Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a weekly link to posts of interest from around the web by those wiser than myself:

Craft
With my Rhodia Ice 80th Anniversary Notebooks on their way, a timely interview with Scott Druce, Co-founder of Notemaker, one of Australia’s premier on-line stationery stores, from which my order has been shipped:
Craft Cubed Interview – Notemaker

Baristafail
An introspective piece from Josh Russell of Brisbane Specialty Roaster Cup Coffee, now 5 years on. I can happily say I have the opportunity to enjoy superb coffee roasted by Cup on a daily basis, for which I am eternally grateful. What else am I grateful for? Sentiment such as this:

Good coffee is putting people before the product. The product is then made better because of this.

I’ve met Josh a few times, and do not know him well, though I would put money on him achieving and sustaining the three personal goals he lists at the end of the post. A stand up local guy done good:
Long Term Goals

The Weekend Edition
Whether or not the events alluded to in this article about the merger of Cup Coffee (refer Cup link in Baristafail above for more information) and Coffee Supreme in any way relate to the sentiment above is not my business. In any event, as a keen consumer of coffee in Brisbane, I look forward to any step in the evolution of the industry as a whole (if it must change so be it, though I’ve always loved the Cup branding):
Cup Coffee Roasters pairs up with Coffee Supreme

Asian Efficiency
Although I find mind mapping incredibly useful, I probably don’t use the technique as much as I should. The guys at AE have posted a great article on a specific use of the technique to condense and consolidate information:
Mind Mapping for Condensing Material

Pennaquod
Over the past 6 months I have been furiously Pinboarding pen, paper and ink reviews for the time I may need to refer back before a future purchase. Perhaps Ian Hedley has now saved me the trouble, recently launching this “penblog search engine”, which aims to avoid the many ad listings which confront any product search these days, with pens and paper no different. There are some great sites already signed up, and I’m sure many more to follow. What a fantastic idea (and already in my favourites bar of course):
Pennaquod: The pen blog searcher

Pens! Paper! Pencils!
I must admit I clicked the Twitter link to this review yesterday from Ian with a little trepidation, as I had purchased a bottle of De Atramentis Permanent Blue a few hours before seeing it. As the link was loading my thoughts were of course – oh no, what if this is really bad?. Thankfully it seems to be a decent ink, and I do like the colour. By the way, if you need a few (hundred) other opinions, type this ink into the search engine at Pennaquod and have at it:
De Atramentis Document Ink Blue ink review

Jet Pens
I’ve been working my way through a trio of Pilot G–2’s recently, seeing if I can find a sweet spot out of the 0.38mm, 0.5mm or 0.7mm. It’s looking like the 0.5mm, however the G–2 is not my first choice for a cheap everyday pen (at the time they were the only locally available brand in three sizes). One I have not tried as yet is the Zebra Sarasa, which is high on my list. No doubt I will have a quick flick through the following guide prior to any purchase:
Zebra Sarasa: A Comprehensive Guide

Pen Paper Ink Letter
I’ve often thought I must test or at least seek out some nice brown ink. Perhaps due to a subconscious desire to combine my love off coffee and pens, though more likely simply because there are some great brown inks out there. Heath from PPIL has been hard at work looking at some recently, and, as you will see in the accompanying images to each post, some inks are brown (perhaps with a hint of red), and some, well…, aren’t. Thankfully inks are not bought on name alone:
Fountain Pen Ink Review: Waterman Absolute Brown
Fountain Pen Ink Review: Noodler’s Burma Road Brown

The Typist
Reviewing my app purchases for any business related expenses at tax time just about drives me crazy, so I cannot even imagine the amount of effort that went into this post. As I read the article this made me cringe:

To my surprise, there was no easy way to export all iTunes & App Store purchases to a spreadsheet. So yes, I’ve gone through 90 e-mail receipts that contained 126 purchases, adding the above metadata to each individual purchase.

Of particular interest is the overall amount spent on Apps over a four year period, and just how many remain on the device. A fascinating article and definitely one worth reading:
Four Years in Apple’s Ecosystem: An Expenses Report

Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pen – Impressions

Kakuno SmileyI like to think I set an example and guide my children’s behaviour rather than imposing my will upon them. So, when presenting my son with a Pilot Kaküno fountain pen on his 11th birthday recently, I’d hoped he would be pleasantly surprised rather than think “here we go with more of dad’s pen obsession again”. Thus, with a desire to check out a Pilot (F) nib, what better excuse… um…I mean – with my son’s best interests at heart, I decided to buy the Kaküno.

