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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Internet Tutorials (English Through the Internet)

You might find these useful. I composed them a while ago and their intention was to help people learn the English language while learning about the Internet and how to use it. There are sections on HTML and searching for information and how to use search engines. Plus stuff on understanding images on the web and how they work.

There are two turorials:

English Through the Internet 1

English Through the Internet 2

How to add a watermark to image files using Adobe Photoshop


Layers are like the transparent sheets cartoon makers use to animate their cartoons. Bugs Bunny’s limbs are each drawn on a different transparent sheet and can therefore be moved independently. However to the viewer it is all the same picture. Layers are an easy way of manipulating and merging different elements to make up one picture.

To make a watermark you need one layer (the ‘Background’ layer) of the main image, and on top of that you need another layer (‘Layer 1’) to write the text on. By adjusting the transparency of the text layer you can achieve a subtle watermark effect.

NB Do the following before checking the photo in on Dreamweaver. If already checked in, check it out first.

1. Open an image file in Adobe Photoshop by going to ‘File’ and choosing ‘Open’.
2. If the Layers palette is not showing, go to ‘Windows’ in the top menu bar (between ‘View’ and ‘Help’) and choose ‘Show Layers’ (top item of the sixth division down in the ‘Windows’ drop-down menu)
3. Click on the little page icon just to the left of the trash can icon at the bottom right of the Layers palette. This creates a new layer.
4. On the Layers palette click on the ‘eye’ icon to the left of the thumbnail of the image you first opened. Only the upper (blank) thumbnail should have an eye icon to the left of it. This means you are now viewing the blank layer. Experiment by turning the ‘eye’ icons on and off. You’ll see how they allow you to view one or both of the two layers you now have.
You can do the next steps with either both ‘eyes’ on (in which case you’ll see the text being typed on top of the actual image) or the ‘eye’ for the background off (in which case you just be typing onto whiteness). I prefer having both ‘eyes’ on, as being able to see the image helps you decide where best to place the text
The most important thing when doing this is to make sure that the TEXT LAYER is selected in the Layers palette: in other words, that right of the blank thumbnail is all navy blue.
5. Go to the Toolbox and click on the capital letter T icon (i.e. the Text Tool)
(If you can’t see the Toolbox, go to the ‘Windows’ drop-down menu mentioned in step 2 and choose ‘Show Toolbox’. It’s at the top of the second division down.)
When you click on the Text Tool’s ‘T’ icon, the Option bar for the Text Tool will appear at the top of the Photoshop window, just under the line of menu items. Use this to select the various properties of the text you’ll type.
I recommend Arial font, 12pt, bold, with the anti-aliasing (‘a way of fooling the eye into seeing straight lines and smooth curves where there are none’) on (you can experiment with which option you think looks nicest. Don’t go for Strong though).
6. Now go to the blank Layer 1 file (i.e. the actual main picture that you want to add the watermark to) and click on a spot where you think the text should begin. You can adjust the starting position anytime by simply moving the cursor away from the vertical blinking line that represents where you first clicked. The cursor will now automatically turn into the ‘Move’ tool (the same one that you can see at the very top right of the Toolbox, seven boxes up from the Text Tool’s ‘T’ icon). You can now click-hold and move the starting point for your text around at will. You can do this anytime, even after you’ve started or finished typing.
7. Type the text of the watermark onto the main image, e.g. ‘Devon Visitor thanks Exeter Tourist Office for the use of this image.’
8. To make fine adjustments to how you want it to look, go up to the Option bar for the Text Tool mentioned in the second part of step 5 (i.e. the bar beginning with a ‘T’ at the top of the screen) and click on the ‘Palette’ button at the very right hand end. The Text Palette will appear. Select all the text you’ve typed by pressing Control-A (or just dragging the clicked&held cursor over it) and you can then select all sorts of things such as:
· amount of space between each line of text. The setting for the space between lines is called the ‘leading setting’: the second box down on the right-hand side with the two tiny stacked capital ‘A’s . I recommend a leading setting of 11pt.
· the amount of space between characters
· the width of the whole sentence (the big fat ‘T’ with a percentage beside it)
· the color of the text. Generally go for white or black, depending on the background. (You’ll need the original image showing to be able to work with white text, i.e. you have to have the ‘eye’ icon clicked on in the Layers pallette for both layers – see step 4.)
9. The reason why subtleties of color aren’t so important is because you can achieve that characteristic unobtrusive watermark effect by adjusting the transparency of the text layer. To do this:
(i) In the Layers palette, double click to the right of the text layer thumbnail.
The Layer Styles palette will appear.
(ii) First make sure the ‘Preview’ box is checked at the right of the palette.
(iii) The first slider you come to from the top is the transparency slider. Move it to the left and watch the text fade. (Once the percentage value is highlighted, you can just use the roller on your mouse instead of dragging your mouse left and right.)
(iv) To the left of the palette is ‘Layer Effects’. I quite like the third one down, ‘Outer Glow’. It gives the text the look of being superimposed and somewhat removed from the content of the photo (kind of ‘transcendental’), thus not ‘messing’ with it as much. However the effectiveness of this effect may depend on the texture of the particular image you’re dealing with. When finished click OK to close the Layer Styles pallette.
(v) Finally, go to the Toolbox and select the very top right Move tool. (It might be necessary to do this, it might not. I can’t quite work out why what I mentioned at the end of step 6 doesn’t necessarily work at this stage.) Move the text around until you get it in
(a) as unobtrusive a position as possible
(b) a position where, of any of the words, the word ‘Devon Visitor’ is clearly legible.
(vi) When done click OK. Save the file (Control+S, or ‘Save’ from the ‘File’ menu.) A dialog box will appear.
Do not save it as the default .PSD format, but use the dropdown menu to select .JPEG.
Choosing to save it as a .JPEG file will cause the default name of the file to include the word ‘copy’. But since it’s not necessary to preserve the original unwatermarked file:
(a) select and delete just the word ‘copy’ (taking care not to erase the period before ‘jpg’),
(b) click ‘Save’
(c) click ‘Replace’ when it asks if you want to replace the original file
(d) click OK in the ‘JPEG Option’ dialog box that appears. In other words, don’t change anything. Just go with the defaults.

