Pencil Blogs – It’s a Pencil Revolution 2

It’s a Pencil Revolution.

No, I’m not talking about the song by Schradinova.

A New Series

I’m talking about Johnny’s pencil blog – because this is another one of those R / statistics blog posts – as threatened previously. I actually started to work on this in 2015. Originally I wanted to present all the data in one blog post, but because there are old pencil blogs disappearing and new ones appearing regularly this somehow hasn’t worked out yet.

That’s why I’ve now decided to switch to looking at the pencil blogs one by one, always adding to the previous stats and since I haven’t yet figured out a better way of ordering them I decided to start chronologically. The thing is, though, if pencil shops have been around for decades, there may be older pencil blogs I’m not aware of. If you know of any pencil blogs please let me know in the comments, so that I can add it to my list of blogs to be covered. At the moment I have around 30 pencil blogs on my list. Some of the next blogs to be covered will be Pencil Talk, Dave’s Mechanical Pencils and Lexikaliker.

I decided to stick with pencil related blogs, but if there is any interest (usually there isn’t much interest in the statistics related blog posts here) I’m happy to expand to more general stationery blogs.

Also, if the blog owner contacts me to object I will take the blog post about their blog offline, so there is a chance that these stats posts won’t stay.

Pencil Revolution

Here’s the first plot about the oldest pencil blog I know: Pencil Revolution. If there are no objections from Johnny other stats about Pencil Revolution will follow soon.

So far there have been 635 blog posts on Pencil Revolution. Congratulations!

Pencil Revolution Blog Posts Over TIme

Pencil Revolution Blog Posts Over TIme

The plot above shows the blog posts over time. Horizontal lines are an indication for periods of inactivity while ‘more vertical’ lines show periods with many blog posts. In the case of Pencil Revolution, you can see that Johnny stopped revolutionising between the Summer of 2006 and the Summer 2010 and between Spring 2011 and Spring 2012 before picking up again. The latest spurt started in the Summer of 2017. I won’t comment further as the graph is fairly straightforward.

Congratulations on more than ten years and more than 600 blog posts.


Well, I never! A fake mechanical pencil – Pentel’s Orenz got cloned 3

I love sliding sleeve pencil and am a big fan of Pentel’s Orenz, so naturally, I couldn’t resist when, last year, I saw a fake Pentel Orenz for sale. Well, I say fake, but this copy doesn’t actually pretend to be an Orenz, nevertheless, it is as close as can be…

Packaging

At the time when I bought it the fake Orenz wasn’t much cheaper than the real thing. I bought mine in November 2017 for £2.23 (~ $3.16; €2.55), but now you can get them for much less (£1.32 or $1.50 with free postage).

The Tian Zhuo copy and Pentel’s Orenz

Have a closer look at this pencil in my video.

The click-baity title and cover picture are thanks to some ‘advice’ from Techmoan.


Price: November 2017

Exchange rates: March 2018

 


The Pen Addict Podcast is 299 4

Oh, no. Another one of those blog posts about numbers 😜

The Pen Addict Podcast is 299. Episodes old, that is. I happily remember back, listening to the first episode in 2012.

When the first episode came out I put it on a memory card so that could listen to it in my car stereo on a longer drive. I was driving to visit one of my students who was on a placement at the time. On the way there I thought to myself “This is great, but I doubt more than a handful of people would want to listen to this. I can’t see this lasting very long.”. (#myfirsttpa 😋)

Well, how wrong I was! Of course, I am referring to the second part of my sentence.

Back then, before the podcast, to me, Brad Dowdy was ‘the friendly blogger who puts his pictures on Flickr’. Every time I had contact with him he was extremely friendly and not many bloggers had their photos on Flickr. These days I think of him as the most influential stationery blogger who helped to make liking stationery a bit more mainstream. I didn’t know Myke Hurley at all before episode one.

I felt quite honoured when Bleistift was the Pen Blog of the Week in episode 94. Funnily enough, this was because of an ink related blog post, but it still meant that pencils became one of the topics of this episode. The way I know this story (please correct me if you know better) is that a pencil blog being discussed on this episode made Tim Wasem think of starting a pencil podcast and he then talked (or chatted) to Andy Welfle. Together they then approached Johnny Gamber and within a few weeks, the Erasable Podcast was born.

In time for episode 300 I thought I have a closer look at some ‘statistics’. This information is based on the The Pen Addict Podcast page on stationery.wiki, which is basically a query of the semantic data held in the wiki. Please feel free to contribute to the wiki. Everyone’s welcome there.

Let’s have a look at the plot. The x-axis (horizontal axis) is used for the dates of the episodes. The y-axis (vertical axis) is for the episode length in minutes.

Each dot represents an episode. Early episodes are on the left, recent episodes are on the right. Short episodes are on the bottom, long episodes are on the top.

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration. Open in new tab for hi-res version.

The black line is a straight linear regression line. Looking at this line it seems that every year the episodes get around five minutes longer. If you like long episodes you can look forward to episode 1000. By that time episodes should be more than two hours long 😃.

The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line. You can see that in the first two years, until the middle of 2014, episodes gained quite a bit in duration. Growth in duration then slowed down but picked up again since 2017.

Top tip: Why not celebrate the 300th episode when it comes out next week by sharpening a brand new pencil? ..or let others know about your first TPA episode (#myfirsttpa).

If you have just discovered  the Pen Addict Podcast recently: there are 295 hours to listen to so far. That’s more than 12 solid days.

As usual, the data and the code used for this plot are available on GitHub.

PS: I know my numbers posts are not very popular, so I’ve been holding off my series of blog post analysing pencil blogs for several years – but be warned, this series will start in the near future


I’d like to thank Alexander Kramer for allowing me to use his Brad and Myke colouring page picture in this blog post.


Cost Cut Copic Copies 2

Remember the Aldi Copic copies I mentioned two months ago? I checked every week whether they started lowering the price. Today I finally got lucky.

My local Aldi only lowered the price a bit, but after so many weeks of checking my desire to try them out got higher and higher and I couldn’t resist. I hope long term they’ll turn out to be as good as the real thing. My twenty year old Copics are still working well.

If you’re in the UK and after some cheap Copic alternatives this might be your chance.


Stationery Factlets #4: International Women’s Day Edition 1

Grace Scurr’s passport photo

So far Bleistift’s Stationery Factlets have covered stationery and a woman. No man yet. We wouldn’t want to change that on International Women’s Day, would we – so today’s factlet is about Grace Scurr (1894 – 1987).

She started working for Normal & Hill in 1921 as a temp / typist. Norman & Hill became what is now known as Filofax. The idea for the name Filofax, from ‘file of facts,’ came from Grace Scurr and she is also the one who saved the company after Norman & Hill’s offices were destroyed in the war: she had all supplier and customer data written down in her Filofax, which she took home every day1.

When she left the company in 1955 she was president and shareholder in the company.

There are more stories to tell about Filofax, but I’d like to keep the focus on Grace Scurr, so am stopping here.


Photo from Filomaniac, copyright unknown, possibly expired. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. Depending how the data is organised this kind of behaviour might get you into trouble when the GDPR comes into effect in May 2018. []