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Lesley :: Friends blog

May 07, 2013

A school asked us recently how to embed an animation, like the one above. Here's how!

1. First, find (or create) your animation.  The most common form of simple animation is an animated .gif. I found mine at http://heathersanimations.com/ and there's a guide about creating your own using Photoshop here. If you're using animated .gifs from the internet, make sure you have the original creator's permission.  In the case of heathersanimations.com, the owner has stated explicitly that she's happy for others to take and use her files.

2. Save the file to your hard drive.  

3. Upload the file to your Scribble files account (log in to blog with Scribble and look for the "Your Files" link at the top of the page).

4. Once you've uploaded the file, click on the image's thumbnail that appears on your files page. This will open up a new page (or tab) in your browser, where the animated .gif will appear on its own.  Note the URL of the file (it'll be something like http://scribble.scran.ac.uk/user35131/files/-1/2747/a.gif). 

5. Create a new blog post and click on the "Insert/Edit Image" button in the editing interface (it's got a picture of a tree on it). In the dialogue box, paste the URL of the previously-saved animated .gif you want to embed.

6. Save your post! 



Posted by Andrew James | 1 comment(s)

December 03, 2012

Scran paid a visit to the opening of two great exhibitions at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh last week, featuring the work of two diverse artists from different periods, both of whom are on Scran. One is the aforementioned Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, the other is John Clerk of Eldin, an 18th century artist who specialised in etchings of landscapes and buildings.  The actual etchings and sketches on show at the City Art Centre give you a terrific insight into his technique, but if you can't make it to Edinburgh, Scran has a couple of his works, courtesy of Midlothian Council, and many more are about to appear on Scran thanks to Geoffrey Bertram who helped to curate the show at the City Art Centre. Watch this space.


Lasswade by Clerk of Eldin 

Posted by Andrew James | 2 comment(s)

October 31, 2012

Scran has been out and about in the community (yes, they do let us out from behind our PCs occasionally), to support some of our recent contributors.

On Wednesday the 24th of October, we attended the official launch of this year's Poppyscotland fundraising appeal at the Scottish Parliament building.  As well as meeting the people who work behind the scenes at Poppyscotland, we saw the appeal's latest TV advert featuring Private Stephen Bainbridge, who lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan twelve months ago.  Scran is delighted to host over 100 pictures from the organisation, which tell the story of poppy-making over the years, and which will be an invaluable aid to teachers and learners as we approach Remembrance Day.














We also recently visited Balmungo House in St. Andrew's, Fife, the recently-restored former home of the late artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.  Now the base of the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust, the house showcases the legacy of "Willie", as she was known to her friends and colleagues.  In addition, it serves as a centre of artistic endeavour, sponsoring an artist-in-residence and writer-in-residence each year.  Balmungo House, beautifully renovated in neutral colours that serve as a suitable backdrop for the artworks on display, was officially opened on 30th October 2012 by the TV journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark, and is open to the public and to groups by appointment.  Read more about the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust's work here.  You can also see some images from Willie's life as well as some of her paintings and sketches on Scran, courtesy of the Barns-Graham Trust.  Finally, a major retrospective of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham's work opens at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh on November 24th 2012.




Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

April 05, 2012

We've finally bitten the bullet, and now have a Twitter presence.  Follow us at @Scranlife!

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

October 24, 2011

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

June 23, 2011


I'm intrigued by the primary school on the island. As far as I can tell, they will have access to Scran. Any Scran users on Canna? Get in touch if you're reading this!

More Canna-related materials: www.scran.ac.uk/s/canna

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

May 20, 2011

Our new newsletter is now available, and like our previous two newsletters it contains full-colour pictures as well as text.

There are two ways in which you can access our new newsletter.

We've uploaded a copy to a website called Issuu. Issuu hosts lots of magazines and publications. It's free to access the site, and it allows you to click, zoom and turn pages just like a real magazine. If you've used any e-readers, such as a Kindle, iPad or Sony Reader, you'll probably like using Issuu.
Too read our latest newsletter on Issuu, click here:

You can also read the newsletter using any pdf reader by clicking here:

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

March 14, 2011

I blogged a few years ago on the trials and tribulations of online presentations.  We've just done another couple, one using Elluminate for Jisc in West Scotland (it's aimed at FE/HE users, and you can see it at http://www.rsc-sw-scotland.ac.uk/rsctv/RSCtv.htm#archive- it's at 1st March 2011), and a second, longer one for Glow, the Scottish schools intranet, which used the Marratech system.  The latter is no longer being supported, and will be replaced by Glow with Adobe Connect at some point in the next few months.  The Glow session (on Copyright and the Web) should be online to watch at some point in the near future.

Posted by Andrew James | 2 comment(s)

January 28, 2011

Our new newsletter is now available, and like our Autumn newsletter it contains full-colour pictures as well as text. Look out for extensive coverage of our new Contribute feature.

