Part 43 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal

Product Review: Moleskine Notebook

notebook moleskine

Sat Nov 01 18:13:50 2008

It accompanies the creative professions and has become a symbol of contemporary nomadism.

A few months ago, I replaced my Hipster PDA (consisting of a PostIt notepad and a large clamp) with a Moleskine notebook (unlined pages), because many of the leaves I collect as subjects for drawing, kept falling out of the pad; the Moleskine keeps them all secure. I bought mine at Indigo Books in the Toronto Eaton Centre. I initially went to the Urban Connection store on Yonge and Shuter, because I had read somewhere that they carried them, but a helpful salesperson there, informed me that they no longer carried them, but that Indigo had them.

The notebook is handmade with acid-free paper and the pages are thread bound. It has an elastic band, cleverly attached to the outside back cover, that keeps the notebook tightly closed. It has a braided cloth ribbon placemark attached to the spine and an expandable pocket inside the back cover. Both the pages and the cover (covered with imitation oil-cloth and embossed with "Moleskine" on the back) have rounded corners. I prefer the hardcover notebooks to the softcover ones because it helps to brace ones hand on the hard cover. The pamphlet that accompanies each notebook has a brief history of the French notebook whose production stopped 1986, but was restarted after a Milanese company bought the rights and revived it two years later.

The only complaint I have with the notebook, is that there is no way to securely attach the pen to the notebook. Some people clip their writing instrument to the spine; a technique works that reasonably well if the clip is properly designed, otherwise it tends to wear a groove in the spine covering (as the Pilot G-Tec C4 has done within a few days in my notebook; see the first notebook photo). I had a Papermate mechanical pencil clipped there earlier, with no ill effects.

The advantages of notebook over my PDA are numerous— durability against rough handling (I carry it in the outside pocket of my messenger bag; it can also survive a drop from any height), ability to withstand harsh temperatures, no need for periodic recharging, ability to cope with multimedia (drawing, sketches and writing), storage of physical objects and the long-term archival capability (no problems with dead batteries). I find that all these advantages outweigh the advantage a PDA has of being able to quickly search all the data.

Update Sat Nov 01 22:59:56 2008: The biggest advantage my PDA has over the Moleskine, is the ability to securely encrypt all my passwords. Additionally, any notes written into the notebook have to be manually transcribed into the computer while they can be copy and pasted from the PDA into the editor. I can use a PDA in the dark, while a notebook needs light.

A note on the photographs: the first Moleskine photograph illustrates the relative size of the pocket notebook, the pen and the watercolour notebook and also shows the groove made by the G-Tec pen, on the top of the spine; the writing in second photograph was done with the Sakura 0.1 Pigma Micron marker, whose use I am rationing due to its limited availability.

Update Sun Nov 02 15:47:25 2008: Jonathan sent along a link to hand-made leather Moleskine journal covers from a company called Renaissance Art. I do like the Traditional and Tie-wrap models, but the Snap Closure seems hideous because of the disproportionate size of the closure (but it does have a pen holder).

David sent along a couple of links to Sakura's website (and online store) and to Woolfitts, an art-supply store in Toronto. (It seems that my pen designated "01" draws a line which is 0.25mm thin.)

The Apple Family


Fri Nov 07 20:18:25 2008

List of celebrities who use Macs (I was surprised to see Bill Gates listed there).

TUAW had a post mentioning that Obama and his family (and the rest of the election team) are Mac users.

I think I could add a few just off the top of my head...Stephen Fry, Steven Colbert (I have a screen cap from his show), John Hodgeman ("I'm a PC"). I'll add mode if I think of any...

I was re-watching the first season of Big Bang Theory and I managed to get screen-caps of the original Mac that Leonard has in his closet. In the start of Monday's episode he was shown doing a presentation with a Macbook Air (with the Apple logo partially covered with a sticker; Koothrapali's Macbook Pro also has the logo obscured). This is a first for Leonard as he has a Dell XPS on his desk at home.

On Thursday, I saw a student with a Macbook Air for the first time. Additionally, our Department Chair bought an iPhone; the second faculty member in the department to do so. I have photographs of my boss trying to configure it to talk to our webmail servers.

Update Sat Nov 08 00:00:43 2008: My boss mentioned that he's never seen an iPhone ad on TV, though he has seen the "I'm a Mac". I said that there's an iPhone ad every week on Big Bang Theory (which he doesn't watch). All this means is that Apple is not courting his demographic, which makes sense as he's still holding out on getting one for two reasons: the lack of onboard GPS maps and no podcast downloads (which will be fixed in the 2.2 release). (He also feels the data plan is exorbitant but he's accepted that it's part of the cost of ownership.)

Update Sat Nov 08 08:40:50 2008: The iPhone Enterprise Deployment Guide will probably be useful.


Mon Nov 10 15:54:44 2008

My boss is getting an iPhone. He was hoping I wouldn't find out; fat chance of that happening.

Update Mon Nov 10 19:01:27 2008: He should have it by Friday. He denies that my photograph of him with an iPhone had any influence on his decision to finally get one. o rly? Now Sells Electronics

Mon Nov 17 23:49:41 2008

I happened to visit today and I was shocked to discover an electronics section which includes cameras, MP3 players and computer accessories.

iPhone App: Speak and Search


Tue Nov 18 08:10:04 2008

After Friday's mis-start (which Apple's completely ass AppStore approval process was to blame and which caused Google a minor PR fiasco), Google's Mobile Search App with voice recognition is finally available.

