For Want of Paper

Two day. The day portends to be one of those disappointments of Spring – too colding in the morning and too warming in the afternoon.

I have been cogitating a bit on pens and writing lately. My colleague, Total Angular Momentum Inductance Flux, abetted this by sending me a TED presentation on writing. It has been so bad that I can only take a minute or so at a time and am only halfway through over two days time. I am entertaining the conjecture that writing – the use of an instrument in hand to compose on paper (or clay,) – is like consciousness. Those who write about it are manifold in number and outlook and mostly antagonistic, if not poisonous, to each  other.

This put me in mind of a couple of articles [Link] entitled “This new pen digitises your notebooks as you write in them ” and [Link] “Gadget Ogling: Smarter Notes, Livelier Virtual Reality, and Bigger In-Flight Movies” that I ran across recently. Both cover a recent introduction by the Moleskine folks of a “pen” and “notebook” combination. The idea of the combination is that the pen and notebook together digitize and store (in the cloud) what you write in the notebook.

That’s a lovely idea but this implementation is so repulsive that I have ZERO probability of even trying the thing. Part of the problem is that except for the cloud storage part it isn’t new.

It’s not that I am opposed to new. I saw a notice by TWSBI yesterday that they were shortly bringing out a completely transparent, uncolored version of their ECCO and I experienced mild excitement. At my age and degree of pen experience, that’s substantial.

Rather, the problem with the Moleskine (and their pen coconspiratior) apparatus is that it not only isn’t new, but it’s bad technology. Item the first: the pen is probably a ballpoint and ballpoints are STERCUS. They stutter and interrupt the mindless components of writing and are thus disruptive. Item the second: the pen has to have electronic in it and to keep it almost too small, the ink supply in the pen is inadequate. Item the second, bis: because the ink supply is inadequate you have to have refills and they charge more for that quantity of ink than the equivalent amount of the rarest type of human blood.

Item the third: the paper. Moleskine notebook are ALWAYS paired up with balpoints. That’s because the paper is so crappy from a writing standpoint that the only way it isn’t cripplingly obvious is to pair the paper up with an even crappier pen. That is, a ballpoint. Try to write on a Moleskine notebook with a gel pen and you can’t. Try and write with a fountain pen and you immediately tear the pages out of their binding and leave them in the nearest entropy cellar because that’s all they;re good for and not very much at that.

But more than for writing.

There are lots of good notebooks out there. That is, they are well made notebooks with paper that is good for writing. Sadly, Moleskine makes none of these. They are glued to their abominable paper. Which is a shame, because if they would use good paper then they would have notebooks good for writing and not have to resort to sordid schemes like this.

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