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 Gentleman Stationer
Okay, spoiler alert – I am mentioned in this post along with some other blogs. I do wish to point out the link is included here not because of that fact, for if you are reading this, then you are already — well, of course…reading this blog.

The reason for linking to posts and other blogs on these mostly weekly Wednesday link posts is to share with you the other sites I get a kick out of reading — many of which you’ll find highlighted in Joe’s post.

As for this blog? It fits perfectly in the not exclusively stationery-focused and not updated as often category in which it appears, and for that reason I am very grateful to Joe for the inclusion.

I would encourage you to click-through to the post and check whether the websites included are in your RSS Reader or whichever method of following you may use — there are some great sites here:
Pen and Stationery Websites You Should Be Reading


The Pen Addict
Jeff Abbott looks at a fountain pen-friendly pocket notebook in the Clairefontaine Life Unplugged series.

I’ve long been a fan of Clairefontaine paper, and this newest addition to my collection is a new favorite. A 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebook filled with creamy, white Clairefontaine 90gsm paper is hard to beat.

If fountain pens are your daily carry note taking choice, indeed these would be hard to top as the paper half of any combination:
Clairefontaine Basics Staplebound Pocket Notebook Review


The Pelikan’s Perch
There is a good bit of local excitement given Brisbane made the list for a Pelikan Hub in 2016, with fellow Fountain Pens Australia Facebook member Thea Monks designated hubmaster (in my mind I continue to refer to it as hub-meister, however will go with the official term here).

Taking place for 2016 on the evening of September 16, I’m very much looking forward to participating in this fantastic event:
News: Pelikan Hubs 2016 Locations Announced

While you’re at The Pelikan’s Perch, check out Joshua’s very thorough, detailed review of the retro-inspired M120N released this year. For one main reason noted in the post, it perhaps won’t find its way into as many hands as perhaps it might have, which is a shame.

Great review though as always:
Review: M120N Green/Black (2016)


Ed Jelley
Certainly some solid choices here for fountain pen users looking to expand their notebook collection.

The Apica CD Notebook remains a favourite of mine:
The Best Fountain Pen Friendly Notebooks


The Pen Company Blog
Admittedly I’ve only tried a limited number of Faber-Castell fountain pens, however the nibs have always been outstanding. I am a little enamoured with the unique shape of the E-Motion as well.

A great review from Lucy at The Pen Company Blog:
Faber-Castell E-Motion Pear Wood Fountain Pen Review


nib & ink
The more I see of the Murex and Myu line ups from Pilot, the more I like them.

Great reviews like this one do nothing to reverse that trend either:
Review: Pilot Murex


Alt. Haven
The doctor is now consulting. Well, at least he was recently in Singapore. Junee provides an insight into the approaches and philosophies of the Pilot Pen Doctor Atsushi Takizawa.

An enlightening read:
Pilot Pen Clinic with Pilot Pen Doctor Mr. Atsushi Takizawa


Smith Journal
This short piece in the Smith Journal contains further links to the topic at hand.

My favourite though, is the link at the very end on building your own. If you have a spare ten minutes it is well worth watching, then proceed to the backyard, stand in front of your current shed, and begin planning:
Famous Writers’ Writing Shacks


And now it’s all this
Beyond posting links to these types of posts, all I have to say is that I spend a considerable amount of my time on iOS, however love using my Mac just as much.

I don’t really have much desire to head one way or another in isolation. As acknowledged in this piece by Dr Drang, many of the advantages iOS brings are duly noted, however it also demonstrates that sometimes the evangelism doesn’t necessarily stack up to objective scrutiny:
Intuitive by proxy


Finer Things in Tech
David Chartier moving in what would generally be considered the opposite direction to many when it comes to cloud services. I’ll be interested to see how the experiment goes:
From Dropbox to iCloud Drive: An Unexpected Experiment

…and finally:
iOS 10 Safari: Close all tabs at once


David Sparks and Jason Snell with a new podcast about their experiences in going out, and continuing to succeed in, working on your own.

Free Agents is a podcast for people who work independently or are thinking about working independently. The show will be a mixture of topics and guest interviews dealing with the challenges and joys of working independently.

