Favorite Analog Tool

Although we’re all Mac and/or iOS users, I wanted to highlight some tools that I continue to use.

For work and high level drafts, I use an affordable 5.75" x 8.75" notebook that I got from the dollar store. With various pens that I’ve picked up over the years (mostly from the office because the ones I buy seem to disappear).

In my mind, I’m able to relax a little and let the ideas flow because “hey, I only paid a dollar for this”.

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Opening pandora’s box with this one. I went down a rabbit hole a few years ago after stumbling on the Pen Addict Podcast. Now there are plastic bins filled with pens and notebooks filling a far too significant amount of closet space…

Favorite is probably the Nock Co Notebooks, small size and the paper is fountain pen friendly.


Compact spiral bound notebook with perforations if i want to tear a page out. Small stick notes… pencil.

My Pilot Frixion pens. Bright colours, nice to write with, erasable…I have at least a dozen.

My Technics 1210 mk2 decks, still like new after 20 years (thanks to a couple of services!)

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  • Fisher space pen
  • Parker Jotter
  • Post-its

I’m going to be replacing it with an Apple Watch this Fall, but I’ve absolutely loved my Citizen watch for the last three years. Its “Eco-drive” (a solar panel behind the one-way watch face) means I haven’t had to change the battery ever. It’s particularly sharp looking (one in the picture is my model), and I’ll keep it around for special occasions after I get my Apple Watch.



… no seriously it is a paperclip.

I always have a few tucked in my wallet. I’ve used them as makeshift tie clips, ad hoc cable ties, spacer/spring, SIM card & DVD tray ejectors, for cleaning keyboards and mice, temporary hooks for things like filp charts, fixing home appliances in various ways, opening media storage boxes, opening delivery boxes, temporary wiring (though that wasn’t a great one), fixing bag straps, makeshift tweezers and on rare occasions for holding paper together.


Multitool, always handy on a bicycle tour. It has 38 functions and 12 bits, but still analog :wink:



I carry these Foster Grant “Gavin Fold Flat” readers everywhere. Instead of folding in half at the nose bridge, they rotate at the side hinges so that the ear pieces and hinges lay flat. This makes for an extra thin carrying case. Perfect for the pocket.


For me, for long writing sessions nothing compares to using a fountain pen, which requires applying virtually zero pressure to the page. Main downside is that with cheap paper you get spread and bleed, so I’ll use higher-quality, FP-friendly paper, something like a perforated Rhodia pad. (For Post It notes and inexpensive paper I’ll use a gel pen, usually a Uni-Ball Signo 307.) Also, I usually use water-soluble ink, so I won’t use a fountain pen with it to sign documents or address envelopes. (I could use pigmented ink, but the choice of colors is limited, and that type of ink tends to be harsher over time on pens.)

Once you spend a little time with a fountain pen - a refillable plastic Platinum Preppy costs as little as $3, and a disposable Pilot costs about the same - their advantages in terms of pleasurable, cramp-free writing can be a gateway to better ($) pens with different materials, different width nibs, etc. But going down that potentially expensive rabbit hole isn’t a necessity.

I only use ink that’s permanent and my signature fountain-pen (broad nib) is from the 80ies. No trouble.

Changed Apica notebooks for Nanami Seven Seas. Glorious paper! This stuff makes you want to extend meetings just to take more notes. :rofl:

There has been quite some comments over last few months on analog topics - not only here on this posting but also in the podcasts, taking into account the last podcast form Chicago.

I have bought on a recent trip to Japan a Sailor Professional Gear from the 1911 series in Japan, black ink from the same company and Tomoe River paper - that is just a different writing experience :wink:

Rollerball pens are my preference. Usually with a Pilot G2 refill, if one will fit. My current daily drivers are (in order of current preference)

Honestly, all these pens are just window dressing for the superb Pilot G2 refill that most of them use. You can get the same writing quality from a two dollar Pilot disposable pen. But as Nietzsche said in reply to a friend who said his typewriter had changed his manner of writing, ‘You are right, our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.’

Fountain pens are like driving a Model T on the interstate. The ink smears while taking notes, they skip and dry out quickly so they don’t start properly when trying to take notes, etc. They also shade, and I don’t care for that. I’ve tried Noodler’s and Monte Blanc inks with a Monteverde pen I had (gave away), and the best I’ve used to date is a Pilot Varsity disposable. It writes well and doesn’t exhibit the problems mentioned. It mainly lives in my pen box.

As for paper, Rhodia/Clairfontaine seem to be the best for me. I like the No 18 3-hole notepad, their WebNotebooks are nice too. Leuchtturm 1917 is second probably. Moleskin is too rough, and isn’t to my liking.

I finally broke down and tried Tomoe River since everyone raves about it. It’s too thin for my taste, and ink shows through so only one side of the sheet is usable.

Just looked up this pen on Amazon:

Every child needs a $500 fountain pen!

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This reminds me of a time when I was in a cafe sitting next to someone from Germany. I was writing with my Lamy Safari and he looked at it fondly and told me about how that was the pen every child got in kindergarten when he grew up.