Tag Archives: fountain pen

Time Management for Dummies, DOPES, and Dudes: Part 1 – The Kit

The fact Las Vegas exists is proof positive that no matter how much you believe you are skilled at playing poker, tossing dice, guessing where a ball will land on a wheel of numbers, or even knowing which side will show after flipping a coin, you are wrong. Wrong to the tune of $35 billion in 2012, which is the estimated total revenue generated by 461 casinos in the US [1]. The house always wins – and if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be there! Statistically there will always be some winners that the casinos can show as role models, but the odds of YOU being that person are stunningly low. There is only one real winner in the gambling industry – and that’s the gambling industry.

Likewise, the fact that there are so many Life Coaches, Management Consultants, and general “Let Me Show You How To Be Fabulously Wonderful (for a fee)” folks out there is proof positive that no matter how much you believe you can control you life, you are wrong. Wrong to the tune of $11 billion dollars in 2008, which is the amount of money spent by Americans on self-improvement books, CDs, seminars, coaching and stress-management programs [2]. The only winner in the self-improvement industry is the self-improvement industry.

According to Steve Salerno, the author of the splendid 2008 book Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless, there’s a self-sustaining element based on the fact that “the most likely customers of self-help products are the same people who purchased similar products within the previous 18 months.” In other words, it’s not actually helping.

Getting Organized

So let’s face it and admit to ourselves and the world that although we aspire to being super-organized, super-efficient, and razor-sharp in our thinking and execution of plans and programs, we’re basically messy slobs whose most organized closet is the one nailed shut so the crap doesn’t fall out of it. When Pink Floyd wrote the lines “plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled line,” [3] they were being optimistic that someone would be inspired to actually pick up a pen! If any one of us were to write two lists headed “Things I Did” and “Things I’m Planning To Do,” I’m betting that the latter would be the longer.

There should be no shame in being disorganized and scatterbrained. In their book, The Perfect Mess, Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freeman argue that;

Our brains evolved to function in a messy world, and sometimes when we insist on thinking in neat, orderly ways, we’re really holding back our minds from doing what they do best. No matter how messy the world is, we humans seem determined not to see it that way. We enlist all sorts of schemes to avoid having to accept disorder and randomness, but when viewed logically these appear to be glitches in our software.

If the nature of the Universe tends towards chaos and unpredictability, who are we to argue with it? In fact, in order to be one with the Universe, one should “go with the flow” and let is all slide.

But sadly for me and 99% of people out there, the need for a steady paycheck typically means working for employers who don’t share that same view of the cosmos – they want results that can be measured and sold to make a profit. Steady paychecks are the antithesis of the Natural Order of Things.

This means that like it or not, we have to strive to imposing some sort of order to our lives, damaging as that may be to the universe as a whole [4]. And it also leads to the main point of this article; how to create and use a low-tech personal digital assistant to put some structure into you day!

The Basic Kit

Here my personal set-up for the Dudes Organizational Paradigm for the Exceptionally Scatterbrained – or DOPES.

Notebook and pen

DOPES Organizer

The notebook is a QUO VADIS HABANA COMPACT (6.25 inches by 9.25 inches). It’s as wide as an iPad but narrower, and has a much better battery life – plus you can see the pages in bright sunlight. There’s also a pocket on the inside back cover that is wide enough to let you slot in standard 8.5 x 11 paper, which is great when you are in meetings and someone hands you a sheet of paper to take away [5]. The same goes for metric A4 pages. In the picture below, you can see a folder piece of paper that illustrates how it fits; and you also have room to drop in a few business cards.

Pocker in Habana notebook

Habana Rear Pocket

Strapped onto the front of the notebook is a really cool piece of kit called the QUIVER, which is basically a leather pocket with an elasticated strap at the back. It comes in different sizes, but for the Quo Vadis Habana compact you need to order what they call the “Extra Large,” which can also be used on iPad covers. I have the double pen version in black leather with yellow stitching but there are other options.

Inside the Quiver I keep two writing instruments; a Cross Torero Diamondback fountain pen with Diamine Macassar brown ink, and a Pentel Graph Gear™ 1000 with the 0.9 mm lead. Why a pencil? Because if I run out of ink, the lead will always work! The Pentel Graph Gear 1000 comes in colors and thicknesses but I prefer the yellow 0.9 mm version. It is retractable, has a removable top that exposes an eraser, and you can remove the eraser to store extra lead fillers. Not your ordinary wooden pencil, in other words.

