Archive for the ‘Miscellanea’ Category

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Update To Trouble At Inkophile

05/23/2019

Thanks to generous readers, the ads on Inkophile will be eliminated for a year. Tech support was annoying. I am not fond of upselling or bait and switch. Parsing through answers that don’t address the questions asked is another challenge. To their credit, the employees who tried to help wrote decent English. Either that or were good at copy and paste.

Due to the betrayal of trust, my domain registration will remain at GoDaddy and not make the move to WP. Count me skeptical that prices and packages won’t change next year, but for now, we are good.

Happy dance!

Gene Kelly Dancing On Apica Paper

Gene Kelly dancing on Apica paper.

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Google’s Prying Eyes

05/20/2019

Google is tracking everything you buy online. Everything! Look at your purchases page. It even tracks when an order will be delivered. You will need to be logged into your Google account to access the info but it certainly does explain a lot.

Go to the Google support page if you want to know more about how that intrusive tracking works.

Sometimes I swear I’ve only thought about purchasing an item and ads about it show up. But that’s not possible, or is it?

Privacy is indeed a relic of the past.

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Trouble At Inkophile, Part 3

05/16/2019

Yesterday, my daughter mentioned that she does not object to the ads on Instagram. Me, too, and for the same reasons she does.

  • Ads are infrequent and easy to scroll past.
  • They are well-targeted and of real interest.
  • They are not spammy but usually attractive and nicely photographed.
  • Ads are less repetitive than on other sites rarely showing up more than a few times.
  • Comments about the product are easily accessed even before clicking the ad.
  • Legitimacy is attested to by the content and quantity of the comments.

Twice I have purchased fountain pens through ads on Instagram. There is no other site at which I have made even one purchase of any sort through an ad.

Instagram has certainly figured out what works. So I suppose I am not opposed to ads entirely – just ugly, gross, stupid, irrelevant ones that demand my attention and distract from otherwise interesting web pages.

Do you know of any sites with ads that are acceptable, even interesting?

For context, read Trouble at Inkophile and Trouble at Inkophile, Part 2.

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Trouble At Inkophile, Part 2

05/15/2019

A comment to yesterday’s post gave me the opportunity to expand on the situation about continuing to reside at WordPress. I am reposting that comment here.

Shubhranshu Das wrote:

Sign of the times…I hope you can get out of this paid version and rescue the prior records and exit to a more conducive platform …

My reply:

Yes, it is a sign of the times. Being profitable is essential to survival and expansion. I get that. The rub is that hobby blogs are rarely profitable. There is no income flow to defray expenses. My reviews have dwindled along with my budget while product prices have risen. The WP fee will cut into it further.

Thankfully, Luxury Brands (distributor of Platinum Pens, Noodler’s Ink), Exaclair (distributor of Herbin, Rhodia, Clairefontaine), Pen Chalet, Goldspot Pens, Nemosine, Jackson’s Art Supplies, and others have sent products in recent years that have kept Inkophile alive. Such supporters are priceless as are those readers who have sent products or donated cash. Inkophile has become a group effort in which every individual is greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately, I lack the expertise to relocate. Moving 1,244 posts with associated links and images along with 6,245 comments would be a daunting task. Inkophile is trapped in the clutches of the WP monster.

Update: A lovely reader sent a donation that will help pay the WP ransom. Yay!

The saga continues at Trouble at Inkophile, Part 3.

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Trouble At Inkophile

05/14/2019

Much to my dismay, I just discovered that WordPress has been running obnoxious, intrusive ads on Inkophile. My apologies for you having to put up with the unwelcome intrusion.

When WP made the original announcement about forcing ads on free accounts, the example was a small text ad at the end of a post that would only appear on some posts. Now they are graphic, on all posts and at the top as well as the bottom.

It was a mistake to think the ads would be as inoffensive and unobtrusive as the example. Those I saw weren’t even close. In other words, they were click-bait garbage including creepy, crawly monsters. Shortsightedly, their actions have adversely impacted user experience and that is unacceptable.

So WordPress has lost my trust. I hereby withdraw any recommendation of it.

As for Inkophile, WP told me to pay for a “plan” if I don’t like what they are doing to my blog. My carefully managed pen/ink/paper/blog budget will take a hit to pay the ransom demand. This is a hobby site – not a profit-making machine. But what’s a blogger to do? Suck it up apparently. The ads should disappear by the end of the month.

Again, apologies for the garbage ads.

The saga continues at Trouble at Inkophile, Part 2 and Trouble at Inkophile, Part 3.

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Two Questions For You

02/04/2019

File this under Ink Trivia.

  1. Which was your first bottled ink?
  2. Would you or have you repurchased it?

Parker Penman Ebony was my first bottled ink. I used it mainly for drawing until some folks at Fountain Pen Network went all “drama queen” about how it was dangerous stuff and any pen that even caught sight of it would die instantly. Thankfully, it had yet to be paired with my newly acquired vintage Parker 51. Being a newbie and trusting “the experts” cured me of ever using Ebony again. Into the trashbin it went.

Years later, I learned that Ebony just needed regular maintenance due to its heavy dye load and I greatly regretted tossing that luscious, dense ink. Discontinued in 2000, these days a bottle goes for upwards of $70 or more on eBay. No replacement bottle in my future, but Platinum Carbon Black is a worthy substitute for drawing.

So that is the tale of my first bottle of ink. What is yours?

Below is an ink comparison made several years ago. None is as rich as Penman Ebony, but I still use Noodler’s Black as an all-purpose ink and Herbin Perle Noire for general writing as well as in finicky pens. The remaining inks are fine but less neutral than the first two. Who knew black came in such variety!

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My Bent Nib Fountain Pen Has Taken A Hike

01/27/2019

Phooey. Apparently one of my bent nib fude* pens has run away from home. Most assuredly this was an unauthorized departure although I suppose it could be in hiding in the jumble that passes for my office. Not that it is likely to find its way to you, but should it make the trek, please tell it to go home. It might not be my ideal mate, but we did have fun together and there could be many more adventures to come. However, it has to return to make that happen.

Duke Guan Yu Calligraphy Fountain Pen

Just in case the truant does not decide to come home, I looked for possible replacements at Amazon and was surprised to find several. The length of the nib tip varies, but there are a few models to consider for less than $30.

  • The Duke 551 Confucius is similar to my Guan Yu model. Both are metal and quite heavy but attractive enough to start conversations while doodling at a local cafe.
  • Sailor offers an inexpensive model with either a high angle or a low angle nib and a long barrel so it can be held like a paintbrush. It does not come with a converter.
  • For a more traditional-looking pen, Sailor offers a Profit with a fude nib. It is a high angle model with no converter.

A long fude tip like mine is better at drawing than writing. The shorter tip is easier to control but produces less dramatic lines. Leigh Reyes wrote about this nib several years ago. Her post would be a great place to start if the fude intrigues you. It certainly enabled me!

*From Wikipedia fude (foo day) means sequences of letters or drawings that you write or draw without removing your pen off the paper.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_counter_word

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