NaNoWriMo – What Is It?

National Novel Writing Month – November

What Is It?

NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month is an international event to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in a month – November, to be precise.

We’ve got a NaNoWriMo section here on PigPog – needs a bit of filling out, though.

Line 6 Variax 500

(A what? See our page on Line 6 Variax Guitars.)

I bought one recently, so it’s time for a mini-review. I’m in no position to comment on the accuracy of the modelled instruments – I don’t own any of them. It all sounds pretty good to me, though. Certainly nothing like digital guitars used to be – it feels and sounds just like any other electric guitar – it’s changing the sounds in real-time, not sensing what note you’re playing and then playing samples. It’s not cheap, and you could get a better guitar body for the money, but it wouldn’t be this flexible.

The Story

Rotring Isograph

What Is It?

The Isograph is an ink pen. Let’s get that out of the way to start with. There’s no disposable cartriges. You get the empty pens, and you get a bottle of ink. You have to put the one in the other…

Moleskine Notebooks

2004 was quite the year of discovery for me, and one of the many things I became aware and incredibly fond of is Moleskine Notebooks. I’ve always been a bit of a notebook fiend, buying whatever spangly and multi-colour leafed design caught my eye in the hope that it would give my creativity a much needed kick up the arse and prompted me to come up with my best work yet, only to be consigned to a heap when the story I’d be working on fizzled out.

Moving from Wiki to WordPress

I’m currently moving pages from the Wiki over here to Pages in the blog, starting with the most popular pages. As I’m going, I’m setting up redirects for the pages. Unfortunately, during the transition, there’s going to be a few broken links, as I move pages over that link to other pages that I’ve not moved yet. If I tried to leave all the links to the old part of the site, then change them after moving the pages they point to, it would take twice as long, and this is going to take quite long enough as it is.

I’ve been working on this for most of the day so far, and I’ve done twelve pages. There’s 345 in total.

Pilot Croquis

Twist-action mechanical pencils, with 3mm (or wider – seen it listed as 3mm, 3.5mm and 3.6mm) lead. When retracted, lead is ‘hidden’, so these can be carried in a pocket without marking things or breaking the lead.

Nice and ‘chunky’ to hold, and pleasant to draw with. Available in H, B, and 6B – not a lot of selection, but enough for ‘convenience sketching’. The 6B makes a nice dark line, and gives even coverage quite easily. Not that I’m much of a sketcher, but they feel pretty nice to me. Only problem is that the lead is actually a bit too thick – thicker than a ‘real’ pencil. Good for doing areas, but not so good for any precise bits of drawing.

So what does it do?

It makes marks like these…

(Clicky piccy to see in Flickr, with bigger sizes and any notes and comments.)

Staedtler Mars 780 Leadholder

What Is It?

A clutch pencil. They were very popular before automatic pencils came along, much less common now.

Compared with Automatic Pencils

Problems with Automatic Pencils

  • Lead is very thin. Usually 0.5mm. 0.7mm commonly available too, but even that is really a bit thin for sketching, and breaks too easily for writing if you’re heavy-handed. Not sure why such narrow sizes have become so popular, but people do seem to keep buying them.
  • When carried in a pocket, they tend to stab you in the leg. That sharp thin lead, coupled with a nice easy-action button can be quite painful.

How This Is Better

  • Lead is 2mm thick – thick enough to be strong on its own, so it can be used reasonably roughly without breaking. Still thin enough for drawing with, though you may need to sharpen it before using it for detailed stuff.
  • When crushed in the pocket, the button won’t get pushed in, because it pushes the clutch arms directly out of the tip. Difficult to explain, but if you put it between your hands and push together, it doesn’t open out. The exposed tip isn’t thin enough to break skin or pockets either.

Productivity Lessons from The Sims

Sam thinks I wasted half of yesterday by playing The Sims, but I was actually researching for this article. Well, if I manage to get an article out of it, I’ll use that as my excuse. Then play again for a while in the name of fact-checking.

The Sims?

It’s a game, from the same series as SimCity, SimEarth, SimTower, SimAnt, and so on. Unfortunately, it’s one that gets dull rather quickly, but I hear the later versions that are out now are much better.

We can learn about productivity from this?

Probably. Let’s have a go anyway. It’s my excuse for a bit more playing.