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The Sketchnote Handbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, designed to teach regular people how to create sketchnotes.
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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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Mac OS X vs. Linux Hotrodder Analogy

Mac OS XThis weekend an analogy came to me related to Mac OS X users and Linux users [1] that I wanted to mention here to see if I'm on the mark or way out there. Here is is:

I think Mac OS X and Linux users are kinda like two first cousins who happen to both love hot rod cars, but love them in slightly different ways.

A Mac OS X user is the cousin who loves to drive really cool cars; loves cruising and being seen in a really slick ride. This cousin may even enjoy tweaking the appearance of the car by adding a custom paint job, spoilers, ground effects, or other easy to moderately difficult mechanical additions. The Mac OS X user also uses the car in practical ways -- to pick up groceries, drive to work, take road trips and the like. Driving the car is the most important thing to the Mac OS X user.

A Linux user is the cousin who loves to tear apart and rebuld cars. Dropping in a new engines, grinding valves, adding high performance engine and transmission parts, tweaking the engine until it runs perfectly. Wanting to know every part intimately. This cousin is less concerned for the car's appearance -- primer, missing body parts, mismatched wheels or missing lights are not as important as having a perfectly running car. This cousin might also cruise the strip or run errands, but would much rather spend time working in the garage. Working on the car is the most important thing to the Linux user.

Now of course there are variations on this theme and some crossover. I'm sure that some OS X users lean more toward under-the-hood stuff and some Linux users are more interested in getting stuff done than making system modifications. I suppose there are even users from either side whom look down on the other. However, for the most part I think each side views the other in a positive light, since both share the a Unix kernel, which I think is kinda cool.

Any thoughts or comments?

UPDATE: After some refelction on the comments and my initial analogy, I've changed the word 'tinker' to 'tear apart and rebuld' and 'system modifications' to get across my real intent -- that Linux users want to know every part of their OS, inside and out. I felt 'tinker' may have been too casual of a term, when I really intended it to mean something more serious.

[1] Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X, has Berkeley Systems Distribution (BSD) Unix, running underneath that 'lickable' Aqua Graphical User Interface. Linux is another Unix-like operating system created by Linus Torvalds and modified and tweaked by software engineers worldwide for years, following the open source development model.


Palm Powered Software Championing

PalmSourceHey Palm OS fans, if you're looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge in a particular topic with other Palm handheld users, check out PalmSource's Palm Powered Software Champion program.

It's all volunteer, though those who apply and are selected will get fame and recognition when their Champion pages appear on the PalmSource site. According to the application, writing a Champion page should take 10-20 hours up front and will require updates several times per year. In return, you'll get direct access inside PalmSource and you'll receive $200 in gift certificates to boot.

I was fortunate enough to get the Champion page for Writing, Text Editing & Word Processing -- something I love to do with my Clié and Stowaway keyboard. I figured all this experience I have using a handheld for writing ought to be put to some good use. :-)

Check it out!


Weblog Updates: New Mobile Edition & RSS Link

I have a few weblog updates to report, before this long Memorial Day holiday weekend in the US. Most notably, I've added a mobile edition of the weblog main page for use with AvantGo, iSilo, Plucker or any other mobile-sized online or offline web browser. Here's the full URL:

The mobile edition uses a greatly simplified template that ought to work much better with handheld tools as it doesn't feature any links on the left or complex tables. The mobile template also has the added benefit of taking less space on your handheld.

I've also simplified my RSS 1.0 news feed URL from rohdesign_rss.xml to a much simpler and easier to guesstimate rss.xml and/or rss.rdf. Here are the full URLs:

I've kept the old RSS feed in place for those who don't want to change the link in their news aggregator... and just because it seems like a nice thing to do. Eventually I will post a note on that version to switch to the new file.

Hey, if you have a long US Memorial Day weekend coming up, enjoy the day. If you're a tech person I challenge you to break away from the computer and your gadgetry for a while and enjoy the sunshine. It'll do you a world of good. :-)


Mobile Phone Tidbits

Nokia 3360I'm not exactly the poster boy for mobile phone use, at least as the mobile phone companies probably look at it. I have a Nokia 3360 on Cingular and I like it, more or less. The truth is, I hardly use the thing. Of course it's handy when traveling, but on a daily basis it's turned off, since I'm generally near a stationery phone at home or the office.

