Friday, October 19, 2012


     Only if you have two of them, a lot of yarn, a lot of time and you're extraordinarily skilled at knitting.

     The original Blackwing 602 was the preferred writing implement of many famous writers (including John Steinbeck, though after the debunking of Travels With Charley, that might be a mixed blessing).  The last one rolled  -- well, slid, the special eraser ferrule prevents rolling -- off the line in 1998. Cal Cedar bought the machinery and brought them back as the "Blackwing" in 2010, took some heat over the differences, and added the closer-to-original "Blacking 602" last year.

     They're not cheap, $20 a dozen.  On the other hand, most pencils sold these days are lousy, splintery things with reconstituted or synthetic "wood" and the lead's nothing to write home with, either.  So I splurged.

     Gee.  They're nice.  And the old motto actually means something -- "Half the pressure, twice the speed."  You do go skimming right along.  Here are my notes (Copyright 2012, all rights reserved) for the vignette "Mo," over at I Work On A Starship, written in real-time while observing one of the people on whom the character is based:
     I'm not any better a writer with it, but the hardware doesn't get in the way of the work, which is a pretty big deal.  Are they worth $20 a box?  Probably not if all you're doing is making grocery lists and leaving notes for the plumber.  On the other hand, if you enjoy good writing tools, they certainly are a nice treat!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


   Four pens?

   Not so fast!
    Stapler, scissors, compass and a small (approx. 1/8" diameter) eraser in a nice holder.

    These are by three different manufacturers. After I'd found the compass and scissors, the nifty little stapler clinched the deal.  (All from Jet Pens, btw). They all work just fine.  The stapler is the only one I have ever seen that had a "safety" control.

      I also picked up a box of Blackwing 602 pencils, a relaunch of a legendary pencil. Report will follow once I've been using them awhile.

Friday, October 5, 2012


In honor of Tam's link from a post showing examples of logic elements from early computers, here's a link to a site showing a nice dual-triode flip-flop as used in the Burroughs 205. (Plus actual pictures of actual hardware.)  Enough of those and you'd have yourself some memory; also an air-conditioning challenge.  But wouldn't it be fun?