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Entries in Technology (77)


Doxie Flip Review: Flippin' Awesome!

ONE OF THE DRAWBACKS of sketchnoting events is that while I would love to bring my Canon LiDE flatbed scanner to capture sketchnotes on site, it's just too big and bulky to carry along. I've adapted to using my iPhone to take pictures, then scanning my high-resolution artwork when I get back home.

Doxie Flip

For the last week and a half, I've been testing out the new Doxie Flip scanner—a new, $149 portable flatbed scanner, sent to me for review by the folks at Doxie. It's small, light, runs on battery power, and makes use of an SD card to transfer scans between itself and PCs or other devices.

Flip w/ Pocket Moleskine

The scanning bed is slightly larger than a Pocket Size Moleskine notebook—perfect for a portable sketchnote scanner. Because it runs on batteries, you don't need a wall wart, and the SD card eliminates the need for a cable.

I love this little thing. Let me tell you why.

Simple and Effective

I love that the Flip is simple. The small size combined with battery power and SD card use offers a refreshing simplicity in a market where most devices are more complex than they need to be.

It reminds me of the old Palm Pilot devices I used to love—simple, effective and made for a specific task. The Flip is designed for scanning on the go.

Scan preview

Run out of battery? Carry 4 spare AA batteries, or use 4 rechargeable AAs. Worst case, you can stop at nearly any store or gas station for batteries.

Need more storage? Bring a few spare SD cards, or buy a new one. If someone needs a scan, I can put images on their SD card, no problem. The scanning capacity is limited only by the size of your card.

SD card

I can scan books, photos, papers—whatever—in traditional flat bed mode, using the little white cover to keep light out while scanning.

Scanning w/ Cover

Or I can remove the scanning lid and flip the Flip over to scan. Because the back of the Flip is glass, you can lay it on top of the thing you want to scan, see through the device and scan. What you see is what you scan.

Flip scanning

Flip scan

Sketchnoting & Illustration Uses

Having the Flip along on a sketchnoting gig or travel experience is the perfect tool for the job. It provides immediate, high-resolution scans I can import into my Mac or iPad or share with clients or friends. Or I can skip the Mac altogether and view scans on the iPad with an SD card adapter.

Flip w/ Moleskine in case

For illustration work I often escape to a local cafe to work and wait to get home to scan pieces for an illustration. With the Flip, I can bring my MacBook Air along, scan immediately and work on the illustration—all at the cafe.

The 600 dpi scan option is the resolution I typically use for illustration work because it captures enough detail for either pixel work in Photoshop or to capture the inked feel of my work with Vector Magic and Illustrator.

Hardware Specs

The Flip is compact (10.23" x 6.46" x 1.34”) which is just slightly larger than a Large Moleskine notebook (5" x 8.5"). It's light (1.26 lbs) with a 4" x 6" scanning bed that's ideal for Pocket Moleskines and Field Notes notebooks. It's powered by 4 AA batteries and uses a 4GB SD card (both included).

It's roughly the size of a hardcover book—not bad for hauling around, particularly when compared to my bigger Canon LiDE flatbed scanner.

The Doxie Flip features a small screen to display scans on the card, access to settings, battery level and a preview of your scans. While the preview is pretty tiny, it works well enough to verify you have everything you need on your scan.


Doxie Software

The Doxie software for Mac and Windows reads the SD card and provides a stitching feature, in case you need to scan larger sources in multiple steps.

Screen Shot 2013 11 07 at 12 07 21 PM

The Flip can create JPG or PNG files at either 300 or 600 dpi. The included software works nicely with Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook and as well. It's easily downloaded from the Doxie site.

Screen Shot 2013 11 07 at 12 07 30 PM

The ability to capture and stitch multiple smaller scans together with the Doxie desktop app is a handy feature. Of course, any app that can read PNG or JPG images can extract or modify scans from the SD card. I typically do my work in Photoshop for editing or stitching together images.

Pricing & Value

The Doxie Flip is $149. If you need a flatbed scanner for sketchnoting, capturing book pages or other items on the go, it's a good value.

When compared to the $80 Canon LiDE 210, the Flip is expensive, so if you don't have a huge need for portability, the Canon would be the better value.

Buying tools means balancing trade-offs. If you need a small, portable scanner, you can't beat the Doxie Flip.

