Hand mole parker

July 31, 2007

Hand mole parker

Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.
A while back, I was inspired by the latest Cross paper Catalog. So I decided to photograph the casual items of my every day life. Here you see the Parker Vector Fountain pen on top of the Hand*Book Journal on the pocket Moleskine. This shows the stronger elastic band of the HBJ. You can order Hand*book journals from Dickblick.com

Photographing inanimate object is hard work. Using tripod is essential. Often, a tripod distinguishes a photographer and can give a clear edge. I had the hardest time finding the name of the Parker fountain pen name on the net. Just today, I saw a fellow Flickr’s (mlle bleue) picture with an identical pen like mine. It’s call the Parker Vector. I received this for my birthday 2005 from Poland. It is the best fine line fountain pen I have. The nib is silver color. The ink comes in cartridges. The replacement can be found on line and specialty pen stores only.

A review of Hand*book journal

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Jott, RTM, Twitter

July 30, 2007


Organization and getting things done applications have cropped up like weeds and they are joining together to strengthen each other. Twitter is connected to Facebook and Remember the Milk. There’s a rumour that Jott and RTM will join force. RTM can be linked to Google Calendar. I encounter Jott and RTM through Jason’s Ranting about implementing GTD on the web. RTM has tags which can be organized into @action, @waiting, @someday/maybe. I test drive this application. I even use it to study Polish because they are like flash cards with tags to organize the words into different categories. I have found another use for Jott, which is to jot down dreams in the middle of the night. I’d like to hear how other people have use these applications.

Andy wrote in an email:Β  “Last night, I was awake at 3AM and had some ideas for what I’m working on at work, as well as other ideas. And just picked up the phone and started jotting! What a great service. Still haven’t jotted any dreams, though. Is there a time limit or word limit per Jott? I’m pretty impressed by the accuracy. Although I think if you’re outdoors you may have to shout a bit for it to come through clearly. But I find that just the act of recording it helps you remember and you don’t even have to read the Jott.”

There is a 30 second limit per call but you can continue again without calling.Β  It just asks you if you want to make another Jott.

(Awhile back, Humourist Stepen Sharam (Steves) at the D*I*Yplanner wrote about his new concept of ‘Cattle Based Planning’ (CBP). I dare say how prophetic Steves! Remember the Milk is somewhat Cattle Based!) an-interview-with-stephen-sharam

For the lactose intolerant, perhaps someone should come up with a tea based planner?!?

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Simple Mynd Hack

July 25, 2007

Simple Mynd Hack

Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

flickr photos

Previously on ToW

Ah…it’s been a while since I worked on a hack. Back a few centuries ago…I mean months, I had a hankering for a note book in orange color. (So much for ‘fast-prototyping’. Remember, it isn’t fast if one doesn’t implement it.) My wife and I had been watching a lot of ‘Ugly Betty’. The Mode office color scheme is White with most of the office products in orange. I found a Real Simple index card set with an orange cover. Then I was given a Myndology index card set bound with the Atoma disc in several colors. This happens to be orange and it’s a perfect match made in heaven. Here is an example of combining several products together. The disc is from Myndology. The Cover is from Real Simple. And the third is from plastic box from White Barn scented air freshener. I forgot to mention that I used the Portable Rollabind Puncher which the Atoma disc accommodated amazingly well. I plan to order some book binding tape from Highsmith.com. Maybe they have some orange tape?!?

And that’s your Tip of the Week (ToW).

Other ToW related projects:

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I mentioned that I’ve been reading Steves’s humour column in DIYplanners. Recently, I befriended Stephen (Steves) Sharam, the writer behind those entertaining columns. It all started when I had asked Douglas Johnston about Nova Scotia. He moved from there long ago so I told me to ask Stephen. (As a boy, I had read Howard Norman’s fiction set in and around Halifax, Nova Scotia. Every time my Wife and I fly over Halifax, on our way to Poland, my heart skips a beat. As the on board monitor shows a map of our flight plan, I try to peer out into the cold and try to imagine what it’s like to live there.) Update: Steves has prophetically written about his new concept of Cattle Based Planning. Recently I encounter a planning system based on dairy products…well close enough. Check it out here: Remember the Milk

The following is an exchanges of messages in our Facebook accounts:

Hi Steve,
Douglas Johnson told me to ask you about riding unicycles and listening to wireless radio in Nova Scotia…I’ve only heard about these things from Howard Norman’s books
Stephen Sharam
Hey, well Doug says a lot of things that are not true:P Halifax has a lot of bagpipes, which is sort of like wireless radio. Are you on DIY? What’s your nick?

