Friday, 19 December 2008

Blurry Web Font Problem in Internet Explorer 7

This afternoon, I helped Mum out with a problem she was having in Internet Explorer 7.  While Mum was checking over her latest blog post, she noticed all the apostrophes in her posts were looking like they were coloured blue.  I had installed Internet Explorer 7 on Mum's computer on yesterday and she really liked it, but she told me that, apart from the apostrophes being a blue colour, she has also noticed the font on most sites appeared blurry.  Having a visual impairment, I had never noticed it and, being that I'm mainly a Mozilla Firefox user and rarely go into IE 7 apart from when I need to, it's never been a problem for me.

 

After comparing the differences on both of our computers using IE7 (they looked the same, but when you zoom anywhere above 100%, the apostrophes looked like normal black, but when we put it back to 100%, it looked blue.  I figured it was the blurry font Mum was on about, so I did a Google search on "Blurry text in Internet Explorer 7" and it showed me a link to a Microsoft Support page explaining what to do.  I followed the instructions on my own computer and Mum's computer and when I restarted IE 7, Mum didn't have the blue apostrophes any more and web fonts were no longer blurry.  A huge thanks to Google for making it sooooo easy to solve problems!!!!

 

Anyway, in case you're interested, I've noted the fix below.  Apparently, it's all because of ClearType technology.  I don't exactly know what it is, but all I know is that it makes text on LCD screens look much more smoother with no jagged edges (well, it's supposed to do that).

 

In Internet Explorer 7, click on the Tools menu (if the menu bar is hidden, there should be a Tools option with an arrow beside it under the Search box)

 

  1. Click on Internet Options,
  2. Click on the Advanced tab,
  3. Under Multimedia (in the section that allows you to check/uncheck options), uncheck the option marked Always Use ClearType for HTML,
  4. Click OK, that won't change anything yet,
  5. Close and restart Internet Explorer 7.  You should notice a BIG difference!

 

I do hope you find this information handy, it really helped me and Mum out!  Don't you just hate it when you come across an annoying problem with computers?  I'm sure most people do.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Book Review: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This picture is courtesy of Fishpond.com.au

 

Well everyone, last month, I have managed to finish reading a book that my sister, Michelle, and her boyfriend, Alex, got me for my birthday in August!  The book is called Inkheart and written by Cornelia Funke and, I can tell you now, I'm as big a fan of it as I am of The Chronicles Of Narnia and Harry Potter!  In case many of you have never read the book before, I won't spoil it for you because, lets face it, we all hate it when someone tells us the story in the books before we read it......it's a spoiler for me because it takes away the excitement of not knowing.

 

Even though I can't tell you about what the book contains, I'll just tell you enough to get you interested if you have never heard of it.  The story is about a girl named Meggie and her father called Mo.  Both Meggie and Mo love reading books, but Mo has never read aloud to Meggie since her mother disappeared years ago in a mysterious way.  One night, a stranger shows up at their house and gives Mo a warning, which gives Mo no choice but to reveal a secret to Meggie, and it is that secret that will change their lives forever!  Something happens when Mo reads aloud, see if you can guess what it is before Mo tells Meggie, that is, if you do read the story!

 

Inkheart is the first book in the Inkheart Trilogy and I have to say I really enjoyed every bit of the book.  I enjoyed it so much, I rate it 5 stars on a scale from 1 to 5!  The thing I love about my copy of Inkheart is that at the end of the main story, it contains two sneak preview chapters from the next book in the series, which is Inkspell and I can tell you now, after reading those two chapters, I want to get Inkspell very badly, I can't wait to read it!  The third book in the Trilogy, Inkdeath, got released on Monday, October 6!

 

Hey, I almost forgot to mention that Inkheart has been made into a movie!  How great is that?  I can't wait to see it, I reckon it's going to be pretty good, but I don't think it'll be as good as the book.  I think it's being released in January 2009 in the US, but I don't know about the UK or Australian release, I hope it'll be around the same time as the US release.  If you'd like to see the trailer for the movie, head over to the Inkheart movie site and you'll find it there!  You'll find other Inkheart related sites in my links bar at the side!   I strongly recommend Inkheart and you can watch this space for my reviews of Inkspell and Inkdeath, the two remaining books in the series, which I just recently purchased!

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Books, Movies and Audiobooks

This picture is courtesy of Fishpond.com.au

 

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to watch the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when my younger brothers, Reece and Aaron, hired it out from the video shop.  My sister and two brothers used to watch The Chronicles Of Narnia TV series back in the early 90's but I never did because I thought I wouldn't like it.  After watching the later movie, I am now as hooked on The Chronicles Of Narnia series as I am with the Harry Potter series!  My youngest brother, Aaron, is nine years old and he also watched the movie for the very first time.

