Editorial: Easter.
Travel: Tel Aviv City Stories.
Technology: Regain your privacy.
Stationery: Tombow Irojiten Colour Pencils.
Gadgets and Gear: Morsel Spork.
Books and Writing: Letter writing hints.
Miscellaneous: Stressed? Go to the park.

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NOTICE: Because of the Easter Holiday PD:Cool Things will not be published next weekend. Issue 175 will be published on the following weekend.

PD wishes everyone a Happy Easter.


[Above: Last Supper fresco, Kremikovtsi Monastery, Bulgaria, 16th century AD]

PD also wishes people a Happy Passover.


[Above: Israel's Escape from Egypt, The Providence Lithograph Company, 1907]

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TRAVEL: Tel Aviv City Stories

In PD: Cool Things Issue 169 PD introduced the City Stories guide to Jerusalem, a travel guide based on the views of locals and which you personalise to be your record of your visit there. City Stories has now issued a similar guide to Tel Aviv.


Tel Aviv is a vibrant city on the Mediterranean coast, famous for its beaches, restaurants and cultural life. It can also be a base for exploring the region.



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TECHNOLOGY: Regain your privacy

On line privacy is very topical, especially in view of the recent revelations about Facebook. This is the tip of the iceberg. Every time you do a Google search, click "like", go to a website or subscribe to a newsletter you are traced. It all adds up, allowing companies to get a profile of you - your "habits, movements, relationships, preferences, beliefs and secrets" [The 8-Day Data Detox Kit]. They use this data to target you for advertisements, and the data is traded with others. Do you really want everyone to have access to your personal profile?


The Glass Room, a joint effort of Mozilla and the Tactical Technology Collective, developed the 8-Day Data Detox Kit to help you regain your privacy. The program is broken up into eight days, each day requiring less than thirty minutes' work. The program walks you through the steps to clean up as much data that is out there as possible and to make sure that in future you leave minimal tracks. It will clean up your apps, social media, search engines and make you less traceable on your main computer, tablet and cell phone.


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STATIONERY: Tombow Irojiten Colour Pencils


Tombow is a Japanese company that has been producing stationery items since 1913. Irojiten translates to "dictionary of colours", a fitting name for these three sets of colours that come in book-like boxes which are in slipcases.


Three sets of three boxes are available, each with a diffreent colour theme, Seascape, Rainforest and Woodlands.


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Everyone has seen a spork, that hybrid between a spoon and a fork. The idea dates back to at least 1874, although the word first appeared in 1909.


[Above: Ice cream fork 1903-1917. Photograph: Wmpearl]

Morsel has now upgraded this humble utensil by incorporating a spatula with a fork.


Its design and the soft edge in the spatula means that it can reach most parts of the pot.


It is BPA-free and will be safe in boiling water and in your dishwasher.

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BOOKS AND WRITING: Letter writing hints


[Above: Letter from Cesare Borgia to Isabelle d'Este, about 1500-1504]

PD has previously written about the benefits of a personal letter rather than a an email, however there are things to consider before you put pen to paper.

  • Think about what you want to write beforehand. Sleep on it.
  • Write a draft or make notes and keep reworking it until you are happy with it.
  • Only write things that you will not regret later, not the next day nor in ten years' time. Remember that a letter can "fall" into public hands, and these days can be scanned and circulated as quickly as emails, or may even be posted on social media.
  • Never write a letter when you are upset or tired. Calm down first then write, even if it is a day or two later.
  • Once you have written the letter hold onto it for another day before posting it.
  • If you are unsure about what you have written, ask a person that you trust to read it and listen to his or her advice.

You do not want things to end up like in the 1940 film "The Letter".


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MISCELLANEOUS: Stressed? Go to the park

Humans need nature. Being in the city centre reduces positive feelings. Even spending time in an urban park or woodland reduces stress. So next time you start to feel stressed, go to your local park for a while. Reference below:



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Important disclaimer: Remember that crowd funding 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.

© 2018 Prowling Dog