giveaway


Mechanical Pencil Day Winner 1

…and we have a winner! id00092 wrote the winning comment:

are you sure that Gessner is not a Ninja weapon??

id00092

Congratulations! Please contact me by email within a week (by 23 July 2019). My email address can be found on the ‘About’ page. You’ll need to let me know whether you want to win the Gessner or the other mechanical pencils (i.e. all of them except the Gessner).

To help you with that decision: Here’s a video about the Caran d’Ache 888 Infinite:

and one about the Faber-Castell TK-Fine 2315:

If you want to go back the the origins and prefer the Gessner then you’ll find some more information about the Gessner and the company behind it here:


Happy Mechanical Pencil Day 2019 58

It’s time to celebrate Mechanical Pencil Day again. CultPens let me pick £50 worth of stationery and to get you into the mechanical pencil day mood I will give them away again, like last year.

This year I went with the theme of underdog mechanical pencils. That also means that most of the pencils were cheap and it’s not really worth me sending them out individually because international postage might cost me more than the value of the pencil.

Pencils for the giveaway
Prizes for Mechanical Pencil Day 2019

That means that this year I split the prize into two halves: The Gessner (the wooden one, third from the left with its ‘case’ next to it) is one half. You can find out more about the company behind the Gessner, plus a bit about the Gessner itself in the following video I made in the past. I think it’s one of many videos that was supposed to be used in a blog post, but the blog post just hasn’t happened yet.

All the other pencils plus the leads together are the other half. One of them is the lemon yellow Caran d’Ache 888 Infinite. I wrote a short blog post about this pencil on the CultPens blog.

The Bleistift.blog winner can decide whether he/she wants the Gessner or all the other pencils. Whatever is left will be a prize for Stationery.wiki.

Make sure you also visit Dave’s Mechanical Pencils and enter his giveaway.

FAQs:

Why is Mechanical Pencil Day on 5/7 (5 July)?

It’s on 5/7 or 7/5, depending on your countries way of writing dates because the two most popular lead diameters are 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm.

What do I need to do to take part in the giveaway?

I won’t force you to follow my YouTubeFacebook or Twitter account to take part in the draw for this giveaway. We’re all adults here and you should decide yourself who you want to follow. Instead of following my social media channels, all you have to do for a chance to win is to leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post.

When is the deadline for the giveaway, i.e. the deadline to leave a comment?

Deadline is 15 July 2019 at 12:00 (noon) Zulu time (UTC)

How will the winner be decided?

  1. I will use a random number generator to get a random number n. I will then check who wrote the nth comment.
  2. I will then check whether the nth comment is the first comment by a blog reader on this giveaway post. If it is the first comment by a blog reader on this post this reader will get the pencil of their choice. If the comment was written by myself or if it was not the first comment or if the reader wrote he/she doesn’t want the prize then I will go back to step one.
    This ensures that I won’t win a prize myself. It also means that you can comment as often as you want, but only one of your comments (the first one) will count for the prize draw.
  3. Deadline see above.
  4. I will announce the winner on this blog. The winner then has one week to contact me. If I don’t hear back from the winner within a week the prize might be given to someone else or used in another giveaway or contest or I might keep it myself.
  5. The remaining half/prize will be a prize for Stationery.wiki. You can, of course, take part in both, the Bleistift giveaway and the Stationery.wiki. In fact, I encourage you to.

Good luck!


Mechanical Pencil Day is here! 148

It’s time to celebrate! The first ever Mechanical Pencil Day is here.

Why Today?

With the two most popular lead diameters being 0.5mm and 0.7mm the day was set to 05/07 (in the format used in UK, France, Italy, Spain, ..) that’s 07/05 (in the format used in USA, China, maybe Canada) or 5.7. (in the format used in Germany and other Central and Northern European countries).1

To celebrate this special day there are, of course, prizes to be won.

Everyone’s Celebrating

CultPens was kind enough to supply more than £50 worth of prizes. They also agreed that I can split these between Bleistift.blog and Stationery.wiki. As part of their Mechanical Pencil Day celebrations they published a blog post from me on their blog yesterday (The picture are not form me, though). Other blogs give out prizes, too. I can’t list all the blogs that offer prizes, as I am not sure who exactly is taking part (this blog post was written before 5 July) but I know that Dave from Dave’s Mechanical Pencils has some fine pencils he’ll hand out. He’s the one who made me aware of Mechanical Pencil Day in the first place. Have a look at his blog for even more chances of winning fine writing gear than if you only take part in my giveaway.

How to Win

OK, here’s what’s on offer and how to win Bleistift’s giveaway prizes. By the way, I won’t force you to follow my YouTube, Facebook or Twitter account to take part in the draw for this giveaway. We’re all adults here and you should decide yourself who you want to follow. Instead of following my social media channels, all you have to do for a chance to win is to leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post.

