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Mike Rohde (Color - Square)

ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
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Cheap Internet Voice Calls

SIPphoneLast week on Gizmodo I came across the SIPphone, a desktop phone with an Ethernet jack instead of a regular phone jack -- a great idea for far away friends who both have broadband Internet service. Each phone has a set phone number, which other SIPphone callers can call to reach you.

The idea is this -- you and a far away friend split the cost of two SIPphones for $130. You keep one phone and send the other phone to the friend with whom you spend lots of cash calling with long distance. Great idea if you both have differing operating systems (say Windows and Mac OS) and make lots of calls. It'd be especially attractive for say one friend in the US and another in New Zealand, since in the long run it would save vs. international long distance.

Of course, if you're a Mac OS X user, iChat AV (in public beta, soon to be sold for $30) does pretty much the same thing with optional video capabilities. In fact, my friend Andy in London and I have just about weekly voice chats via iChat AV with pretty good sound quality, saving us tons of money over international long distance calls. I can tell you that it's a great feeling being able to call Andy whenever he's around and have a voice (or video) chat rather than pounding out an email.

Yahoo Messenger seems to at least offer voice chatting capabilities, but it's much more like a walkie-talkie instead of a regular telephone with full-duplex like iChat AV. Yuck! Yeah, it works but it's just another hassle... I want to have my service act just like my telephone does.

Which brings me back to the SIPphone. Yes it's a bit more costly than software for your Mac, PC or Linux box, but I see it as the kind of dedicated, nearly-brainless technology that just works. SIPphone is perfect for two or more computer users regardless of the OS they run and only depends on your cable connection: not your Mac, PC or Linux box, which for the right people, could be a perfect solution.


Palm Becomes palmOne

palmOneJust heard the news a little bit ago that Palm, Inc. has now renamed themselves palmOne and have launched their new site with the logomark in place.

As a graphic designer, my first impression of the logo is positive. I see palmOne has used very different color scheme of maroon and orange. It's nice to see that the design firm and palmOne wasn't afraid to use a little orange, a color I really like. You can also see that the "L" of palm looks alot like a numeral "1" too... a nice touch.

I think the only thing that'll screw up writers is the lower cased "p" of the palmOne. I suppose this is to emphasize the "One" instead of "palm" though it creates problems at the start of sentences and just feels kinda awkward. I do recall this kind of middle-cap approach being used in programming -- maybe that's part of where the inspiration is from. Either that or middle-capped brand names are the hip, new cool designery thing these days.

So, now I have to wonder... exactly how does one correctly pronounce the new name? I was thinking maybe it'd be fun to add an Italian flair and say it like this:


Just think Pepperonni or Pizzone... hey this is kinda fun! ;-)


Tungsten C Blogging Test

Inspired by Matt, who posted a blog entry Friday from his spankin' new Tungsten C, I've decided to give it a try.


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy e-book Deal

HHGTTGHey, great news if you're a fan of the late, great Douglas Adams! Palm Digital Media has now released all 4 of Adams' "trilogy" titles in Palm Reader e-book form: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything and So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

Even better, when you buy book 1: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you can buy book 2, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe for half price. Same deal applies if you buy book 3, Life, the Universe and Everything; you get book 4, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish for half price. The total for all four e-books comes to about $24 (less for Palm Digital Media subscribers).

If you've never read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels -- it's a story about an unsuspecting guy who lives in Islington, London, UK, Earth, who's snatched up by a spaceship along with his friend, Ford Prefect, who turns out to be an alien. Through the story Dent learns the truth about the universe and the earth, while meeting kooky characters and finding himself in tough situations all across the universe. Adams provides funny anecdotes throughout the narration of the story.

I recommend The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" of 4 books highly as a great read with many, many laughs. Douglas Adams was a very funny writer, who had a great way of making the future funny and not as picture perfect as other sci-fi writers have the tendency to do. Oddly enough though, the books actually followed the BBC radio series, which Adams did initially (available in audio CD format).

Have a great weekend all!


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! :-)