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Showing posts from January, 2015

Fitness Apps: Week 3 (Google Fit, MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun)

When you combine exercise with dieting in order to lose weight things become more complex than just cutting back on food. It is like a space mission you are setting out on and you need to make sure your body has the supplies to keep going for the duration. Rather than simply eating as little as possible, sometimes this means taking on board fuel that you might not necessarily expect you'd need. An app can help with this element of weight loss, but there's a trust relationship to negotiate first. More Under than Over I've been faithfully recording food and exercise using MyFitnessPal  for twelve days now, and the recommended calorie allowances are fairly generous once you factor in the exercise. I've only exceeded the allowances twice (both on Saturday nights) and only once exceeding the allowance by more than 100 calories. Whereas I've frequently found myself under allowance by anything up to 1300 calories. It sounds almost worrying that I was 1300 calories un

Fitness Apps: Week 2 (Google Fit, MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun)

Although I made the decision over the Christmas/New Year period to diet and exercise, and lost a couple of pounds before I started using apps, I began in earnest with MyFitnessPal seven days ago. The first thing to note is that I have indeed lost a pound over the week, as predicted by the app. Calories During the first seven days I've only had one red day (where calories in minus exercise was higher than my target calories). On that day I went out for some drinks and ended up hitting my non-dieting calorie target (around 2084 calories) instead of my dieting one. On green days I've been under my target by anything between 95 and 950 calories, which more than makes up for those extra 500 or so calories at the weekend. Food The thing I'm finding most useful is knowing a realistic calorie intake. Usually when I diet I stop eating all but one (or possibly two) meals a day for about a week or two and then give up, because it isn't sustainable. I can already tell tha

Fitness Apps: Google Fit, MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun

An app or a wristband isn't on its own going to make you any fitter, and I've always avoided them through fear that it would be just the same as being a member of a gym and not going. Something that like many others I've done. Anyway, a bit of back story. Last year I took up regular cycling during the spring and summer, twice a week covering a distance of around 22 km. Often with my two eldest children. Not amazing I'm sure but a big step up from the activity I've been doing for the last few years. Then winter came and the idea of cycling that far in the dark lost its appeal. The fun went out of it. Following a few months of inactivity, I decided to give running a go, again with my eldest children. The advantage being we didn't need to have three sets of working bike lights and neither need we need to risk our necks on the winter roads. The running is good, and I continue it now, but often it is cold or raining, or there's a school or work event getti

Word templates and how to update them (Microsoft Word for Mac 2011)

Why use templates? The one and only reason why I use templates is to attach styles ready for import into InDesign. But in general their purpose is to enable users to create consistently styled documents. How to save a template Take a regular file that you have created your own styles within and Save as...   (Cmd + Shift + S) and before saving change the Format in the dropdown box to .dot or .dotx . But a better thing to do if you are only interested in saving the styles, as I am, is to delete all the text before saving (or alternatively afterwards and then re-saving.  How to use a template Now you have a template, you can create a new document, or attach it to an existing one, by going to the  Tools  menu and selecting  Templates and Add-Ins... . In the dialog box that appears when you do this, press the top Attach...  button and add the template you've saved. Also check the Automatically update the document styles box. Next press the Add... button and add th

First Steps: The depth of colour relationships in fine art

Following the previous post on the choice of colours in design work, I wanted to expand one point about the use of light and dark, which is what I'll do here. Although it might not be of direct use in the design of web or print work, which is the greater focus of this blog,  I hope it will still enlighten. Light and dark in broad terms We can pick almost any landscape paintings and so let's choose ones in the public domain with the help of Wikipedia . This is View of Laerdalsoren, on the Sognefjord  (1901) by Themistokles von Eckenbrecher (German, 1842–1921). Notice how the sense of depth is not provided simply by changes in scale but also the richness of colour being stronger in the foreground and the scene becoming lighter as we reach towards the background. Another example of where depth is achieved through the way in which the colour lightens as we progress to the mid- and background is this painting by Claude Lorrain, Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia (168

First Steps: Strategies for the safe use of colour in design

When I designed my first book cover I took some very nervous first steps in using colour. I knew the book was going to be printed and end up out in the world and I was very new to vector design and Adobe Illustrator. So while I wanted the cover to be bold enough to catch people's attention, I didn't want it to look silly and unprofessional. I was also aware there were many pitfalls that were outside of my knowledge, not ever having had formal artistic training. And I was also aware that we often talk ourselves into believing something that we've drawn or created is a work of art when looking back weeks later it might appear the most embarrassing mess. And this embarrassing mess is exactly what people other than you and your loved ones see at first glance (if that's the case). Knowledge and experience A number of years on, and lots of trial and error later, I finally have some techniques. The first very safe approach to colour is to add and subtract black. Thi