Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Notebook Have a Look - Rhodia

This is my Rhodia No14 notepad (11x17cm). One of my current favourites. These little beauties are made in France and available in a few UK stores. Blackwells and Paperchase (in Borders) sell them but there are also a few online suppliers with wider ranges.
It's a strange design in a way. The staples at the top mean that you have to fold the cover up or round the back of the notebook but it does this easily. You can use it portrait or landscape and each sheet is perforated for easy removal. They are inexpensive but the quality of the paper is fantastic. I usually write in pencil which writes smoothly over the surface but I've also written with my Stabilo Sensor (in the photo) and other gel type pens-all write smoothly with no bleed through. The red and black band is a velcro cable tie that I've put round it which slides down the notebook to both hold the notebook shut and hold my pen.
The pages of the number 14 will also fit into a personal size Filofax or a Compact size Franklin Covey binder. A bit wider than both these page sizes but great for adding notes in.
There are a variety of sizes, from wee cute ones that would fit in your trouser pocket to A4 size for fitting into your folio. They come in plain, lined and 5x5 grid. I've taken a shine to the grid version.
The Rhodia site has an English version so have a look at what they have.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Poetry in Season

Scottish strawberries are in season just now. In fact I'm eating some right this minute in between typing. It brought to mind one of my favourite poems, Strawberries by Edwin Morgan. Such a beautiful vision he portrays in it. I have no wish to break copyright but luckily you can read it at the official Edwin Morgan website http://www.edwinmorgan.com/
Morgan was born in1920 he has had a long literary career and is still going strong at this time. In 2004 he was made The Scot's Makar which is a kind of national poet laureate. A true literary legend. Check out his poetry.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Asus Eee pc

I said I would start with a few words about my Asus eee pc. Its the 701 4gb version. It's the type of thing that I've wanted for years. Something I can type documents on while I'm on the move. I like to write and I often do work on the train. It also allows surfing on the move thugh that's not without its problems a I'll come to later. Every option until now either didnt have a keyboard or was just ridiculously expensive for something that was really just an extra. This would never be my main computer but neither is it intended to be. It can play music and video and show pictures, all nice to be able to do.
The reason Asus can keep the cost down is the open source software. It uses Linux as its operating system and all the other software is open source too but Open office is compatible with Microsoft office so that's fine for work. Now if you want to change anythng it can be tricky. It can really mess up your machine if you use the update icon on the eee pc - strange but true and to sort out any problems you really need to use linux. Anyone who remembers DOS will know what I mean when I say it involves commend lines etc. I've only come across a couple f things I've needed to 'fix' and the ee pc user forum is fantastic. Lots of people who know linux give good instructions on how to do things and the wiki is great. Forums are amazing things aren't they? They are a sign that people are basically good. The number of really helpful people on all sorts of different forums is amazing.
I've found the wifi simple and easy on the eee pc. It has worked wherever I've tried it. I'm typing this in the garden. It's a pity the UK doesn't have many free wifi spots that i've found. Pubs tend to be the best places for free wifi. Coffee shops always seem to involve a cost or time limited options. I did take it to the US this year and it was great for our hotel stay. They had wifi everywhere and it allowed us to keep in touch and find out about different places we wanted to go, and look at our pictures.
I have given in and got a modem. It is pay as you go and cost £39.99 on play.com on the 3 network. This hasn't been perfect and the signal isn't that good in many places. There are also issues where the eee pc looks for an internal modem it doesn't have or when you go from 3g to 2g it hangs up, but there seemingly is a way (through linux) to sort that out. I shall try it next time I'm on the move. It seems to be the e220 modem that works most easily with the eee pc. Not sure how much I'll use it but as its pay as you go it doesn't matter too much.

All round I'm very happy with my eee pc. t does what I want it to do. If I wanted more I guess I'd have to pay more but for £200 it's fab. There are a few other manufacturers realising the potential of this tye of device now and it'll be interesting to hear how they perform. First isn't always best (ask Philips....) Let me know if you have anything different in this line of device.