Inksmudge

Sorry

March 15, 2017

Sorry everyone. I have not had much time to poste lately. The weird thing is that I have had drafts laying around it various notebooks, but I have simply not had the time to transcribe them. I have some posts lined up now. And my hope is that I’ll get the time to publish at least bi weekly moving forward.

– Eivind

Bag Philosophy.

January 13, 2017

My old bag philosophy or lack of one was always to always carry everything I might need. And I did so for way too long. It started when I went too school, I just did everything I could to bring everything I might need in order to not having to think about packing the damn thing, and always having what I needed to do whatever I had to do.

I still think that the general idea is correct.

I currently use two bags. One of them are the bag I use every single day when I go to work, and the other is when I just need to bring more than I can fit in my pockets bag. They are both picket because they have room more just what I need with a little bit margin.

What if I suddenly need to bring X? Yeah, that does not happen that often for me. And the more space you have, the more crap you accumulate to fill that space.

Here is the thing, everything I have in my primary bag is stuff I either use every day or most days. This is good for my back because the bag is lighter and it is much easier to find what I have in the bag because I can get something that fits my needs much closer.

My other bag is something I bought for when I want to carry a small camera, a notebook, a few pens and my phone. Another thing I made sure was that it is easy for bouncers to search and small enough to not fit bottles of booze or wine without being very obvious. Something that is very useful when I end up bringing it when I get drinks.

I also have a camera bag. It is useless for 90% of what I need a bag for. But it is very useful for when I want to bring my big camera, a flash and potentially my other two cameras.

Tom Bihn Pilot

December 09, 2016

Like everything else in my life, to get a new bag is always a long running process up until the point where I make up my mind; then it goes really fast. My old Osprey Flap Jack Pack have been in slow decline for at least six months. The plastic parts started to break off, and the fabric look really worn down; especially on the back. I don’t expect more than five years of daily use out of a good backpack.

But what I need from a my daily carry bag have changed a lot since then. I carry less and less stuff.

What I wanted this time was something small, and compact that had room for just what I need, without too much else. I also wanted a configuration of different compartments where they weren’t too big or too small. Too small means that they aren’t that useful, because you can’t fit anything into them and too big have the opposite problem where you can’t find anything.

I carry my laptop, a few pens, a few notebooks, some cables, my laptop and charger and my camera. But not much else. I also carry my headphones, but they don’t need to fit in the bag because I usually use them all the time.

The way I went around it this time was to to look at all the various bags I had collected links to during the last 12 months or so, and to round it down to at 2-3 different makers. Before I looked at what they had to offer. I’m not going into who I didn’t chose. But the reason I went for Tom Bihn was partly their reputation which is hard to challenge or rival and partly because their Pilot look like an exact match for what I need.

I have used it a few weeks now. And I got to say: it is fantastic. The build quality is beyond anything I have experienced. And I can find anything without any hassle(except for my bag of cables, but that isn’t the bags fault).

Everything from the process of ordering the bag to the packing to the fast delivery and the content of the box and the bag itself was delightful.

Ordering anything from Tom Bihn is what I want it to be, not unlike Apple. You pick a product and then you are presented with only the options that are available to that product. In other words, you can’t order a strap that won’t fit your bag.

The delivery all the way from Seattle to Bergen, Norway was very fast. They shipped it the same day I put the order in. And I received it 8 days later. I ordered another package from an European company the same day and a new laptop. Tom Bihn beat all the others by 2-3 days.

The packaging was the way I wish all packing was. They proudly told me that it was carbon neutral, something they didn’t have to, but though was the right thing; both being carbon neutral and informing me about it. What I was presented with when I opened the package was the fact that this box didn’t have a spear inch. They obviously make cusstom boxes for all their products. And a delightful piece of paper on top of the bag. Telling me everything I need to know, including how to return a faulty or “not for me” product.

My next bag will without doubt be from Tom Bihn.

The reason I went for the Pilot is the configuration of the compartments, and how compact it is. I ordered it with a Tom Bhin Laptop cover; they are amazing; I have never seen anything that makes it as easy to take my laptop in and out while at the same time give me the confidence that it is secure.

You basically have four compartments, and a small one on the back, which is perfect for putting mail, paper you receive in meetings and so on. The main compartment have a large compartment and two smaller pockets on one side. I currently have my 13” MacBook Pro and two Field Notes Steno notebooks(one in each of the smaller pockets). My plan is to also carry a iPad once I order a new one.

Then you have the three compartments on the front. Two larger, one of each side and a smaller one in the middle. I use the middle one to carry a laptop charger and a pouch with all the various chargers, dongles and cables. Then I have my camera and pens in the right side pocket and my Travelers Notebook and battery bank in the right side pocket.

