Thursday, January 10, 2019

Moleskine digital pen

I do not always have to run through the airport to get in time for the flight, so I had the time to visit a Moleskine store.
The first thing that caught my eye was the Moleskine digital pen and notebook.
Moleskine digital set
The set costs 229 EUR and you get the pen and a notebook. The digital pen works only together with this notebooks so you can write on anything and get the thing digitalized (or at least this was the claim of the seller). The pen has a replaceable cartridge, that can be easily swapped when it runs out of ink. The pencil connects through Bluetooth to send the digital version of your writing. The pen has a tip that tries to mimic a fountain pen. Its shape makes it pretty comfortable in hand.
The minus I see is that the pen requires a little pressure to record in a digital version what you write. If you just make a fine line on the paper there is a chance that it will not be recorded integrally.
As cool as this thing is I do not think this is the future of the pen. Somehow for me, it seems a bit outdated. A few years ago this was the coolest new thing, taking notes and having them digitalized instantly.
But now I think there are better options. As a student, you could use a tablet to take all the notes, which is small and compact. Or you could still use the classic pen and paper and scan or even better, use the phone to scan the documents and digitalize everything.
Phones are getting so much, and cameras on them start to be decent. For a long time now I stopped scanning documents. I just take a picture, and there are a ton of apps free and paid to straighten the paper, crop the excess, ocr the writing and so on.
Plus you can scan this way any kind of paper.
pokemon, harry potter, moleskine, notebook
Pokemon and Harry Potter Moleskine notebooks
Of course, this is what I think, and I could be totally wrong about it. I would be really curious to see the impressions of people who own and use digital pens.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Review of the Otho Conception mechanical pencil

Merry Christmas to everyone, even if it is a bit late. This is a late Christmas special post featuring the very interesting looking OHTO Conception 0.3.  To be honest I meant to write it for some time now but got distracted with work, life, and laziness. I meant to write it just before Christmas but I have lent the camera so I couldn’t take the needed pictures.
Excuses aside I want to review the Conception mechanical pencil which I have mentioned about in a previous post. Tanks to Matthias from Bleistift blog, Dave from Dave's mechanical pencils and
Brad from The Pen Addict.
This pencil was reviewed by Mathias from Bleistift.com some time ago, so please check his post and the youtube video.
I have seen them at that time but can’t remember the conclusion so this will be my view on the mechanical pencil. It will be interesting to see after, how each views the same product.
First of all the color, which I find it to be very nice. It could be seen as a bit feminine, but I think it works for everyone. It is an all metal body, with the barrel a light pale purple, a midsection with a darker violet. The grip is a mat finish gray that has a bit of tactile feel to it and it has enough grip. The rest of the pencil: tip, clip, and pusher are glossy gray.
The pencil has very subtle markings, OTO and Conception along with lead size, that is written in a color that is close to the barrel color and in a small font. It gives the pencil a clean look and technical feel.
This pencil has 2 very interesting features that make it a bit unique. The first thing that you notice are 4 holes in the side of the barrel that show you how much the lead advances. Yes, you can control it. So if you ever felt the traditional mechanical pencil doesn’t got this right you can opt for the Conception. At the maximum setting, the lead will advance 15 mm after 10 clicks and the minimum setting will offer 4 mm of lead for 10 clicks. A huge difference, and of course you can set it any ware between this 2 values.
The second unique feature of this mechanical pencil is the fact you can have a fixed sleeve or a retractable sleeve. By screwing the barrel to the grip you make it a fixed sleeve, that is very good for technical work, and precision lines. While for general writing you might prefer to have a sliding sleeve, so you will click the advance mechanism a lot fewer times. This makes the pencil pocket safe because the sleeve slides all the way in.

The clip and the eraser are good and I do not have complaints about them. One thing that is reminiscent of older pencils is a pointy tip imbedded in the eraser for unclogging the pencil. Rotring has dropped this after the first generation of Tikky, so I do know how to feel about it. Is the pencil not reliable enough and the manufacturer knows you will get into trouble? or is it there just to give you comfort and ease of mind in case something goes wrong? Take it the way you want, I am a bit skeptical.

