Blog maintenance day

Blog maintenance day

For the last few weeks I’ve been filling in all the dead-air that I had after March 2009. I’ve written six new posts, assembling them from leftover parts by reporting on projects which I had wanted to write about, but couldn’t. It’s been fun, because by doing that many in a row I smoothed out the posting process itself. It gave me practice, and I got to debug a few things along the way.

So today I hopped online, looked at the things I’d written, felt really pretty good about it all — and immediately got that familiar creepy feeling: "No Backup." (more…)

iPad — what it is and what it’s not

iPad -- what it is and what it's not

I went to the bank last week, and I had my computer Joe slung over my shoulder just in case I needed something. It turned out to be a good thing because I was missing some account info. While I was looking it up I could see my banker was watching with quite a bit of curiosity. Finally she said "Wow, that’s pretty cool, I’ve never seen an iPad before."

Now Joe is a lot of things, but he’s definitely not an iPad. Just for starters, he’s a 3 pound ruggedized brick, built for construction sites. He’s all Windows. He might be portable, as real computers go, but still he’s full-size. My banker is a smart person. It’s just that for many people the iPad is the first slate they’ve run across.

iPad’s ARE beautiful. Much more beautiful than Joe. I got to play with one “˜til my heart content, at the Apple store in Salt Lake when they first came out. Now… I’m keenly aware that the world doesn’t need another blogger jabbering about the iPad. But because I have five years of computing exclusively on a slate, I did see that I was having an entirely different experience than the other people in the Apple store. (more…)

Hi Joe, Bye Moe

Hi Joe, Bye Moe

I’ve now had my new computer, Joe, three full months, plenty of time for bonding. My old computer Moe is pushing five years old. Here’s a family portrait:

Joe & Moe on desk

Joe is just the next generation on Moe. They’re both slates as you can see, from Motion Computing. Moe was my favorite computer of all time, and Joe is just better yet. Since a sweet computer is one of the three pillars of Pete’s happiness (and the other two are also doing very well right now) I’m feeling quite cheery.

Prior to Moe I was what you would call an "advanced keyboarder," one of those guys with a bevy of speedy shortcuts and macros, all second nature. I loved my keyboard; I still love keyboards. (more…)

My crazy quest for pretty ink

My crazy quest for pretty ink

I’m a tablet guy, so I scribble constantly when I work without thinking about it. Most of my productive output, even in Excel or Word, is a mixture of regular text and digital ink. The minute I started writing things online I just naturally hand-wrote along, doodling as I went. Boom! I hit a brick wall. I seriously wasn’t expecting it, either. For some dumb reason I thought it would be easy to draw on a blog or a webpage, the same as it is in e-mails, web clippings, documents, or PDFs.

Well holy smoke, was I ever wrong.

So being stubborn to a fault when it comes to computers, I’ve bogged down horribly, setting things up so I can scribble anything I want to on a webpage. For starters, it took me awhile to even understand what graphical people were talking about. I don’t have an art background. I had to bump around, trying random drawing programs, before I even "got" that there’s this chasm of difference between vector and raster.

If you’re like me and never knew squat from vectors, here’s how it shakes out. (more…)

The Lamsk visits Campinas!

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Today I Googled “Transrio” and was excited to see that my findability has increased to #1, out of 2000 hits. Ah, the beauty of a fictitious word! I obviously learned a good lesson, fighting all those years with the name “Great Harvest” :-)

Even better, when I clicked “Search for English results only” it dropped out all the Brazilian Transrio’s and I could see I made it onto Technorati.com as a minor authority in Ink Blogging. Intrigued, I clicked the “Authority” link to see why, and saw that I had been mentioned on a website called Não só mais um na multidão – clicking that, I found myself reading the long-lost blog of Leo, the fellow who a year ago had asked me for permission to borrow my Lamsk. Leo & I have only traded one e-mail, but we now have this common bond in the Lamsk. He’s 27 and lives in Campinas, Brazil.

So that was some especially fun clicking. I’m the #1 Transrio in findability, I have a potential new Brazilian friend, and my little Lamsk is enjoying a mini-vacation in Campinas.
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A recipe for titles & doodles

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This blog is just a practice-space leading up to the Transrio website, which will be in Spanish. I set a requirement early on that I needed to have a way to mix natural handwriting with normal text. Over the years this has become my working style with everything else — e-mails, documents, notes, spreadsheets — and it was important to me that I crack the code on handwriting into a website. This hasn’t been quite as easy as I expected.

There is already an interesting community of people out there doing ink blogging, but most of this takes the form of scanned or clipped images of block longhand. There’s also a completely separate community of web designers (more…)

Standard Word palette – which colors are best?

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Here’s the standard color palette that comes in Word:
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Trying different title formats

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More title experiments
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Just another test of Ink

Just another test of Ink
image001.png This is a PNG file, created in Word. Wow. That was so easy…

Test: Handwriting on-screen

Test: Handwriting on-screen
… just messing around with hand-drawn graphics…

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This little Lamsk was drawn in Alias Sketchbook & saved as a JPEG. The background color was just a screen-clipped swatch. Not ideal. It looks OK here, but (more…)