Pen and a pencil

Pen and Pencil

When you open up the notebook, just inside I keep three special “bookmarks” that I actually made from the transparency sheets we all used to use with overhead projectors. I have several boxes of these in a variety of colors that I have “repurposed” as bookmarks onto which I attached yellow, green, and blue sticky flags.

Bookmarks and sticky flags

Bookmarks and flags

You can still get acetate sheets at places like Staples and Office Depot, and you can cut out 6-8 bookmarks from one sheet. If you’re lucky -as I was – you can find colored sheets, so that as you can see above, I have yellow flags on a yellow strip, blue flags on a blue strip, and green flags on a green one. By having these on acetate bookmarks, I don’t have to carry around plastics flag holders, and I can re-use the flags.

Now, all of the organizing systems out there in the world will have you chop up your tasks into different types, usually up to about 7. That’s far too many for me so I use the following trio:

  • Green = To Do. This is for items that I have to get done within a time frame.
  • Yellow = Investigate. This is for things I need to look into but don’t necessarily have an end-date in mind.
  • Blue = Fun stuff. Speech Dudes blog post, @etyman tweets, new books to buy – anything I want to do outside of work that if I didn’t write them down I’d forget about.

Using the DOPES System

Here’s probably the most minimal set of instructions you’ll ever find for a “time management” tutorial:

1. Write things down in your notebook whenever you need to remember them. Add a date if you want to be really efficient!
2. Write the words “TO DO” or “INVESTIGATE” or “FUN” after any text where you need to actually do something.
3. Draw a little square after the words TO DO, INVESTIGATE, or FUN.4. Once a week (or whenever you can rouse yourself to action) look page over the pages and stick a GREEN FLAG next to a TO DO, a YELLOW FLAG next to an INVESTIGATE, and a BLUE FLAG next to a FUN. Make sure the colored end stick out beyond the edge of the page.
5. Every time you open the notebook, look for colored tabs and see what you still need to do, investigate, or enjoy.
6. When you’ve done it, investigated it, or enjoyed it, put a check/tick mark in the little box and remove the colored flag, replacing it neatly back on your acetate bookmark – see, I told you they were re-usable!

Here’s an example, just in case you are a visual learner:

Example DOPES Entry

Example DOPES Entry

A are the written notes I want to do something about; B is the FUN category (which I sometimes mark as a sub-category – in this instance it’s related to my Etyman twitter account); C is the check-box, that remains empty until I do some thing; and D is the BLUE flag I use to mark all FUN actions.

And that, dear reader, is the low-tech DOPES System in all its glory! If you look back at the first picture (and the second and third) you’ll see that you can always see all the flags even when the notebook is closed. So as long as you can see flags, you know you still have things to do; if there are no flags, you are all up-to-date and caught up. (Hint: unless you are superhuman, you will always see some flags!)

Although I can’t guarantee that this system will bring you untold wealth, universal acclaim, or a knighthood from the Queen, I can tell you that it’s a damn sight better than having no system at all.

So take a trip to your favorite stationery store and get yours own DOPES System set up this weekend. And if you want to take it to the next level, which is to add a hi-tech component, check out the next part in this series: Becoming DOPIER – the Dudes Organizational Paradigm Integrated with Electronic Recording!

[1] 2012 State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment. Report by the American Gaming Association, available in PDF from: http://www.americangaming.org/sites/default/files/uploads/docs/sos/aga_sos_2012_web.pdf

[2] No, I’m not picking on Americans; it’s just that it’s easier for me to get US statistics. I’m pretty confident we could find some similar figures for any Western country, where rather than worry about finding where the next meal is coming from, folks worry about why they have to pay more for extra leg-room on a plane. http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/15/self-help-industry-ent-sales-cx_ml_0115selfhelp.html

[3] The line comes from the track “Time” on the classic album The Dark Side of the Moon, which was released over 40 years ago in 1973. I had just about hit my teens and it was one of the first LPs (as they were called) that I ever bought. It’s actually embedded in a longer verse that reads;

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time,
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way,
The time has come, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say

The older I get, the harder it has become to listen to this song because it’s so true. I can only play it if I’m in a good mood as it inevitably leads to me becoming sad and depressed. But then again, life sucks – and then you die.