I’m so happy with this bag because it feels like I have more room in it than my previous bag, while at the same time being smaller and it also makes it so much easier to find anything.

Year one

November 30, 2016

I think I have three or four drafts of this post in my notebook. My intent was to publish it on the day, but I have simply not had the time to get it done.

This site, and most other writing have to take the back seat while I try to complete my degree as fast as possible and try to get the startup I’m working at off the ground.

I feel really bad about not getting this post out in a reasonable fashion or time and I will try to get it done next year. I’m grateful and surprised over the response this site have received. Everything happened much faster than I had anticipated or hoped for.

What I first and foremost want to do is to say Thank You to everyone who has linked to me since I started. I have no idea how many readers I would have had without it, but it wouldn’t have been many.

There are also two people I have to mention in person because they gave me the initial push, and because I have been a fan of theirs for such a long time: <a href="http://penaddict.com">Brad Dowdy</a> and <a href="http://www.wellappointeddesk.com">Ana Reinert</a>.

The big question is: what am I going to do with the InkSmudge in year two? I’m going to revisit som of the topics I have written about during the first year, and I am also going to look more at ways to integrate stationary and a like into your life and how to be happy with five pens instead of 50.

And I have a new bag review coming up in a few days.

What is convenient isn’t always better.

September 21, 2016

I bought an Apple Watch last week. This isn’t really about it, but the charging system Apple went for is a very good example for what I am trying to say.

The inductive charging system on the Apple watch is very convenient, you just place the watch on top of it and leave it. You don’t have to plug anything in, you just leave it on top of the charger. But it isn’t that great. My main problem with it is that it’s too easy for something to bump it off, and then you have a watch that is 50% charged in the morning instead of 100%.

You can say the same thing for a classic Bic Crystal. It is a very convenient pen, and it is pretty damn good for what it is, even though I don’t like it. It works every time, and it is cheap. You could buy a large box of them and leave a few in your bag, on your desk, in your jacket etc. But it isn’t better. You could get a much better pen, for example a Lamy 2000, but that is less convenient, even though the experience of writing with it is worse.

Convenience and the best thing is always up against each other, and you need to find the perfect balance. They work after two completely different set of premises. You want to go as close as possible to “best” when it is something that is important to you, and you want to go as close to convenient as possible when you want it to be as easy as possible.

Why I don’t organise my notebooks.

September 16, 2016

I’m not that into organising “stuff” into folders or compartments. I don’t do it more than I have to digitally or analogue. The reason I never do it is that what I am going to look for when I need it is almost always different from what I would have categorised it as. My approach is instead to organise things based on what it is. All my plain text notes are in the same place, all my pictures are in the same place; all my Field Notes are in on place and all my larger notebooks in another.

I use search to find my stuff on my computer, and I almost always find it. The way I do it with my notebook is that I write when I started using a notebook, and when I completed it on the first page. Then I write a date on the top of each “text” or “list” or whatever. Then I write “(posted)”, “(transcribed)” and so on on the bottom of each text if I have done so.

It isn’t perfect, and it can be cumbersome to find stuff sometimes. But it gives me just enough context to find what I am looking for.

And I can look through all of my notebooks many more times before I even get close to the time it would have taken to set up and maintain a good system for categorising all of my used notebooks.

End of an era, and when I discovered the benefits of handwriting.

September 14, 2016

I went to my university’s bookstore yesterday, and bought, what will hopefully be the last batch of books for subjects I am taking. I’ll probably still drop by every now and then to pick up some books.

My plan is to be done with my degree in a few months.

It was when I started at the university that I started to see the real benefits of taking notes by hand. I noticed that I didn’t really remember that much of the seminars and lectures when I took notes on my Macbook, while I remembered a lot more when I used pen and paper.

There have been done a lot of research on the subject, and I’m not going to get into that. But my observation after reviewing some of the notes I have taking both in digital form and analogue form, and my observation is that my digital note is more or less a direct transcription of both the slides and what was said. While my analogue counterparts include was less information.

My impression of my own process is that how I pay attention is the key part here. When I take notes digitally I just passively listen and just write down every single piece of information. While I really have to focus and pay attention to pick up the important information and formulations when I write by hand, because I can’t write down every single thing.

My reason for using pen and paper before I started at the university was because I preferred it, now I use it because it often is the better tool for the job, in most situations, but not all. I still think that a laptop is better if you want a very accurate transcript of the meeting.

We need handwriting.

September 08, 2016

Articles like <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/opinion/handwriting-just-doesnt-matter.html?_r=0">this</a> always drive me nuts. We still use hand writing a lot in our daily lives, even though it doesn’t have the same role as it used to have.

