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(last edited on 17 December 2009)
I considered giving up annual reports. The highlights of my life are recorded either on my blog, or on this website, and friends who regularly keep in touch by email will also be familiar with those minor details of life that don't seem to justify a blog.
However I decided that writing something would at least concentrate my own mind on what I've been doing, as well as providing an opportunity to mention a few activities not already chronicled elsewhere.
This year I'm experimenting with an html Christmas card. There are two versions, one to be viewed on the web, and the other to be printed, folded and displayed on the mantelpiece. Printing and folding would involve you in considerably less effort than it would require for me to select a cardboard card, write in it, look up your address, copy it onto the envelope, put on a stamnp and post it. If only everyone would follow my example we should save lots of time and money.
Cards sent through the post will be reserved for a few cherished technophobes, and a few others to whom I want to post something else at the same time.
I bought three new computers in the course of the year, a net book, small enough to be carried about, and replacements for both my laptop and my desk top machines. I'm therefore in the unfortunate position of having two machines running Windows Vista - the netbook runs a version of Linux.
I've become intrigued by html and web sites, and have re-written both this site and the Leicester U3A site. I've also constructed two new sites: a very small site for The Association of East Midlands U3As, and a site for a friend who uses pressed flowers to make cards
I've also moved my own site to a domain of my own, and have begun to use email@example.com as my default email address, so if you are still using one of the old addresses please change to that one (except for U3A members, who should continue to use firstname.lastname@example.org).
As I've made a lot of references to my blog, I'll indicate an easy way to keep up. The easiest way I know is by using a Google Account. I strongly recommend that to anyone who doesn't yet done have one; there are many advantages.
Once you have an account go to the Reader page (click on 'My Account' in the menu bar and then choose 'Reader') and set up links to blogs you wish to follow, including, I hope, my blog. Then whenever you look at the Reader page (daily in my case), you'll see if there is anything new in those blogs. There is also an IGoogle page in which you can include a variety of useful information. I have mine set to show the Leicester weather, recent emails to my Google Account (your Google Account comes with an email address), and headlines of recent articles in The Economist and The Scientific American. Many other Newsapers and magazines are available.
To allow people unfamiliar with Google accounts to try one, I've set up a demonstration account. Go to:
the Google login page and log on with the user name 'richard.experiment' and the password 'experiment'. That takes you to an IGoogle page which I have populated with a sample of the material available. To see other pages click on 'My Account' in the menu bar (top right). PLease don't change the password, otherwise other people won't be able to try it. If you'd like me to set up an account for you, let me know.
I can arrange for new entries to my blog to be emailed automatically to up to ten people, so let me know if you'd like to be one of the ten.
Finally, I still cook, and try to cook something new from time to time. I've recently learn't to make dumplings: not the hard miniature cannon balls favoured by evangelists for indigestion, but soft fluffy dumplings that soak up the gravy. They are much improved by the addition of grated cheese. I've also experimented with apple and cinnamon scones. I found them delicious when freshly made, but soggy when kept, and I've just made my own mincemeat - the first time I've made mincemeat ASs a child I used to help Mother but have never before made any entirely on my own.