There are two ways in which you can access our new newsletter.

We've uploaded a copy to a website called Issuu. Issuu hosts lots of magazines and publications. It's free to access the site, and it allows you to click, zoom and turn pages just like a real magazine. If you've used any e-readers, such as a Kindle, iPad or Sony Reader, you'll probably like using Issuu.
Too read our latest newsletter on Issuu, click here:

You can also read the newsletter using any pdf reader by clicking here:

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

September 08, 2010

The photographer and stylist Corinne Day died recently from a brain tumour.  She was best known for "discovering" the model Kate Moss, but was an accomplished photographer with many exhibitions to her name.  Her obituary is here. 

Some of her work can be seen on Scran: http://www.scran.ac.uk/s/corinne+day

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

May 27, 2010

I hope you like our newly reinstated random records.  You'll find it on each Scran homepage.  A great way to stumble across some Scran gems you might otherwise never see.

Keywords: random, records

Posted by Helen Foster | 0 comment(s)

April 01, 2010

I Just popped out in my lunch break to see the exhibition by Peter Liversidge entitled The Thrill Of It All at the Ingleby gallery on Calton Rd. in Edinburgh.  Well worth a look if you're in the area before the 10th April, when it finishes.  It's a series of typed, framed proposals, arranged around the wall of the gallery, some of which are impossible (building a volcano inside the gallery) or fanciful (persuading The Proclaimers to walk 500 miles).  Others, however, have actually been done, and the resulting work (including a number of photographs, displays of found objects, and specially created artefacts) is on display to accompany the proposals.  Some one-off performances and happenings that were proposed by the artist have also taken place or will take place. 

More info here

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

March 15, 2010

I paid a visit to this year's Maker Faire at the weekend, held again in Newcastle.  The format was much the same as last year, though much of the event had moved from tents in the square outside the Life Centre to inside the Life Centre itself.  As last year, there were demos by Friispray, lots of bits and bobs using Arduino circuits, and the excellent Oomlout.  New additions this year (or at least stuff that was new to me) were two enormous Tesla coils playing music (see something similar here), Sonodrome and its tobacco-tin oscillators, Mbed's rapid prototyping microcontrollers, Gocco printing, a Rubik's Cube-solving robot, and more knitting, stitching, LEDs and microprocessors than you could shake a stick at.

The best two things, though, were the brilliant Digital Funfair, which took up residence in a tent in the square and embodied the anarchic and creative marraiage of high-tech and low-tech that epitomises the Maker Faire, and, in particular, Sugru, one of the more low-tech exhibits at the fair.  Sugru is a new material that has terrific potential, I think (and you can see on this clip from the Culture Show that the designer Tom Dixon agrees with me).  I can see all sorts of uses for this cross between super glue and modelling clay, especially in medical settings and for use in adapting tools for older or handicapped people.  At the moment it only comes in bright colours, as the makers said they want to "highlight" the hackery that Sugru encourages.  But they can make it in any colour, they said, and I think black and white Sugru would have huge sales potential for repairing chipped crockery, augmenting laptops or mice, etc.

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

March 03, 2010

Miner's Gala Day - Mr Michael Foot MP addresses miners and their families at Leith Links

© The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

The Rt Hon Michael Foot MP, who died today at the age of 96.

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

February 22, 2010

Johnny Dankworth

© The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

February 04, 2010


© Victoria & Albert museum. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

Her obituary is here

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

January 21, 2010

Scran staff paid their customary visit to BETT in London earlier this month, though, thanks in part to the snow, our numbers were somehat depleted from previous years.  BETT is the national educational technology fair, and each year attracts hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of exhibitors to a vast, cavernous space in Olympia.  With so many stands vying for your attention, it's sometimes difficult to discern genuine innovations and identify trends.

However, and notwithstanding the above, two overall trends did seem to make themselves apparent.  the first was 3-D.  This was everywhere, from 3-D printers and scanners (not new in themselves, but starting to become cheap enough and ubiquitous enough for schools to consider purchasing them) to, especially, 3-D projectors.  There were any number of stands demoing 3-D projectors.  Some solutions used two separate projectors tethered together showing two separate pictures which then merged into a 3-D image once you donned the required glasses.  The best stand, though, was Texas Instruments', which was demoing its DLP technology.  It allows projectors to transmit two separate images simultaneously, which can then merge into one for a viewer wearing special glasses.  The advantages are that the projector is relatively cheap (c. £700), can also be employed to project regular 2-D images, and it is easily portable.  This is essentially the same system used in cinemas to project films like Avatar.  There, though, some fancy polarisation happens before the projected image reaches your glasses, which means the glasses are relatively cheap to manufacture.  The downside of this system is that the hardware must stay fixed in place to work properly.  With the portable system that Texas Instruments were pushing, the polarisation happens in the glasses themselves.  This means the glasses cost about £100 per pair, potentially adding £3000 to a school's initial outlay.  The results that you get are spectacular, though.  Being able to see a human brain in 3-D, or being able to fully visualise the X, Y and Z axes on a 3-D graph may engage learners in ways that 2-D can't.  The potential for Scran and RCAHMS to be able to generate 3-D content in the future (of buildings, monuments, objects, for example) is quite exciting.  We'll see what happens.

