Editorial: An end of year bonanza.
Travel: Escher not as you know him.
Technology: Meet Nano1, Tiny1's smaller brother.
Stationery: That time year again.
Gadgets and Gear: Clothing emergency? Reach for your pocket pen!
Books and Writing: Your favourite books as scrolls.
Miscellaneous: Para bellum with Medieval Kits.
PD: Store

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EDITORIAL: An end of year bonanza.

The end of 2018 has seen a flurry of releases of great innovative gear that is ideal for travel but which is just as useful at home. PD continues to be impressed by the brilliance of young people today with limitless imaginations. This would not have been possible without the opportunities to get those ideas out there and letting the people decide what is good, thanks to the internet.


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TRAVEL: Escher not as you know him.

Most people will be familiar with the Dutch artist's famous optical illusions which are regularly reproduced - those endless stairways or impossible rooms.

[Above: Wikipedia]

Less well known are his earlier works. Escher was a tallented artist with a great mathematical mind. However his early work, which is absolutely brilliant, consisted of nature and countryside. These were devoid of optical illusions.

[Above: Castrovalva, Wikipedia]

It was after this period that he starting experimenting with reflections, spheres and perspective, which became more complicated with every work that he produced.

[Above: Snakes, Wikipedia]

You can admire Escher's works at various museums, however to get a real understanding of this artist's work and how it evolved, you must attend a temporary exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. For the exhibition, the National Gallery of Victoria (itself housed in a beautiful modern building set in wonderful gardens) has teamed up with Japan design studio Nendo and brought together many of Escher's works to life.


More information here:

This report was mainly prepared by M.O.T.S.

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TECHNOLOGY: Meet Nano1, Tiny1's smaller brother.

Way back in 2016 (that is a long time in Tech World) the Tiny1 caused a sensation as being the world's smallest astronomy camera. Well, TinyMOS, the company behind it, has released an even smaller version, the Nano1.


Don't let the small size fool you. This little camera has serious specs, including a 12MP Sony sensor. Accessories available include a zoom lens, telescope adaptors and Canon and Nikon mount adapters. Small M12 lenses are scheduled to be released as well.


By tethering it with your phone you can have a virtual reality of the sky and share your pictures on line.


Check it out here:

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STATIONERY:  That time of year.

With 2019 virtually upon us PD hopes that you are prepared for a great year ahead. Remember to take responsibility for progress by setting realistic goals and a plan to achieve them. You will need a diary to keep control of your time and a goal planner to keep you on track. If you are wondering what PD is going to do, apart from his ongoing long term goal planner "road test", he will be using his favourite diary, the X17, and the Hobonichi Techo planner. Both have been reviewed previously in PD: Cool Things (see issues 104, 113 and 186 - links below).

The X17 diary comes in a variety of sizes, however PD likes the A7 size because it is easy to take with you. It has PD's favoured vertical layout.


The Hobonichi Techo planner is a minimalist A6 day-to-a-page planner. It is printed on thin but beautiful Tomoe River paper. It is ideal for jotting down ideas, plans and recording meetings, conversations and phone calls.


For 2019 it comes with a 4-colour pen and a Not-Scary Bear paperweight.



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GADGETS AND GEAR: Clothing emergency? Reach for your pocket pen!

PD has seen pens that double up as knives, screwdrivers and other tools but he has never come across anything quite like this. Two of the commonest emergencies when out and about is needing a pen to jot down a note, and a clothing mishap - a broken strap on a dress, a loose button or an accidental tear, so why has no-one (to PD's knowledge) combined the tools for these in one handy gadget? Well, fret no more. The Darter is a tiny pen that has a hidden sewing kit.


It may be small however everything is top quality. Available in various combinations of brass and aluminum, the pen uses quality Cross refills.


The sewing kit is not some cheap plastic thing you get in a hotel bathroom; it too is solid metal and comes with quality needles.


As if that wasn't enough, it is small enough to fit in the tiniest of purses or wallets.


In a brilliant move, those who already have a small pen and don't want to pay for another just to get the sewing kit, can get the sewing kit alone.

Head over here before your next date:

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BOOKS AND WRITING: Your favourite books as scrolls.

Long before the Ancient Romans invented the bound book as we know it, or codex to call it by its official name, books and records were written on scrolls.

[Above: Book of Esther, Seville, Spain]

The scroll, although not as convenient as a codex to store, has some advantages, as explained by Michael Demo, who runs Ithaca Scrollery:


In the photo above, the drape of the open textblock (1) creates undulations and shadow gradients; the gutter or "spinepit" (2) is unsightly and catches the eye at the beginning or end of each line; and the two-page spread (3) is more than you need and loiters an entire page in the left or right margin.

Michael is producing a limited edition run of books printed as scrolls. Most are housed in either card or cloth cassettes, which makes them easy to store. There is a set of emergency pocket scrolls which are ideal for travellers.


Examples of titles available are Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures Underground", Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven".

Start your scroll library here:

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MISCELLANEOUS: Para bellum with Medieval Kits.

Joseph Staggs of Medieval Kits makes beautiful wood and brass models of old war machines. Past projects include a trebuchet and a catapult (the latter featured in Prowling Dog: Cool Things issue 161, GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-161/).


If your army is short of Roman ballistae you're in luck; he has started production of this must have weapon. This pride and joy of the Roman army fired bolts at the enemy, the ancient equivalent of a missile.

[Illustration: Vissarion]

Your version will be a little bit smaller, at 158mm, however, unlike the original, this one won't crush your desk when you display it.


The model comes as a kit for you to assemble and is a working model. It even comes with 4 projectiles and a target to practise on.


Get yours here:

For the curious: Para bellum comes from the Latin phrase "Si vis pacem, para bellum" ("If you want peace, prepare for war").

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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