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The Rhodiactive Hardcover Notebook is Brilliant

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Being a full-time student, I have a need for sturdy, dependable notebooks well suited to notetaking. When I sit down at a lecture, I need to be able to quickly pull the relevant notebook out of my bag, open to the first unused page, and denote information about the lecture for future reference.

The hardcover Rhodiactive notebook was designed with these needs in mind. The book-bound construction circumvents the annoying tendency of spiral bound notebooks' spirals to interlock when they're adjacent in a bag. The unusual but surprisingly convenient inclusion of perforated corners makes finding the next unused page exceptionally easy and quick. Finally, the single isolated header line on each page makes the subject and date of the lecture stand out on the page and helps me find old notes when I'm just flipping through looking for a specific header.

Those are concrete reasons why I appreciate my hardcover Rhodiactive notebook. If I was recommending it to a friend and trying to sell its appeal, I'd focus on those points because they represent objective benefits. But my appreciation for the hardcover Rhodiactive goes way beyond the things that just make it a quality stationary product. There are so many little things that set the Rhodiactive apart and make writing in it an absolute joy.

For starters, Rhodia's line ruling is exceptionally wide, with abundant vertical space. This isn't exactly a universally popular trait, as a significant amount of space is wasted if you're used to writing on college or narrow rule paper or just have small handwriting. As someone with relatively large print and a love of ink, I love using the wider rule offered by Rhodia, because I can justify using broad and stub nib pens that put down more ink without compromising legibility.

The author's progress at the time of this writing
The perforated corners are obviously convenient for finding the next unused page and remove the hassle of making sure the integrated bookmark is properly placed every time you put away the notebook, but I find they make using up the notebook exceptionally fun. We all know the satisfaction of putting the used portion of a notebook between thumb and forefinger and appreciating the thickness of the pages we've filled. With the perforated corners, every time you fill a new page you're reminded of the journey that is filling a notebook. You pull off the little tab with its satisfying pop pop pop of tearing perforations and are filled with a profound sense of accomplishment at having gotten one step closer to conquering the 98 sheets of pristine stationary you started with. This is a powerful form of positive reinforcement, and I've found myself taking unnecessary notes on readings for the class I use it in as an excuse to tear off those little tabs.
Although the space for filling out the owner's contact information is something you ideally never need, it gives me a sense of security knowing that if some good Samaritan should find my notebook, they'll have 5 different ways to reach me and return it. I'm in the habit of providing contact information on the inside cover of my notebooks regardless of the provided space, but the included blanks reflect a bottom-up design approach that values convenience of use.

In case I get hit by a bus on campus
While the inclusion of the space for contact information and the metric conversion chart on its reverse are greatly appreciated, the inside cover has some odd elements. The perpetual calendar provided opposite the contact information has such tiny squares for each day that I can't imagine writing much more than a weekday abbreviation in each one. I see the utility of being able to see the day of the week for a given date, but filling it in would be a chore, and on most occasions when you need to see the day of the week on a future date you also need your schedule for the sake of making plans. On the contact information sheet, 'personal email' is spelled 'personnal email', a flagrant typo. The French for 'personal email' is 'email personnel' according to the cross-labeling below the English, which suggests this isn't really a typo so much as lazy translation on the part of some designer at Rhodia's headquarters in La Défense, France. The cross-labeling is oddly inconsistent, with terms like 'capacity' being provided in French with exact cognates like 'volume', but with 'USA Dry Measure Equivalents' receiving no French translation.

The world map on the inside back cover shows time zones, and is
interestingly centered on the Pacific Ocean instead of the Atlantic
All told, this is possibly my favorite notebook for the role it fulfills: large, durable, A4 notebook I can throw in my bag without worrying about it. Its French origin leads to some interesting quirks, but the inclusion of the preprinted pages inside the front and back cover improves its utility and definitely helps the Rhodiactive hardcover stand out in a market where competing products can be extremely similar.

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