[4] Physics tells us that “work” requires “energy,” and that all energy ultimately ends up as heat. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is quite explicit about this, especially with regard to something called “The Heat Death of the Universe” – or “How the Universe will die in a big ball of fire.” You see, in terms of energy, the universe is a closed system. And like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, no energy ever goes in and no energy ever goes out. Furthermore, energy cannot be created or destroyed but changed from one form to another, and the ultimate form of energy is heat. When you do any work, you generate heat; and the more heat we generate, the closer the universe is to its ultimate demise; and so the LESS work you do, the BETTER this is for the universe. Ergo, sitting around on my fat ass doing bugger all is helping to save the universe – and how noble is that! So next time some Type A hotshot trying to do 7 things at once tells you you’re lazy, remind him/her that you are, in fact, saving not just the planet but the entire cosmos and all its inhabitants, human and otherwise.

[5] I’ve tried another well-known higher-end notebook called the Rhodia Webnotebook, which is 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches. However, although it has a pocket on the inside back cover, you cannot get an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper folded in half to fit – you have to fold it into quarters. It seems like a minor detail but it is an important one to bear in mind. The Rhodia itself is a great notebook but for me having to fold a sheet twice instead of once in order to get it to fit is a deal breaker. You can see a review of the Habana and the Rhodia at The Goulet Pen Company‘s YouTube site.

The Dudes Do ASHA 2013: Day 1 – Of Pods and Paper

Regular readers of the Dudes’ blog will know that when we cover a conference, we rarely waste time on talking about the actual presentations. Those who were there saw them; those who were not can download them; and those who really don’t care don’t want to hear about them! So as ever, we’ll be using ASHA as the backdrop to topics of a much more global nature. We’re also keenly aware that as well as having regular readers, we also have some very irregular ones who choose us precisely because we’re a little like the really bad singers who try out for American Idol – off-key, off task, and off their heads.

Traveling to a conference is always an integral part of the whole experience. Flight delays, crying babies, crazy cab drivers, ending up in the wrong city – or country [1] – are not to be seen as “bad things” but life-enhancing events that can being hours of pleasure in their retelling over a few drinks in the bar with friends. So to make such expeditions more bearable, most folks have strategies for coping. In my case, it’s a book and my iPod. Except that three months ago, someone stole “my precious” along with my Starbucks card. If there’s ever a crime that cries out for at least felony status – and possibly the death penalty – it’s that of depriving someone of their iPod and Starbucks card [2]. And traveling to a conference without access to music and podcasts is pretty close to cruel and unusual punishment.

Starbucks at McCormick Center in Chicago

Typical ASHA Session

So a week ago, I bought myself a “new” iPod, and I say “new” in parenthesis because the Classic pod is now a rare example of a fossilized technology. The latest 6th generation (version 2) device is fundamentally exactly the same as the original except for a larger hard drive (160GB) and thinner case, it’s the same as it was back in 2001. Yes, that’s 2001 – over 12 years ago, which is positively prehistoric for technology. No WiFi, no apps, no BlueTooth, no touch screen, just a physical hard drive on which you store media files and then play them. That’s about it.

What makes this happen is that there is no competition in this category. If you want a portable music player with lots of memory for songs, the iPod Classic is your only choice. This is why, of course, there have been no changes – there’s no need to modify a product that has a monopoly position. Without the forces of natural selection working on it, the Pod has not evolved. I guess you can use cloud-based systems these days but I still count such technology as less portable because you need access to a wireless connection. No, what I want is to have my huge music collection available to me everywhere, 24/7/365.

A bonus to the pod is the ability to be able to load up with podcasts. As the world of wireless access expands, the idea of downloading a file to a hard drive for later use seems old-fashioned to the Technorati, but as I said, 24/7/365 and everywhere is what an iPod offers.

Which leads me on to recommendations for podcasts. What does this Dudes listen to? Well, here’s a list of things you might want to try:

1. A Way With Words: Described as, “an upbeat and lively hour-long public radio show about language examined through history, culture, and family,” co-hosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett talk with callers from around the world about slang, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well. They settle disputes, play word quizzes, and discuss language news and controversies. You may be surprised by its popularity – it’s heard by more than a quarter-million listeners each week over the air and by podcast.

2. A Word In Your Ear: Roly Sussex is an Emeritus Professor from the University of Queensland in Australia and has been talking about language to the radio listeners of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for over 15 years. It’s a great opportunity to get a flavor of how Australian English differs from other variations.

3. In Our Time: Hosted by the UK’s Melvyn Bragg, I recommend this because it’s possibly the ONLY show where you hear academics talk about… well, almost anything! The last few episodes had topics like “Shakespeare’s The Tempest,” “Ordinary Language Philosophy,” “The Book of Common Prayer, “ “The Corn Laws,” “Pascal,” “The Mamluks” and “Exoplanets.” So if you want to know a little about a lot (instead of a lot about a little) then this is well worth your time.