One thing I have not talked about is the lead size. The pencil in my possession is a 0.3 m lead. It is the first one for me.
I don’t know how to feel about it at this moment, as I have not used it enough. Lately, I am incline to use 0.7 mm more often than the 0.5. I think this is because I rarely need the pencil to do detailed work and mostly I use it for notes. Engineer or not computers are used for the real work stuff while paper and pencils are mostly used to put down some thoughts, ideas and notes.
The fine point is a very different experience even compared to the 0.5 mm, and it offers a lot of control and precision. In the end this lead size to me seams to be a more specialized thing, making it less practical. I mean it is very good for detailed work and taking small notes in a limited space, for example, a book, but will not be very good for writing as you will frequently need to click the advance mechanism. Having a fine point makes it more fragile and having a sliding sleeve will make your lead break fewer times or not at all.
So in my opinion the purpose of the sliding sleeve in this pencil is more for protection, and not for long writing sessions. 

The pencil offers a very nice feel in hand, for me is a great fit. One thing that I would change is the transition from the barrel to the grip section. It should have been better grinded to make a smoother transition.
One other thing I would like to mention is the screwing mechanism that makes the sleeve fixed or slide and the click of the lead advance. You can feel the spring that offers resistance and it is not smooth or quiet. It is not too bad, but I feel there is room for improvement.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

10 $ or less

If you ever wondered what would 10 $ buy you, stationary related, wonder no more:
Here are a few ideas

For the South Park fans, here are some Cartman quotes on the side of pencils
You can buy them here


If you enjoy the good attitude and hard-working spirit of Sponge Bob you can go for the eraser set, that includes figurines of Mr. Krabs and Patrick as well.
Eraser set

And where better to put the pencils and erasers you just purchased, if not in a gross fish like pencil case. I guess you could keep it between real fish for a few days just to offer the realistic feel, smell wise. It also looks really spacy
Fish pencil case




Saturday, November 24, 2018

What lead size to use for general writing

Finally a "scientific" test for what is the best lead size to use in an everyday situation. I don't think anyone has asked the question, but I am here to find out the answer.
Science is hard, or at least my pseudoscience. The general norm for lead size is 0.5; 0.7; 0.9 or 1.0
0.9 and 1.0 is the same size but marketed as 0.9 or 1.0 by different producers. From now on I will refer to both this sizes as 1.0.
I guess you already have the answer, which one you like the most is the best, and I think 0.7 is the most usual of them all.
In the so-called test, I wanted to see how much lead is used for the same amount of text using each of the lead sizes mentioned above.
This is hard work, and I do not think I will be doing science anytime soon after all this experimenting.
I used Rotring HB lead size 0.5; 0.7; 1.0. Other brands might offer different results because of the lead hardness "... 2B B HB H 2H ..." is not standardized. So HB from other suppliers might be softer or harder.
I started the test by writing 1-page size A4. I used "math textbook grid" paper and wrote in every single cell of the paper using very little pressure. I did this instead of freehand writing because I tried to write as consistent in size and pressure as possible so the results will be as scientific as possible
After, I measured the lead used to write all this.
The results:
In theory, I could write with a single lead size 0.5 mm - 30 pages but I have to take into account that when the lead becomes too small you have to throw it away, so more realistic I would say 27 pages
Of course, this depends a lot on how small or big do you write, how condensed, how much pressure etc. But this value is not important. The difference between the test results says the story.
The 0.7 mm can write in theory 60 pages and the 1.0 mm over 120 pages. This means that the writing you are able to do with 1 lead doubles every time you bump up the lead size.
Because I could not measure the lead used up on a single page with size 1.0 (under half of mm) I cranked up the pace and applied extra pressure and made a bunch of lines and X.

So after the endurance test the 0.5 mm lost 3.5 mm; the 0.7 mm lost 1.5 mm, and the 1.0 lost 0.5 mm from its total length
It does not seem a lot but, if you could use the entire lead, for a normal 60 mm lead size 1.0 used to do as much writing you would need 3 pieces of 0.7 mm lead or 7 pieces of 0.5 lead.
Similarly, if you would take the 0.7 mm as a benchmark then you would need 2.33 pieces of 0.5 mm lead to do the same amount of writing.

