Archive for the 'pens' Category

An Ode to the Moleskine Pocket Cahier

April 4, 2007
Moleskine Cahier

Merlin Mann has called these slim paper-covered booklets “the Honda Accord of Moleskines.” But these versatile, slender Moles just might be the ultimate capture device.

For those doing GTD, the use for the 64-page pocket sized Cahier is readily apparent – the size and format of the book make it ideal for capturing notes, lists, to do items and contact information on the go. The last 16 of those 64 pages are even perforated for easy rippin’ and dippin’ tearing and sharing of your own must-share jots. If you currently use a hipster PDA for these tasks but you’re unsatisfied with the format for whatever reason, a slim Cahier is available for casual encounters in the Buff (try not to stare) or a more classy rendezvous in basic Moleskine black. The well known and loved pocket has been a bit bastardized to keep the bulk to a minimum – instead of the full pocket, you only get a small flap on the inside of the back cover. Treat it tenderly if you don’t want your unmentionable receipts flapping in the wind.

What’s the point? These Moleskines lack the impressive page counts of their fatter yet still pocket-sized cousins and may seem less durable because they lack the hard cover. The answer? Simplicity. Most people misunderstand the Cahier because they expect it to be something it’s not – a full-blown durable journal and keepsake-quality book. If you look at it for what it IS, a classed-up sheaf of tiny, high quality loose leaf scrap paper with the brand-name cache of Evian water and Montblanc pens, it’s a damn sane way to take down personal notes on the side while you’re expanding on broader business plans in a larger notebook.

Index cards are great, but let’s just face it – they make you look like a crazy person. The Moleskine Cahier is fountain pen friendly, classy, and conveniently fits in your pockets without dragging your pants down your hips (face the facts – you have to carry a lot more crap than just your notebook). It’s flexible, discreet, and it will begin to wear right about the time you’ve reached the last page anyway.

Factor in the fact that these books come in convenient packages of three, and you’ve got yourself a winning portable companion to your journaling system as well as a powerful GTD tool.

Parker Sonnet

January 21, 2007

Parker Sonnet ballpoint

The Parker Sonnet is made by the Parker Pen Company, which has a long and varied history. This is by far the finest ballpoint I’ve ever owned, including the nice glide of the Namiki Ageless. The Sonnet also has the advantage of a classic, black and silver matte look. This is the perfect ballpoint for meetings, desk jotting and interviews. It’s understated but an incredibly smooth writer.

Pen review: Pilot Namiki Ageless Future in Silver

October 11, 2006

My latest pen aquisition comes from (as usual) Paradise Pen. The Pilot Namiki Ageless collection features two different lines – Present and Future. This pen is the Future in silver. The only real difference in the two lines is that the Present has a translucent grey plastic grip, while the grip on the Future is solid white.

Pilot Namiki Ageless Collection - Future

I am not generally a fan of ballpoint pens. In fact, I’ve hated almost every one I’ve ever tried to use on a consistent basis, from low end Space Pens to the most gorgeous Montblanc. I need a fountain pen, gel or rollerball to commit to a long term pen relationship. I’m picky, what can I say. That being said, the Namiki Ageless is definitely the smoothest ballpoint pen I’ve ever used. I’ve always been a big fan of Pilot because of their G2 line, and I’d always heard good things about Namiki. I can now confirm that all the praise is warranted. The line is rollerball smooth and dark, yet doesn’t run, feather or bleed the way some rollerballs can.

The Ageless collection has another feature that makes it an attractive pocket pen. If you (like me) don’t like putting a pen in a front shirt pocket (or don’t always have a front shirt pocket) then you know that sometimes a pen can get stabby in the front pocket of jeans or slacks. The Ageless has a double twist mechanism that retracts not only the tip but the entire point of the pen, leaving the instrument a non-stabby cylindrical barrel perfect for carrying in your pants pocket. Ringing in at about $70, the Ageless is an expensive pen for everyday use, but a really cool addition to a collection.

Pen review: Pilot VBall Grip Extra Fine

September 22, 2006

I will go out on a limb and say that the Pilot VBall Grip Extra Fine is possibly THE definitive pen for the hpda. I’m always a fan of the Pilot G2, and the new G2 mini seemed perfect for the hpda, but it doesn’t come in fine point, which I consider a must.


Enter the Pilot VBall extra fine. This pen carves fine lines into index cards like it’s giving them a new tattoo. If you can (and like to) cram as much tiny handwriting as possible onto your cards, consider picking up a pack of these at your local productivity pr0n office supply aisle.

Pilot Pen UK announces BegreeN product line

September 18, 2006

Any productivity pr0n lover’s favorite cheap pen is probably the Pilot G2 – maybe even a mini version for those pocket Moleskines and hPDAs. If you also care about the environment (and if you don’t, you should!) then you’ll be happy to hear that Pilot now has a line of more environmentally friendly pens called BegreeN.


Yeah, I don’t know why the N is capitalized, either.

BegreeN is a complete range of recycled products and a real innovation in the world of writing instruments. The range has been selected to match most writing needs and covers just about every category you can think of including: ballpoint, gel and rollerball pens as well as mechanical pencils, hi-lighters, markers and erasers.

Order some from the UK if you have to get yours hands on BegreeN immediately. No word on a US release.

Pencils, pens, Moleskine, Backpack and Blackberry

September 6, 2006

It’s the beginning of the month, and we all know what that means – another exciting package in the mail from the good folks at Pencil Things. This month I received a California Republic Golden Bear 2B, a Mongol Trio, and a rare Faber-Castell Autograph HB, no longer in production. I must admit that I sharpened and tested the Autograph before reading the description, and I was just marveling at how inky and smooth it was when I realized I’d just sharpened away a collector’s item. Oh well! It was fun to use. I also received a special addition to my pack of pencils this month – a 5X5 orange Rhodia pad emblazoned with It was pretty cool since I’d just been considering picking up a Rhodia pad the other day. I like the pad, but I’m still a Moleskine loyalist all the way.

I was also able to make a trip down to Paradise Pen last weekend to pick up a yellow Lamy Safari rollerball, and I noticed a flyer for the Austin Fountain Pen Society. I didn’t even know such a thing existed! Apparently they coordinate meetings and other events on Fountain Pen Network. I hope to be able to make the meeting on September 10th.

In other news, Backpack has added a calendar feature, something I had almost given up hope of seeing from 37signals. Combined with notes, to do’s, images, shared writeboards, SMS reminders, and killer mobile access on my Blackberry, I can run nearly my entire life with my Blackberry + Moleskine + pen + pencil. Backpack remains the best $5 per month that I spend.

Black Matte Fisher Space Pen w/ clip

July 17, 2006

The shiny on my old orange space pen was starting to look a little chipped and unhappy, so I decided to spring for w new one. This version has a nice feel with the matte finish and is a little more inconspicuous than the flashy orange.