Congratulations! You’re done.

(NOW for the best bit … to watermark another file without having to go once more through the above rigmarole:
(i) Keep the file you just worked on open in your Photoshop workspace.
(ii) Open the next file by going to ‘File’ and then ‘Open’.
(iii) Now go back to the file you’ve just finished doing.
In the Layers Palette make sure that the text layer is selected.
(iv) Drag the thumbnail for the text onto the new file you have just opened.
Voila, mes cheries! You now have an instantly watermarked file!
You can manipulate it as much or as little as you like, exactly as you did with the previous file.)

‘Thou shalt not steal’

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Castle Drogo Devon

Castle Drogo, Chagford, DevonCastle Drogo, near Chagford in Dartmoor, was the last castle to be built in England.
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who built much of British New Delhi, and the Cenotaph in London, Castle Drogo was constructed between 1911-1931.

Now a Grade 1 listed building administered by the National Trust, Lutyens designed the granite castle as a country home for millionaire Julius Drewe, who had made his fortune from his empire of general food stores.
The design is based on Tudor and medieval castles with the interior done out in the luxury style of the day. The lovely gardens were planted by Getrude Jekyll and there are spectacular views over Dartmoor and the Teign Gorge from the woods.

Castle Drogo
Tel: 01647 433306

Chagford, with a population of about 1500, is a typical Devon moor town with ye olde worlde cottages, a mix of traditional and New Age shops and four excellent pubs. The town is also associated with the 1960s political scandal involving the leader of the Liberal Party at the time, Jeremy Thorpe, and his alleged relationship with Norman "Bunny" Scott, who lived in Chagford for a time.

© Britain-Visitor.com

Friday, March 21, 2008

M5 Motorway

M5 Motorway. The M5 motorway is Devon and Cornwall's main road link to the rest of the UK to the east.

The M5 runs from the M6 at Great Barr in the Midlands to Junction 31 at Exeter in Devon.

Construction of the first stages of the motorway were completed in 1963 and the route to Exeter was completed in 1977. The M5 now connects with the M6, M42, M4, M49 and M50 motorways.

The M5 can be particularly busy during the summer tourist season and at weekends.

© Britain-Visitor.com

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Northcott Theatre Exeter

The Northcott Theatre on the Streatham campus of the University of Exeter is one of Devon's best theatres.

The Northcott has recently reopened after it was closed for a redevelopment.

The Northcott Theatre stages drama, opera and ballet as well as music concerts. Highlights over the next two months include performances by Birmingham Royal Ballet, English Touring Opera and the play "Spies."

Northcott Theatre, Exeter, UK

Amateur and university productions are also staged here.

The theatre employs about 60 staff and was opened in 1967. It is named after a local businessman, G V Northcott, who provided £100,000 to establish the trust that built the theatre.

There are fears, however, over the Northcott's future after the Arts Council announced that it would not fund the theatre from 2009, just after the theatre reopened post-refurbishment in December 2007.

Northcott Theatre Ltd
Stocker Rd
Exeter, EX4 4QB, United Kingdom
Tel: 01392 493493

© Britain-Visitor.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's all gone Pete Tong!

Subheading (said in a gruff, deep voice): 'When Teenagers Turn Bad'

Pete Tong = Cockney rhyming slang for 'It's all gone wrong'.

