Editorial: PD's Christmas survival guide.
Travel: Christmas travel.
Technology: Razer phone
Stationery: Christmas cards.
Gadgets and Gear: EDC Ceramic Micro Knife.
Books and writing: The World Through the Eyes of Alexander von Humboldt.
Project of the week: Tatro: a world of play.

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EDITORIAL: PD's Christmas survival guide.

Christmas is approaching fast and Christmas markets are open. As people get busy it is time to think of a few things to make life a little bit easier. Over the next few weeks PD will have some tips to help you get through the holidays, beginning this week with travel tips.

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TRAVEL: Christmas travel

As modern families are quite spread out around the globe, Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for travel. It is also a period where weather can disrupt travel.

PD's advice is not to leave travel to the last minute, hoping to make it to your destination on time. Take an extra day or two to have a buffer in case storms close roads or airports. Things can happen even in the southern hemisphere. MOTS advises PD that volcanic activity has closed one of the busy airports in Indonesia.

[Photo: Kabelleger / David Gubler ( - Own work :, CC BY-SA 3.0,]

Pack some spare clothes in case you are delayed coming home. Have a contingency plan in case you do not make it to your destination.

Above all, remember that this is Christmas and there will be many fellow travelers in the same boat as you, so smile and be patient. You could even brighten up someone's day, as well as reduce your stress levels.

For the curious: Astute readers (all of PD's readers are astute) would have noticed that the train in the photograph is a goods train, not a passenger train. The same advice applies to sending gifts by post.

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TECHNOLOGY: Razer phone

It looks as though everyone is branching into cell phones. The latest speciality phone comes from Razer, a company known for its futuristic equipment for gamers, from incredible keyboards and mice to computers.

This is a really serious gamers' phone, judging by the specs, which include 8GB of RAM:

120 Hz UltraMotion™ screen.
Dolby Atmos and THX certified audio.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 8GB RAM.
12MP dual cameras.
4,000 mAh battery for all-day power.

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STATIONERY: Christmas cards

It is time to send Christmas cards again. If you are looking for some inspiration, PD has some suggestions.

Above: Rifle Paper Co.

Above: Fabriano

Above: Smythson

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GADGETS AND GEAR: EDC Ceramic Micro Knife

If you want a flat utility knife that will fit your wallet and not feel like it is there, this is the knife for you.

The blade is the shape of a standard utility knife blade but comes in a snazzy flat holder.

The question arises as to why would you buy this instead of carrying a common steel utility blade from your local hardware store. This is easily answered.

  • For a start, ceramic blades keep their edge for much longer than steel knives. In PD's experience the steel utility blades commonly found in stores become blunt very quickly.
  • This blade is razor sharp and will cut Kevlar and ultra high density polyethylene ropes.
  • The knife comes in a well designed holder and will not fall out.
  • It is non-corrosive, so will not be affected by water.
  • It is lighter than steel but at these weights few people will notice the difference.

The knife is ideal to keep in a survival kit, fishing kit, first aid kit or just keep one in your wallet.

The downside to ceramic blades is that they are brittle, so do not use them for prying something apart or as a screwdriver. Purists will say that you should not use any knife in these ways.

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BOOKS AND WRITING: The World Through the Eyes of Alexander von Humboldt

Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, 1769-1859, remains one of the great men of science and exploration. Born in Berlin, he traveled extensively, contributing to the natural sciences, particularly flora and fauna, geography, and surveying and mapping. He is most famous for his two long journeys, in South America and in Russia.

[Painting: Joseph Karl Stieler]

He was a prolific writer, and included beautiful illustrations. For his contributions to the sciences he was awarded with a doctorate, nominated Chamberlain and was accepted into the Academy of Science.

This beautiful book, published by Kronecker Wallis, is a compilation of about three hundred representative drawings illustrating the work of Alexander von Humboldt.

This is the third project from this publisher. The first two, previously featured in PD, were "Isaac Newton’s Principia reissue" and "Euclid’s Elements. Completing Byrne’s work".

Note: all illustrations except the painting are from the book.

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PROJECT OF THE WEEK: Tatro: a world of play

This is the antidote to children spending too much time looking at tablet and phone screens. Tatro is a toy theatre that allows children to use their imagination again.

Based on the toy theatres used by previous generations, this one uses magnetic pieces to allow children to create scenes and to move the puppets.

Children will have fun and benefit by creating scenes, telling stories, and creating characters, as well as learning to interact with others.

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Important disclaimer: Remember that crowdfunding sites are not stores. You may decide to back this project and provide funds, however there is no guarantee that any project will be delivered - the rate of failure is about 10%. PD is in no way accountable for the success or otherwise of any project and writes in this column purely for entertainment purposes, and will in no way be held liable for any failure or money lost by anyone. It is a case of "buyer beware". It is a sad reflection on the era we live in that PD must resort to this type of disclaimer.

Note: Photographs and illustrations are from the relevant websites and are the copyright of the respective owners.

© 2017 Prowling Dog