Parental Strategies on review

Parental Strategies

It’s good to see that Parental Strategies is getting noticed!  Lots of reviews and links here from AppShopper and also the cannily named FormidApps.  We’d love to see some more reviews and opinions on Parental Stategies so please get in touch with Xyglo if you’d like to update our links!

Parental Strategies is a fun way to tackle the stresses and strains of being a parent. Use it when you need a moment to gather your thoughts, when you need a moment to assess, when you need a moment of sanity when parenting gets tough.

 

Parental Strategies

Parental Strategies is inspired by the famous set of cards created by innovative avant garde composer Brian Eno – his Oblique Strategies were designed to combat mental fatigue in the recording studio and encourage stepping outside of the creative process to take a new approach. Likewise, Parental Strategies is designed to be used as a pressure release valve. Parenting can occasionally be tough and taking a moment to assess, have a cup of coffee, reflect on a new approach is the moment in your day when you can reset your mental attitude and get back to the job of being a parent.

Hi-rise Bunks

Bunk beds with desks underneath.  Who’d’ve thunk it?  Looks like I’ve got something to aspire to but then I don’t think I’m ready for breaking out the hard woods quite yet.  Does this guy come with the bunk?

My hi-rise bunk will be hand made but will be an unambitious (and cost effective) soft wood affair with perhaps a desk underneath and some book shelves to turn my eldest’s currently pretty cramped room into somewhere he can play and work and hang out with his friends.  Time to turn a little kids room into a bit more of a big kid’s room and make a bit more space – there is plenty there really but not if you factor in a bed and storage and overflowing books and toys so I’m going to try to use the height of this room to our advantage.

 

Next Project

Replacing an Art Deco toilet

I’m lucky enough to live in a nice neighbourhood in Amsterdam dating from when the Olympics were last in town in 1928.  The style of the houses is the know collectively as the Amsterdamse school and is typified by an Art Deco and Expressionist theme – curves, use of repeating lines, horizontal ladder effects, extensive use of marble and occasionally opulent materials all go to give the streets an almost magical character if you’re a fan of the style.  These themes are continued in wood, window frames, chimney breasts inside the houses.

While our house is not amazing to look at from the outside it has some lovely detailing in plaster and wood, big single glazed windows and high ceilings which look fantastic but have of course made the place pretty cold and prone to draughts.  This goes double for the toilets which both are on external double brick, uninsulated walls that are tiled with a stone floor.  Having survived three cold winters with these toilets we (particularly female house members) finally have had enough of their cold beauty and I’ve plucked up enough courage to start to tackle them.

So prompted by impending Winter this weekend I’ve finally made a start on the first toilet with a view to improving thermal performance and make it reasonably modern looking while preserving its Art Deco heritage.  Here is a before photo:

Note the beautiful stone floor, the large amount of tiles, the precariously perched sink, the lovely window frame and the hideous glass above the door.  It’s a real mixed bag of a room and currently it’s very cold with no heating.  My plan is to put in a false wall with 2cm polystyrene insulation along with a free standing corner built floating toilet.  Finally we’ll cover that freezing floor with some thin space-age insulation I’ve found and on top of that some form of easily maintainable surface.  The sink will be replaced with something sympathetic but less splashy (see the current height of the tap) and we may even put a heated towel rail in there too.

So far, I’ve stripped the tiles and made a start on the plasterboard and insulation.  As it’s double brick I’ll have to watch the ventilation as the bricks will still need to breathe out the moisture they absorb if they’re not to freeze and crack.  I’ll be saving some of the original tiles for re-use.  A lot were already damaged and broken on the wall as they had been applied directly to brick in mortar and patched up multiple times.  Despite that though they seemed to come off easily enough…

Next week I’ll work up to replacing the toilet itself, mounting the new sink and finishing off the walls.  Then the part I’ll be really looking forward too is the detailing and seeing what I can re-use and save from the room, what I can improve.  The intention is of course it should be a lot warmer but I also want this room to become an updated version of its original intention.  If I can get it right here then perhaps I’ll get motivated enough to tackle the other toilet, the kitchen and the million other things that will then need doing.

Keeping Busy

Sometimes your first thought is your best one. Well this was definitely the case last week as I continued to struggle with getting the Syntax Highlighter working in an elegant fashion with the main GUI thread. In the end – threading was the solution. I perform some quick and dirty highlighting in the main thread which immediately updates the screen and then I also kick off a background job to highlight the rest of the file which is off screen. This works well and works seamlessly allowing on screen edits to pop up immediately and also meaning that paging up and down through the file gives a consistent look to the highlighting with no additonal calculation required. This backgrounding mechanism for syntax highlighting will also lend well to API lookups when we get to that.

I’m overdue for some new videos and of course as soon as I start thinking about putting together a demo I find all sorts of interesting issues and problems. So we’ll see what happens this week. We’re edging through summer and I’m no nearer to either getting the Rosegarden for Windows build finalised or adding the Kinect support back in to Friendlier – I’ve not even had time to play with the last Kinect for Windows SDK released in June. Time flies and I want both of those things sorted before September and before I have to start thinking about Windows 8 and tablet support.

Well, it just about works

The electric wires that come into the building have to be changed soon, so this is going to have to do for the bench right now. Once the sparky work is done the full desktop can be put on and shelves/boxing above. For the moment though it’s still a great improvement. Plus I’ve got carpet down now.

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Basement Desk

I’ve always been good at taking things apart. The bedrooms here are ravaged now, free of the built-in furniture that made them neat-but-wasteful spacewise. Instead my basement is full of the remnants. So a few weeks ago I hatched a plan to use this stuff for a project: basement desk.

Tried making plans but in the end in proper DIY style decided to just go for it and make it up as I go along.

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