4. Skepticality: This is a show dedicated to the promotion of science and critical thinking. It’s really about evidence-based practice without actually using the words “evidence-based practice” in the title, and it regularly takes on pseudoscience, superstition, and con artists of all shapes and sizes.

So once I’m loaded up with book [3], music, and podcasts, my pre-flight check for any conference includes making sure I have all the kit necessary to let me spend a day going to sessions and keeping notes on anything that takes my fancy, but without needing to carry a bag around. So for the curious, here’s what I usually end up  with:

Portable items for attending conferences

Conference Kit – portable

Going clockwise from 12:00 o’clock:

1. A 3.5″ x 5.5″ Moleskine Reporter’s Notebook. It’s small enough to fit into a jacket pocket – or even the back pocket of your jeans – so it counts as portable. Designed to be held in one hand so you can just flip upwards from page to page, this is much easier than the more common right/left flip of a standard notebook. The back cover includes a small pocket that can hold several essential “Speech Dude” business cards.

2. Motorola Droid 3 for Twitter, SMS, and maybe the occasional photograph. It’s smaller than the Moleskine so fits into another pocket.

3. Monteverde Invincia Stylus fountain pen. Not only incredibly stylish with a matte black body, a shiny black nib, and black ink, the end of the barrel has a conductive tip so I can use it on my Droid (or any tablet) as an electronic pen.

4. Cross Sauvage Azurite Blue Crocodile fountain pen. It’s just a beautiful pen and writes smoothly on ink-friendly paper. Sure you can use a freebie ballpoint that you picked up in the exhibition hall but that doesn’t say “stylish” or “chic.” It’s also a heavy pen so you feel like you are actually holding something of value.

5. Cross Torero Bordeaux Red Crocodile fountain pen. This one I keep loaded with red ink – something called Syrah from a company called Diamine – so I can contrast it with the blue of the Sauvage. This one is also a solid, heavy pen and one that I use quite a lot.

6. A 5.5″ x 8.5″ Rhodia Webnotebook with ink-friendly 90-gram ivory paper and 96 sheets of ruled lines. Not something you can slip in your pocket but you can lose it behind an iPad and it weighs less. And unlike most tablets, you don’t need to worry about charging it or dropping it – it’s very robust!

These low-tech solutions might seem a little dated, but what I find is that I can write, draw, and scribble numbers faster with pen and paper than I can with a piece of technology – and that includes my indispensable laptop. The other thing that writing-things-down does is to force me to look at stuff for a second time and then summarize information in a document on my computer. If I were to take notes straight onto my laptop or tablet (both of which I’ve tried) there’s a 95% chance I won’t look at them again! So the process of transcribing my notes is beneficial for me.

Late at the end of Day 1, the Dudes ended up at the bar in the Hyatt Regency drinking some rather tasty and markedly citrusy Anti-Hero IPA. We’d never heard of it as it’s a local Chicago brew from  Revolution Brewing but the concept of “Anti-Hero” struck us as interesting – in the same way that Arrogant Bastard seemed apposite at the ASHA 2011 Convention in San Diego. All we have to decide now is which of us is which!

Anti-Hero IPA beer from Revolution Brewing

Anti-Hero IPA


[1] After a long trip by train from Germany to Switzerland, I rolled into my destination hotel, the Holiday Inn in Geneva to find that strangely I was not registered. What I had failed to realize was that I was, in fact, checked in to the Holiday Inn in Thiory, France, not Switzerland. Fortunately this is classed as a Geneva Airport hotel because it’s just a few miles over the border and a cab ride got me there eventually. Nevertheless, it’s my one example of turning up in the wrong country. Still more fascinating was that the driver came from Spain and spoke no English – just a little French – and I speak no Spanish – just a little French. So between us we managed to have a rather interesting conversation in a type of Frenglish that L’ Académie française would have sent us to the guillotine for using.

[2] Another twist of the knife is that my card was one of the first gold cards ever issued by Starbucks. A friend’s sister works in Starbuck’s corporate marketing department so sent me one as a freebie over 10 years ago. Losing this card is like losing a little piece of history so even though I was able to cancel the auto-loading of the card, it’s the sentimental value that I miss.

