Editorial: Who was Nikola Tesla?
Travel: Keep your phone and computer data secure when travelling
Technology: Samsung finally releases its folding screen
Stationery: The Monk Manual Planner is not just for monks
Gadgets and Gear: Is the Marq the most striking multi tool?
Books and Writing: Digital or letterpress - which is better?
Miscellaneous: Twisted Paper Straws are good for you and good for animals and the environment
PD: Store

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EDITORIAL: Who was Nikola Tesla?

Most people have heard of the Tesla coil and also of the Tesla electric car (which has nothing to do with the actual man), but did you know that without him our current electricity supply (no pun intended - PD) - using alternating current - would not exist?

[Above: Tesla 1890, photograph by Napoleon Sarony]

Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, was an engineer. Born in Serbia, he moved to the United States in 1884. He worked with Thomas Edison but then founded his own company, Tesla Electric & Manufacturing Company. Tesla successfully developed an AC motor and sold the patent to Westinghouse.

His inventions read like a who's who of our world, and include his work on wireless transmission, wireless induction, remote control and of course his famous Tesla coil. The latter, invented in 1891, is a way of wireless transmission of electricity. It is renowned for the fantastic lightning bolts that it can produce.

[Photograph: Dickenson V. Alley, Tesla in his laboratory, Colorado Springs c. 1899; double exposure - Tesla was not in the room when the coil was operating]

Lots of things that we take for granted and that are considered modern, in fact have beginnings long ago.

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TRAVEL: Keep your phone and computer data secure when travelling

We all know that Google, Facebook, our phone companies and all sorts of government agencies collect data on us just by monitoring our cell phones and computers. When you travel you are even more at risk, but there are things that you can do to make yourself safer on line, especially if you use other people's wifi, such as at airports, in hotels and eateries.


  • Copy any sensitive data to another device to leave at home, and delete it from your phone or tablet.
  • Delete apps that collect data on you.
  • Make sure that you use strong passwords. If necessary, create new ones and do not click the "remember me" button.
  • If your device has them, activate the "Find my device" and "Wipe me" functions. If your device is lost or stolen you can remotely track it and wipe data from it.
  • Turn off Bluetooth and NFC.
  • Use Facebook and Twitter infrequently; do not advertise your whereabouts to the world.
  • Never leave your device unattended.
  • Be wary of using public computers - they are usually not very secure and may have malware.
  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This allows you to be as near to anonymous as it is possible when on line. Your browsing is routed through other servers placed around the globe, making it difficult to track. There are several available, such as the Swiss ProtonVPN, the people behind Proton Mail (link below).


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TECHNOLOGY: Samsung finally releases its folding screen

After much speculation, Samsung has finally unveiled its folding Infinity Flex Display. At the Samsung Developer Conference just held the company showed a mobile phone that opens up to reveal a second, tablet-sized, folding screen. Made from a tough and flexible polymer, the display should withstand hundreds of thousands of times being folded, according to Samsung. Samsung even stated that it is ready to mass produce these screens within months. However Samsung is not revealing whether we will see an actual phone with this type of screen anytime soon. PD asks, why mass produce a screen if a device is not in the pipeline?


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STATIONERY:  The Monk Manual Planner is not just for monks

A goal setting planner keeps PD on track and he has reviewed a few in these pages. The Monk Manual was funded on Kickstarter in under 4 hours! So what is special about it? Firstly, it is not just for monks.


In the Monk Manual's creator's own words (no pun intended - PD),

Productivity is not a race to the bottom of a never-ending to do list. Productivity is about doing the most important things well. The Monk Manual balances the mind, body and spirit. The Monk Manual has taken the best practices and put them together.


The Monk Manual has monthly, weekly and daily spreads to allow you to plan and reflect.


[Above: daily spread]

So even if you are not a monk do yourself and your loved ones a favour by getting one here:

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GADGETS AND GEAR: Is the Marq the most striking multi tool?

There is a bewildering choice of EDC tools out there. Many are useful; many are utilitarian and some are impractical. Some are there for emergencies, such as a lock pick set that will get you into your house on the rare occasion that you accidentally lock yourself out. However for everyday use what you want is one that you will find useful all of the time, is well made and looks cool. If these are your criteria look no further than the Marq.


Made by Quiet Carry, which has a history of successful quality projects, this tool features a curved cutting blade, a pry bar and, you guessed it, a bottle opener. There is also a money clip that PD sees as doubling up as a belt or pocket clip. The Marq is made from steel and has bronze washers.


There is a cool stretch goal, which is a full blade option.


Get it in either black or grey here:

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BOOKS AND WRITING: Digital or letterpress - which is better?

Thornwillow, the letterpress printer that has appeared in these pages before, released a simple comparison between things printed digitally and on a letterpress printer.


An examination of letterpress printing vs. high quality digital printing... This is the initial letter of The Waste Land under a microscope. The image on the left is a very high quality digital print. The image on the right is letterpress.
👉Compare the "P" in both images. Digital printing distorts type with more "feathering". Letterpress is distinctly crisper.
👉Compare the "A" in the images. Both are supposed to be "burnt orange". Because in letterpress we mix the inks to create an exact color, we can achieve the correct orange. A digital printer approximates the color by applying black specks to red.
From a distance, you may not notice the difference, but up close it's obvious.

A reader added the following comment:

HUGE difference and no textural relief to digital.

PD thinks that you cannot fully re-create the warm appearance and texture of letterpress on a computer. Where there is a choice, letterpress wins.

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MISCELLANEOUS: Twisted Paper Straws are good for you and good for animals and the environment

Plastic straws are a huge problem, causing much plastic pollution in our oceans and are a cruel hazard to sea creatures such as turtles that ingest them.

Straws were used for drinking by the Sumerians, about 3,000 years B.C. In 1888 paper straws were invented by Marvin C. Stone and were used until the 1960s, when they were slowly replaced by plastic ones.


Now, because of the environmental hazard, countries are beginning to ban plastic straws. These include the EU countries. So what are the alternatives? There are re-usable stainless steel and titanium straws on the market, even ones that pull apart to fit in your bag. Most people will not buy dozens of these relatively expensive straws for the odd occasion when they will be hosting a party. Well, the good news is that you can still get paper straws.


Paper Tube Co., maker of tubular paper goods, has designed these stylish paper straws that come in a cardboard tube which can be used to store other things. Do yourself and the world a favour here:

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PD: Store

X90 Planner

The X90 Planner has been thoroughly tested by PD and featured in PD: Cool Things 178:


The planner is hard back but opens flat. It is clearly laid out and uses quality paper. It is undated, so you can start working on your goals immediately. There are 90 days in the planner, the ideal length of time to achieve goals.


From US $31.95 plus shipping. Local taxes may apply in your country.

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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