Bleistift’s Birthday Party 9

As mentioned previously work is keeping me more than busy at the moment, so there won’t be many blog posts for a while (probably until January or February). I do still spend some time on my stationery hobby, but it is just to manage the Stationery Wiki – in your average week, there’s actually more spam added, which needs removing, than real content.

The sign is really big. Bigger than A4.

I am very happy to see that despite the lack of new posts there are still comments being left at this blog and even happier to see that a gift arrived at Bleistift HQ, just in time for today’s eight birthday of this blog. Thank you, Tg Das Drehmoment, who send these treasures from Berlin.

I’m very much looking forward to next year when I hope there will be months with up to 15 blog posts again, rather than the current very occasional posts.

PS: You can see the fitting pencils for the Faber-Castell sign in the Jubilator blog post. I wonder whether the sign is from Faber-Castell’s 222nd birthday in 1983.

500 14

This is Bleistift’s blog post number 500.

As usual with an anniversary blog post you’ll get some behind the scenes infos today.


Well, 500 posts might sound a lot, but general stationery blogs produce a much higher number of blog posts and even when looking at pencil only blogs this number is not that high either ( more than 20 of my blog posts are about fountain pens, so they don’t  really count).

  • Lexikaliker is the #1 pencil blog (that’s a B outside the USA) with more than 1370 blog posts
  • Followed by the #2 (that’s HB), Pencil Talk with more than 620 blog posts.
  • Next, we got #2½ (that’s F), it’s Pencil Revolution with more than 560 blog posts.
  • #3 (H) is Dave’s Mechanical Pencils with more than 530 blog posts.
  • ..and #4 (2H) is Contrapuntalism. Already past the 420 mark, he’s getting close to 500. This is kind of unfair to Sean as he has distributed his pencil posts over different blogs (Blackwing Pages, Pencils and Music) so should actually rank much higher, but I’m not sure where exactly.

Some images from old blog posts to make this one less boring

A recent surprise

Recently Bleistift had the highest number of visitor’s on one single day in it’s more than seven years of existence. This was down to the well-appointed desk linking to my blog in a blog post collecting links. As my blog post was only one of more than twenty posts linked to I wonder how many visitors the well-appointed desk has. Is it even more than the Pen Addict’s a million a month?

Even a tweet/link from the official Terry Pratchett / Discworld Twitter account a few days earlier didn’t bring that many visitors.

The previous record for most visitors on one day was from 2015 when the Pen Addict podcast linked to Bleistift.

Some images from old blog posts to make this one less boring

Change in attitude

That brings to a recent change in my attitude. I used to think it would be nice if a large number of people read Bleistift’s blog posts (thinking it makes the time spend on writing them more worthwhile).  The number of blog posts on my to do list is huge, so huge that I don’t think I can ever write them all up, so in the past, I would pick blog posts from the to-do list that I think are of more interest to a wider audience.

After repeatedly coming across what happens to the makers of big stationery blogs (being verbally attacked and other things) I now think that it’s good Bleistift’s readership is fairly small. This changed attitude will probably result in me picking whichever blog post I want to write instead of trying to write up the ones interesting to a wider audience. This shift might also bring about some other changes, e.g. there might be more fountain pen blog posts. I have tried to keep the number of those down. Having stayed under 5% (p ≤ 0.05   8^D)  fountain pen posts on this blog this was successful, but in the future, this might change.

Some images from old blog posts to make this one less boring

Bleistifts new domain:

Bleistift is the German word for pencil. It means ‘lead pen’, which is a name used for pencils in other languages as well, e.g. in Chinese (铅笔). So far bleistift was on a subdomain of a domain I bought in the 1990s. I should have bought my surname as a domain back then, but at the time I didn’t think the web would take off the way it did. I thought it will stay something geeky, like modems and BBS before the web.

Anyway, most (nearly all) stationery blogs, except some hosted on have their own domain, so I thought bleistift should have its own domain and I bought I actually pre-ordered in 2013, but I guess before the new .blog domains were released they run the domain names through a dictionary and didn’t release .blog domains representing common words, so I didn’t get my pre-ordered domain. It is now being sold by for a premium. I do actually prefer, but would have been easier to spell for non-german speakers.

Some images from old blog posts to make this one less boring

A new SSL certificate and advertising

Some other recent changes you might have noticed is that addition of advertising to the blog. The idea was to use the advertising to pay for the new SSL certificate, which would have cost around £8, but a few things have changed now, partly because of the new domain. I won’t bore you with the details as explaining this would be boring to you and long wielded.

