Friday, April 18, 2014

Pilot Metallic Vanishing Point Fountain Pens Have Landed!

The popular Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pens already come in a pretty good range of colors, but Pilot's really stepped up their game with the new Metallic colors. I was originally told they'd be available in the US around mid-May, but they came early! They're here now in Copper Red, Desert Orange, Mountain Blue, Tropical Purple, and Valley Green.

In this video, I show:
  • Showcasing each of the 5 colors (0:34)
  • Comparison to several other VP's (like the pink LE from 2011) (1:40)
  • Showing inks that match each color pen (4:04)
  • Comparing the Desert Orange to an orange Rhodia pad (5:10)

If you haven't already seen it, check out the two blog posts I already did showing some pictures of these new metallic VP's, this one and this one. They are the same price as all of the other Vanishing Points ($175 list, $140 at, and are available with an extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad nib in black, rhodium, or yellow 18k gold. These aren't a limited or special edition, either, these colors are said to be an ongoing part of the Vanishing Point line!

Write On,
Brian Goulet 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top 5 Fountain Pens for Graduation Gifts

Fountain pens have long been a popular gift item for graduations, retirements, and major milestones in peoples’ lives because of their longevity, functionality, and the fact that whenever they’re going to use that pen they will be thinking of their own achievement as well as you, who helped them along the way.

These are the important factors to consider when shopping for a fountain pen as a graduation gift:
  • Presentation- is your recipient going to be impressed? 
  • Longevity/durability- is this a pen they’re going to be using for years, perhaps the rest of their lives? 
  • Ease of use (cleaning, writing)- is the pen enjoyable to use? 

Here are my top 5 fountain pens for graduation gifts (in no particular order):

These are purely my opinion based on a variety of factors, and I’ll give you my thoughts about the pros and cons of each one:

Lamy Studio ($79.20-159.20)

Lamy Studio (in Imperial Blue)

Pros: - looks really nice - several neutral color options - affordable - uses Lamy cartridges or converter for bottled ink (included) - great nib selection, EF, F, M, B, 1.1-1.9, fine recommended for newbies
Cons: - slick metal grip, not ideal for long writing sessions - box could be more impressive

Edison ($149)

Edison Nouveau Premiere (in Cappuccino)

Pros: - American made - Gorgeous resins - Dependable writers - Great nib selection (EF, F, M, B, italics)
Cons: - a little more expensive - light weight might seem less ‘quality’ to the unaware

Lamy 2000 ($159.20)

Lamy 2000 (in Makrolon)

Pros: - 50 year reputation - workhorse pen - great ink capacity - snap cap is perfect for the work environment - hooded nib is great for keeping nib wet - subtle elegance - good nib selection, EF, F, M, B; EF or F recommended to newbies
Cons: - small ‘sweet spot’ can take getting used to - not flashy - doesn’t take cartridges, bottled ink required- box could be more impressive

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe ($108)

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe (in Rose Gold)

Pros: - very impressive visual appeal - heavy (many equate heaviness with quality) - takes cartridges or converter for bottled ink - good nib selection, F, M, B, italic; fine is recommended for newbies
Cons: - heavy (might be too heavy for some) - large pen, not as ideal for those with smaller hands - flashy pen might draw unwanted attention for some

Platinum 3776 Century ($176)

Platinum 3776 Century (in Black)

Pros: - best sealing cap in the market, nib won’t dry out - classic pen design fits in all work environments - takes cartridges or converter (included) - draws a fine line, great for cheap work paper - good nib selection available, EF, F, M, B
Cons: - most expensive of the group - nibs write rather stiff, takes getting used to for some - cartridges are proprietary Platinum brand

Honorable Mention:
Pilot Vanishing Point ($140)

Pilot Vanishing Point (in Black Matte)

Pros: great pen for the active enthusiast - many color options - very practical pen with the click - several nib options, EF, F, M, B
Cons: strange to hold for the first time, makes it a bit of a gamble as a gift

If you're unsure exactly what pen is best for your graduate or you know they're pretty particular about what they want, keep in mind that a gift certificate is always an option. It’s worth mentioning that along with fountain pens come ink and paper, and it’s always nice to set up your graduate so they’re good to go. Click here to see my Top 5 Favorite Fountain Pen Inks. Be sure to check out package sets with these pens and many others with our favorite combinations of accessories.

Do you agree with my choices? I'd love to hear! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, April 14, 2014 Not Affected By Heartbleed

There is a lot of buzz in the news about Heartbleed right now, which is touted as the biggest security breach in the history of the internet. A lot of people are freaking out right now, and it's understandable. If you don't know what Heartbleed is, then check out this article on it which is put together far more concisely than I could explain it (or even understand it myself).

What's important for you as a customer is to know that you were not affected through our store. Our website is hosted by Volusion, and they recently put out this article that explains why stores hosted on their platform were not affected. Whew! So you don't need to change your Goulet account password (unless you want to) and any account information you have on there isn't exposed by Heartbleed.

However, many, many, many major sites were affected (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more), though to what degree no one really knows. There isn't really much that can be changed about any breaches from the past, but the important action to take at this point is to change all of your online account passwords on the affected sites, especially if you were sharing passwords across different online accounts. And really especially if you were sharing any passwords across your email accounts or online banking/credit card accounts with any other sites, as this is the information the bad folks really want to get to.

It's always a good practice to keep unique and complex passwords to every separate account you keep online, but managing that manually is tough. I can highly recommend a program called 1Password made by AgileBits to keep all of this straight, and they are (very smartly) running a 50% discount on their software because of Heartbleed. I'm not affiliated with this program or its makers in any way, other than I'm a happy customer. You can check out their Heartbleed blog post here. I'm sure they're very busy right now!

Hopefully this puts your mind a little bit at ease, at least at my store!