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Entries in Handy Links (11)


Favorite Sounds for 2014

AT YEAR END, I'm sharing my favorite sounds — music and podcasts.


I listened to a lot of music this year, while creating The Sketchnote Workbook, here are some of the favorites I came back to again and again:

Ásgeir - In The Silence

In the silenceÁsgeir's In The Silence was suggested by my friend Brian Artka. I pre-ordered the album and once it arrived, I've had it playing at work, in the car, and traveling. It's a blend of folk, rock and ethereal vocals from Icelander Ásgeir. Favorite tracks include King and Cross, Torrent and In Harmony.

RAC - Strangers

414dWmYAtJL SS280RAC's Strangers came through the Song Exploder podcast. I love the 80s vibe. It provides me with an upbeat, energetic working soundtrack. Favorite tracks include Tegan & Sara's Hard to Hold, Matthew Koma's Cheap Sunglasses, and Katie Herzog's We Belong.

Reporter - Guggenheim

41kW7CvMNML SS280This album from Reporter turned out to be just what I needed to get deep focus while writing the manuscript for The Sketchnote Workbook. Repeated use created a habit: when this album started, I was instantly in a writing mindset. Favorite tracks include Bilbao and Berlin.


I've been a commuter since starting a contract design project in June, so I have more time for podcasts. Here are a few that stood out this year:

Song Exploder

Song ExploderMy pal Kris Hunt recommended Song Exploder with Hrishikesh Hirway. This is a podcast that deconstructs songs slice by slice using audio and interviews with the artists that create the track. Favorites include the Jeff Beal's House of Cards Theme and RAC's Let Go.

Unmistakable Creative

Unmistakable CreativeA recent addition to my listening list is Unmistakable Creative with Srinivas Rao. He has a great interview style that brings out the best discussions in his guests and make for good long-form listening. Favorites include Sarah Peck, Cal Newport, Jeff Spencer, and Joe Loya.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Hardcore HistoryI hesitate to call Dan Carlin's Hardcore History a podcast, as his shortest episodes start at about 2 hours. This is effectively an audiobook feed on history, disguised as a mild-mannered podcast. It will get you thinking. Favorites: Wrath of the Khans, Blueprint for Armageddon, and Thor's Angels.

I hope you enjoy these audio discoveries as 2015 unfolds!

- Mike


Handy Links 10

AFTER A MUCH NEEDED BREAK for the holidays, I'm back on track with the blog for 2011. I'm changing Handy Links frequency to every 2 weeks to better fit my life.

This issue features a fabric iPad stylus, mini coffee process documentaries, nerd merit badges and a watch diary.

Stylus Socks

Stylus Socks

Check out these hand-sewn conductive fabric socks, wrapped around a pen holder to create a unique stylus. Works great on my iPad. 2 pack for $17.

Coffee Movies

Intelligentsia Coffee Mini-Documentaries

Excellent documentary film series by The D4D on coffee. Filmed at Intelligentsia in California, featuring Espresso, Cappuccino & Syphon brew methods.

Nerd Badges

Nerd Merit Badges

Pulled duty on family tech support or achieved Inbox Zero? There's a Nerd Merit Badge for it! $6 each, velcro sash $13.37. Thanks for the tip Jason.

Watch Diary

Watch Diary

An interesting diary with integrated watch from Yanko Design, with integrated watch right in the center of the book. Thanks for the tip Carlos.


Handy Links 9

THIS WEEK'S LINKS feature royalty-free icons, an article about the problem of design sales teams, ambient music for your workflow and Moleskine cases for iPhone and iPad.



A beautiful series of icons from Jory Raphael at Sensible World, featuring clean and simple, royalty-free vector files. Free to $30 for various sets.

Sales: The Fail Team

Sales: The Fail Team

Great article by Andy Rutledge about sales team issues at design firms and his word of mouth prescription for a better reputation, clients, and work.

Music for Pilots

Music for Pilots

I'm always hunting for music to power my workflow. Check out Music for Pilots, a Milwaukee ambient/techno group featuring my pal Andy Wright.

Moleskine iPhone/iPad Cases

Moleskine iPhone & iPad Cases

Blend analog and digital tools with these Moleskine cases for the iPhone and iPad, featuring integrated notebooks. iPhone $50, iPad $90.


Handy Links 8

THIS WEEK'S LINKS feature quirky wooden robots, a book of designer sketchbooks, a useful resource on iPhone Retina Display design and a tiny yet powerful wireless speaker.


Scrap Wood Robots

This Bit Rebels article tells how “Mao” Marjolaine Poulin creates quirky robots from scrap wood. I love the personality of these guys. $15-$20 each.


Graphic: a Book of Sketchbooks

Steven Heller & Lita Talarico's Graphic is a collection of sketchbooks from great graphic designers. Read Review Copy's post for photos of the book. $38.


Designing for iPhone 4 Retina Display: Techniques & Workflow

Here's an excellent Smashing Magazine write-up from Marc Edwards on creating graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display with very helpful imagery.



Jambox is a slick and small, portable wireless speaker and speakerphone from Jawbone. Check out the promo video by Adam Lisagor. $200.


Handy Links 7

THIS WEEK'S LINKS include a wooden iPhone amp, an iPad case with built-in keyboard, great advice from a veteran designer and a pack of font reference documents.


Koostik Wooden iPhone Dock

Forget batteries. The Koostik is a gorgeous, $85 hardwood iPhone amplifier which works like a guitar body, amplifying sound naturally and acoustically.


ZAGGmate iPad Case & Keyboard

I love this $70 aluminum case that snaps on the iPad, with a $100 version featuring a built-in keyboard. (currently pre-order.)


Do You REALLY Want to be a Design “Rock Star?”

Excellent essay by veteran designer Speider Schneider on success, humility, doing great work and focusing on what's important in life.


Type Education at FontShop

I love this cache of beautiful and educational PDF font references from FontShop. Load 'em up on your iPad for the holidays!

P.S. I've changed Handy Links in this 7th episode, simplifying the title and including teaser images with each link. Hope you like the tweaks. Thanks Jordie van Rijn for your ideas!