Mechanical Pencil Day Prizes

..and here are the prizes. From left to right we have:

How will the winner be decided?

  1. I will use a random number generator to get a random number n. I will then check who wrote the nth comment.
  2. I will then check whether the nth comment is the first comment by a blog reader on this giveaway post. If it is the first comment by a blog reader on this post this reader will get the pencil of their choice. If the comment was written by myself or it was not the first comment I will go back to step one.
    This ensures that I won’t win a prize myself. It also means that you can comment as often as you want, but only one of your comments (the first one) will count for the prize draw.
  3. I will then repeat the first two steps until we have a winner for the second pencil. The second winner can choose from the remaining three pencils.
  4. Deadline is 11 July 2018 at 12:00 (noon) Zulu time (UTC), that’s 5:00 PDT2, 8:00 EDT3, 13:00 BST4, 14:00 CEST5, 20:00 CST6, 21:00 KST/JST7.8
  5. I will contact you if you’ve won, but if I don’t hear back from you within a week the pencils might be given to someone else or used in another giveaway or contest.
  6. The two remaining pencils will be the prizes for the Stationery.wiki contest. You can, of course, take part in both, the Bleistift giveaway and the Stationery.wiki contest. In fact, I encourage you to.

Who can take part?

CultPens sent the pencils to me. I will send them to the winners using Royal Mail. They will usually send items to more or less all countries, but if you live on the ISS or in a research station in Antarctica and are not sure whether they deliver to you you can check on their Country Guide page.

I will send the pen using the cheapest method (this is a free blog after all, with no income from advertising). I think within the UK this is covered up to £20. Internationally the cover might be even higher. If you need the pen sent in a specific way let me know and I will see whether I can accomodate.

Good Luck.

  1. I guess my personal mechanical pencil day should be 02/03 then 😛 []
  2. Tango []
  3. Quebec []
  4. Alfa []
  5. Bravo []
  6. Hotel []
  7. India []
  8. All these time zones remind me of the 1980s and early 1990s when MTV Europe was still free to watch. In Europe, you’re not really used to different time zones, but with MTV Europe being a pan-European TV station programmes were announced in different time zones. []

Seven years, 23 YouTube subscribers and a giveaway 42

Well, time flies. It’s already seven years since Bleistift started with its first blog post.

As done in in previous recent anniversary posts here’s a quick behind the scenes look and some of my thoughts about the blog.

This time I will mainly focus on Bleistift’s YouTube videos1, the first one which first appeared just a bit more than a year ago, in September 2015.

 

Video Quality

The videos are easy in a sense that they don’t require as much background work as blog posts, but the video image quality isn’t very good, mainly because of the lack of space in our home and the lack of light (because the windows are quite small). I could set it up nicely somewhere on the floor in a corner, with some lights, but there’s usually not enough time for that. Blog posts on the other hand can be started and interrupted as often as I like, because there is no set up time, so it’s easier to find a few minutes here and there to work on a blog post. Plus you don’t notice our kid making noise in the background. Something you do notice this in the videos.

No wonder there’s no space in our home, have a look at new home sizes around the world2.

CountrySize in square metres
UK76
Germany109
Denmark137
USA201

Both issues, size and light, apply equally to taking photos, but with photos you can compensate for the poor light by exposing longer and the lack of space isn’t too bad as you can just put things on the window sill for close ups etc.

I hope to improve the quality of future videos. You might have noticed that for the last video (sharpening with a hard disk) I was wearing a coat. That was because I did that vide in the garage. Don’t expect too much though, for the foreseeable future there won’t be enough time to set the videos up nicely.

 

The most disliked Bleistift video so far: The Kuru Toga video

It seems as if the Kuru Toga is are always a source of controversy. The idea of rotating the lead wasn’t new, see Schmidt’s patent, and the implementation, i.e. Kuru Toga’s mechanism, doesn’t work for me, probably because I don’t use enough pressure when writing. This blog presents my personal opinion, but some people seem to get upset if you say that this pen doesn’t work for everyone as advertised.

The Kuru Toga Pipe Slide

The Kuru Toga Pipe Slide

Keeping this in mind it’s no wonder that my Kuru Toga video has twice as many dislikes as likes (2 dislikes, 1 like).

Well, I am sure it’s great if you write Kanjis, but they are officially selling the pen in the West, I am not importing a pen not to be sold in the west, so I think it’s only fair to point this out and to show what leads to the pen not performing as advertised. I’m not saying it’s a bad pen, I’m just disappointed that it doesn’t work for me. I don’t doubt it works well for others (unlike the uni-ball air. I have three of the broad type now, but with the best will: the uni-ball air doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do).

