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ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
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WiFi Network for Under $50!

D-Link Wi-Fi RouterCraig Froehle of Gearbits directed me to this little gem at a refurbished D-Link Wi-Fi Wireless Cable/DSL Router with 4 ethernet ports and firewall features for only $9.99 affter $50 in rebates (good through 8/31). Combine that with an $18 Adaptec Wi-Fi PC card for the PC and you've got a nice little wireless network goin' on for under $50! Schweeeet! :-)


Good Thinking on Email

Last week I came across an older post from March 11th over at Lonnie Foster's weblog, which I really liked and wanted to share here. Lonnie's post linked to and talked about an Ole Eichhorn essay called The Tyranny of Email, about email's intrusion into our lives and how to deal with it.

I had already made a few changes in my own email patterns before reading Ole's essay, which have helped: setting less frequent schedules for checking, splitting my personal and work emails into two separate "accounts" (something you can do easily with Entourage on the Mac) and limiting my checking of email on weekends to once a day.

However, Eichhorn's essay suggests setting even more limits on your email and provides good reasoning for his ideas. Here's a teaser list of Eichhorn's suggestions:

1. Turn your email client off. Pick the moment at which you'll be interrupted.

2. Never criticize anyone in email, and avoid technical debates. Use face-to-face meetings or 'phone calls instead.

3. Be judicious in who you send email to, and who you copy on emails.

4. Observing some formality is important.

5. Don't hesitate to review and revise important emails.

6. Remember that email is a public and permanent record.

But don't just scan the above list! Be sure to read the whole essay, since Eichhorn provides much more detail on the reasons why and how to go about making practical changes. If you're curious about response to Ole's essay check out Tyranny Revisited.


Tipsheet vs. Weblogs & Cheap e-books

Palm TipsheetAs some of you may know, several months ago I decided to step down as the founder of the Palm Tipsheet e-zine and sell it to Brian Beeler at Well, this month has been a sort of homecoming for me, as I had a chance to write the feature article called More Power to the E-Book with Palm Reader Pro for the latest issue.

I was pleased to write about Palm Reader Pro, since I really like the app and always wonder if e-book fans know much about it, since Palm Digital Media doesn't offer a demo version. I thought this would be one way to reveal more detail about the Pro version. Palm Digital Media, if you're reading this, offer a 30 day free trial of Palm Reader Pro!

It was great fun to write for the Tipsheet again, though I was quickly reminded just how much work writing technical articles really is. In fact, it clarified the reasons why I love writing a weblog these days.

Some friends of mine have actually teased me a bit about the increase in the quantity of my writing after switching to a weblog -- especially since I had cited lack of time and energy as reasons for stepping down from the Tipsheet. I responded by mentioning the differences between writing a technical e-zine and a weblog. An e-zine like the Palm Tipsheet is laser-focused on a single topic and requires alot of effort, energy and time to get the formatting, fact-checking and research right, while a weblog is more of a free-form, stream of consciousness medium.

With a weblog I can write on whatever topic interests me at the moment, or I can add a travel journal entry if I'm on the road. If I happen to have various unrelated tidbits I've collected, I can post those too. With a weblog there's usually not that much research required (not nearly as much as for a single Tipsheet issue)... I just share my thoughts, opinions, everyday experiences or refer to interesting web articles I'm reading anyway.

So, while my writing quantity on the weblog is larger, I'm enjoying my writing much more these days, and it takes less energy to produce. But it is nice to do a technical article now and then. :-)

Oh, before I go, thought I'd mention that Palm Digital Media is currently selling a 4 book bundle for just a $1, including Inside the Tornado, Angels Flight, Star Trek: New Frontier: Books 1-4 and ChronoSpace. I know ChronoSpace is a good read (I'm a sucker for a good time travel book) but don't know much about the others. Still that's a great deal for 4 books! Check it out now though, because the offer expires on August 21st.


On The Road (Bike) Again...

My Manta Road BikeAhhhh... today was my first ride back on my good old road bike (my Manta) after it had been in for a tune up and I was away for vacation. It was high time to get the bike in for service and now my old steel frame bike is working like a dream.

It was hard switching to my mountain bike for rides, which is like switching to a Jeep 4x4 after driving a Porsche, but my few weeks on the mountain bike have resulted in some great workouts (due to the heavier bike and more frictiony tires).

Today's ride with my regular cycling friends Brian and Kathy felt so good. Riding the Manta felt like riding on a rail instead of a four-wheel-drive tank! I should probably know the difference between the two bikes by now, but I'm always amazed after extended time on one or the other, how they feel.

Anyway, it will take a while to get back into rhythm on the Manta, but I'm glad to be back, flying on the old road bike. :-)

BTW, American road riders take heart! I was in a local bike shop over the weekend and had a chance to speak with the owner for a while. He said that this year's Tour has excited many other old roadies about riding, so he's seeing many cyclist coming in the store and getting out to ride again.

For my European friends who live where road cycling is enjoying a strong following, you have to understand that road cycling in the US, while still alive, has lost alot to the recent mountain bike craze 10-15 years ago. You can get roadie stuff, but it's just not as common as mountain bike gear, though that is changing, particularly with Lance being such a strong performer the past 5 years of the Tour.

I don't have anything against mountain biking -- I love that too -- but there is something special about road biking which I love and want to share with others. :-)

Oh, one last tidbit on cycling -- we rented and saw the cycling movie Breaking Away last night and enjoyed it immensely. This is the story of a kid who loves cycling and his townie (non-college attending local kid) friends in Bloomington Indiana, home of Indiana University.

The townies are in a running battle with college kids, which intensifies when Dave (the cyclist) falls in love with a university girl. It's a funny movie with some great cycling moments, including an epic race between the townie kids (Cutters) and college kids in a criterium race. I highly recommend this movie!

Okay roadies -- get out there and ride!! :-)


My First Segway Ride... Almost

SegwayIt was Friday afternoon, and I was heading back to the office after a client meeting, when I glimpsed signs promoting Segway trial rides in a parking lot of a local shopping mall. Excited by the chance to see a Segway up close and maybe even have a go on one, I hung a left into the mall lot, and spent several minutes working my way back to the parking lot where I saw the signs.

It was much more of a hassle than I'd thought to find the Segway demo lot, as I had to wind my way around medians and across busy mall road intersections. Finally, I got close enough to see one of the promo signs, which read:

Segway Rides

$10 for 10 minutes

Oh man, forget that! I mean, if you want me to try a $5,000 Segway out and potentially buy one, I'm certainly not going to pay $10 just to try it for 10 minutes! I decided to pass up the opportunity, but not before getting close enough to see nobody out riding Segways except the demo staff.

I was even put off from stopping for a closer look because I figured the sales staff, desperate for a rider would probably try their darndest to rope me into riding one and I didn't have $10 burning a hole in my pocket. Besides, I couldn't afford to mess around too long, as I had plenty of work to do back at the office.

So, my opportunity to ride a Segway has come and gone for now. Hopefully I'll come across another chance to ride one of these things for no charge one day.

Maybe I'll reconsider at least having a closer look on the weekend, assuming the Segway folks are still offering demo rides. While I would like to ride one, even seeing one up close would be quite interesting. We'll see...

On a related note, if you have any interest in reading historical and up to date articles on the Segway, my friend Lorenz Szabo has compiled a collection of Segway articles from the web, into a nicely formatted Palm Reader document (203k). I must say it's really nice to have all these documents compiled about Segway, since it provides a longer term view of its history in one place. (thanks Lo!)