Travel: XO 6.2 backpack.
Technology: Laptop vs notepad.
Stationery: Piuma fountain pen.
Gadgets: RBT bar ware.
Books and Writing: Snowflakes on the plains.
Project of the week: Sento towels.


This week PD rounds off his reviews of new things for the adventurer with a totally waterproof backpack. He also gets to spruce up his kennel with luxury bar ware and new top-notch towels. In technology PD looks at some research on whether it is better to take notes electronically or the old fashioned way. Finally, PD introduces you to an anthology of stories and poems written by a group of writers who meet regularly in a rural town.

TRAVEL: XO 6.2 backpack

PD is still on an adventurer theme, however there are some great new products aimed at the adventure traveler. This backpack is for people who love activity around water, such as swimming, canoeing or even hiking in the tropics.

Unlike other backpacks this one is entirely waterproof. It even comes with a unique (for backpacks) screw cap closure.

Its opening and size are for smaller items, such as a camera, towel, a little bit of dry clothing and small items, but for its intended use you do not need more.

TECHNOLOGY: Laptop vs notepad

This week's entry is different because it does not review a new piece of technology. Instead it looks at the question, "Is there any difference to writing notes on a laptop and in a notebook?"

Followers will be aware that PD both loves stationery and technology, so he was keen to do some research. This question most commonly arises with respect to students but PD believes that this question is also relevant in taking notes at meetings and even jotting down ideas for oneself.

Those educated in the sciences will also know that there is a difference between personal preference and scientific research on populations - personal preference does not mean that what a person believes or prefers is the universal truth that negates the facts of a study. So, put away your prejudices. You still have a choice of whether or not to follow the research.

The most cited study that PD could find (PD acknowledges that there are others) is that of Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, published in 2014 in Psychological Science, May 22, pages 1-10.

So what are their findings?

  1. Students taking notes on laptops took them verbatim. Students who wrote by hand tended to write in their own words and process the information and retain it better.

  2. Although students who took notes taken on laptops had more complete information, when the notes were reviewed a week later followed by a test, students who had taken hand-written notes did better on the test. They had better recall of facts and better understanding of the material.

Why is this? It may be a simple matter of indiscriminately and mindlessly transcribing information versus synthesizing and summarising content. That is, the brain uses different cognitive processes for the two methods.

So what does PD think? PD's conclusion is that you should take notes the old fashioned way, unless you are given the task of recording proceedings. Laptops have their uses but this is not it. If you want an electronic copy for editing, there are technologies available to allow your written notes to be converted into an electronic document.

STATIONERY: Piuma fountain pen

This is a stylish pen for lovers of minimalist design.

It it available in black anodised aluminium, titanium and brass.

Three nib sizes are available and the pen includes an ink convertor.

GADGETS: RBT bar ware

Sprucing up your home? Why not give your bar a lift with this luxury bar ware? These great looking items are made from glass, stainless steel, rubber and plastic. The set includes a decanter, an aerator, a beer growler, a cocktail shaker and a variety of corkscrews. Sadly there is less and less use for corkscrews as more wine comes in screw top bottles. The romance and pleasure of popping a cork are fast disappearing.

BOOKS AND WRITING: Snowflakes on the plains

"Snowflakes on the Plains" is a delightful collection of short stories and poems written by a small group of authors who meet regularly in a library in the Australian rural town of Bannockburn.

In their own words, "If you are looking for diversity of style and content you are in the right place: we are as different as Snowflakes on the Plains: each with an exquisite pattern, a delicate crystal of the same substance. Sometimes one could even think that we are as different as chalk and cheese! There is a love of nature: the country, the environment, the trees and animals, empathy for the soldiers and their loved ones: men and women who died during the Great War, excursions into fantasy. There is a fascination with the meaning of life and death and the universe itself. Exploring the past, present and the future: the hidden meanings behind it all, and there is even a good dose of larrikinism to stop us being too serious or over pompous about any of these things!"

PD thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and recommends it (rating: 5 paws out of 5).

PROJECT OF THE WEEK: Sento towels.

This week PD may seem domesticated, but then a dog has to look after his kennel.

Sento towels look good and are thin but feel soft and do the job. They are made from Japanese cotton, quick drying and are odor resistant. Their secret is in the longer, more fibrous threads.

Face washers, hand towels and bath towels are available, all in generous sizes.

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.

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