Generally with podcasts or blogs writing about such a theme I find very interesting up to a point. When that changes, it has nothing to do with the quality or content of the show — merely the fact I become worn down by listening to the joys of working independently as I spend an hour commuting to the large office where I work every day. Sure, I don’t drag myself out of bed whingeing and moaning each day, however I’m sure you can see the challenge in maintaining enthusiasm for these types of topics within that context.

I’m predicting this time will be different, for although I’m not going “indie” any time soon, I have been working on a side project which has certainly sparked a good deal of enthusiasm in recent months, even if progress on that project is slow.

I very much enjoyed episode 1, and the topics planned for future episodes in Free Agents are beginning to become just that little bit more relevant:
My New Podcast: The Free Agents


Ars Technica
Where everyone goes for whisky news right?

An interesting read into a research area which appears to be very much in its infancy.

Within the traditional distilling community, there’s certainly some skepticism about how fully the effects of quick aging can replicate time in a barrel. “I think that accelerated maturation is an enhancement, not a substitute,” says Angels Envy executive Wes Henderson. “There’s no substitute for time, mother nature, climate, ingredients. Maybe I could be proven wrong, but I don’t know. I hope we never lose the magic of aging.”

Unless there is ever a significant shortage of course, and then perhaps everyone will be aging their product as fast as they can artificially increase the speed on that clock.

I can see the labels now: “aged 8 years, tastes like 12”:
The scientific arms race to age our whiskey


The Whisky Topic Podcast
Mark and Jamie discuss a very specific and statistically based process of assessing whisky, with Eric from the Whisky Analysis.

Eric uses the “meta reviewer” concept on his website, where he collects whisky scores from various reviewers and provides an overall ranking

The discussion provides a fascinating analysis of some of the characteristics of whisky reviews, and also provides a basis for the differences in opinions of occasional drinkers and experienced reviewers.

Hearing why the default sorting of the database contained on the site is by flavour then by score is fascinating in itself.

Check out the database and find your “cluster”:
Is the “Meta-Critic” the ultimate whisky reviewer?

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


I’ve never really found the iOS lock screen a particularly useful aspect of the operating system — though of course acknowledge that also comes down to how I use it (or not) as much as anything.

iOS 10’s design still felt simpler to use, so I started over and instead compared the designs on how many actions one needed to take in order to accomplish common lockscreen tasks

Here Mike Bates takes a closer look and provides some context for why iOS 10 may somewhat improve how I use that lock screen:
Taking A Closer Look At iOS 10’s New Lockscreen


Harry Marks
The COVERED podcast remains one of my favourites, and although I’m not looking to ever start my own, there are some great tips here if I were.

It also provides some insight into why it is such a great show:
5 Interviewing Tips I Wish I’d Had When I Started Podcasting


Scrivener finally makes it onto iOS, and David Sparks gives things a test run. All of the key features seem to have made the transition, syncing to all of your devices via Dropbox.

That’s the magic of Scrivener. It not only allows you to write and organize your words for your big writing project, it also holds your research as well

I’ve owned the Mac version of Scrivener for a couple of years now and never really had cause to use it, and given the types of things I write (mostly in Ulysses), I cannot see that changing any time soon.

Knowing so many have waited for Scrivener to appear on iOS for so long, it is great to see it finally here, and appears to be just what everyone was waiting for:
Scrivener for iPad and iPhone


The Gentleman Stationer
Another of Joe’s Top 5 lists of particular interest to me, given I use pens other than the fountain variety each and every day.

The Hi-Tec-C Coleto, Retro 51 and Baron Fig Squire figure heavily in my own usage, though the Lamy 2000 multi pen does sound like it would fit right in:
Best Non-Fountain Pens for Everyday Use, Part II: Non-Disposable Pens


The Penman Post
A guest post from Kate Wai of Pandora’s Box, looking at the gorgeously orange OMAS Ogiva Alba.

