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He's Back!


That’s right, the wanderer has returned! Some of you may be wondering: where have I been? What have I been doing? Actually, I’ve been heavily involved in a number of projects. I investigated a number of web-based money-making opportunities which utilized all of my multi-media and artistic skills. But porn doesn't have dental.

For a while, I was working on an idea for an invention. Actually, it’s an improvement on an existing product, the GPS.

Keeping a Career Research Binder

People keep journals for many reasons: to keep a history of their lives; to record stories and poems; and to get the chatter inside their head out of their mind and on paper. And sometimes, research. Research and notebooks go hand and hand, it seems. At least it does for me. I have many three-ring binders filled with various magazine clippings, web page and graphical printouts; and articles about the many topics I'm interested in. Sometimes, however, people keep journals of their own work history.

One of the biggest notebooks that I keep is the one I keep for my career as a technical writer. I store all sorts of things in this binder: from notes about my jobs to articles taken from various trade publications like the Society of Technical Communication. I also have sections for productivity tips and techniques and links to useful grammar and writing websites. Basically, I stuff anything I feel I can use in my career over a long term goes into this binder.

Review: Ubuntu on the Eee PC

Eee PC 701 BlackIf what we're hearing in the trade sites is correct, the brand new ultra-mobile Eee PC 901 will be released in the next few days. However, the price point is supposed to be close to the $650 mark, which is a far cry from the sub-$400 sweet spot of the 701. Still, I'm eying that one carefully for my road kit, given how well my own 701 has performed. This is a little follow-up to my original mini-review.

Well, it didn't take me long to realise that I wasn't very fond of the Xandros Linux distribution that comes stock with the Eee PC 701. Don't get me wrong: it's great for newbies to Linux or for those users who want a static system that "just works" without feeling the foolish desire to tinker or to be on the bleeding edge. But, for better or worse, that's not me.

Most of my frustration was the result of a significant portion of the file system where the operating system and installed programs are stored -- to protect newbies from "messing up" the operating system, it's read-only. Yup, can't screw up what you can't change. But I didn't realise my inability to write to it at first, and was wondering why all my free space was rapidly disappearing whenever I upgraded the built-in applications. It seems that the old versions remained hidden and inactive, while the upgrades started taking up huge chunks of the valuable two gigabytes of storage space. For example, an upgrade of OpenOffice.org didn't take up a dozen more megabytes, as it would seem: instead, it took up a few hundred megabytes. Lesson learned: don't bother with any significant upgrades.

Review: Craft, Inc.

The ultimate dream for any artist and crafter is to be able to open up a shop where they can sell their creations and make a living from their passion. Thanks to sites like Ebay and Etsy, crafters can do just this. For those of you who think you might want to eventually swap out your 9-5 job to pursue a business based off your creative designs, then Craft, Inc.: Turn your creative hobby into a business, by Meg Mateo Ilasco, is your guide into getting your business started

Mateo Ilasco uses Craft, Inc. to hit all the major points of starting your own crafty company. Her writing is crisp and tailored perfectly to today's crafting audience. The chapters are loosely organized around topics such as: starting a new business; overview of business topics; making your product identity; marketing (with heavy emphasis on internet and trade show techniques); production and pricing; and how to live beyond the dream. She teaches you how to make business and marketing plans and how to act when you're invited to trade shows. The book also contains many internet resources to help you along the way to turning your crafting hobby into a profitable business.

Break Your Projects Down with Chunking

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), there is a concept called chunking. In chunking, a person takes information and either breaks it down into manageable parts (i.e. focusing on the details, or breaking down the information into smaller pieces so that it makes sense in relation to the big picture), or takes a detail and asks questions to fill in the big picture around that detail. Chunking can be a valuable tool to use when you want to understand the different layers of a project. However, chunking can also be used as a method for organizing how you approach a project.

For instance, I use chunking to break my writing projects into manageable projects that don't leave me feeling overwhelmed, or worse unhappy with my progress. Whether I'm researching for my next book or writing it, or writing a newsletter or article like this one, chunking helps me to not only maintain an awareness of the big picture of my project, but also lets me attend to the details of the project. In chunking, I can measure the actions I've taken against both the big picture and the details and know exactly where I am in my project.

A Southpaw's Experiments with Fountain Pens

The first time Doug posted an article on fountain pens, I felt a familiar urge creep up my back. It entered my "office supply junkie" nerve and made me drool. Fountain pens are the ultimate in writing shiny. A delicate balance of elegance and environmental reuse. I recall dabbling with cartridge-style calligraphy pens back in high school and how fun it was to write with them. Thanks to Doug's article, I knew that I wanted to give them a second chance. So a few months ago, I decided to hop onto the enabler bandwagon. I started researching fountain pens and what types would work for me. At this point, you're probably wondering why I said research. You'd think I'd have just gone and ordered the best looking pen right away. However, I'm a left-hander, a southpaw, and not all fountain pens work for us. Therefore, I've written this for those left handers out there who want to give fountain pens a shot. This article sums up what I know and have experimented with.

