Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web, by those far wiser than myself:


The Clicky Post
I’d agree that there is a lot going on from a pen-related standpoint on Kickstarter at the moment.

Now a part of it all the is the Zero Fountain Pen which I admit to quite liking the look of. Still some time to go before the campaign ends and I’d suggest the funding goal won’t be a problem.

I’ll be certainly giving it some thought, ably assisted by this review from Mike:
Trilogy Pens – Zero Fountain Pen Prototype Review


The Pelikan’s Perch
The Pelikan M805 Stresemann was a popular release a couple of years ago for those with the budget to accommodate it.

Joshua outlines what we can expect from the smaller M405 model, soon to be tempting pen buyers all over again:
News: M405 Stresemann Announced


Pendora’s Box
Some handy pen cleaning advice unfortunately borne after a mishap, the author having lost a gold nib from a Platinum 3776 down the drain during routine cleaning.

One taken the for team so that we may not:
12-Step Process to Clean Fountain Pens Without Losing Nibs and Other Parts


The Gentleman Stationer
These Calepino notebooks are a great looking – and it would appear performing – option for all but the wettest of fountain pens.

As a pocket notebook user who likes to use a mixture of fountain pens and pencils on a daily basis, I found it just heavy enough to handle most fine-to-medium nib fountain pens without much bleedthrough, and still tactile enough for pencils

My standard firmly sits at the “yeah, this is not perfect but gee its pretty good” point when it comes to the utility and capability of notebooks which are likely to see pencil, ballpoint and fountain pen use.

These offerings from Calepino seem to be a good bit better than that:
Notebook Review: Calepino Pocket Notebooks (Graph Paper)

While you are at The Gentleman Stationer, check out Joe’s post outlining his first impressions of the Kustom Haus wax seals. These look great:
Kustom Haus Wax Seal Stamps: First Impressions


The Pencilcase Blog
Many considered (somewhat harshly perhaps) the 50th Anniversary Lamy 2000 a disappointing release when news and pictures first surfaced, however credit where credit is due.

A pen as popular and timeless as the Lamy 2000 was never going to steer far from its roots – 50th anniversary hoopla or not.

It’s still the same trusty old pen, but in a new coat(ing)

If you love the Lamy 2000, you’ll probably be quite fond of this limited edition as well. Enough to buy one? That is a decision for you alone, however a nice review here to add to perhaps assist your pondering:
Lamy 2000 50th Anniversary Black Amber Fountain Pen Review


I Need Coffee
Just a few days ago I published a post outlining my home espresso set-up, which includes a pretty capable machine for producing espresso and heating/texturing milk.

It’s easy to think “why bother” going to the effort of preparing something akin to a latte when there is no machine at hand to do so.

In the end though, not everyone has a machine – and where there’s a will, there is indeed, a way:
Making Lattes Without an Espresso Machine


Perfect Daily Grind
Sitting within the drip brewer class of coffee equipment, the flat-bottomed Kalita Wave is quite a popular brewer of choice for many.

A little more about it here, and how to get the most from your brewing:
Kalita Wave: The Story & Brewing Guide

Also on PDG:

Although the scale is perhaps a little large for a DIY side project, if you’ve ever thought of building some raised drying beds for coffee processing, here’s how.

I’ve got quite a few square metres of yard available to me – sadly only one coffee tree growing though.

Perhaps if you build it…:
Coffee Processing: How to Build African Raised Beds


James Hoffmann with some interesting data on coffee prices over the years, which when adjusted for inflation, perhaps show a different picture than what we might expect.

When reading posts like this, it is worth remembering that for all the award-winning farms, there are many more producers struggling just to survive:
Link Is coffee getting cheaper?


Joe Buhlig
Between Drafts app for iOS and Popclip on my Mac, its surprising to me how often I actually convert text to title case:
Converting Drafts Text to Title Case


It’s certainly not news that iOS 10 brought with it Stickers to iMessage. I’ve downloaded a couple of packs and sent approximately three stickers in that time.

I assume there are plenty of sticker-using messagers out there somewhere though:
Exploring the iMessage App Store One Month Later: Our Favorite Stickers and iMessage Apps

Wiser Web Wednesday 

Wiser Web Wednesday – a semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web, by those far wiser than myself:


Three Staples
The Drink Local edition was at the beginning of my Field Notes awareness, and therefore I’ve not seen them in the flesh. A Three Staples post is of course the next best thing.