I particularly enjoyed this post, and with the same model (number 147 of 327) sitting in my collection, I hope to put down a few thoughts of my own about it in a future post.
OMAS Ogiva Alba Orange Review


Three Staples
Coming in at number six on Jinnie’s order of awesomeness ranking of Field Notes COLORS Editions is the Grass Stain Green Edition from 2009.

Although I do not have such a Field Notes list – if I did, this edition would certainly be high on it as well. Another great post from a place that is high on my unofficial and undocumented blogs of awesomeness ranking:
Field Notes Colors: Grass Stain Green


Pen Economics
It would be easy to sit here reading this latest post by Jonathon, look at the pen’s price and think: not now, not ever — and leave it at that. High end pens exist for a reason though, and who am I to dampen enthusiasm, even if it is mixed with a little trepidation — rightly so for such a significant purchase.

Of course the post is not simply about a quest for an expensive pen, providing insight into the criteria used and decision making which goes along with such a purchase. In doing so, to me, it also highlights some of the joys this hobby brings — even if a large part of what I read or look at I’ll never own. The reality is — I’m more than fine with that.

To be honest, in the past I’ve always considered pens of this ilk (and cost) were generally bought by those who only had to satisfy the aesthetic criteria outlined in the post. Even then, satisfying that criteria only as far as how it might look on a fancy desk somewhere. That is, the wealthy tycoon for whom the cost is loose change and considering anyone else in the decision to purchase only goes as far as those who may come and fawn over it.

Thankfully, spending more time on this hobby over the past few years, and hearing more of the genuine enthusiasm those within it have for their “grail” type pens, my views have changed a little. It is certainly a joy to hear about these quests, particularly when they are fulfilled. It is also nice to think the pen in question will be appreciated for the fine writing instrument it is, rather than simply a conspicuous yet under utilised adornment on a desk somewhere.

So, for me, this fine pen that is the Montblanc Blue Hour Skeleton doesn’t satisfy my personal aesthetic criteria, and the columns on my balance sheet aren’t quite as wide when considering future pen purchases – the resulting answer for me does indeed become: not now, not ever.

Though for one particular pen enthusiast, it is good to know that same equation returns the answer: not quite now, but perhaps soon:
The Value of a Pen


Ninety Plus® Coffee
A brief reminder of why the term “shade-grown” is more than simply a fancy label slapped on some specialty coffee offerings.

Over the last two decades there have been increasing efforts to weave strong threads of agroecology and rainforest restoration in with specialty coffee farming. The results have been not only increased forest biodiversity and better coffee, but through branding practices like the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly certification program, increased buyer loyalty.

A little explanation of a specific coffee growing approach with many positives:
Stewardship for Taste


As I was reading this piece by James Hoffmann, I increasingly began to think: does there necessarily have to be the next big thing or change in coffee? The answer is of course not, yet said in the knowledge that there will be something. After all, there always is – eventually.

There will be a point which we will cross in the not too distant future where speciality, as it is now, will be normalised.

As the author points out, normalising specialty coffee obviously results in the collective bar being raised as far as quality is concerned – an overwhelmingly positive result.

So where to from there?

Perhaps there will be a few transient and divergent paths along the way, however I guess something will eventually stick, and away we’ll go – invariably as the fourth wave I guess:
When Speciality Stops Being Special


The Age
Melbourne (and Australia’s) coffee scene becoming more scientific by the day:
Chief coffee scientist Monika Fekete: helping create the other perfect fuel cell


Perfect Daily Grind
Regular readers might remember my little hit and miss natural coffee processing experiment I recently undertook in my back yard. Things go a little deeper in this article on Perfect Daily Grind:

Ben Weiner explained to me how Gold Mountain use refractometers on their farm to measure sugar content. This helps him decide if the sugar content is high enough for natural processed or honey processed coffee

An interesting read, along with a little refresher on some processing differences for your reference:
Washed, Natural, Honey: Coffee Processing 101

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


While this method of brewing doesn’t sound overly enticing, given the content of this post, and those who swear by it, clearly there is some merit — and flavour it would appear.

