Video: The History of Writing and Fountain Pen Usage..

Posted on January 3rd, 2010 by Merlin.
Categories: Art, Communication, Fountain Pen, Journaling, Notetaking, Video.

I recently saw this on Twitter and had to share this great video – By the W A Shaeffer Pen Company and Produced by the Jam Handy Organization (Just love that name)

This is a Western Electric Company Print Copyright MCMXLVII (1947)

This video starts out with a little girl attempting to communicate with her crayons – Drawing the start of communicaton – it then goes on to shows the progression of the alphabet from the early Egyptian times to the modern alphabet.

The video then goes on to show the progression of the pen from early reed pen to the “Modern” fountain pen.

What I really liked was they show old style pens – eyedropper pen – different ways of taking ink with you, The full progression of fountain pens. Make sure to visit your local dealer to match the pen to your handwriting style. (Still good advice) Fine , Medium or broad tips.

I also liked that they showed how the pens are to be filled.

Here it is – The Twenty Six Old Characters. (Internet Archive)

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Using Cornell Note System in Business

Posted on April 11th, 2009 by Merlin.
Categories: Communication, DIY, Freeware, GTD, Hack, HPDA, Human, Indexcards, Life, Notetaking, Office, Pen.

Yes, I use the Cornell Note System in my daily life. I find it a great way to organize my notes and ideas from Meetings, Conference Calls, and What I did or need to do each day. I also use it when reading a new book that I want to take some notes on. I even draw the dividing lines in my notebooks now to help me organize my thoughts there as well. 

I made a modified version of Note Paper from to include a time clock to help me track my time and what I need to do and what I have completed and what I have coming up. 

I posted it on for all to use.

To use the clock in the upper left  to shade in the time (Begining to end) and mark a Letter or symbol near it and Use the Letter / symbol to Highlite the notes from that time slice.  I also use this with the Cue Column to track my upcoming meetings and schedule for the day.

How many times have you wondered what you did and have not clue where your day went – Keeping this with me allows me to make notes and annotate what I complete and see why I had to push other things off of my plate for the day. In the notes area I am able to write the tips and note things that I didn’t know and this allows me to update documentation and let others know the little fixes I used. I keeps these daily and use the summaries to help me find info I need from past notes / days.

And I have scheduled time weekly  later in the day Friday (while the week is still fresh in my mind) and look over the past week and see what info was good – I sometimes will highlight portions or copy off data and store it in other notebooks for future reference material. But I also scan the more important pages and put it into my evernote  system as well as that come with me on my iphone and it is easily accessable via their web page.

I also want to note every day I  look over the previous day and get my new notepage prepared for the day. Writing down what I need to do – checking my online calendar and seeing what I have scheduled for myself.  This way I have that info at hand even if I am not at my desk. This is also when I summarize my previous days notes making the weekly summary on Friday’s even easier. This only take me about 10 to 20 mins each morning but it saves alot more time through out the day then what I put into it.

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Miquelrius Journals – On Sale – Moleskine Replacements

Posted on December 15th, 2007 by Merlin.
Categories: Gadgets, GTD, HPDA, Journaling, Leather, Life, Miquelrius, Moleskine, Notetaking, Office, Web Service.

Miquelrius Journals - Paper for Fountain PensOn sale for the next few day are the Miquelrius Journals that I love an chat about here on Merlins Tower.
I really do use these everyday for my notes and ideas. And Now I can help you save some money on these journals.

To see all the Miquelrius Journals Click Here – NOW! or the link might run and hide from you LOL! Or the Special will run out.

The special is if you order over $35 dollars you will get 25% off and upgraded to 3day shipping at no additional cost over the regular shipping price.

To get this offer Type in this following code 25OFF – But what if you are not ordering over $35 dollars then Use the word 15Off and you will get 15 % off your entire order. Wow nice to same some cash at Christmas Time.

Just thought I would share this with everyone – Enjoy and Happy Holidays from the Tower.

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Cool Tool: Authentics Pen Clip for Moleskines and Other Journals

Posted on December 2nd, 2007 by Merlin.
Categories: Gadgets, HPDA, Journaling, Miquelrius, Moleskine, Notetaking, Office.

The Authentic Pen ClipI recently found this pen clip while stumbling around the web and this happens to be a really cool tool. It is made by Authentics – Just called the Pen Clip from what I can ascertain from the Japanese website I saw.

This Pen Clip can be used on a side of a journal like the photo to the left. And yes that looks like the Moleskine Notebook with the Pen Clip attached. But you can use this clip with other types of journals as well.

I have been looking around this morning and I am unable to find a place to purchase one of these really cool pen clips. So, If you know where I can get one please leave me a comment.

Pen Clip with Lamy
Here is the Pen Clip with my one of my favorite pens the Lamy Safari


Pen Clip on Side
Here is what the pen clip looks holding a Mechanical Pencil


The Authentic Pen Clip
Here is what the Pen clip looks like naked without a journal


Pen Clip on Leather Journal
Here is the Pen Clip attached to a Leather Journal Cover
Doesn’t need to be used on a spine of a journal.


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Spotted this at Staples – Rolla Notebook

Posted on June 22nd, 2007 by Merlin.
Categories: Communication, DIY, Gadgets, Hack, Notetaking, Office.

I have been thinking about storing my Notes and Indexcards slightly differently while still using my Levengers Internation Shirt Pocket Briefcase. I have seen some people use the rollabind / circa (by Levengers) System to make them a little easier to store / sort and use. Well the Rolla Notebooks with leather cover are back at Staples. Below is a photo I snapped as they were updating the plan-o-gram for the store shelfs. The product is still not on the shelfs at the store closest to me but will be I am guessing by the weekend? This is much larger then what I would use – It is for 8.5 x 11 sheets but it looks really nice and wanted to share what I find out in the wild. This was a faux leather cover with places to hold slips of paper in the front cover and you can completly flip the cover to the back making it fairly easy to take notes. They also had many forms to fit into this binder as well.

I really hope will also supply the rollabind punchers and binding disks. That really would be nice. But the Staples Person stocking the shelfs didn’t know and was not sure how to look them up on their computer. if you by chance see this – get them instock. Please…. I really hate having to purchase them from Levengers or other places online with the inflated shipping and handling charges.

The Rolla Notebook at Staples

The Rolla Notebook – At Staples Store Near You.


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The Hippier Hipster PDA – The Hipster Shuffle

Posted on June 22nd, 2007 by Merlin.
Categories: Communication, Gadgets, GTD, Hack, HPDA, Indexcards, Life, Notetaking, Video.

I really use quite a bit of index cards and carry them around with me in my Levengers International Pocket Briefcase. (Hey, I even spotted another one at work during lunch – Which was cool seeing someone else using the same technology – Way to go Bart)But this is just too cool not to post about – The Hipster Shuffle – Making a cool idea even cooler. Below you will see a video of the Hipster Shuffle in Action.

In case you are not in the know – “The Hipster PDA is a paper-based personal organizerSan Francisco writer Merlin Mann. popularized, if not invented, by ”

Varients of the Hipster PDA which I use is the DIYPlanner complete with templates and directions. The version I use is the DIYPlanner made for HipsterPDA. This was designed especially for the D*I*Y Planner project by Douglas Johnston, the package includes a wide array of cards covering life management, project planning, calendars, notetaking, business development, and creative uses like writing, storyboards, mind mapping, and photography.

Now on to the video:

YouTube Preview Image

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