Doxie Flip Brief Video Overview

Here's a 5 minute video I made to show you the size relationship to my sketchbooks and some of the interesting features and uses for the Doxie Flip:


The Doxie Flip is a great tool—simple, light and effective. It's perfect for portable flatbed scanning where a bigger device is impractical and a phone camera isn't good enough for clean, high-resolution scans.

While $149 isn't cheap, for the right person The Doxie Flip a valuable tool that will pay for itself in use after use on the road.

Highly recommended.


Here are a few links that may help your research on the Doxie Flip:


A Twitter Vacation

No Tweetin'There comes a time when what's brewing under the surface breaks through. For me the breakthrough is the need for a little Twitter Vacation.

I love Twitter, the friends I have on Twitter and how connected I am through it, with people in Milwaukee and around the world.

Now, I'm not going to leave Twitter forever. Rather, this will be a 3 week experiment off of the service to see how being Twitter-free effects me.

Why the Vacation?
I've sensed lately that I need to take a step back. I've caught myself constantly checking my Twitter mentions, working very hard to tweet something of value and scanning my live feed in Tweetie for something, anything interesting to read.

While that's typical Twitter user behavior, I've felt this incessant attraction to scanning random tweets and re8-2010plies at all times to be distracting my focus from more important things in my life right now.

As you may know, we've added a baby girl to the family, which is wonderful and understandably, quite time consuming.

Couple our 3 month old baby girl with a stack of personal projects and plans to be made for SXSW Interactive in March -- it all adds up to a pile of important things I must focus on.

So, as an experiment, as of February 1, 2010, I'll be leaving my Twitter feeds sit idle while I catch up on everything else in my life.

I'll come back in 3 weeks, on February 22nd and report my findings here.

Week 1 Update (Feb 8, 2010) — My first week of Twitter vacation has been an interesting experience. On more than one occasion I've wanted to share an idea or a photo, with Tweetie on the iPhone, only to stop myself.

I've missed reading tweets from friends I follow. After reading Michael Lopp's excellent post, A Story Culture, I'm understanding how much I enjoy weaving stories together from 140 character snippets of information. In some ways it's like stitching stories together while listening to the radio.

I have also noticed an increase in productivity. I'd expected this might happen however. Those little distractions add up over time, so whatever plan I set for myself after the 21st will include limits on usage.


Sketchnoting SXSW Interactive 2009

SXSWi 2008 Sketchnotes: First SpreadDoom and gloom. Meltdown of the global economy. Real estate prices dropping, layoffs, businesses closing and more bad news bombards us daily.

2008 was a rough year and 2009 is off to a rocky start. These are challenging times.

In spite of the bad news around us, I've decided to focus on the positive. To focus on the opportunities in this new year and not let the negativity dominate my outlook or perspective.

For me, this begins with SXSW interactive in Austin, Texas, March 13-18, 2009.

SXSW Interactive Official Sketchnoter

One hugely bright spot in 2009 is the honor of being the Official Sketchnoter to SXSW Interactive. In 2008, my first ever SXSW, I used my Moleskine pocket sketchbook and G2 pen to live capture several of the panels and sessions in sketchnote form.

At the time I was capturing the event for myself and the small band of followers who enjoyed my work from SEED 1 and SEED 3 conferences and other events I'd captured in 2007 and 2008. What surprised me was how popular the SXSW 2008 sketchnotes became. Just a week after posting the sketchnotes, they appeared on 80+ sites, including Daring Fireball, R.BIRD, FrogDesign, Jason Santa Maria and Boing Boing!

I'm very excited about working in an official capacity this year. I think the toughest challenge will be which panels to attend and capture. I have a list of panels I'm looking forward to, but I also know how panels often overlap. It should be fun. :-)

Get In Touch

I'd love to meet new people at SXSW, so if you're attending and would like to talk over coffee at the event, drop me a line with SXSW in the subject line and say hello, and if you like, follow me on Twitter.

I'm attending the 2009 Avalonstar Bowling Extravaganza on Saturday, March 15th, and my co-conspirator Brian Artka and I are organizing some kind of small gathering at an Austin location during SXSW Week, we'll announce soon.

Stay Positive!

Be thankful for what you have in your life. Be ready for opportunities. Circumstances can bring you down — don't let them ruin your outlook. Stay positive!

Related Links
SXSW interactive
SXSW Interactive 2008 Sketchnotes
SXSW Ning Group
2009 Avalonstar Bowling Extravaganza


BarCampMilwaukee3 Final T-Shirt Design

After receiving not a single entry in the BarCampMilwaukee3 T-Shirt design contest, I decided late last week that I ought to come up with a design for the shirt, and quick.