In conclusion, you should choose the thicker lead, especially if you have a heavier hand for three reasons.
The first reason is the price. The price of lead is usually the same for all sizes.
You will pay 3 times more if you use 0.7 lead instead of  1.0
You will pay 7 times more if you use 0.5 lead instead of  1.0
You will pay 2.33 times more if you use 0.5 lead instead of  0.7

The second reason is the advancing of the lead. The less lead you use fewer clicks you will have to make. So in a long writing session, a thicker lead is bliss.
Third, the risk of breaking the lead is smaller with thicker lead.

Ok, you may ask "Won't the line be too thick if I use 1.0 mm?"
It will, but not by a lot. There is a small difference between the 0.7 mm and the 1.0 mm.
A downside is that you have to rotate the pen in your hand more often
      
1.0 mm vs 0.5 mm lead
1.0 mm vs 0.7 mm lead
     

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Rolex and a Montegrappa

I have talked before why people chose to use a fountain pen. My conclusion is they chose for the same reason they chose to wear a mechanical watch. And I think the two are a match made in heaven.
Maybe Rolex Rainbow is not the most conspicuous watch to wear, but I think it will go really well with the Montegrappa Rainbow. Assorting your watch with the fountain pen could be a new trend.





And I think that was what Nomos was trying to do with the rebranded Kaweco, even though for me both are more valuable on their own. Rather than having a weird branded fountain pen I would go for the "real" one if I can say so.
But maybe we should take the good idea behind this. When you buy a Kaweco make sure to buy a Nomos, and vice versa.

Follow the link to see the post with the first watch - fountain pen combo, a match made in heaven between Kaweco sport and Nomos.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pencils in hotel rooms, Stabilo Schwan 306

Usually, hotels offer you a little notepad and ballpoint to write down things, but I was greeted in my short Hamburg visit by an HB Stabilo Schwan 306 pencil.

I found the markings on it curious, as I know the US marks the lead harness by numbers and HB is the #2 pencil. Well, this is a 2 1/2 pencil so a bit harder than a regular HB.
The finish of the pencil was made for this hotel room, it looks like woody and unfinished. Like a raw pencil. The same feeling the room left me, an old cabin in the woods, except it wasn't in the woods.
I do not know if it was a calculated decision to leave this particular pencil in the room or it was just a coincidence.
So, on the natural finish of the pencil, the brand name, and model number are written in a very dark paint.
The lines put down by the pencil look dark enough and smooth, so no complaints about the writing or the handling of the pencil.
I had to take the paper back to the lab (back home) to test the ease with which the lines are erased from the paper. And it is no problem, it erases well.
Also, there is no sharpening test, as I did not have my Opinel #8 with me.

All in all, it is an ok pencil, that has an interesting finish that goes well with the looks of a cabin in the woods.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Preview OHTO Conception Mechanical Pencil


OHTO Conception mechanical pencil

A few days ago I received in the mail a small but very impressive package.
Thanks to: Stationery Wiki, and the people who made it possible
Matthias from Bleistift blog the mechanical pencil sponsor
Dave from Dave's mechanical pencils judge
Brad from The Pen Addict judge

How I got the mechanical pencil?
I ended up with this beautiful mechanical pencil as a prize in a competition hosted by Stationery Wiki. I participated with a post on the wiki about the Rotring 500. Irony or not I could choose between a Rotring 500 and the OHTO Conception. I chose the OHTO Conception because I am not familiar with the brand and their products
I also got a cup

What is Stationery Wiki?
A place where to find information and facts about stationery related products and these great people are the

Why this wiki and not Wikipedia?
Because Wikipedia has a filter and if it considers that the page is not of great importance for the public it will delete it to save precious space. At the same time, it can be tricky to find information about pencils, fountain pens, and other similar products and companies.
I wrote a few posts in which I tried to start from the beginning and go to the present days (short timelines): Rotring Tikky, Rotring 500 (the runner up post), Koh-I-Noor Versatil. And every time it was a difficult task.
The Rotring Tikky post was planned more than half of year before i started to write it. Partially because it was hard getting all the info, partly because I wanted to find more info and confirm what I have found, and largely because many times I am pretty busy and when I am not I am lazy :)
Joking aside the project is a great cause and I am a supporter of it.

I did not had the time to enjoy the pencil yet as I was on the road most of last and this week. I will make time for writing a review of the OHTO Conception in 0.3 mm shortly.
Until then you can read the review of the OHTO Conception on Bleistift. Some time has passed since I read this post and can't remember the conclusion or the positives and negatives. So it will be interesting to see how I rate it compared to Matthias.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hamburg, Germany and Montblanc in a duty free shop

hamburg, brick buildings and graffiti

I just came back from Hamburg, Germany, after a very short trip. And I learned 2 new things.
First, I have to look for flights with more time between them or I should get in a better shape. It was a short and intense trip, as for my flight to Hamburg I had to change planes in Munich, and because the first one had a delay of over an hour I had to run for about 15 gates to get to my second flight just to realize that the gate number had changed and had to run back another 28 gates. I was completely out of breath. I can't even believe that a few years back I ran a full marathon.

mont blanc perfume

The second thing I learned is that Montblanc is also a perfume maker ?!? What ?!?
Maybe Paco Rabanne will start making inks... Not trying to be mean but I do not like this kind of style of business even though this seems to be the future for all brands.
Have someone produce whatever you want to sell, and you use the brand name to make people pay as much as possible for a generic product.
I just hope this is not like Armani watches (replace Armani with whatever clothing brand you would like), pricey pieces of quartz that you should pay around 30 $.

I can't say much about Hamburg as I did not get the chance to visit anything. But I saw a lot of construction sites, brick buildings, and graffiti. Oh, let's not forget about the bubble machine on a car.
hamburg, brick buildings and graffiti

hamburg construction site and graffiti

hamburg party


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Back to school small notebook


This is the last weekend before schools start again. So this means 2 things. A lot of stationary stuff everywhere and the last 2 days with "normal" traffic.
Yesterday I was in a shop and just noticed this bright neon small notebooks for just 0.25 Euro. I just had to have one of each color as they look very fun.
I enjoy using small notebooks as they are easy to fit in a pocket, in a bag without making it heavy or bulky. And this small size is just enough to write down some quick notes or have as a few backup information that is easy to reach on the go. Or just use it for something as basic as a shopping list.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Ink Review Koh-I-Noor blue

The fountain pen ink is produced by Koh-I-Noor in the Czech Republic.
It comes in a plastic bottle 50 g, and it has no additional box to store the inkwell. All this I imagine is to reduce cost and offer the best possible price to the consumer.
It comes in just 3 colors, blue, black and red. It is a rather limited selection, but this kind of inks are marketed towards students who need a no fuss, inexpensive ink.
And when it comes to price, it is a fantastic one. It is available in about every shop and costs between 1.1 - 1.4 Euro (average of 1.5 USD).
Another cheap contender would be Hero, but the price for a bottle of 60 ml is about 4.8 - 5 USD
Another comparison could be done with Pelikan 4001 blue 1000 ml (which is cheaper than black). The price on Amazon.de for 1000 ml is 26.59 euro, which translates into 0.03 euro/ml or 1.5 euro for 50 ml.
This makes the Koh-I-Noor ink to be more cost-effective even compared to Hero ink or with purchase of 1 liter of Pelikan 4001 blue. Yes, the Hero comes in a glass bottle and has a box, which the Koh I Noor doesn't offer. But you have to admit the price for it is incredible.

The company also produces a document ink. "Ink suitable for fountain pens, light and moisture-resistant, cannot be removed from paper without damaging the paper. For use in archives, for writing documents and at registry offices." They offer it in 50 g plastic bottle and 30 ml in a glass bottle. It is available in blue and black.
Unfortunately, I could not come across this one. It is rarer than a unicorn's horn, at least in my area.

So the ink comes in an unimpressive plastic bottle, the label is in Czech and English and this is about it. The top colored band from the label represents the color inside.
It is a light blue, not too saturated. But I like the look of it. In appearance, it is in between the Faber Castell Royal Blue and the Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue. The Pelikan 4001 has a little more of an indigo color in it.


As I stated before, the ink is marketed for students, so this is a no fuss ink. It does not have a shine or shading. But it flows well, hasn't been able to clog a pen so far, it dries reasonably fast, and does not bleed.
There is an area where it doesn't do very well, and that is water. Running water over a piece of paper almost erased the entire Koh-I-Noor ink. It was hardly visible after. The Pelikan is not a lot better but I would grade it a little higher.

To conclude, I give it a thumbs up. It is a great value ink.