 

After watching the movie, I instantly went onto the website of the local library to see if I could hire out some of the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis and I was able to get hold of two or three of the Narnia books.  While browsing the the library web site, I also saw some Narnia audiobooks!  Beside the ones I saw, it said "Performed by a full cast", which made me think it was the people who played in the movie doing the audiobooks as well, so I also requested some of those audiobooks!  Being legally blind, I sometimes find it easier to listen to stories rather than reading them!   I started reading The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, then listened to the audiobook of The Magician's Nephew!  I was surprised to hear that it wasn't a normal audiobook with one or more people reading parts of the book, it was a dramatisation of the book with sound effects and music, which I think is much better than a normal audiobook!  I looked at the box containing the CDs for The Magician's Nephew audiobook and I saw the name Radio Theatre at the top of the front of it, which made me very interested!  I fully enjoyed listening to the dramatised audiobooks and also The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe book!

 

Thanks to my wonderful Mum, I was able to buy my own copies at great prices, when she found a book site online called Fishpond which offered some great deals.   Fishpond doesn't just have books for sale, they have music and movies as well, which I was also very happy about, but books are the main area where all the great deals are!   I managed to find the Radio Theatre audiobooks that I borrowed from the library, but even better, they had the complete Chronicles Of Narnia series box set from Radio Theatre!  I kept searching through those eight or nine 'search result' pages until I came across a box set containing all of The Chronicles Of Narnia books!  Even though there were heaps of box sets of all the Narnia books, they were all pretty expensive.   I then came across The Chronicles Of Narnia book set that has a box tie-in for Prince Caspian, the latest, newest Narnia movie now out by Disney and Walden Media!  Mum ordered the Radio Theatre CD set and that Narnia book box set for me, which I paid for (both sets were originally over $100 (in Australian dollars), but I got them quite cheap, which is pretty good!

 

I impatiently waited for my order as I was going on holiday for a week and was hoping they would come before I left.  My prayers were answered when one set arrived the day before I was to leave and the other set arrived only a few hours before I left for my holiday.   Needless to say, I was stoked to be able to take the Narnia books with me.  If I had a working CD Walkman, I probably would have taken the CDs as well, but that wasn't possible.  I read book one of the Narnia series, The Magician's Nephew, while I was on the holiday and finished the book when I got back home.  I'm now up to book two, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.  Even though I read the version I got from the library, I'm happy to read it again and I can't wait to read the rest of the books!  I was able to listen to the Radio Theatre Narnia CDs as soon as I got back from holiday and I really enjoyed listening to them!  I eventually noticed writing at the top of the Radio Theatre name.  Being legally blind, I didn't notice the words Focus on The Family until a few weeks ago, so I think it is actually Focus on The Family Radio Theatre.  One thing I noticed about the CD dramatisations of The Chronicles Of Narnia compared to the ones I got from the library is that Douglas Gresham hosts them and talks about the stories and his memories at the beginning of each story, which is what I enjoy about them.  It's nice to hear a bit of history before the stories start, such as their original names, etc!

 

I also noticed another version of The Chronicles Of Narnia on Fishpond, which I will eventually buy.  It is just another dramatised version, except that the BBC are behind the making of these ones, not Focus on The Family Radio Theatre.  I recently borrowed a few of the BBC dramatised CDs out of the library recently as well and they're done quite differently to the above mentioned ones.  It is hard for me to explain about it, but I do plan to buy the BBC dramatised versions, which is also in a complete box set!  The BBC were actually the ones who made The Chronicles Of Narnia TV series that my brothers and my sister used to watch when we were kids.

 

I have recently finished reading a different book so, stay tuned, as I will be posting a book review on that one in a few days.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

My Third Elton John Concert - Oh What A Night!!!

I am so sorry that it has taken so long for me to do this blog post, I will try not to let that happen again. You remember in my last blog post back in November that I couldn't wait to see Elton John live in concert again at Elysian Fields, Canungra, now I can tell you that I've been, and what a night it was too! I think Elton was in a very good mood that night, he done mostly his greatest hits, but a fair amount of non-single songs were played as well! I am so happy I went, as I always say, to me, Elton John is the best singer in the world! I've even got some pictures, taken by Reece, of the concert!

Me and Reece at home before driving to the Elton John concert!

