern, especially in his clothing.   I would have liked to see him in a few scenes dressed more appropriately to the era as Watson was.

All in all, a good movie.

If you liked the movie and haven’t read them, I’d strongly recommend reading the original Conan Doyle stories.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Time to Get Started

It’s been a while since I worked on my “web presence”, I have for some time been interested in the whole social media thing that started with blogging, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and the like but haven’t really jumped in with both feet.   

Having plenty of time due to being unemployed for about 11 months now, I’ve been pondering the thought again and I believe I’ve decided how I want to set things up.

This, the main site, will have links to my stuff, such that it is, on the web at large.   Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, Delicious, etc.     On this page I will also post relatively short daily updates, perhaps even multiple posts per day on a variety of subjects, sharing information and things I find interesting.

For longer, more involved posts dedicated to a specific subject, I will post on my personal blog which is Musings of a Southern Gentleman and include a short post here pointing to the longer post.

I may at some point create subject specific blogs like my now defunct Second Life blog (defunct because I’m not spending time in Second Life at the moment due largely to the horrible performance I get when I try, plus some personal reasons).   I play World of Warcraft quite a bit and have been toying with the idea of blogging on the subject.

My goal is to get into the habit of posting things and expressing myself, even if it’s only for my own benefit, though I do hope that someday someone other than myself will read the babblings that I’ve put out here.

I’ve always liked the idea of a Renaissance Man or Polymath, like to think of myself as one even if it’s to a lesser degree of those famous men such as Di Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt.  I’d like to think that if they were alive today and had grown up in these times that they’d have a very active presence on the web.