Surf's up -
Staying in touch when you're on the move is a frequent problem for laptop owners such as myself. When I'm out and about, it's great to make the most of those unfilled spaces in the day. Unfortunately, free and easily accessible wireless hotspots are too few and far between.
I have a great suggestion below, as well as a way to expand your reading list through your inbox, a site that documents the serious side of Dr. Seuss, and - at last - the ideal test for the typeface expert who happens to have a cheese addiction. Let's get started.
Local library hotspots
Got a laptop and a need to get online? Consider using one of the dozens of hotspots available within the Newfoundland and Labrador public library system. This map will direct you to the nearest library and advise on whether any of the locations are down (which, granted, will not be helpful if you're still offline). Registration is required, but easy to arrange. Don't forget that most libraries offer excellent online services, too, through their own equipment ... not to mention all those old-fashioned books and stuff.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov is one of those books that has eluded me so far: it's pretty huge, and intimidating, and thus easy to make excuses not to read. So I'm trying something new. Each morning, a service called Daily Lit is e-mailing a chunk of the text to me for me to read. That way, I figure, I can try to tackle the novel in modest-sized pieces (about 650 words each). It's just one of the books available on Daily Lit; many are free, others are available at affordable prices. You can opt to have texts mailed to your inbox or distributed through an RSS feed.
Qwerty vs. Dvorak
If you can type at all decently, you should recognize the word "qwerty" - it's the name assigned to the standard keyboard layout, based on the six letters in the upper left corner. It's a configuration that takes some time to master, although it generally works well. But there's a small group who insist there's a better, more efficient way to type. This Wall Street Journal interactive shows the differences quite well. Click around the page to find an article on smartphone design, for which the interactive was created as a sidebar.
Cheese or Font?
Wellington, Tallegio, Sardo, Dobkin - are they products you can buy at a cheese shop, or unusual fonts you can use for setting your type? This game is a fun little diversion for a one-minute break, and you might learn something along the way, too.
Dr. Seuss Went to War
Years before he became famous as Dr. Seuss, Theodore Geisel developed his creative talents as a cartoonist for the 1940s New York newspaper PM. Many of his topics were political, and because of the times, a lot of them were about the Second World War, including some illustrations that pitched the sale of war bonds. Readers familiar with the Cat in the Hat, the Who-hearing Horton and his many other children's books may be intrigued to see a deadly serious side of a beloved artist.
Advertising Slogan Generator
How hard could it be to come up with a catchy advertising slogan? Professionals will tell you it comes after countless hours of research and testing, and while they certainly have a point, this absurd little game is much faster and a whole lot more fun. For an extra laugh, type in a familiar word - like the name, say, of someone you know - and see the clichÉ-ridden slogans that spin out of it.
John Gushue is a writer in St. John's. Blog: johngushue.typepad.com. Twitter: twitter.com/JohnGushue.