Well, I guess I'd better start from the beginning! Reece (my brother) and I drove out to Elysian Fields, which is a winery plantation, we actually passed a few winery fields on the way to the concert! After a 30 minute drive, we get there in time to hear the support act playing. The support act was Eran James and I say "hear" because Reece and I were in the food queue for the entire time Eran James was on stage (from 6:00-6:55pm).

Scenery at Elysian Fields!

By the time Elton came on and started playing the piano (15 minutes earlier than expected), Reece and I were heading to our seats. When we got to our seats, Elton was just about to finish his first song of the night, which was Your Song! That song is always great no matter when Elton plays it, with band or without!! We were in our seats when Elton started Sixty Years On, another great song, like Your Song, from Elton's self-titled Elton John album in 1970! I loved hearing the piano during this song as it is nice to hear this song sometimes without the full orchestra.

Picture of Elton on stage where we were sitting.

Elton then talked about The Greatest Discovery, the next song in the set list, as being about Bernie Taupin's little brother and he played that song nicely as well, The Greatest Discovery, was also taken from the Elton John album! I was a little surprised when Elton followed The Greatest Discovery with I Need You To Turn To, also from the Elton John album. I have to admit, it is nice when Elton doesn't do a show with just hits, it shows us that he can still sing those songs that weren't singles just as good as the hits, especially the songs from his 70s albums.

After Elton would do a song or two, he'd get up and wave to the audience and get a drink, but when he'd come back to the piano, there would be bugs in the keys, so Elton had to stand up and get the bugs out of the keys. He only had to do this in the first half of the show, because, I guess, that as it got darker, all the annoying bugs couldn't hang around any more. Throughout the night, Elton performed many great songs which I have listed at the bottom of this post.

Another picture from where we were sitting at the concert

Rocket Man is always a treat for me, especially Sacrifice, and Philadelphia Freedom. I was surprise that Elton did Ticking as I don't think I've ever heard Elton do that live! I love the way he did Carla Etude and Tonight together, and the extended intro's to Philadelphia Freedom, Levon, I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues and several other songs were so cool!

Later in the night when Elton was playing Bennie And The Jets, Reece went up to a security guard and asked why people were going up to the stage and asked if it was OK if we could both go up together! The guard obviously said yes because Reece then came back and said "Come with me, we're going up to the stage!" When we got up there, I went wild, being so close to my favourite singer was so cool! I wasn't near the piano, but I was close. I wasn't exactly right against the stage as there were people in front of me! Thanks to Reece, I think this concert is definitely going to be my most memorable!

Up near the stage - Reece is behind me taking this pic!

We were up near the stage for the last 3 songs after Bennie And The Jets (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), which, in order, are Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (from the Caribou album), I'm Still Standing (from Too Low For Zero) and Circle Of Life (from The Lion King soundtrack). The last few songs were encores, but when Elton finished Circle Of Life, we all screamed for more, but that was it. It was definitely a concert to remember, especially when you're standing just a metre away from your hero! Reece enjoyed the concert too, but was a little disappointed, as was I, that Elton didn't do his favourite song, Someone Saved My Life Tonight. I was really hoping for Crocodile Rock too, but that didn't happen either. Oh well, there's always another time!

Another picture of Elton John taken close to the stage!

All in all, it was a fantastic concert! Hopefully next time Elton comes over, solo or with band, I'll be in the front row near the piano! I've actually heard that because Elton didn't do Perth or the Northern Territory when he did all the other Australian states in November/December 2007, he came back to Australia at the end of his Asian tour in May to perform in Darwin, Broome and Perth. I also heard that in 2009, Elton might be bringing his Red Piano show to Australia! Whether he tours Australia with the Red Piano, or just stays in Sydney or Melbourne (similar to what he does in Vegas), it all depends, but I hope he does the tour.

Final picture of Elton close up near the stage!

Here is the complete set list of Elton's concert at Elysian Fields, Canungra:

  1. Your Song
  2. Sixty Years On
  3. The Greatest Discovery
  4. I Need You To Turn To
  5. Border Song
  6. Ballad Of The Boy In The Red Shoes
  7. Daniel
  8. Honky Cat
  9. Rocket Man
  10. Tiny Dancer
  11. Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
  12. Nikita
  13. Philadelphia Freedom
  14. Sacrifice
  15. Ticking
  16. Roy Rogers
  17. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
  18. Candle In The Wind
  19. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
  20. Electricity
  21. Carla/Etude
  22. Tonight
  23. Take Me To The Pilot
  24. Blue Eyes
  25. Levon
  26. Bennie And The Jets
  27. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
  28. I'm Still Standing (encore)
  29. Circle Of Life (encore)
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