Editorial: ELIA Frames.
Travel: Vostok Space Beer.
Technology: Facebook Container.
Stationery: Ephemerid Playing Cards.
Gadgets and Gear: Anywhere Tools.
Books and Writing: The Signing Machine.
Miscellaneous: To achieve goals, find purpose.

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Louis Braille, who lost his sight in a childhood accident, developed a tactile system using raised dots to enable blind people to read. His eponymous system was first published in 1829. The system, based on raised dots, has to be learned from scratch, not an easy task. It is like learning a new alphabet altogether.

[Photograph: Lrcg2012 Wikipedia]

The people behind ELIA Frames have been working on an intuitive new system that is easy to learn, as it builds on knowledge that people already have. Each letter simply consists of the main elements of the common Roman letter within a frame. In addition, unlike Braille, this system is scalable, so that it can be printed and read using various sizes of letters. This chart compares ELIA frames with the corresponding Roman and Braille letters:


PD thinks that this is a worthwhile project which will help the blind.

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TRAVEL: Vostok Space Beer


Do you enjoy a drink when you fly? If you buy a ticket on the first Virgin Galactic flight into outer space, would you still go if it did not have on board bar service? This is not a trivial question, as the young Australian entrepreneurs from Vostok Space Beer explain:

The first problem is with taste; you need just enough bubbles for the taste but not too many to make you uncomfortable. If you burp on earth only the gas comes up but in space both the liquid and gas come out. Messy. Secondly, you cannot pour a beer in space, as there is no gravity. The guys at Vostok have come up with a special bottle designed to bring the beer to your mouth when you tilt the bottle.


In the renowned Australian spirit of innovation, these guys from 4Pines Brewery got together with the guys from Sabre Aeronautics and have solved this problem. And yes, the beer must taste good as it has won awards. The beer is in the style of Irish stout and is 5.1% Alc/Vol. It is brewed in Sydney, Australia.


If you want to stock up on the world's first Space Beer, go here:

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TECHNOLOGY: Facebook Container.

Following the recent revelations about Facebook the people at Mozilla, the not-for-profit organisation behind the Firefox browser, have been working hard. Their activities have included organising petitions, giving advice on how to adjust your privacy settings on facebook, and have now released the Facebook Container.


The Facebook container is an easy to download extension for Facebook that prevents Facebook from tracking most of your web activity and tying it to your Facebook identity. Put simply, in Mozilla's own words, "the Facebook Container extension isolates your identity into a separate container tab, making it harder for Facebook to track you on the web outside of Facebook".


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STATIONERY: Ephemerid Playing Cards


Mr Cup, the design and studio of Fabien Barral, has been featured previously in PD: Cool Things, namely for its Letterpress Calendar. Now he has turned his hand to producing these letterpress typographical playing cards based on ephemera.


For those who love old fashioned design cues, this is the deck to enjoy and perhaps frame (yes, you can buy an uncut sheet as an add-on to your pledge).



There is even a set of coasters which are, in PD's opinion, too nice to use as such. Just frame them and hang them on the wall to enjoy the beautiful designs.


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GADGETS AND GEAR: Anywhere Tools

Keyport started life as a key organiser and morphed into a modular key carrier and pocket tool system. The system has now had a major upgrade with Anywhere Tools.


These are high quality tools that can be used separately or attached together. The modular design allows them to form a neat package that will not shred pockets. There is even an attachable pocket clip.


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BOOKS AND WRITING: The Signing Machine

Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a watchmaker in late 18th century Europe who built automata, mechanical dolls.

[Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr]

One of the best known and most complex of these is "The Writer", which can write any custom text up to forty characters in length.

[Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr]

He began watchmaking in 1738 and the company that bears his name continues to flourish. Four years in the making, the signing machine commemorates the 280th anniversary of the company.


Like its predecessors, the machine is purely mechanical. It contains 585 parts and is hand-assembled. It is also programmed by hand. The Signing Machine comes with a travel pouch. There is a four-digit security code to help prevent someone misusing your signature. The pen comes with the machine. Follow the link to see it in action.

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MISCELLANEOUS: To achieve goals, find purpose

In previous articles PD has given hints that hopefully will help you achieve your goals, however have you found purpose in your life that makes the goals meaningful? Deciding what you want to accomplish in your life will help give meaning to your goals and will help to give you the motivation to achieve those goals. In particular, this will help you to get through the hiccups that occur when trying to achieve those goals. To do this, write down why you want to achieve your goal or why you must achieve your goal.

Contact Prowling Dog at

Contact Prowling Dog at

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