Such a great theme and perfectly executed in colour as well.
Field Notes Colors: Drink Local

Also check out Jinnie’s latest post for some information on the direction the Three Staples blog is taking in future:
Updated Goal and Housekeeping #20161008


The Gentleman Stationer
I continue to enjoy seeing inks from Australian manufacturers receiving attention around the pen world. I currently have three bottles of Robert Oster Signature Inks in my collection (Bondi Blue, Peach and Ruby), however that probably won’t be where it ends.

Great post from Joe as always
Ink Brand Profile: Discovering Robert Oster Inks


The Pen Addict
Susan Pigott writing at The Pen Addict with some more Robert Oster ink appreciation — this time the decidedly blue-green Tranquility.

A name befitting a calming shade:
Link Robert Oster Signature Ink – Tranquility: A Review


The Gentleman Stationer
I enjoy reading reviews of pens less commonly seen, or well… reviewed. I had not heard of Otto Hutt prior to reading Joe’s post (my lack of knowledge more than outright rarity I’m sure), however this Design 06 model looks to be up there with anything in its price range.

As fountain pens experience a bit of a “renaissance,” and more and more people pay attention to pens online through blogs, forums, etc., it’s increasingly rare to find lesser-known high-quality brands.

The beauty of a great pen blog — assisting the enlightenment of other enthusiasts:
Pen Review: Otto Hutt Design 06


Quill & Pad
An interesting tale recounting the author’s visit to the P.W Akkerman store in The Hague:

His response was unheard of: instead of presenting me with what he thought I should have or might like, he went over to a display rack, picked up about half a dozen of pen magazines, gave them to me free of charge, and told me to come back when I had found my pen

Certainly a unique approach which appeared to pay off for both author and salesman, resulting in the purchase of a Visconti Van Gogh. That is just the beginning, as Martin Green provides the story for many a pen purchase along the journey — and boy are there some beauties here:
My Quest For My Ultimate Fountain Pen Part 2: The Italian Period


Tim Schönfeld reviews the Tactile Turn Gist fountain pen, which has recently emerged after another successful Kickstarter project by Will Hodges.

Indeed a nice looking pen, however the Bock titanium nib was not a winner. A forthright review which is always good to see:

Tactile Turn Gist


Alt. Haven
Another review of the Tactile Turn Gist, this time two of the models — one with a stainless steel nib, the other titanium.

Junee has a more positive experience with the titanium nib, however it sounds as though it certainly requires treating with care:
Review: Tactile Turn Gist


Pen Economics
Now we have the links to some pen and ink reviews listed for the week, some thoughts on bias in fountain pen reviews. In the week’s most un-startling news, Amazon announced a change of rules after it found a bias in reviewer’s opinions existed when the review products were received free or at a discount (not specifically related to any of the above posts of course).

I think disclosure being the most important point here, and to me, a simple “I received this [insert product] free for the purpose of this review” is more than enough, and I’ll weigh my opinion from there. Yes, it then seems natural to state the opinion was not then influenced, however as we can see, is that ever really true?

Just to reiterate though, as long as I know, I can make my own judgement with that knowledge:
Ethics, Bias, and FP Reviews


I don’t add many (read, one so far in nearly 300 posts) tables of information to posts on this site. I’ve often told myself it’s simply because the style of writing doesn’t require it.

That is mostly true, however in some cases, I’ve simply altered how I’ve written about certain topics to avoid creating a table in Markdown.

Not any more, as TableFlip for Mac has launched in the past week, and if the demo version I’ve been playing around with is any guide, things will now be a whole lot easier:
TableFlip Takes the Pain Out of MultiMarkdown Tables


2Do Blog
Still my task manager of choice across both Mac and iOS,  2Do goes free with a one-time in-app purchase after two weeks, for continued Sync, Backups and Alerts. If the user does not activate the purchase, the app will continue to function, albeit without those features.

I don’t know about you, and your opinion on this may differ, but I’d personally hate to see the 10+ apps I use frequently to turn into a $2.99+ monthly subscription. I appreciate that there’s a difference between a Service and an App, but nowadays everyone’s begun to portray their app as a service. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not comfortable with that thought; even as a developer.