The pen was purchased on eBay, as finding a stockist in my home town of Brisbane proved fruitless, as did searching the Australian on-line stationery stores (if anyone has had more success I would appreciate hearing about it). In considering the cost ($16.50 rrp) along with P&H, the price was more than reasonable for a pen of this quality. Included in the box were the pen, and a standard Pilot blue ink cartridge. There is also the option of using a Con–50 converter in future for bottled inks.

According to Jet Pens:

…Pilot designed the Kaküno pen, a simple fountain pen that is great for beginners. Thanks to its many features that help ease beginners into the world of fountain pens, kids and adults can experience the joy of writing with these delightful instruments. “Kaküno” means “to write” in Japanese and that’s just what this pen helps you do!

Look and Feel

The design of this pen is spot on in my opinion. A concern was whether my son would like the overall look, colour and shape, however I need not have worried, as he loves it. The pen is constructed of plastic, with a steel nib, and has a hexagonal barrel, clipless contoured cap (with a small ridge at one edge), and a grip area guiding the user toward a preferred hand position. Although the grip section is also hexagonal, alternate sides are longer, creating a more triangular and smoother edged shape overall. I found this approach to grip shaping more subtle and therefore more comfortable than the Lamy ABC grip.

The entire range has a grey barrel, with colour introduced through variations in the cap, with lime green, pink, red, blue, orange and grey available. As you can see from the accompanying images, we chose the blue cap. The nib? Well it has a smily face etched on doesn’t it – a fantastic feature for the target market which also provides a hint as to the correct nib alignment for writing. A great feature which in no way dominates the pen itself – more a sneaky nod and wink to the user.

The size and weight are perfect for both smaller or average sized hands, and can be used equally well by an adult or child, which I see as an advantage over the Lamy, which clearly looks like a “kids pen”. For something I hope my son will use for a few years yet, I think he would have outgrown the “look” of the Lamy sooner rather than later. My other consideration was the Lamy Safari, however when capped, would have been a little tall for his usual writing position. At the current time my son writes with the Kaküno uncapped, however I think this will most likely change as he grows and his hand becomes larger.

Dimensions:
– Diameter – Grip 11.6 mm
– Diameter – Max 13.3 mm
– Length – Capped 13.1 cm
– Length – Posted 15.7 cm
– Length – Uncapped 12.2 cm

Performance

According to other reviews, the feed and nib are the same as those found in a Pilot Prera which I have not had the experience of writing with myself (are there any pens out there not on my shopping list!). I ordered a fine nib to ensure a quick drying, cleaner writing experience and the Kaküno writes flawlessly. I think this is vitally important in a pen such as this, for an introduction to writing with a fountain pen should be enjoyable, not alienate the user due to a scratchy nib, poor ink flow, smudging or just a “messy experience” in general.

As far as a hand written sample is concerned, I will invite the owner of the pen to contribute here. The following are my 11-year-old son’s true responses to the questions I posed (with a Kaweco Ice Sport (M); J. Herbin Orange Indien):

Kakuno Qu1_2Kakuno Qu3_4

 

Kakuno Qu5Kakuno Qu6

Conclusion

Overall, I could not be happier with the choice of the Kaküno as my son’s first fountain pen. My son loves the pen as well, which does make me happy. Whether or not he carries forward the same interest in pens and paper as I do (not sure whether that is a good or bad thing in any event!), at least using the Kaküno has been a faultless, enjoyable experience that opens up many possibilities or perhaps none, depending on his own interests.

Would I recommend the Kaküno to others? Absolutely, it is an ideal beginners (or anyone’s for that matter) pen, rather than simply a kids pen – a key difference in ensuring the pen suits a wide range of users, and has the ability to grow with a younger one. Indeed I (ahem), we (cough), – he will certainly be using this pen often, and for some time to come.

Reviews of the Pilot Kaküno:
– The Pen Addict: Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pen Review
– The Well Appointed Desk: Review: Pilot Kakuno Fine Nib
– My Pen Needs Ink: Review – Pilot Kakuno
– On Fountain Pens: Pilot Kakuno fountain pen – great for kids and beginners