[3] I’m plowing through Neal Stephenson’s technothriller Reamde, a hefty hardback version with 1,056 pages. It’s really quite entertaining but it’s almost like trying to read three novels rather than one. I’m getting close to my annual target of 52 books per year but I’m going to have to pick a few shorter ones to get back on track!

Small Object of Desire: The Monteverde Invincia Stylus fountain pen – and Keyword Vocabulary

Those who follow the Speech Dudes on Twitter (@speechdudes) may recall a mysterious tweet from December 28th, 2012, that referred to something called the Monteverde Invincia fountain pen.

Tweet from DecemberAnd those who are regular readers of this blog may vaguely recall that one of the Dudes has a passion for pens that marks him out as being either very old-fashioned, slightly quirky, or perhaps requiring of medication. But the Invincia is a pen of such style, charm, and delicious darkness that I’m guessing at least one of you out there will be ponying up the $75 just to get one of these wonderful objects of desire in your hand. Literally.

Monteverde Invincia Stylus fountain pen

Monteverde Invincia Stylus

But first, because this is, after all, a blog written by SLP’s for other SLP’s, educators, language lovers, and all moms and dads with a curious bent, let’s talk a little bit about vocabulary.

In the field of augmentative and alternative communication, where the Dudes earn their daily crusts, it’s common to talk about words as being either core or fringe. Actually, up until five years ago, it wasn’t always that common but the proliferation of apps for tablets has seen the words core and fringe become almost essential to the marketing blurb of any of these apps – whether or not it’s true. Just tossing the words out doesn’t make an app a good communication tool, nor does copying what other folks have done and dropping it into a few pages make it any better. No, app creators need to learn what the words really mean before using them as sales jargon [1].

But if you are serious about creating a word-based solution, you can use the following definitions to help you in your quest:

Core Word: A word with a high frequency-of-use value that is also what you might expect to see statistically when you compare it to a large reference corpus.

Fringe Word: A word with a low frequency-of-use value that is also what you might expect to see statistically when you compare it to a large reference corpus.

Keyword: A word that has a higher frequency-of-use than what you might statistically expect when you compare it to a large reference corpus.

You’ll notice that I have purposely defined these as statistical phenomena and not as actual words that may be referred to as “useful,” “necessary,” “essential,” “uncommon,” or any other such subjectively nuanced adjectives. You’ve hopefully also picked up on the notion that there needs to be a “reference corpus” of some sort. The best reference corpus I suggest is one I like to call “the English language” because that is the thing that we all need to use in order to communicate with one another. So using the Corpus of Contemporary American or the British National Corpus is fair game. And when it comes to core vocabulary, you’ll find that even if you look at the small vocabulary lists that have been collected in the AAC field from different age group across different situations, you’ll find the same words are common to all [2].

If you’re already working in AAC, you may not be familiar with the use of the term keyword but it’s taken from the world of Corpus Linguistics and I find it a very useful concept to apply. For example, in the world of education, when folks talk about “core words” in relation to Core Communication Standards, they are really talking about keywords; the word vertex is a “core word” in math but is a keyword from an AAC perspective.

Keywords are words which are significantly more frequent in a sample of text than would be expected, given their frequency in a large general reference corpus. (Stubbs, 2010) [3]

So, let’s go back to my encomium [4] on the Monteverde Invicia Stylus pen and see what we can learn about core words, fringe words, and keywords.

The first thing is that the world of pens and paper has specialized vocabulary – or more specifically uses some words in specialized ways. This would be keyword vocabulary within the domain of “Fine Writing.” Thus, the word nib is statistically a fringe word when compared to a general vocabulary but becomes a keyword within the context of discussing fountain pens. In essence, keywords are typically domain-specific items and a sub-set of fringe.

To give you a feel for what keywords you might find, I did a quick(ish) analysis based on a 10,000 word corpus created from a popular blog about fountain pens and their use. Using WordSmith 6 software, I created a word list based on the text from the blog, then used the KeyWord facility to determine the top 2o keywords in the sample i.e. those words that were being used statistically more than you might expect when compared with a standard reference (and in this case, my standard reference is the British National Corpus).

The following “league table” illustrated keyword vocabulary in the domain of Fine Writing.

Keywords "Fine Writing"

Keywords “Fine Writing”

The words fountain and pen appear separately but when you look at the concordance data, the two actually appear typically as fountain pen, so I wouldn’t regard fountain itself a keyword – the keyword is the compound noun, fountain pen.  If I’d taken a few more minutes, I could have put the singular and plural forms together so we wouldn’t see separate entries for pen(s), ink(s), cartridge(s), converter(s), and color(s).