The change has been made by the developer in the hope of improving discoverability, user numbers and ultimately sustainability.

I think it is probably the best model to go with, finally allowing new users the “free-trial” so often missing when considering such a purchase. I hope it does well:
The Big Change


John Scullen
Having been on the receiving end of a few project updates which were, shall we say… less than engaging — any tool which aims to assist the process is worth looking at. Here John takes a look at a reasonably priced option to create simple Gantt charts and assist with presenting them to stakeholders in a project.

I always find John’s posts interesting and to the point, providing the information I need to assess whether it is something worth further investigation.

This one is no different:
Roadmap Planner review: project schedules don’t have to be ugly


Here we are again. The internet has had another little flurry around the merits, or lack thereof in relation to open floor plans or workspaces.

The Omni Group’s Brent Simmons talks of a “low-simmering level of anxiety” around others in a workplace, irrespective of who they are. A pretty good summary finishes off the piece.

When people who decide on workspaces for programmers don’t understand this, I wonder if they understand programmers.

To me though, it doesn’t go far enough, and we can simply replace “programmers” with “other people”. But Pete, this is the panacea, the way of the future in collaboration, creativity and spark. As I sit and have no choice but to hear everything going on around me, I also have a “low-simmer” happening, but it’s not anxiety, and for fear of offending, I’ll leave it there.

I do realise however, and fully acknowledge I need to remember, we are all different, and thus work differently. I would however, have appreciated it if those who plan offices had afforded me the same courtesy in their thinking:
Open Floor Plans


Finer Things in Tech
An update and reflections from David Chartier on his experiment in moving from Dropbox to iCloud for cloud based storage and syncing.

For my needs, it’s gone well so far, though I certainly hope Apple pays more attention to iCloud Drive to make it a more viable competitor in this space.

Seems about right:
From Dropbox To iCloud Drive: A Review And Some Thoughts


I’ll start this one with an aside. I listen to my fair share of tech related podcasts, and clearly read a little on such topics as well. The following from Federico Viticci pretty much hits the nail on the head in describing the ruminating and handwringing that often goes on in and around the tech press/podcasting world (the following in relation to the storm that became barely a ripple with Apple removing the headphone jack from the latest iPhone).

What I believe many failed to observe is that most people aren’t tech reviewers with a deep affection for cables and I/O standards.

They’re not podcasters either

I honestly don’t mind listening to these opinions (strong ones at that, even if they could be classed as hyperbole) — however it is laughable to assume the entire user base has (or should have) the same view (it’s actually the opposite). Mostly of course people don’t really care one way or the other — as the post goes on to say.

With that out of the way, Federico’s thoughts on the iPhone 7 itself, and what it represents for future technologies:
iPhone 7: Computer from the Future


Transparent Trade Coffee
Although this post is a discussion around the terminology and definitions used in reporting payments actually received by growers of green coffee, it does offer some information on the various other parties in the chain and the percentage they receive.

Of course this phenomenon is not unique to coffee, as any exporter of goods will no doubt tell you, however the main point here is if specialty roasters are reporting on how much actually goes to the farmers, it seems reasonable the calculated figure and terminology around the information is accurate.
Effective Grower Share versus Return to Origin?


Assembly Coffee
Some interesting thoughts from a very well-respected figure in the global coffee industry – Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood.

The future is inevitably going to be technology improvements that increase the ability to make better cups of coffee.

There are a few more topics covered as well, including Colonna-Dashwood’s foray into making speciality grade Nespresso-compatible capsules.

An interesting read:
Maxwell Colonna Dashwood — Colonna Coffee


Just rinse under the instant boil water and dry with paper towel. Do not, I repeat do not touch the communal dish brush, sponge or tea towel. I never have, and after reading this piece, any temptation to do so will be met with the fiercest resistance:
Don’t Wash Your Coffee Mug In The Office Break Room

Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web, by those far wiser than myself:

The Washington Post
If you’re looking for an overview of the current state of, and a little of the history behind the cold brew craze sweeping the coffee world – this isn’t a bad summary.

A traditional iced coffee is made with hot-brewed coffee that has been cooled down. Cold-brew is steeped in room-temperature or chilled water, allowing the coffee to slowly infuse over time

My preference? Probably chilled hot brew, though there are some pretty good cold brews going around:
Whatever happened to plain iced coffee? Cold-brew

Coffeelovers Magazine
It may be fairly quick to make, and sure, quick to drink if you are that way inclined, but I’d suggest taking just a little longer.