The big news this week in Devon is the party that went wrong as far as the owners of the house (actually a Grade II Listed Georgian mansion, so I can't feel that sorry for them) are concerned. The party goers all seemed to have had a good time as evidenced by the videos now on the web:


An 18-year-old girl advertised her party at her school and her web spaces saying anyone could come so of course everyone did come. Up to 2000 are some estimates. They trashed the place!

Her mother blames Pete Tong, a DJ on BBC Radio 1 who gave the following 'Shout Out':

"We're getting ready for a huge mansion party - 500 plus people going - it's in Bovey. Tracey in Devon tipping us off on that, anyone who's listening can come along, apparently, just say 'hi' to Marilyn Monroe on the door."

Pete has obviously never been to this part of the world since he mistook the town Bovey Tracey, thinking Tracey was the girls name. The BBC say he didn't give the address or the families name so they don't think he/the BBC are at fault. But then he does have an audience of 100's of thousands if not millions so maybe not such a bright thing to do even without the details.

I read in one paper that the girl realised it was all getting out of hand but didn't have the nerve to tell her mother. She knows all about it now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How to Add a URL or link to a Flash movie or SWF

Since I'm a web master at the moment, I thought I might as well share something I did for a colleague that you might find useful. The tutorial (if you can call it that) or lesson shows how to add an invisible button to a Flash swf movie and how to add a URL link to that button.

Click the link below to go to the Soccerphile web page where the lesson is kept:


I hope it comes in handy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Exeter University

Exeter UniversityExeter University is Devon's premier university.

Exeter University has around 14,000 students at three campuses: the main Streatham campus and St Luke's campus in Exeter plus a newer, smaller campus near Falmouth in Cornwall.

The University of Exeter dates back to 1955 and is a pleasant red-brick institution situated on a lovely, hilly, landscaped campus. The university consistently ranks among the top ten universities in the UK for both academic standards and student satisfaction.

The majority of students still tend to come from the south of England with a substantial contingent of public school, "green welly", Oxbridge rejects.

Many students tend to spend their first year living on campus before moving out into accommodation in Exeter town or in surrounding villages in accommodation which is let out to holiday makers in the summer. A car s essential for students living in the countryside.

Other students may choose to live in Exmouth or the trendy village of Topsham, which have better transport links into Exeter.

The university has a lively social and music scene and a noted local theater - the Northcott Theatre. The university has also enjoyed sporting success particularly in cricket, rugby and rowing.

The University of Exeter is also known for its Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies which began in the 1970s with a large financial endowment from the Middle East. Many students from the Middle East come to the UK to persue their studies here.

Famous alumni of Exeter University include the Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, musicians Will Young, Thom Yorke, lead singer of the band Radiohead, and Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx, Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Bolt, BBC Middle East reporter, Frank Gardener, ex-England wicketkeeper Paul Downton and the current President of Turkey Abdullah Gul.

Exeter University
The Queen's Drive
Tel: 01392 661000

© Britain-Visitor.com

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Devon A-Z

A = A30, Abbey, Agatha Christie, Airports, Ale, Aquariums, Argyle, Art Galleries, Ashburton, Avalon, AveburyAxe Cliff Golf Course,  Axminster, Axmouth, Aylesbeare

Exeter High Street

B = B&Bs, Babbacombe, Babbacombe Model Village, Barnstaple, Barrington Court, Bath, Bath AbbeyBeer, Bickleigh, Bideford, Bickleigh, Boats, Bodmin Moor, Books, Bovey Tracey, Bovington, Bowling, Bramford Speake, Branscombe, Bristol, Bristol Airport, Bristol Harbour, Bristol MapBristol Temple Meads Station, Brixham, Bude, Budleigh Salterton, Buses

C = Camping, Canoe, Cars, Castles, Cathedral, Cave, Chagford, Chinese Restaurants, Chedworth Roman VillaChudleigh, Cider, Clovelly, The Cobb, Cockington, Coleridge, Countess Wear, County Council, Crediton, Cream Teas, Cricket, Cullompton Farmers Market, Cycling

D = Dartmoor, Dartmoor Inn, Dandelions, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Devon, Dorchester, Dorchester Map, Francis Drake, Driving, Drogo, Dulverton, Dunster

E = Eden Project, Exeter, Exeter Custom House, Exeter International Airport, Exeter Cathedral, Exeter Cathedral Close, Exeter Corn Exchange Theatre, Exeter Markets, Exeter University, Exmoor, Exmouth, Explore At-Bristol, Exton, Exe Valley

F = Facts & Figures, Falmouth, Fawlty Towers, Fauna, Festivals, Fishing, Fish & Chips, Football, Fossils

G = Galleries, Gardens, Gay, Georgian Architecture, Glastonbury, Golf, Gower, Great Torrington

