If there is a cool, must-have new office supply you can be sure that Brian Greene has found it. He has been at it for years at Office Supply Geek, a blog that is one of the stalwarts of the community. My thanks to Brian for answering Three Questions.
1. What role do analog tools such as pens, pencils, and paper play in your day to day life?
From a practical perspective, I just learn and remember much better when I'm actually writing things down. I think my brain takes it do a different level because sometimes I will be trying to remember something that I wrote down in my notes, and the way I start looking for it is by thinking to myself "Hey you wrote that with your Pilot Vanishing Point and Pelikan Edelstien Aventurine ink" then I can scan my notes for some pretty thinly written green text and hone in on the content I was looking for that way. For that reason I try to alternate what pen and ink I use between different days or topics to help create those visual markers for my brain to fall back on when I'm trying to find something.
From a more aesthetic perspective, I just really enjoy the experience of writing on some great paper like my Levenger Circa Rhodia refills with a great fountain pen, usually one of my Pelikan's as of late. Its a great experience, and I also just enjoy the look of the whole package of great ink being put on nice paper by a smooth fountain pen nib.
2. What are your favorite products you are currently using?
This definitely spans a wide range of things so I'll try and reign it in a bit. If we were to stick strictly to office supplies, I'd say its my new Pelikan M805 Stresemann which is just an amazing pen. Its larger than most of my other fountain pens, so it has a bit of visual presence when you look at it. The elegant striped pattern with the black and silver accents also add to that visual appeal for me. It also gets a place in my Nock Co. Hightower, I carry 3 pen cases on a daily basis, but I love the Hightower because it keeps my favorite fountain pens safe and easy to get at. The Hightower is my home for what I consider to be my core fountain pen rotation. My other pen/pencil cases are more of the mass storage types for things like my numerous Uniball UM 151s and Jetstreams that are more every day beater pens.
From a technology perspective, its definitely my new Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. Although its got Windows 8.1 loaded on it which isn't ideal, the laptop itself is super thin with an metal shell and so light and powerful that its hard to believe how relatively inexpensive it was. I've been spending a ton of time working on the website using the laptop, but one of my favorite things on it (and my Samsung Galaxy S5) is the Microsoft OneNote application. Its essentially electronic note taking application that has a ton of screen capture, image capture, text search, organizational and other functionality. I don't know that I could ever go strictly electronic in my note taking, but I think OneNote is probably the best experience you will find in that category. I'm sure plenty of readers here will say that Evernote is better though, but I never had much luck with it and I'm pretty dug in with my OneNote notebooks now so its a keeper for me that I've come to rely on daily in my personal and work life.
3. What post are you the most proud of on your blog?
I would honestly say its two different posts on two different ends of the spectrum.
On one side its the Sharpie Liquid Pencil Review that I did because its honestly one of the most disappointing products I've used and between the reader comments on that review and other emails and feedback I've gotten its really nice to know that I've saved more than one person from wasting their money on what seems like a product that was a good idea that was not quite ready for prime time yet. I also take a lot of pride in that review because its easy to write a glowing review of a great product, but I think it requires a good deal of sensitivity, objectivity, and documentation if you are going to point out the various (and fatal) flaws in a product. I've had the occasional person ask in a less than positive way if I just write nice things for companies that send me free stuff, and I usually point them to this review to answer that question since the review sample was provided directly from the PR folks at Sharpie. I do find it ironic that this was one of the last review items that I received from Sharpie, but I think that is because they seem to have cut their social media efforts, and not because of my negative review of their product. In fact they actually responded with some positive feedback that I shared on the review as well.
On the other end of the spectrum is my review of my Saddleback Leather Briefcase that I did a few years ago. Because it is such an expensive item I thought it was important to include lots of pictures and as much detail as possible. Its one thing to drop $3-$4 on a pen that might not work out for you, but with an item like this, a reader looking for a review with as much written and photographic detail as possible so they can be comfortable with their purchase, or with their decision not to ultimately purchase the item. Regardless of their purchase decision, if someone has read my review before deciding on such an expensive item, its genuinely nice to know that I've hopefully helped them make a more educated decision on an item like this.