Archive for the 'productivity pr0n' Category

Moleskine at SXSWi 2008

March 10, 2008

You’d think that South by Southwest Interactive 2008 would be the most wired place in the country. However, the wireless continues to reach max capacity and completely fold under the pressure during the most popular panels. My T-Mobile service on my Blackberry is also in SOS mode about 75% of the time. What does that mean?

It means that my trusty pocket Moleskine notebook has become note taking device, chatpad, and general capture apparatus. Talk about analog multitasking.

Pocketmod V2

December 21, 2007

After a long dry spell with no new innovations from the original creators of Pocketmod, we finally have an update! What a nice Christmas present for you pocket productivity fans. Check out Pocketmod V2.

The new version includes many features originally hacked into existence by dedicated devotees, including the ability to add pictures, information pulled from live RSS feeds, and more.

The best new features of Pocketmod V2 are the “Today,” “Tomorrow,” and “This Week” pages, which actively update with the correct dates to create a pre-populated calendar. Excellent.

via Pocketmod blog

Pencil of the Month Club, Vol. II

September 14, 2007

Don over at Pencil Things has decided to resurrect his much beloved feature, Pencil of the Month Club!

This time around, there’s even a limited edition for special collectors:

We also may offer a Limited Edition, for $8.00/month. The Limited Editon will include a vintage pencil and/or a special pencil. American Pencil Company’s Venus Velvet is an example of a vintage pencil. Mitsubishi Pencil Company’s Hi-Uni is an example of a special pencil. I characterize a pencil as “special” if it is unavailable to individuals living outside the pencil’s country of manufacture, or it is unreasonably expensive to acquire. But may purchase special pencils from foreign businesses and distribute one to each Limited Edition member — a co-op purchase, in effect.

Exciting news for pencil dorks everywhere.

Rhodia notes

July 17, 2007

So I promised I’d report back after some heavy use of the new Classic Rhodia Stapled 3 X 4 3/4 notebooks. I’ve been using Rhodia’s orange pocket notebook, pictured here, for about 2 weeks straight now. I can safely say that after a solid fortnight in my pocket, this little Rhodia is not only a convenience but also a workhorse. It travels in my front pants pocket with my Blackberry, and it currently shows no signs of wear other than some creasing near the top staple (these notebooks are bound with two stables along the spine).

The distinctive orange color helps me keep track of where I left my notebook laying around. The small pocket size isn’t noticeable until you need it, like I did the other day when I was wandering around in Ikea. It beats the bulk of a pocket Moleskine by a mile. The plastic cover holds up well even in sweaty basketball shorts in the middle of a Texas heatwave. That’s something I can’t say for my grubby (kinda dampened) Moleskine cahier.

I still use pocket Moleskines for journaling and poetry. I think I would be willing to switch to Rhodia entirely if I could get my hands on a svelte Rhodia ePure notebook, a promising soft cover replacement for my Moleskine journals.

Rhodia cahier?

July 1, 2007

I’m a longtime Moleskine devotee, and I haven’t ever found any brand of notebook that’s as useful for jotting notes on the go. However, when I saw this new type of Rhodia classic stapled notebook on Rhodia Drive, I new I had to give them a try. Rhodia has eliminated two of my biggest problems with the Moleskine Cahier – the lack of durability in the paper cover (something that wouldn’t have been an issue if they hadn’t discontinued the Volant line) and the size of the pocket version.

The covers on the Moleskine cahiers are fine if you’re simply storing them in a briefcase or a bag. However, if you keep the cahier in a pants pocket or change bags a lot, the cover wears out extremely fast, especially if you don’t fill it fast enough to need a new one quickly. Rhodia solved this problem by adopting a thin plastic-coated cover for their smallest pocket notebook.

Also, the size of the cahiers is continually an issue for me because I prefer to carry them in my pants pockets, and the Moleskine cahier is just slightly too large to fit comfortably when seated. The Rhodia stapled pocket notebook measures 3 X 4 3/4 inches, making it an even more compact solution than a hipster PDA. This is the absolute perfect size for carrying around in a front pants pocket.

Are there any cons to the Rhodia version of the cahier? None of the pages are perforated, so they’re not as convenient for tearing out notes. I’m not sure how much of an issue this will be for me since I don’t think I’ve ever torn out a note from my Moleskine cahiers the entire time I’ve been using them. Of course the Rhodia pads also lack the back pocket, but the cahier’s back pocket (really just a flap) was so flimsy that using it practically destroyed it anyway.

All in all, it looks like this version of the classic Rhodia stapled pad (available in black or classic Rhodia orange) is a big improvement on the Moleskine cahier for on the go notetaking. I’ll report back after a few weeks of test-driving. You can see more photos of the Rhodia pad compared to various Moleskines, or you can snag your own from Ship the Web here.

