Traditional three ring binder vs circa

Levenger's CIRCA notebooks are pretty cool and one thing that is touted as cool is that yuo can remove pages and re-arrange pages. Here's the thing: you can also do that with three ring binders that we probably all used in school. So what is the deal about Circa?

Second, who wathces Law and Order Criminal Intent? The male detective has a three ring notebook that he uses a lot. Does anyone know what kind it is and where I could get one like it?


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Lots of discussions....

here on this very topic. here is one:


I honestly had to think for a few minutes about why I prefer Circa/Rollabind to ring binders -- other than the Niftyness Factor (i.e. Something New and Different)

  • You can fold the cover of a disc bound notebook around to the back. Ring binders cannot do that.
  • Disc bound notebooks are not restricted to the size of paper you can put into them. With a ring binder, anything smaller than the distance between two rings would not work very well.
  • Ever drop a ring binder and have the rings pop open ? I believe a disc bound notebook is less susceptible to such a disasterous drop. They have been in my personal experience.

In fairness, I can think of at least two items against:

  • Startup cost. Them desktop smurfalators ain't cheap.
  • Materials cost. The heavier (costlier) paper works better than the thinner (cheaper) paper.

However, I am willing to pay extra for an end result I like better.

It's all opinion, and opinions are like strings. Every yo-yo has one. This is mine.

Hope it helps.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

thanks for a comprehensive answer

Could you possibly help with the second part of my question:

Second, who wathces Law and Order Criminal Intent? The male detective has a three ring notebook that he uses a lot. Does anyone know what kind it is and where I could get one like it?r

This guy ?

Robert Goren

The wikipage sez "He usually carries a well worn leather binder — roughly 9 x 12 inches in size"

Would I see The Binder if I was to rent/borrow a disc or three of season one ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Yep, Goren.

His binder looks an awful lot like Levenger's 3-Ring Zip Folio. Although I doubt it's an actual Levenger product.

I watch it way too much...

I have definatly seen his notebook but I cant remember what it was. It would seem to me that the type of character he plays may be a little obsessed with his notetaking too like us. For some reason he reminds me of myself I think that is why I like his character so much. I wonder if in reality he is truely like that...hhmmmmm. May be another faithful Levenger customer. Speaking of Levenger, whats the deal with their "stock uo sale"? I was thinking it was wonderful get it for the sale price then use the 20% off coupon. To my dismay it adjusted the prices back to the regular price and took off the 20% only which ended up being a little bit of a better deal. Although I was really hoping to get the sale and discount together. I was so excited but then got knocked down a few notches....oh well.

Ygor's got it right

For me, the thing that makes a Circa notebook most attractive as a planner is the ability to fold over the cover. This means a Circa notebook can take up half the desk space a 3-ring notebook would use.

I've got a blue Circa bookcloth notebook waiting to be my new planner when I use up the paper I've punched for my ring binder. Junior/classic size. The bookcloth blue is very similar to the color of the sapphire True Writer Metalist, if you want a matching pen.

Circa bookcloth covers are currently on sale. Yes, I should have waited.

Do you procrastinate?

The ability to fold over is

The ability to fold over is what got me looking at Circa/Rolla too. I used to use legal pads in notepad holders, and folding the cover over to the back cracked the spine regardless of whether it was a cheap vinyl holder or an expensive leather one. In fact, the cheap ones seemed to last longer!

I also used 3-ring binders for projects, but I found that over time the rings would often misalign, resulting in torn and/or loose pages, and the open/close mechanism would gradually wear out. I didn't think I was very abusive, but maybe I was! Circa/Rolla has the advantage of having no mechanical parts to wear out.

The expense issue is a valid concern, but I've found that over time I am not spending appreciably more than when I was having to buy replacement binders, new file folders, etc. The poly and plastic last longer and the interchangeable components allow for constant reuse. YMMV, of course . . .

you can also do that with

you can also do that with three ring binders

With Circa, there are no rings to pull apart and snap back in place (which can make an awful noise). Instead, it's the pages you pull away from the discs, which is less distracting than pulling and snapping back rings.

One more thing...

