These have huge erases; I just got one for my niece since she went through 10 erasers in two weeks on her Kuro Toga. BTW, the Kuro Toga Roulette is the best mechanical pencil; it's metal, and rotates the lead every time you advance. I have the gunmetal version; I only wish Uni would make it in 0.3mm.
Most of the time, I prefer using pens, but I've been using pencils more after I got my Roulette and a Pentel GraphGear 1000. Another intesting option is Pilot's Frixion erasable pens; they actually work well, much better than the PaperMates of the late 1970's.
OK, here's a question from my daughter's homework:
You buy a pack of 12 pencils at the store. How much did you likely pay?
a)$2.25 b)$10.25 c)$0.10
Her first answer: b). I'm sure the desired answer was a), but the last time I bought a dozen pencils from Staples, they cost ~$12 -- and they didn't even have erasers! (OK, it was a graded set of Steadtler pencils from 6B to 4H, Made In Germany)
BTW, the super-cheap pencils aren't worth it; the wood is so crappy, every time I sharpen them it uses about half the pencil to get a good point.
>the super-cheap pencils aren't worth it; the wood is so crappy, every time I sharpen them it uses about half the pencil to get a good point.
Maybe that explains why the electric pencil sharpener bin fills with shavings so quickly. Of course, nobody thinks to empty the bin. It was so full last time that shavings and lead fell all over the countertop. I had to vacuum it and wash it. The unfinished wood shelf holding the sharpener can't be cleaned. I'll have to sand it.
It comes from erasing all those math problems when you realize you did them wrong.
Not just math. According to my mom, when I was 6 and learning to write I was entirely dissatisfied with my formation of a capital B. I erased it so often I wore through the page (which was a school book) and then sulked under the dining room table for an afternoon. My Bs are better (especially with a keyboard), but I often wish I could retreat to my happy place.
I have an iPad app that lets you draw equations with your finger
Windows 7 and 8 have a "Math Input Panel" in Accessories (actually it may be named slightly differently in Windows 8, I must check at home) in which you can use your mouse to enter the mathematical symbols. And better than a screen shot it handshakes directly into Word. I must check on my newly acquired Surface how it works with a finger input.
@antedeluvian, thanks for the tip on Math Input Panel. It could be useful when I need a nequation for an article.According to Microsoft's instructions, you type "amth Input Panel into the search and it will give find it for you.
I tried following the instructions but instead, Windows wanted to shut down. Fortunately, I could canel the process.
A good sharp pencil tip helps access reset buttons on some devices. The "blunt end" is good for pressing small buttons, close to each other. When Homer Simpson was too fat to use phone buttons, all he really needed was a pencil.
"Blunt end" is a safe euphemism. Here in Australia, the part used to "rub out" mistakes is called a "rubber". I once tried to borrow a rubber from an overseas US student, there was some cionfusion for a while.
@sa_penguin. When I first arrived in Australia I needed a 3-1/2 inch diskette. Which we used to call "stiffies" in Zimbabwe. It caused considerable amusement among my colleagues when I asked for one. Apparently Australians had no means of differentiating between the old 5-1/4" floppies and the smaller 3-1/2 inch ones......
sa_penguin you've never had to troubleshoot a problem caused by a switch with graphite from a pencil being used to set a switch have you. I have and it can be very hard to track down especially if there's some vibration present.
@Bill, sa_penguin... the first time I came across DIP switches I was told never to use a pencil, good to know there was some truth in that advice. I hate using ballpoint pens too as they leave sticky ink all over the switch. A straightened paperclip is a good tool for them.
Well lok here, there is a Math Input Panle in Windows 7. Could be useful. It had a hard time interpreting my number 9 because I usually write with a straight line down. The iOS is better but then I'd have to save a screen show and e-mail to myself to get the image. Al, this is just a sriting app as where the iOS app is also a calculator.
I make no promises about the Math Input panel. You will notice that it didn't see your multiply sign as that, but as the letter x. I have only played a little with it, but I find that whilst it doesn't have a problem with an integral sign or a sigma (for sum) when you add limits to either, it confuses it entirely. I presume that once one knows the secret it becomes easier. Sigh.
I also am curious about that app. After years of using Equation Editor for the MS Office tools, I'd like to see what a more modern app can do. Equation Editor got the job done, but it was cumbersome to use.
Intel has had some really unusal products in their past that never took off, inclinding a intelligent display controller. It displayed text only, but supported advanced features such as linked lists. Unusual, but about as successful as Intel's first 32-bit CPU, the iAPX432.
An excellent writer on the history of design and engineering is Henry Petroski, and his many books include The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. As thorough, and entertaining, a treatment of the subject as you're likely to find.
@Matt Tuley: An excellent writer on the history of design and engineering is Henry Petroski...
I just checked this on Amazon (here's the link to the paperback version) -- the reviews are interesting in their own right -- this looks like a book I would love to read -- I've added it to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for sharing.
It's amazing how long it took for someone to realize that there might be a better way to sharpen a pencil than with a pen knife, a device used to sharpen quill pens.
More than any other book, ThePencil distills what engineering is all about. Sadly, only engineers will read it. My wife can't fathom why anyone would even rest their gaze on the cover, much less get it from the public library, read it, then buy it!
Actually, your post also shows an itty-bitty X-Box on my browser.
I'm lucky I can get to Flickr; they used to block it here. It's weird what they block here -- they recently let me to a page on the Fighting 69th (Infantry), but blocked another page on the same web site. Some innocuous web pages sound like double-entendres.
It's only recently that we've gotten access to YouTube. Now I can listen to some old folk music (Tom Rush (Rockport Sunday; Tin Angel and Circle Game by Joni Mitchell); Phil Ochs (Draft Dodger Rag); Peter, Paul, and Mary ... ). I'll have to look for some Stan Rogers while I'm at it; a great Canadian folk singer who was killed in a plane fire, probably caused by a cigarette smoker in the rest room.
@Max: " ... the link under the smaller in-line image in th eblog that says "CLICK HERE to see a larger image"
ARRGGGHHHH! Well, at least I'm going in for an eye exam next week; guess it's time for new glasses -- using up what's left of last year's FSA. I'll blame it on using my normal progressive lenses, not the "room distance" progressives I got for CRT use, whose frame came unsoldered. At least the frames will be replace under warranty just in time for new lenses.
As I approach my 21st birthday (base 30), I must salute the longevity of the pencil. Pencils older than I am function perfectly while word processors from 30 years ago are just about useless. The pencil is also very portable, inexpensive, requires no power, and is easily maintained (lacking an electric sharpener, you can use a knife or a piece of stone to sharpen it). Most importantly, it is forward and backward compatible. It is great for capturing information for subsequent retrieval; I will admit that it is not very good at automated mathematical calculations.
What, no Primary Pencil in that display? You know, the one Bill Cosby once decribed on vinyl as "big as a horse's leg?"
Come to think of it, maybe I should start carrying around a dozen of them suitably sharpened for self-defense. They should be stronger than those thin yellow ones. At 13/32" diameter, it's about the size of a .40 Smith & Wesson slug but a lot longer and reusable if you can pull it out of your target, and you don't need a permit to buy one! Muggers and terrorists beware!
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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