- A group of American mathematicians reportedly purchased 1 metric ton of the chalk.
- Hagoromo was a technologically pioneering company, with things like (1) innovations in a greener manufacturing process for chalk, (2) chalk that can write on a wet blackboard surface, and (3) colored chalk that could be discerned by people who are color blind.
- The company is shutting down not because of revenue problems, but because of the ailing health of the President and lack of a successor. Iirc the current president is the 3rd head of the company in its history.
This is a very common problem these days; during the winter I bought a sweater at a Portland outdoor gear shop after searching all over creation for real wool clothing as it was a bitterly cold winter.
The owner told me that he could not find someone to buy his store as everyone shops online these days. When he retires he's just going to shut it down.
- Elastic bands from almost any store today are now a synthetic beige or grayish-tan material that is much less springy than pure rubber, and it rots leaving a sticky residue in less than a year. A real stationer used to have dozens of shapes and sizes of elastics, not 3 or 4 choices you have now.
- A high quality manual stapler is really hard to find. I haven't found any equal to my Apsco 2002 stapler which is no longer made. Everything I tried jams more often.
- If you want to put an envelope snugly inside a slightly larger envelope -- for example, to enclose a reply envelope -- good luck finding that in any brick-and-mortar store today. You'll have to order it.
Those huge arts and crafts stores like Michaels do have an overlap with what a real stationer used to be, but it's not a superset.
I've noticed some differences by country too: Compared to the US, good quality stationery is very hard to find in Brazil (even in rich neighborhoods). Generally in brick-and-mortar stores in Western Europe, you find high-quality stationery more easily than in the US warehouse stores. I've never been to Japan, so I'm curious to know what it's like there.
Luckily, the dimensions of a standard staple haven't change in 50+ years, so you can purchase a beautiful used old Ace Pilot for under $15 - http://munk.org/typecast/2014/05/21/stapler-of-the-week-1938... (Or just get a new-used Apsco 2002 on ebay..)
But I agree. We (?) have a tendency to turn iteratively refined utilitarian items into commodities, and in the process, lose the subtle design aspects that made them remarkable in the first place.
There's no comparison, Japan is light years ahead of the U.S. when it comes to stationery. Premium stationery items in Japan are often more technically-oriented than those of Western Europe, which has more of a conservative/old-money feel to it.
For instance, I recently bought a Sharbo X LT3 three-way multi-pen (two ink colors plus a mechanical pencil component). The pen is all-metal, perfectly balanced, no wider than a regular pen, and (with Jetstream ballpoint refills) writes beautifully.
I'm starting to feel like a weirdo looking for decent bookmarks.
I prefer a formal yet understated look, either pale blue or pale grey watermarked cotton bond.
A while back I looked for matching paper and envelopes at office depot. I quite sadly found a few scattered boxes of paper and envelopes, but none that matched each other.
I have two partially empty boxes of paper but no envelopes. I know I can order them online but I far prefer to support brick-and-mortar stores.
I went shopping for what I thought was a desk lamp but it turned out I wanted a "task lamp". I found just the right lamp at Sears.com so I dropped by a Sears store in Portland.
"No, we don't carry lamps but you can find them all on our website," said the cheery young salesgirl.
"Yes I know, I found just the lamp I want at Sears.com," I solemnly replied.
"But the reason I am here today is so you will have a job."
Her face fell; that had simply not occurred to her.
I might have said the same thing, with no malice.
I eventually found the exact same lamp at Fred Meyer.
One time I went to pay my AT&T bill. "Use the kiosk" they said. "No I want to pay in cash." "We can take cash but there's a fifteen dollar service charge for that."
"I just took the bus twenty miles so you will have a job."
I don't know if that was the case here. There is a lot of phrasing and body language involved as well, which we aren't seeing in his retelling (other than her own, "face fell," which he manages to read large amount into the same as she might have read (or misread) out of his).
I have a whiteboard in my office, but if I could get it switched out with a blackboard without bothering my nice office manager who already has way too much work to be bothered by my weird requests, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
I don't know if this is true or not, and if it is true whether or not with careful use you can avoid the problem, but if you ever do ask for a blackboard, make sure you have some answer for this in case someone brings it up as an objection.
This. If they could fix this with whiteboards, I figure they'd be a lot more popular--and no I don't need to know tricks to clean the whiteboard, indeed even deodorant spray works well enough, but it'd be nice to have a whiteboard that just wipes clean as well after a few days as it does after an hour :)
That, and the problem with pens running out. But that's a problem I feel I could have more control over if I were to use a whiteboard more often :)
I've obviously not tried this with "hundreds" of whiteboards, but the one we have on the fridge at home works as well as the several size and types we have at work.
Or, at least, I have done this successfully before now - so my current working assumption is "people are waiting too long after which it doesn't work", but since I like my white boards I'm unwilling to run the necessary experiments to test this.
So, my advice would be: if one brand of dry erase marker doesn't remove your permanent marker mark, try a different brand. I think I used Expo.