My last 3 ring binder reminded me why I don't like them so much. I had a quite full one, and constantly needed to move my pages, but when it's full, the only way to do this is to open the book to the middle, pull out the pages, and re-arrange things from the middle. It got to be quite a hassle. With the discs in the Circa/Rolla/Atoma/Myndology systems, you don't have this constraint. You can pull a page from anywhere, and put it anywhere. I am now constantly moving pages in and out and about my notebooks, and swapping pages and everything. I like that. :-) Plus, with the loose covers, the flip back feature is nice, plus, I can make "archive" covers that have a spine, but can also still flip back over. So I can write on the spines and stick them on my shelf, but still retain the convenience of flipping over when I need to refer to them. I like discs. ;-)


Vincent D'Onofrio? or the new guy?

Another reason to watch. But which detective is it? I haven't noticed Vincent D'Onofrio using a notebook, but I haven't watched much recently so may have forgotten.


It's D'onofrio who uses the notebook.

Yup. Should be on the

Yup. Should be on the recent episodes- i watched a marathon, and, also (sadly) noticed the folio. Not sure if it has rings.

It has rings.

I watch that show WAY too much. :)

How many rings ?

3 or more than 3 ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

I'm pretty sure...

That it's three rings.

CI Marathon today...

They happened to show a couple of good shots of the binder. (Do they know there are people like us who are more interested than we maybe should be in things like that?)

It's definitely 3-ring, and looks like leather with a zipper. Wonder how it's fitted out inside--pockets, pen loops and notepad slots, etc?

It has rings

Yes, I was pretty sure it has rings.


Where I live they have reruns at 11:00pm Mon-Fri. I watch when I can stay awake.

Speaking up for ring binders

Hmmm, guess I better speak up for ring binders...

Reasons I stick with a ring binder (7-ring for me, not 3) over Circa

1. Cost

2. Ease in getting materials (they're standard, from paper to punches etc., I don't have to order and wait for Levenger or some remote internet site, but I still have the option to get high quality paper, custom printing, and punch my own if I want) -- Plus there's a plentiful supply of pre-printed stuff from many vendors - if I want to partake...

3. Less damage when moving papers in and out -- maybe it's just me but I'm more susceptible to mutilating the holes in the Circa

4. Ring binders allow much more pages (this could also be considered a disadvantage as it facilitates hoarding of unnecessary pages) - I was confused about the comment of moving pages in a stuffed binder - you can get a bigger binder, whereas Circa is limited in ring sizes - it's a matter of the pages you keep, not the size of the ring

5. I can fit several different page sizes - yeah, I know, circa is touted as having this feature uniquely, but that's not my experience. I've been punching 3x5 satellite cards to fit in my ring binder for a long while. Also, other paper that is not 8.5" c 5.5" (such as Levenger old-style junior pads) can easily be punched in to fit (and my 7-ring punch was so cheap at eBay I could afford to buy 2, one for home and one for office). In fact, using my old stock Levenger pads and punching them into my binder once I fill them out is now my major path for capture and inbox as per GTD.

6. I can moved large sections of pages easily in one hand grab. I once tried this with an Atoma (functionally the same as Circa) and found I had to take pages out one or two at a time to move a whole block of pages (1/4 inch). It was very tedious.

Okay, I do grant that Circa can be folded over, and takes less desk space. However, in my method of use, this is not really a stumbling point. My binder is the center of my organizational efforts. For portable note-taking I have smaller and more portable notes, cards, and books.

In fact I have no objection to Circa or people who love them, but I have not found their siren-call to be irresistible!

3 ring

I have used 3 ring binders in the past myself and find that buying a good quality one takes care of some of the problems mentioned here.

don't forget the Mead Flex Binders

They are like 3 ring binders on steroids,lol. I love them. I have three or four. The last ones were on sale for 8.00. I love that you can fold the front back, rearrange to your hearts content and they even come with plastic pocket pages.
I wish I could just get my kids to use them for school, then I'd have an excuse to buy more :)
"Meddle not in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup"

better binder

i'd suggest the better binder as well. Sturdy, yet flexible. Plastic cover pocket and interior pockets as well. Easy open "D" rings that hold quite a bit more than the usual circular ring. The best part is the rubber on the binding and edges that keep it from slipping around and falling if they are stacked.