For a little while I used the mobile package on my Nokia, to connect my Clié via InfraRed but because I am always near an Internet cable connection, I didn't find it a great value for the additional $5 per month it cost me. However, for travel, the mobile phone is invaluable, since I can call my wife and have her return the call on her Nokia for free (her plan includes free long distance). On my Palm DevCon California trip, our bill for a few hours of talk time was a measly $1.50!

Even with travel usage figured in, I hardly use my mobile phone. I've decided that I'm just not a typical mobile phone user.

Still, I am a mobile-oriented person, so I am interested in the role mobile phones play in our culture, even if I don't use mine very much. Over the past few weeks I've gathered a few interesting articles on mobile phones to share with you:

Mobile Phones Enslave Brits
First is the article Britons are enslaved by the mobile telephone from the Times Online (UK) about studies done in Britain showing everyday Britons are enslaved by their mobile phones, rather than freed by them. I found it interesting to read that dependence on the mobile phone was extrapolated as a form of control, and gave users a sense of power over situations. Some respondents even felt their mobile improved their self identity. Older users felt some of this but it seems that the younger generation say their mobile phones are "an extension of their physical being". Wow.

Kids Need SMS for Self Esteem
Related to the Times article was this one from NewMediaAge, suggesting that school kids get self esteem boosts from receiving SMS messages. Key quote:

"Children are so obsessed that they are unable to communicate verbally uninterrupted, are constantly checking their phones for messages, and become irritable if they have to be away from their phone for any period of time."

Yikes! I don't know about you, but this sounds a little disturbing.

Mobiles vs. Non-Mobiles
Here's another story along the same lines from Wired, which reports that kids are now breaking into two social groups: mobiles and non-mobiles. The article describes the "mobiles" group this way:

"The people who had become a part of the mobiles group had a hard time doing deprivation at all," Blinkoff said. "They couldn't do it at all."

Whoa. This is sounding more and more like addiction, eh?

I should be clear that I'm not against the mobile phone, but as with all technology, I do think we must be aware of how mobile phones integrate into our lives. I think it's wise to set boundaries to make sure our technology (in this case the mobile phone) doesn't control us, but that we maintain control over it.

To avoid ending this post on a down note, I must share this hilarious James Lileks response to the idea of un-inventing mobile phones:

"I have one. It's always off. If you turn it on, people call you, and there's really only one message you need to know right away: I am a trucker in the car behind you and there is an axe murderer hiding in your back seat. And you would, of course, say "how did you know my number?" Followed by "AAAAIIEEEE!"

Hee hee. Exactly! :-)


Would You Go Back in Time?

This morning I was listening to a radio talk show, where the following question was posed:

If you could go back in time to your twenties, would you do it?

Of course the question was clearly aimed at those not in their twenties. In fact, the show is probably aimed at 30 and 40 year olds, a group of which I'm a member. I pondered the question for a little while and came to the conclusion that no, I wouldn't want to go back to those years again. Here's why:

I generally enjoyed my life in my twenties, so that's not really the reason. I enjoyed the freedom of being single, my life heading off in the horizon before me. However, I do think that as we grow older our memory of the past changes. I think we as humans have a tendency to romanticize the past -- recalling all of the great times and memories we had, while filtering out most of the bad times, lonely times and the boring times.

As an example: I can recall many fond memories of the past almost immediately, but if I stop and dwell on the past, I begin to recall the not-so-memorable moments. Like Friday nights spent at home watching bad made-for-TV movies. Or long nights at the office crunching for a deadline. And a particular favorite: cold winter evenings waiting for busses. And, I mustn't forget all of the lonely times that I wished for a girlfriend or wife to call my very own. While life was generally pretty good, it certainly wasn't fun 24/7. :-)

But the larger reason I wouldn't want to go back to my twenties is, I'd miss my wife and new son Nathan terribly. It's amazing how difficult it is to imagine how much a wife and children will one day mean to you when you're a single guy. Only now, as a husband and father, do I understand just know how valuable my family is to me. I think that's a very good reason to stay right here.

At face value, going back in time twenty years sounds like loads of fun, but after a little introspection, I'll pass. Even though my life now certainly isn't perfect, I like where I am. Someone else can step in to the time machine.

The next question is -- would you go back?