After 5 minutes of brewing, stir the coffee or swirl the pot gently, and pour coffee slowly. If you would like less grit in your coffee, wait an extra 5 minutes after stirring

My advice would perhaps be to give it that extra 5 minutes:
The Lonesome Art Of Cowboy Coffee


Tools and Toys
A very thorough review of the Ascaso I-Mini coffee grinder by Álvaro Serrano for Tools & Toys. Noted in the review as a sub three hundred dollar machine, it is of course a little more expensive in local Aussie dollars (AU$380.00 from De Bartoli).

The i-Mini is a tremendous grinder that punches well above its weight, and once you take a long hard look at its rivals, it becomes increasingly clear what an incredible value it really is.

For my filter and Aeropress brewing, nothing beats my Baratza as far as I’m concerned. That said – it is certainly nice to read well presented and thought out reviews such as this one — usually what you find on Tools & Toys:
The Ascaso i-Mini Coffee Grinder Review


Five Senses Coffee
Although not all of these categories may be relevant to the choices you make when buying coffee – they are all variables which influence how the resulting brew will ultimately taste.

A great overview of what to consider when buying beans for your brew:
Coffee selection guide: How to choose the beans that are right for me?


Perfect Daily Grind
A look at two establishments applying age-old methods to coffee in Tokyo.

They decided that their coffee was a one-man show, that craftsmanship is more important than a line at the door.

Without a taste test I guess I cannot say how good they are for sure – I’d certainly like to give them a try though:
The Japanese Master Roasters Ignoring the Third Wave


James Hoffmann writing on the ever-increasing popularity of the Geisha variety within the coffee industry.

I’m not writing this as an attempt to claim some superiority in my preferences. I’m writing this because I’m not comfortable with the decision, that appears increasingly collective, that this is the thing we should champion

An interesting read containing some valid concerns around this disproportionately expensive varietal:
On Geisha


Crane Reaction
Todd Crane, formerly of That One Pen, transforms his online home — now covering a broader range of topics on a new blog.

From the man himself:

A place where a husband, father, teacher, science nerd, sports fan, music geek, tech user, pen and pencil dork, etc. tries to keep track of and understand as much as he can.

I’m looking forward to the new content, however to kick things off here — it has to be a pen post of course:

I enjoy some pens you can buy by the dozen at the grocery store and a couple of my pens come from limited batches.

Yep – a good pen can take many forms. As can a great blog. All the best with the new site Todd – it looks great so far:
A Good Pen Matters


The Finer Point
Whether you call them “top” lists, “favourites”, or “highly recommended” as is the case here – it is universally accepted we all have our favourites, be they for our own use; recommendations to others; or both.

Though I’m not necessarily familiar with everything on this list – I think you’d be pretty safe to count on Jenny’s recommendations:
My Highly Recommended List


Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Upon first seeing the images in this post, I thought: yes, that’s a striking design, yet retains a certain degree of class, only for Ian to describe it thus:

It looks like a reptile all dressed up for a night out at a 70s themed nightclub

Regardless of which more closely aligns with your own thinking, this pen would be well worth winning for your own collection. Check out the post for further details:
Twiss Green Lizard Fountain Pen Review


To peat, or not to peat. A couple of industry figures give their (at times somewhat irreverent) views on the matter.

Balance and co-existence are probably key words to remember here:
The Debate: Peated whisky: the ultimate dram?

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


Light & Ink
With one method of export in text editing app Ulysses now DOCX rather than Rich Text Format, some workflows may have suffered a little. Although I don’t often export with either, this workaround might be handy for some.

One that’s new to me is Zoho Writer. I installed it after checking the features page and seeing that it did indeed have RTF export. One nice feature is that it also shows up in Ulysses’ share sheet when exporting as DOCX.

Where there’s a will there’s (usually) a way:
Patching the RTF Hole in Ulysses


Katie Floyd
I’ve listened to the Mac Power Users podcast for long enough to know that if one Katie Floyd is reconsidering her Evernote situation then significant changes have occurred with the app. Of course that is exactly what has occurred with recent pricing increases causing many to rethink whether Evernote still has a place in their monthly subscription outgoings:

I understand the need for subscription pricing and sustainable revenue streams for App developers. But sometimes it feels like we’re being pecked to death by ducks.