Below is the final BarCampMilwaukee3 T-Shirt design for 2008:

BCMKE3 T-Shirt Design v1.2 (Final)

How did I Get Here?

The deadline for ordering shirts and submitting some art was looming, and there were no submissions to the contest to speak of. It was last week Thursday when I opened my sketchbook and started to doodle. What came out in rough form was a design vaguely similar to the design above.

I wanted something a bit organic, fun and round. I remembered that Pete Prodoehl had "tagging" space on name tags at the first BarCampMilwaukee in 2006. I took his idea a step further by embedding the tagging spaces right in the shirt design.

At the Web414 meeting that evening, I saw Jordan Arentsen wearing a charcoal gray t-shirt from a recent Adobe AIR event, and loved how the shirt looked. I checked his tag (with his permission) and found it was a Gildan Ultra Cotton, the same shirt I've been using with all of my projects for the last few years. Excellent!

Design Iteration v1.0

When I got home, I was wired from the Web414 meeting, so I began working with the sketch I had, and generated a v1 design iteration. bcmke3-dkblue1.0.jpgI quite liked the feel of this first iteration — the rounded shapes and tags, white backing color and the use of the BarCampMilwaukee icon on the back.

As I look back, James Carlson gave me some inspiration with a Wiki character he's sprayed on a large sheet of paper and showed at the Web414 meeting. It had eyes on stalks, which influenced my decision to add similar circles/eyes on stalks to the t-shirt design.

However, I wasn't sure of the dark blue color, and decided to sleep on the design until Friday.

Design Iteration v1.1

In the morning, I had the idea to try another color. bcmke3-brblue1.1.jpgSince the BarCampMilwaukee logo takes inspiration from the Milwaukee Brewers Blue & Gold colors, why not try a retro 1980s Brewers medium blue?

That's what I did, and I really loved the feel against the white and the charcoal gray shirt material.

I also wanted to describe the idea visually to the BarCamp core team, so on the v1.1 iteration, I added some sample texts in the balloons for my name, Twitter handle and 5 tags that represented my interests.

Design Iteration v1.2: Final

Feedback from Web414 and BarCampMilwaukee people was very positive this weekend, so tonight I've finalized the EPS art for t-shirt printer, complete with the sponsor list for BarCampMilwaukee3.

Thanks to everyone who helped with this project, especially Pete! I will follow-up when the shirt goes to print with photos of the shirts hot off the presses.



Woohoo! We're just 2 months away from BarCampMilwaukee3, on October 4th and 5th at Bucketworks, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

BarCampMilwaukee3 Logo Design

This morning I've updated the BarCampMilwaukee3 logo and icon designs, and am starting to ponder ideas for the t-shirt design for this year's event.

What's a BarCamp?

In a nutshell, a BarCamp is an event where technology people come together and share what they know, in a low-key environment. There are no keynotes or special speakers — anyone who attends has an opportunity to present their ideas and knowledge. There is a heavy emphasis on sharing with others at BarCamp events. It has earned the name "unconference" because it turns the conference idea on its head.

How much is it?

BarCampMilwaukee3 Icon DesignIt's a free event, paid for by sponsors, which makes it easy for anyone who wants to come to be there. It's also a great way for sponsors to give back to the local tech community, and already we have a number of sponsors signed up. If you're interested in sponsorship, a donation of $200 to $500 gets your name on the website, t-shirt, and a sign and mention at the event. Not bad!

What will I eat & drink, where can I stay?

Food and beverages are provided for free. Sponsors provide many of the meals and snacks and several of the attendees bring along food and beverages to share if they like. If you want to save cash on a hotel room, you can crash for the night at the event, all you need is a sleeping bag and a pillow.

Where and when is it?

It's taking place at Bucketworks, the "World's First Health Club for the Brain" at 1340 N. 6th Street in Downtown Milwaukee. It's taking place October 4th and 5th, 2008, with a kick-off party happening on October 3rd (my birthday!).

BarCampMilwaukee2 Video

Here's a video by my friend David, from BarCampMilwaukee2:

Come to BarCampMilwaukee3!

You are invited you do come to Milwaukee and experience BarCampMilwaukee3. It's a great opportunity to learn, share and connect with others who love technology, the web, hardware and social media as much as you do.

Questions? See the Getting Started section of the BarCampMKE3 site, or Join the BarCampMilwaukee Yahoo mailing list. You can also leave a comment here and I'll do my best to answer your question.