Yes I’m on DIY….my nick is my real name duc ly
what’s your nik
*lol at the bagpipes comment πŸ™‚
Stephen Sharam
Ha, thanks. My nick is ‘steves’, I write the humour column on Fridays (usually:P)
ahah….yes i read your columns…in fact I mention it on one of my interview with Rasmussen…
I’m one of your big fans….
I would like to interview you some time…maybe?
Stephen Sharam
Wow, thanks, it’s nice to have a fan:) Sounds possible. What would we talk about?

Hm…I don’t know maybe how you got started in diy and what makes you write humorous pieces for diy?
What’s the deal with your Facebook picture in profile…are you like a confused don quixote slaying at the invisible wind mill on your bicycle?…and shouldn’t you be riding a unicycle?
Stephen Sharam
Hmm, I’m not sure if there’s much of interest there. I started because Doug asked me and I write them for kicks:P Short interview:) Let’s try and think of something else.
What’s up with the unicycle thing? No, no, I came home one day several years ago and my parents had a bunch of things out for a yard sale, including the bike, so I ran into the house and grabbed the sword and had Dad take the picture. I just think it’s important to show the neighbours that you mean business:)

Duc N. Ly
haha…okay I’ll think of something else…so far I think your answers are entertaining.
what’s it like to live in Nova Scotia. Well, I am fascinated with unicycles and wish I could ride one while juggling knives. How long have you been on diy and are you obsessed with notebooks too?
Stephen Sharam
Ha ha, well I’d love to see that. Let me know before you try your unicycle-riding knife juggling and I’ll bring my camera:)
Well, I don’t actually live in Nova Scotia anymore. Not lots of unicycles, but I just couldn’t stand the bagpipes anymore:P
I’ve been on DIY since it started in Sept. 05 and I actually only use the creative parts of the planner packs. I’ve tried printing off full planners, but I keep loosing them. I think Doug asked me to write for the site because I’m very much opposite to most of the people on it in terms of personality. I’m disorganized, silly and kinda lazy. I think DIYPlanner.com needs me:)

What’s with your aversion towards bag pipes? I think I should ride the unicycle and play the bag pipes instead! Although, it would be difficult to ride in a kilt. That’s the second person that moved away from Nova Scotia. I’m not familiar with the creative planner packs. Diy sure needs you. Do you write the humour column some as a profession? How can I get in touch with a Nova Scotian? Particularly one from Halifax.
Hm…I think it would be cool to post this on my blog with your picture as a modern day Don Quixote. With your permission of course.
What gives you the inspirations for your humour columns? Who do you read or think is amusing?
Ah, you’re a very sneaky man. I thought maybe I was being interviewed and didn’t know it:P Ah well, that’s fine with me:)

My picture as a modern day Don Quixote…well, that works. I’ve been telling my girlfriend for years that she’s Sancho Panza, keeping me on the straight and narrow…sometimes.

Why do you want to find a Nova Scotian so much? Is it the bagpipes or the kitchen parties? they have plenty of both.

Where do I come up with my ideas? Actually, that’s gotten much harder as time has gone by. Several times I’ve thought of an idea that seems great, only to realize that I already did that topic a year and a half ago:) Often I’ll talk to Innowen or Doug and bounce some ideas around and something will start to gel. I think it’s kind of difficult actually to write humour columns every week on a site about productivity. Shockingly, paper-based planning is not the funniest subject out there. People writing things on paper? Stop, you’re killing me!

Most people who write humour leave themselves wide open, so they have the most options and I think my columns have certainly become a lot less focused on productivity humour over time. It’s probably a good training ground for if I ever decide to do it professionally: If I can write something funny about paper-based planning every week, I can write about almost anything:P

Great!…I think we’ll go to print! :)0 Saves me from having to think about making a new post all on my own….
Sounds good:P If you wouldn’t mind, please mention my blog as well as DIYPlanner (can’t pass up free advertising:)

Picture 1082

Originally uploaded by jeremiah_owyang.
Thomas of Scissor Monkey and me at the Portland blogger diner. Maybe I should go see Toni&Guy. I’m 5′-8″ ! I probably had a mouth full of Lebanese food or micro brews and couldn’t smile properly. Facebook once again hooked me up to this event. See his write up.