I also thought I could leave the advertising to pay for a month of Grammarly to go through the blog and fix all spelling mistakes etc, but the advertising I see here on bleistift is often quite odd and not topic related, so I will probably take the advertising down in a few days ..but out of interest I would like to know what kind of advertising you see on this blog, if you don’t mind telling me please write it in the comments.







This and that 2

Today: just a few lines on different topics.


The Pen Rest

You might remember the Pen Rest, mentioned previously. The Pen Rest Kickstarter project has been restarted and is now fully funded. It can now be found here.


 High PPI Bleistift

I have changed the way pictures are being shown on this blog. If you have a device with a high pixel density then websites are being rendered in a different way. This affects many mobile phones and tablets, but also some computers. Basically your browser will display everything bigger so that things are not too tiny on your screen. For images that means that an image that is 540 pixels wide might be enlarged to be 1080 pixels wide. If you have a high pixel density device your computer will hopefully now load another image instead – one that makes better use of the resolution of your screen. It’s a bit like when the higher resolutions where introduced to some PalmOS devices (Yes, I had one. I was more of an Apple Newton user, but many years after the killed the Newton I made the switch to PalmOS). Unfortunately not all old images have been uploaded in a high enough resolution, but it should work for all new images.


Pelikan Wanderlust

I while ago I was part of Pelikan’s Wanderlust project. Pelikan will be holding a Facebook Event tomorrow. There will be many prices to be won. I will attend (online) as someone who wrote one of the letters, but will only join the event late as I am teaching in the afternoon and in the evening. Hope to see you there.

My Wanderlust letter

My Wanderlust letter

5 years Bleistift – behind the scenes 10

It’s been five years since Bleistift’s first blog post. Time flies.

Today: a little look behind the scenes – from a web point of view.

Comments and Spam

Visitor numbers have been fairly constant over the years. Bleistift gets about 100 to 150 visitors a day. My guess is that many of them are actually not people, but spam bots …but it’s difficult to say exactly how many are real, human visitors and how many are not. Many spam comments have been left, but over the years there have also been nearly 1500 real comments. WordPress’ Plugin ‘Akismet’ is pretty good at sorting out spam, which means that real comments don’t end up in the spam folder very often. The spam comments Bleistift gets often contain links to web sites selling fake watches or medicine, but some don’t seem to contain links at all or they contain links to unsuspicious looking web sites. I guess some of these comments that don’t make sense, but that don’t link to any medicine,fake watch, etc. websites are designed to probe the spam filter of blogs without giving away who sent them. I think Kevin’s guest review of the Dahle 133 is worth being mentioned here. It’s probably the blog post most ‘attacked’ by spam or the one where spam comments are most difficult to detect by the system – recently it received about 50 spam contents on that blog post that were so ‘good’ that the Akismet plugin didn’t recognise them as definite spam.


The origin of the visitors hasn’t changed a lot over the years. You can see this in the table below, which contrasts where the visitors from the last month came from and how that compares to visitors overall since the start of the blog. This information is recorded using Google Analytics. This is a lazy solution and it would be better if I wouldn’t use a third party tool for that. Maybe one day I’ll switch. I probably don’t even have to mention that the best blog around, Lexikaliker, does this the way it should be done, i.e. without third party tools.

October 2014 All time 
United States30%United States33%
United Kingdom10%United Kingdom11%
South Korea3%Spain2%
Italy2%South Korea2%

When it come to the web sites that send visitors to Bleistift not too much has changed either. Pen Addict was always the site that refers most visitors. If there is ever a spike in visitor numbers I can be sure that this means the Pen Addict has included Bleistift in their Ink Links.

October 2014 All time 
The Pen Addict15%The Pen Addict24%
Pencil Revolution11%Pencil Revolution9%
Lexikaliker7%Pencil Talk9%
Pencil Case Blog3%Dave's Mechanical Pencils5%
Pencils and other things3%Contrapuntalism2%
Pencil Talk2%Stationery Traffic1%
Just another pen2%Notebook Stories1%
Scribomechanica2%Pencil Wrap (defunct)1%
Blackwing Pages1%Notebook loves pen (defunct)1%



The blog software I’m using is WordPress. It’s quite nice, but some things are not as nice as with other blog software. One example: Another blog software shows links to other blogs by date of the last post and with the name of the latest article. I did install a plugin, so that WordPress behaves in a similar way, but this solution is not that elegant – it takes a very long time for this information to be displayed when you visit Bleistift.

Bleistift is hosted a server I rent. This means it does cost money and I have to update the software myself, but the advantage is that the visitors don’t have to see advertising. Speaking of updating, I should really get round to changing the template so that it’s responsive and looks good on a mobile device …but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon.