Saturday, January 16, 2016

Stadtler Tradition pencil seen on screen

Seen on the screen comes back. Now with a pencil, Tradition 110 from Staedtler. According to Staedtler website, the Tradition is a High-quality pencil for writing, drawing, and sketching has an unbelievably break-resistant through special lead formulation and super-bonded lead. The wood is from certified, sustainably managed forests (I don't know what to say about this, we all heard about VW). Well, who knows let's give them credit until proven wrong.
The pencil comes in 12 degrees of hardness

Made in Germany.

In the movie The Numbers Station (2013) a bunch of Staedtler Tradition pencils can be spotted, apparently, grade B. The movie is poor - ok-ish but I'm not going to make further comments on the movie quality.
The main actors are John Cusack and Malin Akerman.
Note: I want to mention if by chance you see in the rest of the post the name Tom Cusack it's the same actor John, it's just I like to call him Tom :). He looks like a Tom for me.
Now that Tom is out of the way:

Right in the first scenes when the two are in the bunker receiving/sending numbers the pencils can be spotted.
the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
With very good eye sight and zoom you can actually see Tradition B written on the pencil in the middle.

the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
In this first two images, John Cusack is picking up the pencil from the bunch and plays with it.

the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
In the picture above Malin Akerman is holding the pen, taking notes
the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
Spot the Staedtler.
Apparently, it is also good for holding your hair, not only for writing. Who knew?!

As I said before the movie is, how it is, but I have learned that Staedtler Tradition is good for playing when bored, good for writing, and good for holding your hair (if you have long hair)
Also, the movie made me aware that a number station is a real thing, not a made up bunker for John/Tom Cusack and Malin Akerman.

According to Wikipedia:
"A numbers station is a type of shortwave radio station characterized by unusual broadcasts, reading out lists of numbers or incomprehensible coded messages. The voices are often created by speech synthesis and are transmitted in a wide variety of languages. The voices are usually female, although sometimes men's or children's voices are used. Some voices are synthesized and created by machines; however, some stations used to have live readers. Many numbers stations went off the air due to the end of the Cold War in 1989, but many still operate and some have even continued operations but changed schedules and operators."

How does a number station work?
A number station provides a way to communicate in plain sight, transmitting a series of characters or numbers over radio waves. Everyone can listen to the transmission but only those who have the decrypter can understand the message.
The people decrypting needs a one time pad which is provided in advance.
More about one-time pad -The Laws of Cryptography

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Review of Parker Urban Premium, a premium ballpoint?

As the name implies this is a review of a premium writing instrument from Parker. Or is it?
The review is for the Parker Urban Premium ballpoint. I can not comment on the fountain pen as I did not use it.
Parker is a big brand, known for their quality writing instruments. If you do a google search you will be surprised to find out that Parker is the supplier of fountain pens for the royal house of England.
This said I heave high expectations from any product with the brand Parker on it.
parker urban ballpoint color plum

The design of the pen.

It has a interesting design, inspired i think from a bullet, or a sexual device. I'll leave the design for you to judge. Let's call it "urban". It is classy and modern at the same time.
It's body is made entirely out of metal. The grip is a smooth shiny metal, thicker towards the middle of the pen. For my taste is a bit thick if you have high grip, as I have. I did not have problems with lack of grip, but I did not use the pen for extensive writing sessions. I use it for note taking, a few lines, a page maximum. So your millage may vary.
The barrel is made from a colored metal that has groves in it. My version is a plum - brownish color, which in certain light looks like a shiny brown/black. The pen comes in various colors.
The clip has the traditional  Parker arrow shape. It is a nice clip as it seams very secure and strong.
To advance the ballpoint you have to twist the pen. Because of my way of using pens, taking quick notes, I do not like this style of mechanism. I like push buttons on the top of the pen as it is more convenient.
The pen uses a standard Parker refill.
parker urban ballpoint color plum

The feel:

The grip is made out of polished metal. It has a substantial thickness at the top and tapers down to the tip. Because of this if you have a higher grip it can be uncomfortable if you have smaller hands. The polished metal grip is fine for me, but your experience might be different. As I said, I do not use the pen for long sessions of writing. In general the pen feels good in hand, it has a good weight to it. The ballpoint comes with a standard Parker refill size 1.0. I like the way it writes, it is very smooth and just glides over the paper. Because of the weight of the pen you do not need extra pressure to write, a founinpen grip is enough.
The pen looks rather well built but at a closer inspection it falls short in some places.
My first complaint about the construction regards the joint between the grip and the barrel. It has a slight wiggle. If you shake the pen in your hand you can also hear the movement of the joint. I consider this a minus, not because it is something you feel when writing but is something you  feel when you first touch the pen and hold it. As a expensive pen, with a body entirely made out of metal, made by a reputable and known writing instrument maker I consider this to be a short coming. In my opinion an expensive pen should look and feel expensive. But this does not feel accordingly. It feels rushed.
The other thing that annoys me is the twist of the pen. The twist is not smooth as it should. The feedback is a bit scratchy and it seems off somehow. I would liked a smoother and easier twisting mechanism. Maybe with time the action will improve.
parker urban grip metal

parker urban body and clip


The pen was 45 € which is a lot for a pen. At this price I do not think the pen is worth it, and I would not recommend it. It writes incredible I'll give it that but I think a Parker Jotter stainless steel would do it as good as the Urban. 
So I would say the Jotter is a better value.