There’s such wonderful magic to be found, that it’s worth taking just a bit extra care in the enjoyment of the drink, to shut out the rest of the world for a minute or two, and dig into something that is one of the finest crafts that we make every day in this world.

In a world of cold brew and AeroPress, here’s to the humble espresso:
How To Drink Espresso – Your New Favorite Cup of Coffee …

James Hoffmann (2007 World Barista Champion) with an updated video demonstrating his preferred French Press brewing technique.

Apart from the other elements involved, a key aspect of this is using the metal screen as a filter rather than plunger, creating a silt-free brew.

Worth trying at least once to compare with your usual technique if you have a few extra minutes:
An updated french press video

Scotch Whisky
Although the active campaign for increased transparency in stating the component ages of scotch whisky has been put on hold by maker Compass Box, they do believe all is not lost.

Compass Box believes that it can reveal the ages (and other detailed information) of the components in its whiskies, based on its consultation with lawyers specialising in commercial law, as long as the company does so reactively, rather than proactively.

That is, if you ask – they’ll happily tell you.
Compass Box ends transparency drive… for now

You can also listen to John Glaser of Compass Box elaborate further when interviewed by Mark Gillespie on a recent episode of the Whiskycast podcast.
Whiskycast Episode 609

iMessage App Store
With the recent iOS 10 update adding many new features to Apple’s iMessage platform, there are of course numerous sticker packs available from the App Store.

Although I haven’t delved too deeply into what is available, I do like these coffee themed additions I can now “flavour” some of my messages with:
Third Wave Coffee Stickers for iMessage by Arno Richter

The soon to be released wireless Apple Air Pods are one of those things many of us would like to try, though at this point I’m unsure whether that is AU$229.00 worth of want-to-try.

I use the (now Lightning connected) standard Apple Ear Pods quite a bit, and similar to a point David Sparks raised in the post – the only time they have come adrift is when I’ve snagged the cord. This developing wireless technology is fairly compelling for me given I fairly regularly do just that – whether it be on my bag, wrapping it around my tie or even my belt buckle while walking with my phone in my hand. Even then, they don’t usually fall completely out, though boy its annoying feeling the drag every time I do it.

Assuming the fit is the same as the current wired model, I’d consider the risk of these falling from my ear to be virtually non-existent. Add to that the freedom from constantly snagging the wires makes them a very attractive proposition:
Initial Impressions of the Apple AirPods

Ulysses Blog
My first steps towards Ulysses becoming my text editor of choice began with the 30 day free trial NaNoWriMo promotion in November 2014.

Here we are now in November 2017, and I’m currently writing this – and every post in that very app. There have been a number of fairly significant updates over that time, not the least of which being the release of a fantastic iOS version, which would have made my NaNo journey in 2014 even more enjoyable.

Really, there’s never been a better time to both try Ulysses and writing a novel. Surely. Go! Flesh out that outline:
“Do You Have Plans for November?” – “I’ll Write a Novel.”

The Sweet Setup
There is a very kind gentleman I regularly correspond with whom I also consider my unofficial “Mac mentor”. As a result of this generous guidance, I am happily using Alfred as part of my workflow when at my desk at home. Certainly not to its full potential mind you, but I’ll get there.

This is quite a good summary if you are contemplating whether Alfred might be for you:
Our favorite OS X launcher

A brief piece of news regarding RSS application Mr Reader – or rather, its demise. Mr Reader has been my app of choice for scrolling through the RSS feeds on my iPad for a good couple of years now, so indeed it is a shame to see it go.

That said, I do not spend a whole lot of time in it – often scrolling through for any Wiser Web Wednesday links. I’ve now simply gone back to the Feedly app, which supplies the back end to my feeds anyway. Feedly is indeed a free app, and if you were to suggest using free apps is one of the reasons the Mr Reader’s of the world disappear, you’d probably be right. Having said that, I’ve also paid for quite a few that no longer exist, however a discussion on app payment models this isn’t:
Goodbye Mr. Reader

The Well-Appointed Desk
Having been fortunate enough to receive this exact set of inks for Father’s Day recently, I concur with Ana – the presentation of the set is fabulous.