The other dominant trend I detected was "augmented reality", made possible by modern, GPS-enabled, compass-enabled smartphones like the iPhone 3GS, and by software developers like Layar.  Videos on YouTube explain augmented reality far more succinctly than I can here, so look at this and this, and especially this.  The potential for Scran and RCAHMS, again, are enormous, if we can add our huge amounts of data to such applications. 

Posted by Andrew James | 0 comment(s)

October 15, 2009

A postie's view of Royal Mail's problems

I've always found it hard to believe that mail volume had gone down, given the explosion of mail order & online auctions. Number of items, maybe, but certainly not weight or physical volume.

Also, privatisation and de-monopolisation has to be done the right way, or it's just asset stripping, and leaving the unprofitable but essential parts of the business still at public expense, but without the profitable parts of the business to offset them.

When I was little and lived on the continent, the postie had a trolley with large bags hanging off it, rather than a shoulder bag. I'm not sure if I've ever seen such a thing here, but I imagine it'd be far healthier for the workforce, and possibly allow workloads to be increased less destructively. Then again, the management probably wouldn't want the capital expenditure on trolleys. :D

Keywords: royal mail

Posted by Sven Edge | 0 comment(s)

October 04, 2009

The latest in my "Google didn't have the answer, but will in future" series.

Winamp recently added a jarringly ugly and pointless button to take you to AOL's page about the current track's artist. (Parent company sales/marketing types foisting something on the subsidiary, no doubt.) The Modern skin doesn't have an option to remove it the way the Bento skin apparently does. It can be done by editing the Skin's XML, though.

1) Open C:\Program Files\Winamp\Skins\Winamp Modern\xml\player-shade-group.xml in a text editor. Notepad will do. You might want to back up the file.
2) Find the <groupdef id="shadeticker" section.
3) Change x="40" to x="29" three times, and w="-44" to w="-33" twice.
4) Find the <groupdef id="shadetimer" section.
5) Comment out the nowplaying button and shadelinks script tags. (Add <!-- before the button tag, and --> after the script tag.)
6) In the timer entry immediately following, change x="18" to x="7".
7) Save, and restart Winamp.

Basically, you're hiding the button, and moving everything else left 11 pixels, assuming the units are pixels. The changes will probably get wiped out on upgrading Winamp, but ho hum.

Keywords: skin, winamp

Posted by Sven Edge | 0 comment(s)

August 24, 2009

XKCD - Tech Support Cheat Sheet

Keywords: xkcd

Posted by Sven Edge | 0 comment(s)

August 19, 2009

Hello to all teachers and pupils returning to school this week.  Hope you enjoyed your well-deserved summer break!

Here at Scran and the Royal Commission, we are having various discussions about the possibility of acquiring a whiteboard, either by Smart or Promethean.  Do you any of you use these in your classroom?  Do you have any comments about them, good, bad or indifferent?  Do you find them useful?  Cost-effective?  Any and all comments will be gratefully received, and will help to inform our decision!

Posted by Andrew James | 2 comment(s)

August 06, 2009

A case in point:

Keywords: databases, freedom

Posted by Sven Edge | 0 comment(s)

July 31, 2009

The NIR is the database behind ID cards, that could easily still exist without ID cards. Given endless lost government laptops and data, let alone the life altering effects of data entry mistakes, corrupt officials or hackers ("Sorry, the database says you're dead. Go away."), it's the larger problem behind the ID cards issue than just the bit of plastic.

While there's a certain irony in giving your name and address to campaign against a database of such information, a petition:

Keywords: freedom

Posted by Sven Edge | 0 comment(s)

July 23, 2009

The other night, I finally discovered Wordle for myself. Looking for a corpus of text to try it against, I thought of Scran. I pulled out the text of 1000 random records and pasted them into wordle. Amazingly, it didn't kill my browser.

Wordle image

More here.

With a bit of effort choosing font and colour scheme, it might be possible to make a nice poster, at least for in the office.

Keywords: scran, wordle

Posted by Sven Edge | 2 comment(s)

July 15, 2009

Somebody Youtubed us marching this weekend at the Willich Schutzenfest.  I'm in the front row, 2nd from the left.

PS.  The band rehearses on Monday nights in Edinburgh.  We are often looking for new brass, woodwind and percussion players and have instruments available for loan.  Contact Barry on 07949 589 796 or see our Facebook page if you're interested.

Keywords: brass, Central Band of the Royal British Legion Scotland, Germany, legion band, marching band, percussion, Willich Schutzenfest, woodwind

Posted by Kate O'Hara | 0 comment(s)

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