I must admit for the first time, I’m seriously looking at other options including either dropping my plan down to the plus level or canceling the service all together.

I’ve mentioned on these pages before my slow migration from Evernote to Apple Notes. This remains incomplete, largely due to my extreme apathy towards sitting down and determining if I even need a lot of what remains inside Evernote.

Interesting times ahead with so many alternate apps which may not be exact Evernote replicas, yet might do the job well enough:
Sad Elephant


Fountain Pen Quest
Although my entire fountain pen collection almost fits into the array of Nock Co. cases I picked up in the original Kickstarter campaign a couple of years ago — that is not to say other options do not appeal.

This offering from Visconti, the subject of Ray’s keen eye, is a nice option if requirements call for a more rigid protective case:
Review: Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder


Ed Jelley
Upon seeing the Schon design pen pictured around the Internet, my main concern centred around the weight — simply from a personal preference point of view.

While the form factor is great for EDC, the weight of the stainless is just a bit too much for my taste. It’s fairly noticeable when you’re carrying the pen in pocket, and even more so when using it

I’m sure there are those who love the weight, however as always — each to their own in this hobby. There are plenty of great options for everyone.

A thorough review as always from Ed:
Schon DSGN 01S Stainless Steel Pen Review


Alt. Haven
Although I love my fountain pens, I do enjoy using great ballpoints and rollerballs almost as much.

Having a couple of Lamy 2000 fountain pens in my collection, the multi-pen variant of the 2000 line is certainly never far from the pens I consider as “possibles” in terms of future purchases.

Junee with another great review:
Review: Lamy 2000 Multipen


The Pen Addict
I’m a firm believer in highlighting posts such as these, for you never know when those new to the world of fountain pens enter the neighbourhood.

Although good reference posts exist, as far as I’m concerned the more the merrier, given it only increases the likelihood new users will come across information which is highly relevant and useful to the hobby:
Zen and the Art of Fountain Pen Maintenance


The Gentleman Stationer
As I work my way through the many pen reviews around on the internet each week, I have often wondered both (a) how do the prolific reviewers get through all of the pens they have queued up; and (b) how on earth do those reviewers ever get to use the pens they really enjoy and are favourites?

This might be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever written, but I needed to do something.  I didn’t like the feeling that the idea of testing and using different pens was overriding the joy I should be feeling in using them in the first place

The answer is to create a system such as the one Joe mentions here. A great idea, yet one that also reminds me how thankful I am I don’t have to:
Choosing Pens for the Daily Carry


The Pelikan’s Perch
Generally I’m more likely to add different pens to my collection rather than different colours of the same or similar models.

However, this soon to be released offering from Pelikan certainly tempts me to add to the red and the black M205’s currently in my collection.

Brough to you of course where you find all your Pelikan news:
News: M205 Aquamarine Special Edition Demonstrator


Too Many Inks
If I’m remembering the system correctly, this looks like ink number 355 entering the Too Many Inks stable.

BMW Blue didn’t disappoint, thought the scan below doesn’t do it justice, this ink shades very well with the dark areas having a red highlight just like the best of the shading blues from Sailor or iroshizuku. This is one very nice blue, I look forward to using it at the office this week.

Look, I’m very pleased the BMW Blue is an impressive ink and has gone to a good home, however someone has to do the responsible thing and say it: David – please don’t ink and drive1:
Montblanc for BMW Blue


Crónicas Estilográficas
Now that — is an interesting nib:
East Pen Made in Tokyo


Having been earlier this year diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, I have a new found respect for the importance of accurate and clear labelling on the products we consume.

Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo, said: ‘We believe people should have the best possible information to make informed choices about what they drink: this includes alcohol content and nutritional information per typical serve. Johnnie Walker is one of our largest global brands, which means these new labels will arm millions of people around the world with clear information about what’s in their glass and in a way they can understand at a glance.’

Upon looking at the labelling, the benefits of listing kJ/calories and six further zero’s for the remaining nutritional categories may be questionable, though for the reason I’ve mentioned above, I am not complaining about steps taken in labelling standards.