Add to that the fact they are fantastic inks (the Eastern Brown is fast becoming a favourite), and you have a great option for sampling the entire Bookbinders Snake Ink range.

Ana with a great review as always:
Ink Review: Bookbinders Snake Ink Sampler Set

From the Pen Cup
Mary remarks in this post she has the worlds worst record for consistently journaling. I don’t believe that’s entirely true, for I make a compelling case for the title. In any event, it appears from this post she has permanently left the good-intentions-only ranks.

Full of quotes that buoy me up, details from my day that I surely would’ve forgotten, little epiphanies, and dinner ideas, the 2016 Techo has already become a treasured resource

Further, what started as a bit of journaling clearly has assisted an evolution into some positive behavioural change as well. An inspiring read.

More power to you Mary:
In Praise Of Habits

Field Notes
I do enjoy my fair share of Field Notes releases, however don’t religiously buy every seasonal edition by any stretch.

I do like the look of Fall’s Lunacy edition though – and of course the release video is always worth watching, demonstrating another aspect to the inspiration behind the name:

An elite level sporting life as a teenager resulted in my fair share of injuries, culminating in an anterior cruciate ligament rupture and subsequent knee reconstruction at age 18. Of course the road to osteoarthritis is paved with injury, so I’m well aware of what’s coming.

Although there is some way to go in advancements such as the one featured in this article, it will be interesting what best practice comes to look like in 30 years time.

Whether such a strategy will work years after an injury, when osteoarthritis is established and there is severe cartilage loss, still needs to be studied. But the findings suggest that the nanoparticles, if given soon after joint injuries occur, could help maintain cartilage viability and prevent the progression to osteoarthritis.

Personally I don’t subscribe to the view that medical advancements should necessarily afford us (in advanced countries at least) a longer life, however improving the quality of the final third is a worthy endeavour:
Nanoparticles injected into achy joints last for weeks

Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web, by those far wiser than myself:


Goulet Pens Blog
Your mileage will vary with certain fountain pen inks, depending on the pen, nib and paper, and I’m sure we all have our favourites.

If you are looking for a starting point as far as “wetter” or “drier” inks are concerned, the Goulet Pens blog has you covered:
Top 10 Wet and Dry Inks


The Gentleman Stationer
More on the ink front, as Joe looks at some most suitable for marking up documents or writing. Of course the obvious answer: “all of them” probably isn’t 100% accurate.

For me, it can be as simple as lighter blue against the black of printed documents when a conservative approach is required, running to vibrant green and orange (like Joe) when I can, particularly for a contrast to my handwritten words during editing.

Either way, we no doubt all have our preferred approach. Here, Joe’s recommendations are on point as always:
Best Fountain Pen Inks for Editing and Annotation


Three Staples
Another of Matt’s guest posts has piqued my interest — this time a ballpoint, in the form of the Pilot Fumi Raku, a pen I have never heard of.

Like Matt, I do find the design compelling, yet as suggested in the post, it is a ballpoint — not that there is anything wrong with that! Simply perhaps a “con” on the balance sheet when weighing up value for the price point.

Either way, another great review:
Pilot Fumi Raku Touki Ballpoint Pen

Oh and I’m sure the Fumi Raku would write extremely well in a DIY’d mini Field Notes notebook. Complete with three staples and all.

Nice one Jinnie:
Field Notes DIY: Mini HELLO Memo Books


Fountain Pen Follies
A great review of a similarly great-looking pen case from Kaweco, suitable for the Sport range of pens from the same manufacturer.

I get the feeling that the Traveller case has been designed by people who use and care about fountain pens

A solution for the common occurrence of your Kaweco Sports swimming around or being lost down the slots of a standard pen case?

It appears so:
Pen Case Review: Kaweco Traveller Case


Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Interesting. I’m not sure what else I’d say about this pen (to be fair of course I’ve never had one in my hand). Probably best left to someone who has then:

I just don’t quite get it. I don’t think the extension piece is a gimmick: Kaweco’s a small company and I think they make products that they like to use themselves. Someone at Kaweco loves this pen, I’m sure

On face value I’d have to agree with Ian. That said, hats off to manufacturers who at least give something different a try. The Sport range from Kaweco isn’t exactly your standard pen, and look at the popularity of that line.