1. You have just applied the permanent marker
2. You have a fairly wet dry-erase marker
3. You blot the perm with the dry-erase so as to flush the site with ink
4. Attempt to wipe/remove
5. Do this fast
Then at night the custodians will just tip it into the trash as they do with most recycling containers now.
Perhaps that's because they're usually refillable - the writing tip lasts much longer than the ink supply.
That essay seems to focus on how copying from the blackboard can go wrong, without covering the experience since 1986 of how powerpoint and handouts go even more wrong.
This isn't to say I totally disagree. I didn't bother with many lectures in undergrad, and most of my learning happened in classes/supervisions, which I guess are equivalent to what that guy calls the "Gutenberg method". It's just that I found when the lecture was copying from a blackboard, it tended to be worthwhile going - especially since it forces a slower pace and forces you to read the material exactly.
"You wonder how on earth such a system ever arose because you know very well that nobody in his right mind would invent a system like this today. What I've heard, and I imagine that this is correct, is that it started a very long time ago, when books were rare and very expensive, and the only way to transmit information was for the teacher, who knew, to tell the students, who did not yet know. And they would write it all down and take it away with them, like a bunch of scribes. Remember, scribes were very big in the Middle Ages."
Propbably the best approach is just to carry two sets of dry-erase markers everywhere, one always sealed.
Chalk is not entirely without treachery itself. The common North American breed is thinner and prone to snapping if you press too hard. If you don't bring your own with you, you're likely to have to make do with one of the tiny stubs that have been left behind. It's also pretty common to run into chalk brushes that contain more chalk than your chalk box.
I had/used everything from blackboards to digital whiteboards. I still like
blackboards better, but it's only going to last as long as digital displays
Blackboards lasts forever. Whiteboards, especially the cheap ones, inevitably
start to have stains that you cannot clean without some solvent.
Blackboards work with any chalk, essentially. You have to be careful about
whiteboard markers, because many stink to oblivion (I get asthma out of them),
and many others don't erase properly. One of the best markers I tried are the
water-based made from Edding, but they're harder to clean, and you have to
clean within a couple of hours in order to be able to clean at all. Chalk, on
the other hand, lasts forever and can always be cleaned. If you want a perfect
blackboard, just use a damp cloth.
There's this illusion that whiteboards are cleaner. Actually, they're not.
Whiteboard "dry" markers work by depositing a fine powder on the surface. It's
initially suspended in a liquid, and then sticks on the whiteboard "ideally"
only due to electrostatic tension. Dry marker powder is often toxic, the
suspension liquid is often toxic (especially when you breathe it), and the
powder sticks fucng everywhere. If you're careful when erasing, a blackboard
can be kept very clean. I have one in the kitchen.
The markers are expensive. Especially when you want the good, water-based ones.
I often have to order those. Chalk is inexpensive, I can buy it anywhere.
Why the hell are we using whiteboards??
I built several whiteboards myself. They suck. The best approach to a
whiteboard is buying a piece of glass the size you want, and gluing a piece of
white adhesive plastic on the back side. Dry marker on the glass always
cleans. You might get stains if you leave the marker for days, but they come
off easily, with just water.
Now what.. digital whiteboards. It's a love-hate relationship. They're
completely clean, which is what I like about them, but there are many downsides
too. You need power, which means that you need to switch the screen off. A
white/blackboard on the other hand shows you stuff all the time.
The screen is large, but the pixels are too large. The DPI, at close distance,
is ridiculous. They're also too bright when seen at close distance. There's
glare. The "pens" suck. But if you did the same with some e-ink technology, I
would switch to digital whiteboards instantly, as it would solve all these
problems at once. It looks like a dream application where the price of the
display wouldn't matter much (ardesia costs a fortune nowdays anyway).
I had to use at some point an Epson projector which had some whiteboard
capability on it. The pen had an infrared sensor/reflector on top, which meant
that you had to hold the pen without making a shadow between the projector and
the pen. Who's the idiot that thought this would work??
People in this thread have suggested fine tipped markers and washable crayons—I will try them both!—but I truly feel I will simply not be able to recover the efficiency and value of a blackboard any time soon.
If for no other reason, this makes whiteboards a godsend.
Hm, maybe that's a problem that can be solved and earn the inventor good money?
Depends on the cost to implement and the margin you can charge over competitors I guess.
When I was at Caltech, we called our Physical Chemistry prof "Wild Bill Goddard" because he wore a cowboy hat and boots to his lectures. His course was largely conceptual, illustrated with balloon-shaped drawings of electron orbitals, drawn with 3-D projection in which the yellow and red were in the plane of the chalkboard while the pale blue projected in and out.
We all complained that we could not see the blue diagrams. "That's OK, you're not supposed to, that's why I use pale blue."
On night Sonja Benson and I snuck into the classroom to put the arm on his blue chalk. We took it down into the steam tunnels where she doused it with her hairspray, giving it a hard coating so it would not mark the board anymore.
The very instant Wild Bill saw what we had done, he cracked his blue stick in half then continued drawing orbital diagrams we were not meant to see.
"It finds the correct delta or else it gets the noise again."