I sent an article to my boss who has yet to get delivery of his iPhone. He's expecting it today. He also said that (the re-branded) Fido now sells iPhones without dataplans (but this is not advertised). The re-branded Fido also sells phones without charging the system access fee and 911 fees.

He Loves It!


Sat Nov 29 14:36:43 2008

My boss as admitted, with a grudging acceptance that he loves the iPhone; his HP iPAQ is a distant, forgotten memory. He reads his email via the iPhone every morning, and once performed some server maintenance via ssh and vi. Surfing the web is a joy.

His only complaints so far are that he can't search his calendar appointments— e.g. list all his doctor's appointments— and the lack of a turn-by-turn GPS application with onboard maps. (He does not have a data-plan on his iPhone. After some research he found that (lately re-branded) Fido will sell you an iPhone and allow you to cancel the dataplan within three days without incurring a charge; the minimum monthly fee is CAD$25). One minor complaint he had when importing his Outlook address book (you have to save the db as a CSV file and import it into iTunes as a Windows Address Book) from his iPAQ was that iTunes did not import all the fields and he ended up losing many notes he had made.

Rosetta Disk Micro Etching

rosetta disk

Sun Nov 30 18:45:23 2008

According to an entry on the Long Now blog, the last technical hurdle of microetching the first three chapters of the book of Genesis on to the Rosetta Disk was overcome this month.

I think they should also make a human-eye readable version perhaps etched in stone (as noted in the comments, it would need a slab "about 100 feet long").


google calendatt ical

Wed Dec 03 07:21:32 2008

Calaboration allows iCal to sync with Google Calendar. Will be testing this later.

Update Wed Dec 03 13:24:46 2008: It requires Leopard. Booo.

RED "Ché"


Sun Dec 07 09:37:54 2008

In an interview with Soderbergh about his movie Ché he mentions that he used RED cameras:

One of the reasons that I was so hopped up to get the RED ready in time for shooting was that I knew how much of a contribution that detail would make to the movie, not just in the foliage, but in the costumes and the makeup and everything... You're literally recording on flashcards, so you're not hauling film magazines up a ravine and the cameras were small and easy to use. I was able to get more and better shots because of it. For me, it was a great case of good luck that they showed up two days before we started shooting, which was kind of scary.

Ebert on the Top 20 and Puzo on "The Godfather"


Mon Dec 08 07:46:58 2008

Roger Ebert lists his top 20 movies of 2008.

Mario Puzo writes about how his bestseller and the movie came about. It includes great photography from the sets of the movie.

No Jobs at Macworld


Tue Dec 16 21:04:08 2008

Steve Jobs will not be doing the keynote at Macworld 2009 on January 6 and this will be last year Apple will be an exhibitor at the conference.

To say that the blogs are abuzz, would be the understatement of the year.


japan technology

Mon Dec 22 12:29:50 2008

People yakking annoyingly on cellphones in public can now be considered "oldtimers."

Until the eighties, when the word processor was introduced, the great majority of Japanese was written longhand. (Japanese typewriters, complicated and unwieldy because of all the kanji, were left to specialists.) Even now, personal computers are not widespread: one machine per family is common.

For young Japanese, and especially for girls, cell phones-sophisticated, cheap, and, for the past decade, capable of connecting to the Internet-have filled the gap. A government survey conducted last year concluded that eighty-two per cent of those between the ages of ten and twenty-nine use cell phones, and it is hard to overstate the utter absorption of the populace in the intimate portable worlds that these phones represent. A generation is growing up using their phones to shop, surf, play video games, and watch live TV, on Web sites specially designed for the mobile phone. “It used to be you would get on the train with junior-high-school girls and it would be noisy as hell with all their chatting,” Yumiko Sugiura, a journalist who writes about Japanese youth culture, told me. “Now it’s very quiet—just the little tapping of thumbs.” (With the new iPhone and the advent of short-text delivery services like Twitter, American cellular habits are becoming increasingly Japanese; there are at least two U.S. sites, Quillpill and Textnovel, both in the beta stage, that offer templates for writing and reading fiction on cell phones.)

Letter from Japan

Coraline Boxes


Tue Dec 23 05:33:59 2008

I don't know what to make of this "campaign"— is it marketing or is it truly love? To call it lavish would be sacriligeous. To call it selfish would be cynical. The chosen 50 were artists that the Coraline artists respected, because only artists could appreciate the effort that goes into making such a film. It wasn't a 5,000 t-shirt giveaway to the first 5,000 random people who emailed in and after a few washes the t-shirts would be discarded or would find their way to clothe a random third-world child.

Visual Effects in "No Country for Old Men"

cinema cgi

Sat Dec 27 20:21:05 2008

Why do movies with visual effects that obviously look like visual effects, win oscars for visual effects? Why didn't "No Country for Old Men" win for visual effects? Perhaps because no one sat through the credits and realized that the movie even had visual effects.

I had to get to the second page of Google results to find a few hints of the visual effects:

As the sole visual effects facility for the newly released No Country for Old Men, Venice-based Luma Pictures used Autodesk Maya to create more than 60 shots. These included action sequences, photo-realistic CG antelopes, a CG airplane and CG destruction and debris.

Update Sat Dec 27 22:00:12 2008: Found a site belonging to a visual effects artist, Wendy Klein, who worked on the movie, and who has before and after shots of some of her work.

Update Mon Dec 29 13:07:50 2008: Draft screenplay from 2005 (slight variations give a different sense of sheriff Bell's motivations for returning to the crime scene (which is a recurring theme in the movie)) and an article on the sound.

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 43 / Last Modified: Fri Jan 02 19:57:13 2009