April 16, 2007
This is a blurry close up of a Rollabind Notebook page (the Circa page also fits) in the Myndology Atoma notebook as designed by Myndology. The ‘smurf’ (mushroom shape of the hole puncher) fits. There’s enough room at the top for a Post-it-Note plastic tab divider which I find so useful. I really like these tabs. They don’t thicken your note book. They are also removable. Depending on your preference, you can put the tab on top or bottom of the page (header or footer).
There is a slight over hang at the edge so I took a ruler and made my own hand torn deckle edge for an old world feel. Atoma is a Europen product which means that it was executed in metric measurements. I’m amazed that the spacing between the disc equal their American counter part. I image the Rollabind had to do a conversion and stay with the equal distance of the original Atoma. It was proabably calculated out to be an ideal optimal distance to support the papers and also to accomodate different size of papers. These types of notebook remind me of the works of Charles Eames, the famous architect and designer of the Eames chair. He and his wife, Ray, believed in modular designs, building made up of parts. The system of Circa Rolla and Atoma are essentially parts. What is unique about this product, aside from the fact that you can remove pages and rearrange them, is that the individual parts, papers and disc join together to hold each other. It’s a brilliant structural engineering invention and product design. I think that’s part of the appeal for me. This leads to all sorts of way one can customize, or ‘Pimp’ your notebook. This phenomena, known as Pimping began in the West Cost of California. The Automobile culture of California has been full of customization and innovation. This naturally lead to motorcycle, homes, bathroom and a few other things. People have always been customizing their stuff. I remember grade school Peechee folders or cloth cover three ring binders. To a larger extent, customers are now able to customize their notebooks even more. I suppose that’s where the word customize came from. It is the customers’ prerogative to adjust products that they have purchase to their own needs. There are many television shows about customization. ‘Pimp your ride’ and American Chopper to name a few. It’s with this kind of users that began to innovate and move the original product beyond it’s purpose, and intent.
April 16, 2007
April 12, 2007
I’m so surprised. I was just expecting one notebook but a whole box? Wow. I am already thinking what I can use for each items. I’m learning Polish so the one ring flash cards are very helpful. I got my work cut out for me this weekend of fun!
I spoke with Jason yesterday and learn a little bit about Atoma. The product was first realized in 1948 and it hadn’t caught on in the States until recently. Myndology has been selling the Atoma disc only in the last two years. The back of the cover still bears the Mindbinders which Duffy and Partners later revised to Myndology. The quality of paper and line seems to be very good; on par with Levenger and better then the Rollabind Notebooks from Staples. What I’m amazed is that the ring/disc has a slightly smaller circumference compared to the smallest of the Circa disc 1/2″ and yet it manages to hold the same amount of paper. The ring/disc has a wider band than the Circa Rolla and seems to grip onto the paper more tightly. The mushroom head also seems to latch onto the paper. As with any design, there are give and takes. I would say that the Atoma would fall more towards the Ring spectrum of the design because of the wide band. Where as I see the Circa and Rolla more of a disc, with a narrower band width.
Wow what amazes me is that the Myndology/atoma mushroom shape can fit into the Circa Rolla disc and vice versa. The space between the disc/ring are equal distant but their starting point is not! So it’s like when you button your shirt without checking and see that it is mismatched. (Photo to follow.) This is fixable in the new punch that Myndology will product this summer, I hope that it will align with the Circa Rolla. Myndology letter size (8×10 inches approx.) has ten rings versus the other’s eleven discs. However, both of the junior size of the Circa Rolla and Myndology has eight rings!! So they do align but the Myndology page is slightlywider then the Circa Rolla. Which means that the Circa rolla pages can fit into a Myndology but not the other way around. That being said, I think there are potential for a truly personal notebook in these three or four systems where you can choose, mix and match because the disc/ring is a single unit, not bound by a predetermine length, that is a notebook can be made by the sum of it’s parts. As long as the mushroom shapes are inter- changeable between ring/disc systems, I don’t see why you can’t use a punch from Circa or Rolla right now (until Myndology makes one) and clear pretty color rings of the Myndology/atoma? For example, earlier I had a drawing to modify the Real Simple Orange cover, well now I can use the orange Myndology rings to bind them in matching color. I don’t know if consumers can purchase just the rings from Myndology, but I think this would be very useful because I wouldn’t want to disassemble my Myndology notebook for parts. I’ll go so far as to say that you can even assemble a notebook with alternating ring/disc, one of Atoma and Circa Rolla, as long as they are fairly similar in size. Really, that was one of my main and major concern about these disc/rings. I’ve heard that it’s not compatible many times and didn’t know why. Now I think that their incompatibility is slight and can be over come. It might take a little bit of moding but it should work together. (I will try out this experiment later.)