PDX bloggers have style! Check out this pair of glasses on Raven. Thomas is wearing a Cadillac bowling shirt. Jeremiah_Owyang was the photographer of the event. I Am the shortest blogger there!Β  This picture shows me with a Circa ready for interviews.


Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.
I’m glad to have with me today in Hell’s Kitchen on Second Life, a second interview with Ryan Rasmussen (aka Austin Ellison), one of the author of ‘Age of Conversation’. I’m please to have Ryan back again to talk about AoC and many other subjects. I will start the conversation by congratulating them on the success of the book.


The Age of Conversation
Click To Play



You: Congratulations to you, an author of Age of Conversation.

[10:12] Ryan Rasmussen: πŸ˜‰ Thank you.

[10:12] You: You were saying before the crash that there is quit a buzz about this book AOC…it’s interesting that I came to it through your Facebook profile πŸ™‚

[10:13] Austin Ellison: πŸ˜‰ That is what happens when you collect 100 ‘social media savvy’ minds and ask them for creative methods for marketing this project.

[10:14] Austin Ellison: Several of the contributors joined Facebook solely for this reason: to market the book.

[10:15] You: I think that it’s a great idea. The Facebook (FB) community is growing also I join because of the notebook community. FB is being used in a very creative way.

[10:15] Austin Ellison: It’s incredible addictive!

[10:16] You: Yes it is more so then any other media…maybe it’s because of the ‘mash’ables

[10:16] Austin Ellison: Last night, I was taking photographs and videos of a thunderstorm while walking down Michigan Ave solely to upload them to the FB profile.

[10:17] Austin Ellison: I used Shozu, and a few FB modules/mashables to automatically upload the media.

[10:17] Austin Ellison: I’m not entirely certain ‘why’ it is so intriguing. However, I suppose it is just a new form of journaling 2.0

[10:17] You: You always seem to find ways around it, to use it fully.

[10:18] You: Let’s get back to AOC. I always think about the story of how we met.

[10:18] Austin Ellison: Sure. I believe it you were shopping for groceries, right?

[10:19] You: Meaning that I was experimenting…around that time I was doing some PayPerPost… and the idea of asking for sample products to review on my bog.

[10:19] You: I have always like paper products and on a whim I sent out an email

[10:20] Austin Ellison: Yes. You actually had created quite an impressive footprint online with your Squidoo and word press pages.

[10:20] You: Aha Yes I was in the Polish European meat market shopping with my wife when I got that phone call from you.

[10:20] Austin Ellison: πŸ˜‰

[10:21] Austin Ellison: Anyway, I really noticed your site when I realized you were in the top 20 Google results for Levenger.

[10:21] You: So you were the impetus for my subsequent reviews of the products from other company as well… but it’s a perfect example of what AOC is all about.

[10:21] Austin Ellison: Google searches are quickly becoming a compelling new method for deterring exactly what is occurring with one’s brand.

[10:22] Austin Ellison: Thank you. I think it works best when both parties see the “conversation” as an opportunity to collaborate, or co-create.

[10:23] You: yes our real life company, a mortgage company is paying thousands of dollars to be able to be search-able on Google. In fact, I sent the article you wrote on AOC to my marketing person. She’s young and energetic…I hope she’s open minded about marketing and social media. I also showed her my Circa Rolla notebooks because she saw it and was very curious.

[10:24] Austin Ellison: πŸ˜‰ Excellent.

[10:25] Austin Ellison: An active conversation about something is pretty attractive to a Technorati spider or Google-bot.

[10:25] You: So I’m curious as how you got involved with AOC…what was the first conversation? The seed…where did it start?

[10:26] You: Can you please define for us laymen Technocratic spider or Google-bot?

[10:26] Austin Ellison: *terms for methods used by search engines to determine a site’s relevance.

[10:28] Austin Ellison: As for connecting with AoC, I started only with DiyPlanner.com working with the idea of collaborative innovation * opening new product development up to the group of natural creative-types. The DIY community was natural to the processes of brainstorms.

[10:28] Austin Ellison: I then attended a presentation by Ben McConnel of Church of the Customer.com

[10:29] Austin Ellison: It was then that I started to understand the divide between traditional PR and marketing approaches to engaging customers.

[10:30] Austin Ellison: Traditional messages were one-way. Microsoft’s Digital Advertising Solutions, “The Break-Up” did a terrific spoof of this in video titles.