The author uses one of the most ignorant and idiotic arguments I have seen in a very long time:

<p>

  But as a left-hander with terrible handwriting who watched my son struggle to master cursive — he had to stay inside during recess for much of third grade because he wrote his j’s backward — that is a loss I can weather. And history is replete with similar losses; consider how rarely people now carve words in stone, dip pens into ink or swipe platens of typewriters. There will be no loss to our children’s intelligence. The cultural values we project onto handwriting will alter as we do, as they have for the past 6,000 years.

</p>

School isn’t just about learning useful skills. It is also about learning a wide skill set, so that you can figure out what you want to do later in life. But the most important thing is that many things in life are hard. You still have to do them, and it is good for you.

You still need handwriting. Many subjects you are going to take require you to do a handwritten exam, not because we are old fashioned, but because subjects like Math, Physics or Logic require very sophisticated software and a lot of training before you are able to do the same thing that you can do with a simple piece of paper and a ruler.

There are also many things in your daily life where you are expected to write by hand, for example when you have to fill out some forms. Or in a meeting when you are brainstorming on large piece of paper or a whiteboard. Or in a meeting with a designer when you are trying to figure out how something should look.

You can probably do the same thing on a computer, and we do, but it is often faster, easier and better to do it on paper.

Now. Cursive. My cursive hand writing is horrible, and I hated it when I had to learn it. But it is still a very useful skill. I can read cursive because of it, even though I can’t write it myself. We have spent many hundred years, and billions of dollars to learn how to understand dead languages that we lost the direct ties to. We will cut the ties to most of the primary sources available to historians if we stop teaching cursive. That is bad. The long term problem is that we could loose the ability to read them at all. The short term problem is for everyone that need in their field or study or other work related task. Instead of using a little bit of time learning it, while learning is easier, they have to learn it much later. This means more training or education for various research positions and probably regular jobs as well before they can do their job.

How to ask the right questions

September 06, 2016

I think we have established that buying every cool thing that shows up isn’t really my thing. But I do buy stuff when I need them. And this is about how I go forward to figure out what I need.

The first step is that you need to start out with a different starting point than the product. For me it is about replacing something that isn’t what I need, removing something I don’t need or adding something new to solve a problem I don’t have a good solution for.

I always take note when I get annoyed. For example my latest change in my “workflow” for a lack of a better word, is the re-introduction of pocked sized Field Notes. As I said in the blog post, I got rid of them because the format wasn’t the right thing for most of what I were using them for. The format was way too small and limited for managing all of my notes and tasks. But I slowly realised that they were the right thing for a small sub set of my tasks and notes. I don’t always bring my Travelers Notebook when I go shopping, but I always have the room for a Field Notes notebook. There: that is a good place to start.

The reason I focus on having a use for something before buying it, is that most of us have a limited amount of money we can spend on stationary per month and year, and the less I spent on stuff I won’t use, the more I can spend on stuff I will use. It’s not that hard to spend enough on notebooks you don’t use to pay for a Lamy 2000 or something really expensive.

Review

August 31, 2016

![](https://static1.squarespace.com/static/560ec734e4b0d6edef0fcf6d/560ec965e4b023d2c257ab18/57c19fa1bebafb2d4a43b3c6/1472307598664/20160824-IMG_0849.jpg)</p>



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  <img src="https://i1.wp.com/static1.squarespace.com/static/560ec734e4b0d6edef0fcf6d/560ec965e4b023d2c257ab18/57c19fa01b631b53bee1fb4f/1472307460631/20160824-IMG_0863.jpg?w=1040" alt="" data-recalc-dims="1" />

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  <img src="https://i1.wp.com/static1.squarespace.com/static/560ec734e4b0d6edef0fcf6d/560ec965e4b023d2c257ab18/57c1a1021b631b53bee202a1/1472307686164/20160824-IMG_0880.jpg?w=1040" alt="" data-recalc-dims="1" />

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I don’t usually buy limited edition products, this might be the first time I have done it. The reason I wanted to buy it is the same reason I support [The Pen Addict](http://penaddict.com) as a member, both on the web site and over at [Relay.fm](http://relay.fm), and because it is the best looking Retro 51 I have ever seen.

This isn’t really the kind of Limited Product that drive me insane, you can get more or less the same thing, the only difference is that it looks different.

The pen looks amazing, and so does the packaging. My favourite design detail is the subtle Pen Addict logo at the top of the pen. I spent a few hours with it when I got it this week(or last week when this is published) and it feel exactly like a Retro 51 should feel. Retro 51 have always had the feeling perfection when you hold the pen and when you twist it.

But the finish of this pen feels much more grippy than the other Retro 51’s I have used, and I like it a lot.

A fantastic pen, and I can’t wait to see what the next Pen Addict Pen will look like.