I spoke with Jason about the punch. Consumers are lamenting over the price of the Circa Rolla punch. And if Myndology is to produce a punch, we all hope that it would be affordable. But in true, there are many metal moving parts to produce on this kind of punch. So take that into consideration when you look at a price of the punch.
Speaking of price, the Myndology line called the Muse has very reasonable price for a designed product. Their index card are about $2-3, comparable to Mead at office supplies. Myndology’s availability in Universities, paper supply store and on-line, give them a competitive edge. The $8 letter size notebook is comparable to Rollabind’s.
The plastic cover is more pliable or malleable, frosted both sides, in brilliant orange, and probably available in several colors like blue and red. The one on the Circa is frosted on the outside cover and smooth on the inside and more rigid. Also available is several muted tones. This is either good or bad. It’s all a matter of preference. The pages are rounded with a larger radius on the Myndology at the left margin side. The orange cover matches perfectly with the paper. Where as the Circa has a smaller radius rounded corner on the cover but on all corners and also slightly larger to accommodate the tab dividers. Again personal preference. I’m just reporting on what I see and you can decide for yourselves.
These are just first impressions. I’ll do a more through look at this later.
April 9, 2007
Judy of the Woods, Naynay, and others have called me to attention about another disc product for organizing paper and note-taking. Though this is the original inventor of the disc from Belgium, call Atoma. Myndology is the only US importer of this disc. I decided to write to Myndology for samples to compare the three system. So far my first impressions from looking at the website is that the disc’s mushroom shape looks close to my traditional wedding band. It does’nt have the round semi circular shapes as the Circa or Rollabind ‘smurf’. I’ve also heard reports that the Atoma stem is 1/16 smaller. Although, the mushroom shape is differnt, the spacing between the disc remains the same, 3/4 inches. Myndology will be producing new products which will include a paper puncher to work with the product. One thing that I’ve seen which is really exotic, is the Atoma disc made from wood. The Atoma has a variety of color, clear and vibrant. Myndology is working with a great design firm Duffy and Partners from Minniapolis. Myndology’s head quarter is in Brussels, (not Belgium where Atoma originated) Wisconsin. The other advantage is that Myndology products are sold through out American in major Universities’ book and paper supple store. Their over the counter (instead of mail order) availabilities is a plus. There are rumors that Rollabind Notebooks will be pulled from the shelves of Staples, which means less competition. This is good for the consumers as we have many choices. However, the issue of incompatibility is going to make some of us choose sides. Naynay’s example photo on flickr states that Atoma’s smurf will work with Rollabind Portalbe punch. Let’s hope so, why can’t we all co-exist?
Reading the story of how Jason came up with the idea for the ring flash card product is intriguing. The idea came to him one day while he watched his friend’s stack of index card study guides fall into a disorganized array. He had been to Japan and saw students using the single ring binder. Great ideas and start of business often start with just that one single thought and determination. Myndology is not a one trick poney. The company has evolved and incorporates new products into their systems, which began as one ring…’the one ring to rule them all’.
I’ve been following the blogs and discussions regarding this type of product over the past couple of years and it seems to have quite a devoted following. I enjoyed reading your product reviews, and I’d like to do what I can to help you out. Circa and Rollabind are a different and incompatible format from the one I use. I use the original inventor of this product from Belgium called Atoma. I started my business selling ring-bound notebooks to college students, and felt like these disk-bound products were a natural expansion of what I do. We are working with a first class design firm, Duffy & Partners, to help introduce and create new products and are looking to expand the line by the end of the year. Your samples for review will ship out today. I am excited to hear your feedback- feel free to contact me for further information.