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Take a Hike

OK, I am secretly envious of my friend Rodney. Rodney goes hiking, camping, rock climbing and is generally outdoors whenever he has the opportunity. When Rodney’s job sends him off to far away places or he goes somewhere to visit friends, he does not spend his off time in the hotel or the local chain restaurant. He finds the nearest trails and he conquers them. I admire that.
See, back when I was younger, I was into hiking and rock climbing and such. A regular boy scout was I. Now as I have become older, and I have less time and opportunity, I am more inclined to spend the few free moments I have trying to take a nap rather than taking a good hike and experiencing light other than the glow off of my computer screen. I do not tolerate heat as well. I sweat profusely at the slightest activity performed in temperatures above seventy. I am not in the same shape I was 20 years ago, that is for certain.
Still, it is my hope that one day, when the weather has cooled, when I have a little extra cash for some decent hiking shoes and when I have a day on the weekend I can spare, Rodney will give me a call and say “Wanna take a hike?” That would make my day.

Iconize Me

OK, I have had several folks ask me where I got that little cartoon of me that is on the Contact page. To answer this question, I will quote from a previous entry I had on this which I have not had time to get back up yet:
Iconize Me! is a very unique service offered by DV Graphics. Basically, it works like this. You send them a picture and for $20.00, for the basic package, they will send you a digital caricature of the picture you send as a computer icon! You can then copy and paste that icon to any file or folder.
The entire process could not be easier and it only takes about two weeks from the time you place your order until the icon is delivered via e-mail to your inbox. That is amazingly fast considering that each icon is custom “drawn” to order. The icons are compatible with both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. You can also order up a Windows version for an additional cost. ”
For additional charges they will not only send you the icon but also the original Photoshop file they used to draw your caricature. This is what we used to make the version you see on the Contact page.
I should also mention that they do get very busy (I believe it is just one guy doing them all himself). Therefore, sometimes they stop accepting orders. If they are not currently doing so check back in a few days and they may be again.

Introducing…

introducing…
Today I officially launch, this, my new personal website. Some of you have already had sneak previews but now the site is officially done and open to everyone. I invite you to come take a look. This will be the new home of my online weblog/journal and I will be expanding the content over time. This new weblog will replace Macinstuff, the weblog formerly hosted on the servers of Carleton College. I am still in the (slow) process of reposting content from my previous blog and fixing the cross links between the posts so do bear with those URLs that still link back to Macinstuff.
A special thanks goes to my good friend Michael Armstrong who was instrumental in bringing the vision and look of the new site to reality.
Another special thanks goes to my love, Bethany. Without her generosity and support, I would not have had the time I needed to get the site up and running so quickly. This was especially true this past Saturday, when a scheduling mistake on my part meant I was not able to help her with an important event. Thank you so much for being, well, everything.
I do not have a comment section on the journal yet so, please, send e-mail to patrick -at- patrickrhone.com (replace “-at-” with “@”) and tell me what you think. I would really love to have your feedback.

Improving My Email Fu

Amongst the many web changes I have been making lately, the one that has been the biggest change for me personally is the changes I have been making to my e-mail.

The first task was to get rid of the 7 different e-mail accounts I had and focus on only two. I have one for personal mail and one for business mail (and one at my job at Carleton but I am not counting that one). The first thing I did was to forward most of those other accounts to my personal one. This will make it much easier to make sure all of my stuff goes into one place.

Next, when setting up my new personal account I chose to set it up via IMAP instead or POP, another big change for me. The thought of having all of my mail stored on a server instead of locally once terrified me. There was some element of control I thought I would be losing. In fact, the opposite is true. Using IMAP allows me to set up folders the way I want and access my mail from any of the machines I own and have it all look the same. Not only that but I know it is being backed up by my hosting provider, secure and off site, so should my hard drive go south or my house burn down I can still get to my mail.

Speaking of folders, in an earlier post I mentioned Merlin Mann’s Macworld Article that outlined a very simple but powerful way to organize and process your email that ensures everything gets responded to in the proper manner and/or archived and keeping your inbox clear. I implemented this system at work and found it to be quite sucessful. Now, I have finally gotten around to implementing it in my personal life. The combination of this system and IMAP will prove to be invaluable by allowing me to constantly stay on top of my e-mail organization and respond to items quickly.

This system has also forced me to think long and hard about the items I choose to receive and manage. I have redirected all of the newsletters and list mail that I receive to my Gmail account. I have been using this account as a “junk” account for some time but now I have another good use. Now, the items coming to this account is not distracting from my “real” e-mail, I don’t have to delete or otherwise manage them and I can be assured that they are there fo reading at my leisure.

Neal Stephenson Interview

My friend Dawn sent me a link to a great interview with one of my favorite authors, Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle). Stephenson provides his always witty, insightful and sometimes flip answers to a iety of topics surrounding and including the themes set forth in his books. A great read even for non-fans.

Blinksale

Yet another web application to replace one that lives on my computer. Blinksale is a new web app that is designed to help small businesses create, send and manage invoices. I have played around with it a little and it is killer so far. It is very much like a 37 Signals product so if you love Basecamp, Backpack and run a small business you will love this. I have been a long time user of Customer Tracker to manage invoices for my Consulting Business. It has not seen an update in ages and I get the sense that the developer has no plans to make improvements any time soon. Therefore, I am going to give Blinksale a trial run and see how it does.