Besides, I don’t really think you’ll find any negatives resulting from such a move inside your usual bottle:
Johnnie Walker to count calories on labels


The struggle to further grow specialty coffee is real.

So here’s the problem: what we perceive as our biggest asset to win and retain customers doesn’t work the way we want it to. Not enough people are interested in upgrading the coffee they drink.

Of course it wouldn’t be a jimseven post without some valid solutions:
A customer conundrum


Although it might be summer in the Northern Hemisphere — it’s always BBQ weather in Brisbane:
Coffee BBQ Rub Is Magically Delicious

  1. Yep. Wow. Not only did I think of that – I actually wrote it. My apologies. ↩︎

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
If you’re around the pen community long enough, you will see the inevitable (or so it seems) progression from wherever people start — to fountain pens. Perhaps even more inevitably, you feel you should be doing the same. Mike knows the feeling, and has written a fantastic post here — and judging by the comments, it struck a chord with many.

Lets say you are one of those people that really doesn’t like fountain pens. Sort of feels like you’re the odd one out or that you have to pretend to like them around the cool kids in order to fit in…

What also concerns me from time to time is how easy it could be to form the impression that to fit in, you need to spend a decent amount of money, and keep spending it.

Of course that isn’t true, yet can be an unintended and entirely innocent consequence of collective enthusiasm (like the point raised in Mike’s post above) — particularly in this age of social media:
Fad or Function? Using what you enjoy…and makes sense


Jake Weidmann Artist and Master Penman
You know things are pretty special when even the shipping process is in itself what I’d call a work of art.

Each certificate of edition bears the authentic JW gold seal; each one individually pressed with our customized embosser. This turn-of-the-century iron cast lion head embosser belonged to an old library on the east coast before it came into our possession. We customized the die to match our vision for the brand and we love the way it’s unified everything we do within the business.

Amazing work — and Works, for that matter if you care to browse a little through the site:
From the Studio


The Gentleman Stationer
One of my favourite notebooks of the past couple of years has been Baron Fig’s Confidant (mine was the Three-Legged Juggler edition). Exactly as Joe mentions here, I too was a regular Moleskine Cahier user until an increased use of fountain pens put an end to that.

Baron Fig uses some of my favorite all-purpose notebook paper. This isn’t Tomoe River paper, however, so if you’re looking for a notebook that will let you run wild with your widest and wettest fountain pen nibs, look elsewhere.

I include that quote simply to emphasise there is a limit to the paper in Baron Fig’s products as far as fountain pens go, however the threshold is a lot higher than you might think for an “all-purpose” notebook. Essentially all of my everyday writers performed perfectly, and I’m looking forward to placing an order once I power through a few more pages of what I am currently using:
Baron Fig Vanguard: A New Direction, and A Good One


The Frugal Fountain Pen
A problem Pilot Prera can be a frustrating thing — and understandably so.

I’ve had a Prera for over a year now and have not had any issues — perhaps just the luck of the draw:
My Problem Pilot Prera


The Sweet Setup
There is nothing wrong with an intermittent reminder to any or all who might listen, regarding either passwords and/or back ups.

This is the former:
The best password manager (and why you need one)


Finer Things in Tech
David Chartier takes a swipe (not just to reply) at iMessage, highlighting where it is lacking compared with other third-party messaging platforms.

Despite those impressive numbers, I strongly believe that, as the iPhone was five years ahead of the industry, iMessage and Messages have been roughly five years behind their competition

All I can really do is mostly nod along, as I see my kids Messenger and Snapchat their way through life with their friends.

Some valid points here:
What’s wrong with iMessage?


Ulysses Blog
Author Kevin Tumlinson discusses some advice for writers on all things writing, and the business of being an author.

I have no active memory of the first time I encountered this advice, but I know what I felt at the time: Pure dread. I hated that advice. It made me sick to my stomach. It made me angry, too, because what I wanted to hear was something along the lines of ‘send the right query letter to a publisher and you’ll get a contract and a big fat check, and you can take the next two years to write the book.’

His advice to aspiring authors on writing isn’t new, however is heard often enough to assume it probably works:
Being an Author Means Being in Business