This time though I might wait for whatever may come next:
Kaweco Supra Fountain Pen Review


Brewing Coffee Manually
I’d not heard of the Kalita Kantan portable coffee brewer to this point.

The Kalita Kantan is a 3.5 inch by 4 inch disposable pour-over brewer made of cardboard and an attached filter. They are sold in packs of thirty and are completely flat prior to folding for use

A nifty little device which might come in handy when your luggage space is tighter than you’d like, or perhaps if you prefer a drip filter rather than the immersion style brew of that perennial traveller the AeroPress.

Definitely a great option to consider when next brewing on the go — and the handy brew guide in this post will get you started:
How to Brew with the Kalita Kantan


Barista Magazine Blog
Although not knowledgeable enough on the subject to have an opinion either way myself, those in the industry often have their preference on the conical vs flat burr grinder debate.

While there was a lot of variation, most people gravitated towards the lighter roasted coffee on the conical burr grinder. However, there was a fair amount of disagreement and many people voted for the other three options as their favorite brew

An experiment like this probably tells us there are far more variables impacting taste in coffee than the type of burrs in the grinder.

When we are talking the lower end home consumer market there isn’t a lot of choice, where you will find mostly conical burrs, and as we’ve seen above, this probably doesn’t matter too much.

One thing to remember though at the lower end — burrs please, definitely not blades:
Conical Versus Flat Burrs? Tasters Decide in Compak Workshop


Perfect Daily Grind
Fifth generation coffee farmer Juan Alfredo Pacas, with some insights into coffee, and the importance of continued learning.

The most important thing that a consumer can know is the amount of hands that have touched the coffee that they are having in their coffee shop.

As the quote above would suggest, a little learning on the part of the consumer is arguably some of the most important of all:
Producer Opinion: Why I Always Want to Learn More About Coffee

Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web, by those far wiser than myself:


It’s indeed a busy time in the world of Apple software updates, with iOS 10 now in the wild, and macOS Sierra currently awaiting my go to update my Mac mini.

Although you’ve no doubt seen the plethora of ”5/7/10 things you need to know about iOS 10” out there — for a definitive resource, there is no going past Federico Viticci’s now yearly iOS reviews.

In what can only be described as a hefty 50K words, it is however, well laid out, indexed, and supported by enough video and screenshots to make checking any particular feature or aspect of iOS 10 a breeze.

You need not go anywhere else:
iOS 10: The Macstories Review

And of course:
macOS Sierra: The MacStories Review


The Brooks Review
Ben Brooks experiments with using the on-screen keyboard on the iPads Pro for a week. The results? Not bad, however not as good as an external (in this case Smart) keyboard.

Given I write quite a bit on the iPad (currently typing this in the back shed while some coffee roasts away in the yard), I’ve long used an external keyboard for such purposes. Though probably ridiculously (from a size perspective), on a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard with my iPad mini 2, and now I am back on the iPad Air 2 – the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard, which is absolutely fantastic (provided you don’t mind lugging a second device around).

Of course the best part about the iPad is the usability of the on-screen keyboard for times I either don’t want to carry the external one or find an unexpected time to get a bit of writing down when just the iPad itself is with me.
Just Glass


From the Pen Cup
Coincidentally, at last Friday night’s Pelikan Hub in Brisbane, conversation at one point turned to converter options for the sport-sized Kaweco pens, with mixed views on their merits.

It seems the same is the case amongst reviewers online, with Mary finding success, yet referencing the less than stellar performance of the converter when Jeff Abbott reviewed it for The Pen Addict last month.

Depending on how you use it (read fill it) will perhaps depend on the results you end up with and whether persevering is worthwhile. I’m not rushing out to buy one, mainly because I’ve always been content with cartridges in my Ice Sport.

If you do decide to try one out, it certainly isn’t a pricey endeavour:
Another Viewpoint: The Kaweco Sport Squeezable Converter


The Pen Addict
It’s nice to see an Australian ink maker’s products receiving such positive reviews around the globe.

If you’re looking for a rich turquoise ink with great shading and sheening properties, Torquay is a great choice. It really does have that little “certain something” that makes it stand out from other inks

I have a couple from the Robert Oster range which are some of my favourites, and no doubt quite a few more will reach my collection in future.