[10:31] You: I see

[10:32] Austin Ellison: Although the ROI is near impossible to calculate, a word-of-mouth campaign is incredible powerful. However, it requires passionate customers + responsive merchants.

[10:33] Austin Ellison: Social media provide the opportunity for companies to really learn how customers feel about their brand through open conversation.

[10:34] Austin Ellison: Ben’s presentation leads me to seek out other marketing bloggers that might be actuating this sort of campaign.

[10:34] You: Well said….

[10:34] Austin Ellison: Large companies, like Microsoft and Google, realized the importance of corporate blogging some time ago. I was on a quest to see who else was actively questioning and listening to their customers.

[10:35] Austin Ellison: This led me to Gavin Heaton’s blog, and the open call for participants.

[10:35] Austin Ellison: My email simply stated, “I have been working with customers online for quite some time.”

[10:36] You: true true

[10:36] Austin Ellison: In my own article, I chose to speak of some of the obstacles to approaching this sort of open engagement.

[10:37] Able Whitman is Online

[10:37] You: Yes, I’ve underline a few sentences.

[10:37] Austin Ellison: Entering a community as a company representative exposes oneself to any number of incalculable slings and arrows. πŸ˜‰

[10:37] You: They are reluctant….

[10:37] Austin Ellison: Often, this is the reason companies are reluctant to jump in.

[10:38] You: I’ve asked a number of companies for product review and often I get rejections.

[10:38] Austin Ellison: However, any feedback, including negative, is vital to brand health.

[10:39] You: Extremely. Ryan, in a year you went from Manager to Director of new Media at Levenger…incredible.

[10:39] Austin Ellison: I continue to manage the store. πŸ˜‰

[10:39] Austin Ellison: I spoke with Stephen Smith at HDBizBlog about this a few weeks back.

[10:39] You: I see you as an example of what they call ‘Blue Ocean’ Strategies…

[10:39] You: Oh I’ll have to see the link

[10:40] You: Stephen wrote a post about Levenger getting it right

[10:40] Austin Ellison: Well, it was actually a more recent conversation with him where I asked if he had any advice for what I should actually “call” my position. πŸ˜‰

[10:41] You: what is it officially called now?

[10:41] Austin Ellison: A few members of DiyPlanner had suggested, “Company liaison”, etc.

[10:42] Austin Ellison: I direct Levenger’s social media program. What started as an experiment last fall has developed into something pretty compelling.

[10:42] You: I think that you have gone above the red sea of the competition and have created a position where you are in the blue…an innovative new place beyond other competitors. And that’s unique.

[10:42] Thim Vella: hello

[10:43] Austin Ellison: Therefore, “director of social media optimization/engagement” came together.

[10:43] Austin Ellison: πŸ˜‰ Thank you.

[10:43] Seth Rahja: draw

[10:43] Austin Ellison: However, it really was born from the interaction I was accustomed to on the retail floor.

[10:44] Austin Ellison: Instead of approaching social media from a marketing background, I saw it as another method of forming genuine relationships with customers.

[10:44] You: Great…let’s mention Tom Kelly’s book and his ‘Ten Faces… or personas

[10:44] You: as I would like to call them…one is the Anthropologist

[10:45] You: that is an excellent analogy for what you do…

[10:45] Thim Vella: hi Seth

[10:45] You: and you are very careful not to be too commercial or marketing it.

[10:45] You: trust is important to you as any cultural anthropologist would say….

[10:46] Able Whitman is Offline

[10:46] Austin Ellison: Tom instilled an “urgency” of innovation when I heard him speak.

[10:46] Austin Ellison: This is what really catapulted the project forward.

[10:47] Murda Cortes is Offline

[10:47] You: And that’s why when I approached you to blog about some of what you do you were careful and I was hesitant because I didn’t want to compromise your trust.

[10:47] You: Yes so it is the same for you and I because we , mostly you were doing things…stuff like fast prototyping before we read the books.

[10:48] You: In our last interview I think the readers got a sense of not being too commercialized

[10:49] You: I was evangelizing to some extent before I realized what I was doing….until Art of Innovation states it in a text book.

[10:50] Austin Ellison: It’s important that I not overtly commercialize my blog, or the manner with which I present new products in communities that are built upon “real” emotional connections. I stated in a post on DiyP a few months ago, that during a presentation to managers I felt as though I should have been wearing and official DiyPlanner.com t-shirt. The bonds between community members are real, and trust is incredibly important.

