Monthly Archives: September 2013

Smooth-writing black German ink refills are on their way!

My manufacturer let me know that my order of black ink refills is on it’s way to Carrboro, North Carolina!  I will test one refill out of each bundle of two hundred in my Sky WiFi pen to see just how smoothly they write.  I’ve already written with some sample refills and expect the actual production run to be just as smooth.  I was really pleasantly surprised at the uniformly superior ink flow of the blue German ink refills that I have been selling.



Pilot B2P Bottle to Pen Gel Ink Pen – 0.7 mm – Blue Ink

My first re-blog. I have a Pilot-Namiki vanishing point fountain pen that I truly love so I’ve got a soft spot for Pilot pens. This is a blog post about a very green Pilot pen.

No Pen Intended

I’ve had this pen for a while, resting first in a general all-purpose “To Review” drawer, and then, around when I moved, I promoted it to the smaller, elite “Cool-Looking Pens to Review” drawer. And there it sat in all my laziness until an inquisitive nudge made me realize I still hadn’t reviewed this pen.

I like the look of it. The nigh-gimmicky plastic-bottle-reproduction body works for me, right down to the bottle label. It’s cute, it’s clever. I appreciate the feel-goodery of a product containing 89% recycled content. This is an all-around improvement over the standard G2.

But I find the hard plastic body uncomfortable to write with for any significant stretch. If you write like a normal human being, with a tripod grip, it’s likely this won’t be such a problem for you. But if you write like me, with the ungainly grip of a ridge-browed troglodyte, you…

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International Shipping

I just wanted people to know that when Amazon or eBay ships product to you with their International or Global shipping programs, all of the shipping charges goes to those companies.  The fees are generally in the $20-$25 dollar range, partly because they use shipping methods that are insured and / or have tracking.

I can offer international shipping but this exposes both me the seller and you the buyer with additional risks.  I try to use USPS First Class Package International because it offers tracking (to many but not all countries).  This is slower than the Priority Shipping methods that Amazon or eBay uses but about half the price.  I’ve found that $10 covers the expense of the shipping and more importantly, the time it takes to fill out customs forms and go to the Post Office.

So what are the risks? If your package is not delivered, there is generally not any insurance.  We will both be out some money since I’ll re-send your refills but I’ll need you to pay for the shipping again.  The delivery time is longer and no one likes to wait a month for a delivery.  This service allows international buyers to have access to Generic Refills with smooth-writing German ink, but at the risk of lost shipments and aggravation if packages are lost.  I’m currently providing the service and evaluating how reliable the delivery service is to each country.

If you can afford to use shipping with Tracking and Insurance the delivery cost will be higher but I can offer a discounted rate for larger purchases that can offset the shipping cost.  Just send me a message and we’ll find something that works for both of us!  email:

Why Generic Refills?

I’m a fellow Livescriber. I guess I’m an early adopter since my first Livescribe pen is a Pulse.  I’ve recently gotten a Sky Wifi as well.  The automatic sync with Evernote was the reason I went with Sky.

I don’t have to tell you how miserable the actual writing experience can be with ink refills from Livescribe. Scratchy, having to press down hard, skipping… hard to believe, but some people don’t even notice!

I found posts on the internet giving instructions on DIY refills for Livescribe. Pretty simple to find a refill with the correct diameter and then use a jeweler’s saw and jig to cut them to the correct length.  Remove any burrs with a fine tooth file and you’re writing with nice ink! You have to be careful, you can damage the pressure sensor in the Livescribe and then it won’t detect any refills.  I used to use refills from Monteverde, very nice ink and a nice selection of colors but more than $2 each from my local pen & paper store.

Went exploring for other options.  Asked manufacturers to send me samples of their refills.  I was interested in how easy they were to customize and how smoothly they wrote.  There is some variation between manufacturers! the metal used for the tube, the type and color of ink, the tip size, etc.  Some were easy to cut but not nice to write with, some were really hard to cut but wrote like a dream and then ran out of ink after five pages 😦

Most all of these were “generic” ball point pen refills.  I suspect that every major brand of refill has a generic equivalent.  I found a refill that I was willing to customize and ordered some, customized them to fit Livescribe and went to eBay to see what kind of response we would have.  Well, it was obvious after a month that I wasn’t the only one looking for nicer ink!

So I took the plunge and plunked down a chunk of change to have a custom run of pen refills manufactured to fit Livescribe pens and filled them with the premium German ink that everyone is so pleased with! I started with blue ink because I used to work in a bank and back in the day, a fast and reliable way to tell the difference between an originally signed document and a photocopy was the color of the signature! no color copying back then!  Don’t worry, black ink is coming!

Well, now I’ve got more smooth-writing Generic Refills in Fine and Medium tips with premium blue German ink than I can possibly use! That’s how I became Generic Refills!

Livescribe and autistic kids

Had a very interesting email exchange with one of my customers (“M”).  According to M, the doctors said his autistic son would grow up never being able to talk. Well fast forward and the child is an adult attending community college, driving a car and holding down a job!  The Livescribe pen is a wonderful tool to record lectures so that everything can be reviewed later and helps a lot with studying.  Of course, the Livescribe will be more fun to write with once they get their refills in the mail!  M gave me a link after I mentioned that my second-cousin (“T”) is autistic. I remember feeling so awful when I wasn’t careful about how loudly I spoke to T.  It was just too much sensory input, T would put hands over ears and run out of the room 😦   Here’s what M had to say,

“The big turning point for us was an auditory training method called TOMATIS.
It was a miracle for us and it is very well know in autism circles.”

Just wanted to pass along the link and the idea about using the Livescribe pen as a learning tool for autistic kids and to say how much respect I have for these kids and their parents.

Found this link about a math educator, Livescribe and an autistic relative.

Kitty Hawk, NC

Some buyers of smooth-writing Generic Refills for Livescribe pens (from eBay) will see post marks from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where I was just on vacation! The post office is right across the street from the Wright Brothers’ Memorial so it was very convenient.  I think during the summer, this post office is very busy servicing all the tourists. Things were pretty calm when I was there writing a post card to Mom and dropping off refills.  Hand written packing slips ’cause I didn’t have access to a printer.


Here are some interesting links:

What is it about pens?

I love pens.  You probably love pens too, if you’re reading this.  Just what is it about writing with a pen that makes it so … enjoyable?  and why is it so different than typing on an iPad or composing at the computer?  Not everyone loves pens and writing, you’ve probably been teased by them.  You get blank looks when you talk about the balance of your favorite writing instrument or looks of irritation when you wince while using their stick pen with a scratchy tip and globby ink.  A good pen and ink will help your thoughts flow from your mind onto paper, bringing them to life, freeing them from your imagination.