Keep an eye out for these high quality inks as they hit both brick & mortar and online stores around the world:
Robert Oster Signature Ink Torquay: A Review


Notemaker Blog
A great roundup of why Rhodia paper is seen in some form or another on just about every fountain pen users desk.

In addition to the points listed — greater availability than ever before (see Officeworks, Dymocks etc) makes Rhodia a compelling option.

Of course a little support for an Australian online retailer never goes astray either.

Well said Notemaker:
Rhodia – Why this brand has so many admirers


The Pencilcase Blog
A thoughtful and balanced review of the Montblanc Rouge et Noir Heritage edition fountain pens released earlier this year.

But the skinny profile, especially at the section where it’s not much thicker than a woodcased pencil, might put some people off. Being a special edition pen, I think most people would expect something a bit larger

Pen number one on my fountain pen journey was my Montblanc Meisterstück Classique (which incidentally is now 19 years old and still going strong) — another very slim pen. I’ll admit, depending on your particular preference and what you are used to, pens on the slender side are not for everyone — particularly at this price.

For me, the design of the Rouge et Noir edition is not quite for me, however I think Montblanc has done pretty good job overall.

A well written review:
Montblanc Heritage Rouge & Noir Fountain Pen Review


Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Speaking of slim pens, Ian Hedley reviews the BNdot ballpoint — recently launched on Indiegogo (link in Ian’s post).

Quite a few of the pens sitting around my desk are fairly slender in nature, and as Ian points out in the post, such pens definitely have their role — however perhaps that isn’t in handwriting your next novel (a situation which might not occur too often for many of us I’d imagine).

Coincidentally, this review also comes at a time when I’ve been thinking about when exactly I became fountain pen only. Of course that couldn’t be further from the truth, however readers of the blog would be forgiven for thinking just that if I look back at the pen related posts for quite a way on the site. In any event, I must redress the balance soon, however this link is about another great review from Ian rather than the foibles of my review choices.

Also check out Brad’s thoughts on the BNdot over at the Pen Addict, and while you’re there, if you poke around a little you can find other first looks at the BIGiDESIGN Ti Arto (Kickstarter campaign ending soon) and the Tactile Turn Glider (Kickstarter campaign also ending very soon).

So much going on! Over to you Ian:
BN Works BNdot Ballpoint Pen Review


Nock Co. on Kickstarter
But wait… there’s more!

Nock Co. with another Kickstarter project, this time the launch of The Lanier Briefcase. I use my Nock Co. pen cases from the original Kickstarter every single day, and can certainly vouch for the quality and functionality of the materials, design and manufacture. No doubt The Lanier will be more of the same.

Although personally I’ve never been drawn to the design and appearance of these types of briefcases, head on over to the project page to view what I am sure will be another successfully funded campaign:
The Lanier Briefcase by Nock Co.


Pen Economics
Dr Deans with some analysis of whether that old “more environmentally friendly” chestnut really does apply to the fountain pen versus disposable ballpoint comparison.

Ultimately, understanding environmental impact is a complicated matter. To make effective decisions, we need to make sure we aren’t focussed on a single, potentially unimportant detail

Whether we are talking pens or the environment in general, I think we are all probably prone to erroneous assumptions about such matters, and I offer you this for a more informed view:
Are Fountain Pens Good for the Environment?


Crónicas Estilográficas
Exciting news of a new flagship fountain pen from Pilot.

The result is a flat-top pen made of ebonite, coated with black urushi lacquer, and filling mechanism through cartridge and converter (CON-70). In fact, this pen can be seen as a scaled up Custom 845—same shape, same materials, same structure… but bigger, longer, thicker.

No doubt more will be heard in the coming months:
Custom Urushi


Pax Coffea
Coffee industry expert Peter Giuliano outlines what he believes to be a turning point in the coffee industry.

I believe we will look back upon 2016 as one of these special moments, when we see the first sparks of a new era. For coffee, that is.

The post refers to recent announcements by two US Universities of plans to open Coffee Centres for research and development, along with similar plans from the now unified SCAA and SCAE (American and European Specialty Coffee Associations) as evidence of this.

While I cannot speak for the industry itself, I would add that various online resources such as Barista Hustle are providing better than ever access to science and expert opinion for the average enthusiast as well.

Interesting times ahead:
Why I Believe We’re Witnessing the Beginning of an Age of Wonder in Coffee