[10:50] Austin Ellison: Yes, about evangelizing, Ben McConnel’s book was titled, “Customer Evangelists”.

[10:50] Austin Ellison: πŸ˜‰

[10:50] Murda Cortes is Online

[10:51] You: In your write up for AOC there was a quote about Flickr.

[10:52] You: Levenger is incredibly fast.

[10:52] Austin Ellison: The early adopters, the 1%’ers, brand advocates, … they ‘do’ generate spontaneously. However, honest direct relationships that show a company “listens” as often as it “talks” can actually generate some of this excitement.

[10:53] Austin Ellison: That quote was from a DiyP member under the handle, Eris. πŸ˜‰

[10:54] You: DIY Planner community is incredible….

[10:54] You: It really comes from the testing of products that consumers do.

[10:54] You: I think I found out about the hpda from a Flickr hack

[10:56] You: Even with the appearance of Tom Kelly on Cira notebooks in the web, then I see him in the paper Catalogue.

[10:56] Austin Ellison: -what better method for determining if we should or shouldn’t develop a new product than by simply bouncing the idea off of a notebook community!

[10:56] Austin Ellison: πŸ˜‰

[10:57] You: Then in the next paper catalogue there is a product tailored towards that idea of Circa Jr. notebook as a tool to write books.

[10:57] You: I wonder how Levenger feels about its products being knocked off?

[10:57] You: or I mean imitated.

[10:58] Austin Ellison: There is an old adage I’ll spare you from. πŸ˜‰

[10:58] You: hehe

[10:58] You: So you encounter Tom Kelly’s book after the fact?

[10:58] Austin Ellison: ?

[10:59] You: Meaning that instinctually you knew the direction in which you were going?

[10:59] You: That is, you were playing the anthropologist even before realizing it…

[10:59] Austin Ellison: Yes ;), but his words made the project seem vital! …

[11:00] Austin Ellison: Tom used an interesting analogy I had not heard before.

[11:00] You: and what is that?

[11:00] Austin Ellison: He used the term, The Red Queen Effect.

[11:00] You: meaning?

[11:00] Austin Ellison: Referring to Alice and the Looking Glass.

[11:01] Austin Ellison: The idea is that the playing field of competitive advantage and innovation is already in motion.

[11:02] Austin Ellison: In order to succeed, the speed of innovation must be faster than the rate at which the entire playing field is moving.

[11:03] Austin Ellison: It was this concept that instilled a “hit the ground running” approach to the experiment.

(Due to some technical difficulties, some parting words were lost. Basically, I asked Ryan what was next for him. He mention mobile reviews. Ryan said that he could not have predicted a year ago where he would be today and would not attempt to. Very well said.)

update:Β  age-of-conversation-2-an-excerpt

Related Post:

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On Seaside Beach…

July 17, 2007

Ah…summer is the season of reading on the beach in the sand. What better title then Ian McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’. (I was on Seaside Beach) Now I saw this book at Barnes and Noble and read the dust jacket when I was with Andy several weeks ago. I didn’t pay much heed, until I saw Mark Bernstein blog about it. He’s written so few short impressions of this book and two of Ian’s other books.

McEwan’s interest is not so much the question of sex, but rather the matter of seriousness; the difficulty his lovers face is not so much their terrible inexperience but their incapacity for understanding what to take seriously, and when to shrug, or laugh, or simply wait. – Mark Bernstein.

The post got me to thinking, we don’t have to wait to finish an entire book to make a review of it. I think that books take a long time to finish and our impressions if written down can enhance the experience and makes for a better book review or a learning tool. As readers read and live with the book for a moderate among of time, simply jotting down these observations can be satisfying. I’ll have to go back to how Mark even draws parallels between the book ‘On Chesil Beach’ to his own listening to classical music!

In honor of the Bookography circa notebooks that’s been marked down, I’ll make a few notes on the bookography’s questionnaires. This system encourages making notes as you read.

  1. On My List of Candidates. Date discovered___ 7/17/07. How discovered/Recommended by______ (see above) My reason for wanting to read it___As a recent newly wed, I want to discover more about relationships, differences between men and women, our time and past lives. Other reasons for reading this book is that Ian is a highly tauted writer, having won the Booker prize for Amsterdam. And yet, I haven’t read any of his books. Reviewers have call him the master of the defining moments.