Fountain pens are not created equally for both right and left-handers. Fountain pens work different than modern pens; they are made to drip ink across a piece of paper when a hand pulls the nib across the page. Whereas a right-hander pulls a pen across the page, lefties drag the pen as our hand moves rapidly across and occasionally into the paper (depending on how hard one presses the pen on the paper). Dragging a pen makes the ink skip out so not all the letters get formed correctly. It can also gunk up the tip of the nib with tiny paper fibers because we have scratched the pen's nib deep into the paper itself. So, not only must the pen we use be a bit more rugged but it also needs to be designed to allow the ink to flow smoothly when the nib drags across the paper. Many manufacturers make special left-handed nibs, often referred to as oblique nibs, that are like a right-hander's pen but offset so that we can write with them. However, the most popular solution I've seen is to get a pen that contains a small rounded ball on the end of the nib. This ball allows the pen to flow when writing at any angle and solves the issue of malformed characters when writing with a standard fountain pen.

Review: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

Last month, I was reading an article about Daniel Pink and how he went to Japan to study the art and culture surrounding Japanese comics, otherwise known as manga. He was interested in the format's popularity; this was a book format that people of all ages enjoyed reading. He studied the culture and the form to see how it could be applied to other disciplines successfully. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is the result of that study. This introductory guide on life design and career planning in today's modern workplace uses the manga format to weave a story about a man who learns more about life and work in six easy lessons. It's a fast read, filled with entertaining scenarios, and some short but powerful ideas on how to get ahead in your career.

New Product and Special DIYPlanner.com Member Discount Offer

I have a big announcement for all our members here at DIYPlanner.com. Renaissance Art, makers of the wonderful leather products, have announced their latest creation as being ready for purchase: Ring-bound system Covers and Bags. These wonderful hand-crafted leather cases are semi-customizable and available for use with your classic and letter sized ring-bound notebook systems (such as Levenger's Circa and Rollabind).

There are many different styles of closures to choose from and each can be outfitted with a customized variety of pockets to match your lifestyle. But that's not all...

For those of us who are constantly on the go, Renaissance Art came up with the perfect modular bag system. This modular system allows you to carry all your gear and a classic or letter-sized notebook in one complete package. This shoulder-sling bag comes with a cozy main component that holds your wallet, pens, ring-bound PDA, tarot deck, Moleskine, or whatever else you "just have to have" while being out and about. It comes with a separate and detachable leather journal case that you can slip your notebook into. The journal component then clips onto the back side of the sling bag. I've been carrying around one of these bags for about 2 months now and I can say that it's one of the most unique and innovative bags around. It's an absolute joy to use. I'm able to carry everything I need for journaling in the main pocket and then have the journal right there, ready for me to write into when I have a few spare moments.

Go here to view the full product lineup and start customizing a case or bag of your own.

Starting 7/MAY/08 and going through 11/MAY/08, Arthur (owner of Renaissance Art) is graciously giving all DIYP members a 10% off discount off all the core "Ring-bound cover" products. Use the code DIYP1 when checking out to receive your discount. This includes the covers, modular covers and modular bags--14 new products in all. The offer does not include any of the additional options which may increase the price of the core cover or bag.(Hint: Due to a little glitch in their system, if you order a complete Modular ring-bound bag system and get only one shoulder strap, it works out that you get a little larger discount).

The Importance of Memory

Memory is something we deal with every moment of the day, even when it seems like we’re not actively using it. Right now, I’m using my memory of the keyboard to type the words I’m writing. My brain focuses on the content, but while I’m doing that, I’m also remembering what keys to hit in order to make words appear on the screen in front of me. Of course, while I type, I'm not recalling how to type on a conscious level. It's a part of my implicit memory. Today I'm going to talk about memory recall and how you can use the two types of memory to help yourself stay organized.

Memory plays a big role in our life. It allows us to remember skills that we’ve learned, or retrieve information that is stored in the brain, or recall a precious moment that occurred in the past. Memory also organizes information so that when we retrieve it, we can apply that information in the proper context and use it in the current activity we are involved in. In general, we use short term memory to recall information we’ve learned very recently. Long term memory is used to recall information that we’ve learned anytime in the recent past to childhood. In neuroscience, there are some fascinating studies about the types of memory we have access to as well as how memory contributes to the sense of self a person has.