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.

New pencil community on Livejournal

April 2, 2007

I’ve just started a community called Pencil Crazy over on Livejournal. If there are any pencil enthusiasts or collectors that still hang out on LJ, please join and post a picture or two of your collection.

Ever since joining the American Pencil Collectors Society (thanks to Angela for that geekerific Valentine’s Day gift I’d been wanting!) I’m beginning to wonder if most pencil collectors are in the 55+ age range, since that seems to be the target audience for the APSC publication. I know there must be some young professionals out there who completely geek out over an amazing instrument like the Rotring 600 or the Ohto Super Promecha just like I do, but they’re probably all in the pencil collector closet.

No one should be ashamed – office supply fetishes are so in.

Office Supply warfare

March 6, 2007

This never fails to make me laugh:

My favorite is the Post It Trumpeteer.

Pocket Moleskine vs. Levenger shirt pocket briefcase

February 11, 2007

The ultimate productivity showdown


Despite my long standing pocket Moleskine fan status and usage, I’d longingly read many a review and quite a few raves about the Levenger shirt pocket briefcase, an overpriced index card holder that promises to usher you into a new social status along with the ultimate in productivity. When I found that particular item on sale at Levenger for $29.95 just before Christmas, I decided to pick one up as an early Christmas present to myself.

Now, three months later and having test driven both systems for task tracking, note jotting and writing, I present the ultimate productivity showdown.

Size matters

Pocketability is one of the obvious criteria here. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never really been happy with the size of either of these tools. I live in Texas, where you need a jacket or an overcoat approximately twice a year. I also work in an office, and cargo pants aren’t exactly business casual. This almost always necessitates that I carry my paper of choice in my front pants pocket, along with my Blackberry, keys, Leatherman Micra, and pen. Real estate is an issue.

While both claim to fit easily in a pocket, the pocket Moleskine definitely wins in this category. Measuring 3.5″W x 5.5″H versus the pocket briefcase’s 3¾”W x 6″H, the Moleskine’s compact form and snappy elastic strap create the most pocketable package. Both feel great in your hand if you prefer carrying around your notetaking bundle. However, if you want to shove it in a front pants pocket, you’re likely to be more uncomfortable with the pocket briefcase. The extra length makes a huge difference.

Winner: Pocket Moleskine

Creating your mobile workspace

When you’re carrying a tool designed to let you be creative, get work done, and spread out your thoughts and ideas on a cafe table or while walking, it’s important that that tool lets you completely create a mobile workspace. The Levenger pocket briefcase stands out in this category. They call it a briefcase for a reason – the open writing area, the secure internal middle pocket and the outer pocket allow you to sort, store, and organize your cards. There’s always one available for quick writing, and you can stow receipts, business cards and other scraps inside.

The pocket Moleskine does, of course, feature the famous rear pocket. However, the Moleskine pocket is flimsy, and real use will quickly wear it out to the point of requiring repair. Anything you store in it will significantly affect the size and shape of the book. The pocket briefcase is softer and has more room (actually a bonus in this area) so it’s more forgiving of “stuffing.”

In terms of creating a truly mobile workspace, the pocket briefcase is the best bet. The sortability and reorganization capability beat out the linear format of the pocket Moleskine.

Winner: Levenger Pocket Briefcase

Tools for writers

I write. Work-related articles, blog posts, emails, fiction, poetry. Whatever tool I use has to be great for jotting down everything from phone numbers, addresses and grocery lists as well as story ideas, article outlines and even entire pieces of flash fiction. This is one place where I had trouble picking a clear winner. The Moleskine is great for keeping a running list of random ideas that you can always go back to later for inspiration. The pocket briefcase would start to get too full if you kept every card in your stack where you jotted down a story idea. However, a fine point pen and a few “inspiration” cards that you go back to time and again might fix that problem.

Outlining a story is much more satisfying with index cards. Laying out plots and subplots, rearranging and stacking them can really help get ideas flowing.

Winner: Tie


Lots of times a mobile workspace means collaborating with others. It can even mean giving a kid something to do while you’re waiting for the movie to start, handing off a jotted-down URL to a friend, or giving others cards to work with. With a Moleskine, you usually wouldn’t want to tear out pages (they’re not perforated or easily torn). In order to collaborate with others, you’d have to pass off your whole book (of ideas, personal thoughts, lists, work-related items) to someone else, which I’m not always comfortable doing.

Winner: Levenger Pocket Briefcase


For my needs, the Levenger Pocket Briefcase is the best tool for the job. Moleskine still rules the land for paper-based planners, journaling, and writing longer articles or fiction (if you do your writing longhand).

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.