H = Haldon Forest Park, Thomas Hardy, Heather Jansch, Hiking, History, Hitchhiking, Holy Grail, Honiton, Horse-riding, Hostels, Hotels

I = Ilfracombe, Isles of Scilly, Indian Restaurants, Inns, Internet, Italian Restaurants, Ivybridge

J = Jane Austen, John Wesley's Chapel, Jurassic Coast

K = Kayaking, Kenton, Kent's Cavern, King Arthur, Kingsbridge, Charles Kingsley

L = Lacock Abbey, Land's End, Launceston, Lizard, Long House, Looe, Lulworth Cove, Lyme Regis, Lyme Regis Aquarium, Lympston, Lynmouth, Lynton, Lytes Cary Manor

M = M5 Motorway, Malborough, Map of BathMarble Museum, Mayflower, Max Gate, Mevagissy, Minehead, Montacute House, Moretonhampstead, Motorbikes, Mushrooms, Music

N = National Cycle Network, National Parks, Newlyn, New Age, Newquay, News, Newton Abbot, Northcott Theatre

O = Oddicombe Beach, Okehampton, Otters, Ottery St. Mary

P = Padstow, Paignton, Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway, Park And Ride, Pasty, Penwith, Penzance, Plymouth, Polperro, Poole, Postbridge, Post Office, Powderham Castle, Prior ParkProspect Inn, Pubs, Pulteney BridgePump Room

Q = Quantocks, Quay

R = Sir Walter Raleigh, Red Deer, Restaurants, Richard Hooker, River Dart, Romans, Roman BathsRoman Wall, Rosemoor

S = Sailing, St. David's Station, St. Ives, St. Stephen's Church Bristol,  Salcombe, Saltash, Scrumpy, Seaton, Shaldon, Sidmouth, Sidwell Street Market, Silverton, Smuggler's Cove, Snowshill Manor, Somerset, Southgate Shopping Centre, South Hams, South West Coast Path, Starcross, Stiles, Stoke Canon, Stoke Fleming, Stonehenge, Stourhead, Surfing

T = Taunton, Tavistock, Teignmouth, Teignmouth Promenade, Thai Restaurants, Thorverton, Time, Tintagel, Tiverton, Topsham, Torbay, Torquay, Totnes, Trago Mills, Tresco, Truro

U = Undergraduate, University, University of Bath

V = Vegan, Vegetarian, Vipers, Vixen Tor

W = Wadebridge, Walking, Weather, Webburn Valley, Wells, Wells Cathedral, John Wesley, West Penwith, Weymouth, White Hart Hotel WellsWidecombe-in-the-Moor, Widemouth Bay, Windsurfing, Wine, Woodbury Salterton, Wookey Hole, Woolacombe

X = X39 Bus, X-rated

Y = Yachting, Yarner Wood, Yeovil, Youth Hostels

Z = Zennor, Zoos

© Britain-Visitor.com

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Devon Facts & Figures

Devon is the third largest English county with a population of around 1.1 million people, the 11th largest county in England by population.

Exeter is the county town with a population of approximately 120,000.

Exeter High Street

The largest towns in Devon are Plymouth (244,000), Exeter and Torquay (63,000).

Over 98% of the inhabitants of Devon are white.

Located in the south west of England, Devon is bordered by Cornwall to the west and Somerset and Dorset to the east.

Devon's universities and colleges include Exeter University, Dartington College of Arts, East Devon College, Exeter College, Plymouth College of Art and Design, Plymouth College of Further Education, South Devon College, Tavistock College, University of Plymouth.

Devon's three main football teams are Plymouth Argyle, Exeter City and Torquay United.

Devon's traditional industries were agriculture, fishing and mining. Now tourism and services are the major components of Devon's economy. Tourism generates over a billion pounds in revenue for the area annually.

By car, the M5 motorway is Devon's major link with the rest of Britain. The M5 links with the M6, M4, M50, M49 and M42 motorways.

By air, Exeter International Airport has flights to Belfast, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle airports. There are also flights to the Isles of Sicily and the Channel Islands.

By rail, Exeter St. David's has trains to London Paddington (2 hours, 45 minutes).

By bus, there are frequent National Express buses to London Victoria from Exeter (4 hours, 30 minutes).

© Britain-Visitor.com

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shopping in Newton Abbot

We went shopping in Newton Abbot (or Mutant Abbot as we like to call it) yesterday, at the big Asda store that dominates one side of the town. It's got to be the ugliest building ever and takes up a lot of space. But it's a great place to shop and the parking is useful for popping into the town centre which is not far from it.

There's a nice little market in the centre of town - a useful place to pick up dead cheap tools and stuff. Although the sausage rolls we bought in the inside market had less flavour than cardboard and about the same kind of texture - won't buy there again.

© Britain-Visitor.com