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Entries in Tidbits (5)


Sketchnote Business Diary

SOMETHING NEW I've been exploring is keeping a sketchnote business diary on paper, making use of all the sketchnoting techniques I've been developing.

Weekly Notes

Years ago I wrote about using a text file formatted for business journaling, which at the time worked well for my needs. However, some things just don't fit nicely into a text file or even Yojimbo - like quick sketches.

I grabbed the Behance Dot Grid journal I purchased a while back, flipped it open and began capturing whatever crossed my mind during my week of work. As it turned out, that included drawings of ideas, URLs, appointments I needed to setup, hex values for my design projects, quotes from podcasts, music and more.

Having this blank spread of paper open to me refreshing and fun to use, especially since nearly anything that crosses my mind is fair game for capture.

Formatting Notes

The format of my sketchnote business diary is pretty loose and still being formalized, though I have found dating works well for each day's entries. Note the TIDBITS column on the right for miscellaneous items that I didn't want to include in the main diary area.

The subtle structure of the gray dots provides a grid when I want one, but is grayed back and open enough that I can disregard it if I choose to.


Stone Creek Coffee Cupping Sketchnotes

Warehouse LightsIf you're a coffee fanatic like I am, coffee cupping is an experience I highly recommend you try.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to experience coffee cupping for the first time, sampling coffees at Stone Creek Coffee Factory in downtown Milwaukee.

What is coffee cupping?

Cupping is a process of smelling aromas and tasting flavors of freshly ground coffee, used by professionals, like Steve Hawthorne at Stone Creek, to determine a coffee's quality.

Coffee is sniffed dry, then brewed and sniffed and finally tasted, with values and notes recorded on a 1-10 scale for later review and comparison.

Since this was my first tour of the Stone Creek Factory and a cupping, I decided to capture the experience as sketchnotes, to share it visually with others who interested in the cupping experience:

Stone Creek Coffee Cupping Sketchnotes 01-02

Stone Creek Coffee Cupping Sketchnotes 03-04

Beans in the WarehouseI found the Stone Creek Factory building and my cupping experience fascinating. Before cupping, Steve and Eric from Stone Creek gave us a tour of the facility to see coffee being roasted and the packaging operations in action.

Cupping was quite the experience. I was surprised at the complexity of aromas and tastes in each coffee, determined by the region where it was grown. Of the 4 coffees we tried, my favorite was the smoky, chocolatey flavor and aroma of a Brazilian coffee.

Try Coffee Cupping

If you love coffee and have a chance to experience cupping, give it a try. If you're in Milwaukee, Stone Creek offers a public cupping session every other Friday morning at 9am at their Factory location on 5th and St. Paul. Give them a call at (414) 270-1008 to sign up for a cupping session.

Thanks to Eric Resch, Steve Hawthorne and Melissa Perez at Stone Creek for making the coffee cupping session happen. I had a great time!

Other articles: Daily Cupo - Cupping vs French Press: What Is The Most Difference?


Friday Tidbits

It's the end of a good week, and I have three of tidbits to share:

Yochai Benkler's Wealth of Networks
WON-Cover.jpgLast week I came across an intriguing book called The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler. I'd heard the book mentioned by Bruce Sterling, so when I stumbled across it, I had a look.

Benkler's book discusses the shift of information creation from organizations and governments to individuals, how the internet has facilitated this shift, what it means for the future of information creation for individuals, the press, businesses and governments.

Wealth of Networks is a free download. I highly recommend listening to a 45 minute talk as an MP3 or as a Video, in which Yochai explains his research and ideas in condensed form. Oddly enough, Yochai sounds a bit like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog from the Letterman show.

Take Control of Your iPhone
cover_iphone.gifIf you're an iPhone user, check out Ted Landau's Take Control of Your iPhone e-book for $10 in December. I've found these Take Control books to be excellent resources for technical and non-technical education.

Ted's book covers using the iPhone more effectively, including activation, using the touch screen and virtual keyboard, problem solving, syncing and even a section on hacking and jail-breaking for the not so faint of heart.

Menu for Hope
mfhlogosmall_3.gifMy friends Javier and Pilar of VSur, are involved in A Menu For Hope, a non profit fundraising event organized by international wine and food bloggers.

They're offering artwork by Tom Hubbard for sale to help those in need through donations to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

It's a great cause, if you're interested, have a look.

