Create dungeon maps with Dungeon Scrawl

I created this simple dungeon map in just a few minutes

I have long been a fan of maps.

Dungeon Scrawl is a free, online resource for quickly creating old school dungeon crawler maps for RPG games (or just for fun!). It features:

  • A variety of map styles, brushes, tools and fonts
  • Support for layers
  • Isometric edit mode
  • Multi-page PDF export
  • Easy VTT compatibility
  • Import generated dungeons
  • Import images of assets

Three guitars that made me go “Wow!”

Over the years there have been only a few guitar designs that I have found quite beautiful and made me stop in my tracks and simply say, “Wow!”

Brian May Red Special

The first is, obviously, Brian May’s handmade Red Special. The original was built by Brian and his father from various materials including a hundred-year-old mantelpiece and a knitting needle. The model below is the Super, made by Brian May Guitars, available for £2,950.

This is the perfect electric guitar, as far as I am concerned.

The BMG Super

Parker Fly

First produced in 1993, I first saw the Parker Fly in the pages of Guitar World magazine. Designed by Ken Parker and Larry Fishman and sold by Parker Guitars, the Parker Fly is made from various tone woods with a carbon fibre exoskeleton and a combination of both traditional magnetic and piezoelectric pickups.

There is still something that I find quite beautiful about this instrument.

Parker Fly

Fender Acoustamatic Jazzmaster

And then this week, I first saw the new Fender Acoustamatic Jazzmaster. Versatile, combining rich acoustic tones and overdriven electric sounds, and quite beautiful.

Wow!

Fender Acoustasonic® Jazzmaster®

Unsubscribing from emails

Photo by ÉMILE SÉGUIN 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Over the last few years, I have been slowly embracing a more minimalist approach to life. For me, minimalism isn’t about ditching everything and living a stoic lifestyle with nothing on my countertops and empty rooms—it’s about living with purpose and only keeping those things that bring value to my life.

Something that I identified that does not bring much value is the tens of email newsletters that I found myself receiving daily. I found them distracting. I found them time-consuming, going through each and needing to decide what to do with it… win it or bin it? Mostly, I’d bin in. What a waste of electricity!

A few weeks ago, I took delivery of Cal Newport’s latest book A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Overload. As I began to read it, I was immediately inspired to begin to reduce the amount of email I receive.

I opened a Trello ticket on my current projects board called “Unsubscribe from email newsletters” and created a list to capture everything that I unsubscribe from; that way, if I realise later that I did get value from it, I knew where to go to resubscribe.

I had one simple rule: does this email newsletter give me value? If the answer was either no or I’m not sure, I unsubscribed from it and recorded that in my list.

I have been running this experiment for a little over one month now and I have unsubscribed from 67 email newsletters.

My inbox is now much clearer.

It takes me only a few minutes each day (rather than maybe one hour) to deal with emails.

I can immediately see messages of value—emails from friends and strangers, emails requiring action, and the newsletters that I do want to read and from which I get a lot of value, for example the curious journal and weekly offerings from Documentally).

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of email, I thoroughly recommend it.

System-wide colour picker added to Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10

Colour picker settings in PowerToys for Windows 10

Last year I tested out the new Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and liked what I saw.

One of my favourite additions since then is a system-wide colour picker utility that enables you to pick colours from any currently running application (including Windows itself) and automatically copies it in a configurable format to your clipboard.

With PowerToys running and Color Picker (sic) enabled, press Win + Shift + C.

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Beware the Ides of March

My dad, through the years until shortly after his illness in 1983

Last week, I realised that it was exactly 38 years since my father had his first of three subarachnoid brain haemorrhages. He was 38 years old.

This has been the first anniversary of Dad’s first haemorrhage without Mum which is maybe why I’m writing about it now. I’ve also been scanning a lot of photos from my Mum’s collection which is helping piece together some of the puzzle.

The soothsayer in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar warned the Roman emperor about the 15th of March, “Beware the Ides of March”. It’s a phrase that took on a very real meaning for our family.

On Tuesday 15 March 1983, my father Keith Saunders was in his birthplace of Nottingham to deliver the 1982/83 IEE Faraday lecture The Photon Connection about how fibre optics (light) would revolutionise communications. Shortly after he had stepped off the stage in Nottingham (I think it was at the Royal Concert Hall) he was giving an interview to the BBC about the lecture tour when he suddenly felt very ill. He turned, vomited and collapsed onto the floor. (I’ve often thought, somewhere, at some point, the BBC had footage of my dad vomiting!)

It had begun as an ordinary Tuesday in March but one that changed all of our lives forever.

Continue reading Beware the Ides of March