Knowing about such keyword vocabulary is, in fact, very useful. My enthusiasm for my new pen can be explained to you much more succinctly if I can use the keywords. For example, I recommend that if you want one of these pens, you are better off with the medium-sized nib because that will spread the ink out to facilitate clearly writing. Furthermore, since one of the great features of the pen is that it includes both a cartridge and a converter, knowing the words cartridge and converter is helpful! If I then explain that a converter is a small barrel that you can use to suck up ink from an ink bottle, you now know that by buying different inks you can choose which ink colors you’d like to have.

Vocabulary lesson aside, the pen is indeed a stylish addition to anyone’s fashion accessories. Its brushed metal, matt-black finish and fine ribbing give it a distinctive appearance with a hi-tech accent. Its darkness is reinforced by having a shiny black stainless-steel nib, which makes it look like the sort of pen Darth Vader might have used to sign the order authorizing the construction of the Death Star (“You don’t know the power of the Dark Side!”) or that Batman has somewhere on his utility belt (“Quick Robin, use the BatPen!”)

Pen showing internal converter

Pen showing internal converter

It writes smoothly and has the merest hint of a squeak as it glides across paper, which is not a bad thing in the world of fountain pens. It’s classed as a heavy pen (1.4 oz. or 4.0 grams) and so has a much more solid feel than some cheap, plastic ballpoint.

Monteverde Invincia Stylus fountain pen nib

Even the nib is black!

To boost its hi-tech credentials even more, the cap is tipped with conductive rubber so it can be used with a capacitive touchscreen; in short, you can write on your favorite tablet device! I’ve tested it with the Galaxy Tab 7″ display, the 10″ display model (my favorite), the iPad 3 ,  a Motorola Droid 3, Microsoft Surface, and all have worked just fine.

Conductive rubber tip

Conductive rubber tip

There is a white version of the pen available but that doesn’t appeal to me. It’s the blackness that makes it sharp! And with a retail price of $95, it may sound steep to those who are new to the world of fountain pens. But you can get it from Amazon for $75, and other Internet sources are quoting $65, so there are deals to be had.

Long term, there are lots of different inks to choose from. Monteverde offer a range of inks but you should check out Glenn’s Pens where there is a good article on Fountain Pen Ink along with a dizzying array of brands and color options [5]. Another great resource is The Goulet Pen Company, where you’ll also find videos related to pens and paper.

Oh, and it you do buy the pen, drop us a note – then we know who we won’t be able to impress by whipping out our Invicia’s!

[1] And while we’re at it, there is a special place in the nine circles of Hell (possibly the 8th) reserved for anyone who claims their app is “intuitive,” “ground-breaking,” or, heaven forbid, “game changing.” If it takes me fifteen minutes and four or five keystrokes to find a word like already, and if there is no way for me to actually find it other than hitting key after key after key until  I stumble across it, you have NO right to talk about “intuitive,” “ground breaking,” or “game changing” – unless the “change” in question is to set AAC back 10 years by providing sub-par sops that do nothing more than provide a 10-minute solution that then requires hours and hours of fiddling to add all the stuff that was missing in the first place.

Just sayin’…

[2] If you want a list of a many vocabulary sources, there’s one available via this Dude Link! Link to list of vocabulary articles

[3] Stubbs, M. (2010). Three concepts of keywords. In M. Bondi and M. Scott (Eds.) Keyness in Texts: Studies in Corpus Linguistics. John Benjamins Publishing: Philadelphia. Available via this Dude Link Link to article on keywords

[4] Here’s one of those wonderful words that deserves to be taken out of the box now and again, dusted down, polished up, and tossed into a sentence just to brighten up an otherwise lexically turgid day. The OED defines encomium as “a high-flown expression of praise.” It come, via Latin, from the Greek enkomion (ἐγκώμιον) and ultimately eulogia (εὐλογία) or “eulogy,” which means “praise.” And yes, the logia element does mean “speaking” and is the same root as logos meaning “word.” Only the Dudes would bring you Classical Greek and make it interesting!

[5] My favorite ink at the moment is made by Diamine and called “Syrah,” a splendid dark-red that looks particularly fetching against the ivory paper of my Quo Vadis Havana journal. I use it in my Cross Torero Bourdeaux Croc, which is a broad-nibbed red colored pen that lives in my travel bag.

Cross Torero Croc red fountain pen