 

The most popular video: Refilling pencils? Why??

I also don’t get why some videos are popular while others aren’t.

The DelGuard pen force test, the first video and therefore online for the longest time, is not very popular (about 11 views per week overall), even though I find this test exciting. Also: getting the force to display correctly and in sync with the video wasn’t easy. I think the idea was good and the fact that a few weeks after my video Zebra, the company behind the DelGuard, made a Japanese video with similar elements shows that it’s useful in conveying how the pen works.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the lack of interest though, because the blog post about the DelGuard only got one comment, despite the effort that went into trying to produce an accurate diagram that shows how much pressure can be applied before the lead breaks when extended how far.

What force is needed to break a lead of what length.

How much force is needed to break a lead extended a certain length in the DelGuard.

In comparison the refilling a mechanical pencil video is quite meaningless, but is much more popular (about 35 views per week overall).

The lesson here is that my audience doesn’t like complicated stuff. No point in writing things down that no one wants to read anyway. You might have noticed that I am now trying to keep blog posts simple. It doesn’t always work as blog posts tend to end up more complicated than first planned – but I’m working on it.

 

Using bloggers to sell products

Something else I noticed is that since I started seven years ago there are more and more companies that want their products being advertised by bloggers, but they don’t provide a sample (so small bloggers are supposed to basically just relay a marketing message for a product you don’t know).
I have linked to many Kickstarter projects I found interesting, even though I didn’t get anything free from these campaigns, on the contrary I spent money to buy/back the product. Bloggers do that because they get excited about these products. What has changed is that now companies just sent you their press releases without any additional information. Unlike them I don’t earn money from this, it costs me money, like it does for many other non-commercial blogs. I do get some benefits from this blog: The two most expensive things I got in these seven years was (Number 1) being invited to Insights X followed by (Number 2) a Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil, worth £46 (~$57; €53). I guess you could count these ‘benefits’ against he cost of the server, but there still wouldn’t be any money left.
Because of the non-commercial nature of this blog I am quite unhappy when companies misuse non-commercial blogs, e.g. like Book Block did. I found the idea great so there was no need to promise me anything to get me to post about it, so why tell me they’ll send a notebook and make me design it when they won’t send it, even after repeated email exchanges about this? This is even more frustrating as they did send samples to the big blogs, like Desk of Adam, Gentleman Stationer, Pentorium, Woodclinched (I think Andy said he got one), but small blogs get like mine get told they’ll send a sample, but then they can’t be bothered to keep their word.

Well, a while ago Paper Oh told me on Instagram they want to send me a notebook. Let’s see what will happen.

I know many other examples that shall not be named where other companies use bloggers not only for input, but to do important tasks that are part of product development or creation and after the work is done the bloggers then get ignored or don’t even get to see the final product, even though it is sold for a cheap price, i.e. is available. I have not been treated like this, but it is a shame that the small bloggers sometimes do get misused in this way.

It didn’t used to be like this and it is a shame that it is like this now.

Giveaway

Well, since this is an anniversary post there’s also a giveaway.

The winner will get a surprise package that contains at least one item from each of the following categories

  • wood cased pencils
  • mechanical pencils
  • sharpeners
  • erasers
  • fountain pen

I think it’s definitely worth taking part!

Why? Look at this previous giveaway: The pens from the previous giveaway are currently selling for £68 + £44 = £112 (~$139; €131), the RRP is even higher, but there were only 30 comments, so on average every commenter won more than £3 (even though that’s no consolidation for those who didn’t win).

…and the best things is that I don’t make you follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and don’t make you write a poem either. All you need to do is post a comment here. The giveaway will be open for one week, until Monday, 28 November 2016, 23:59:59 Zulu time (GMT). If you don’t know what to write, just write “I would like to win” or something like that…

 

  1. which have 23 YouTube subscribers by now, in case you wonder about the title of this blog post. []
  2. Figures taken from The Telegraph and ShrinkThatFootprint []

Giveaway 25

To celebrate the 200th blog post of Bleistift: a (small) giveaway.

If you can tell me the link1 between the two items in the photo you will receive a small prize.

Giveaway

What’s the link between these two items?

Giveaway rules: The first correct answer wins. I’m happy to send the small prize to any country as Royal Mail is delivering to that country.

 

Franken BleistiftAnother cause for celebration2 is the fact that today is Franconia Day (Tag der Franken). Franconia is home to the well-known stationery manufacturers Staedtler, Faber-Castell, Schwan-Stabilo, Eisen, Möbius & Ruppert, KUM and others.

  1. There might be links I’m not aware of. The winning link is the one I’m thinking of. []
  2. Except the giveaway 8^) []