Have a great weekend everyone! :-)


Open House Day

House PhotoIt's Sunday morning, and today is our big open house. It's been a long journey.

The past several weeks were filled with de-cluttering, tossing junk, storing away little-used but needed stuff, and cleaning. Oh the cleaning. It felt like a never-ending process of cleaning. I'm Mr. Clean.

Last night was a long night, cleaning, de-cluttering and prepping the house until about 3am. This morning the tweaking continued, as I put finishing touches on each room — washing windows, turning on lights, replacing our half-bath's 70's vanity door handles with modern ones, and so on. Like they say, God is in the details.

I began to see prepping out home like designing a logo or an icon: the details make the difference. Every time I'd think to myself "That's good enough" I'd stop that thought pattern and push to the next level. It's the same process I follow in design — pushing to the next level until it's excellent. It's a pain, but worth it in the end.

I just hope the details aren't lost on the visitors. I know that when we go to open houses, we notice those small details, and in doing so we've built up a reserve of inspiration and ideas for our own open house. I think it will make the difference.

It just feels good to be done. In fact it feels so nice in our de-cluttered and cleaned home, we hate to sell! However, we also know that it's time to sell and move to the next step in this journey of life.

Once we sell, then the next step is finding a house to buy — that's another story! :-)

Update 2007-05-27: Wow! We've heard that had 8 parties went through our house today, and one expressed interest by phone to our agent. We are very excited, and can't wait to learn more on Tuesday. Oh, and our agent was very impressed with our house preparations, which was great to hear!

Update 2007-05-30: One offer came in last night and another is coming in today, plus we had a private showing last night and have 2 more private showings scheduled for this evening. We're feeling pretty good so far. :-)

Update 2007-06-01: We had a total of 4 offers on the house and accepted one on Thursday. We were very pleased with the final offer, and now have an inspection left. Time to find a house to move to!


Thursday Tidbits

There are times when I want to write, but no major topic seems to bubble forth. Those are tidbit days. In no particular order, here are the latest tidbits...

A Clean Bill
Visited the doctor yesterday and received a clean bill of health. I'd been waiting for this visit for a few weeks, because of my weight loss now that we are on the South Beach diet. I was genuinely curious to see how my doctor would react. He was pleased, listening to my explanation of getting interested and trying the South Beach diet.

Boy, it's a wonderful feeling to hear the doctor say "great job!" His reaction surprised me, as I'd suspected he'd be pleased, but not this pleased. But hey, I'm not complaining. I still have a blood test Friday, which should verify if my cholesterol levels are down.

We now have decided on a name for our new kitty — Jasmine. It took a while to settle on something Gail and I both liked. Oreo and Checkers were cute, but we both felt a girl's name suited her better. Jasmine has been settling right in, and becoming warmer each day. We can even pick her up and hold her now, and she loves being brushed. She's still very gentle with Nathan, even after his constant chasing. ;-)

There have been some good developments on the podcasting front this past week. I've created three private podcasts for friends of mine, using the iSight camera as a microphone through a freeware app called Audio In. Audio In generates an AIFF file (uncompressed audio), which is then converted to MP3 format in iTunes.

These podcasts have been great fun, bringing back memories of mix tapes I loved to create in the 80s and 90s. One podcast was created as a reply to an email, another as an audio update sent to friends in the UK, and the latest included Gail, Nathan and myself, sharing some thoughts about eateries, with Michael Ashby (who may be visiting with his wife and mom on Saturday).

I can truly see some benefit in doing private, dedicated podcasts. There's no real schedule to meet, and they can be as short or as long as needed. In all cases, the recipients commented on how nice it was to hear my/our voices in this way. Private podcasts also avoid bandwidth over-usage that many podcasters are seeing lately.

As long as it's fun, my friends enjoy the results and it's easy, I'll keep doing it.

Tungsten E
I've been pleased with the combination of my 256MB SD card and Tungsten E, directly related to hearing other podcasts and music. It's great to carry a selection of favorite tunes and podcasts, particularly for listening on the road.

When my brother Steve was here last weekend, we tested out his Griffin FM transmitter and I was hooked! I've been using a cassette adapter for years, which works, but wireless FM is much more convenient. Have to keep a sharp eye open for deals on these now.

So, that's the tidbit update for Thursday. I have a few fuzzy ideas for dedicated posts, which might appear early next week. Until then, have a great weekend everyone!