Thursday, April 28, 2011

Anyone Still Using a Typewriter?

I think we can find a few people to reply to this post, can't we?

Drop a (typewritten) note to:

Don Worthington
c/o Rock Hill Herald
P.O. Box 11707
Rock Hill, SC 29731

"Please include phone numbers with your correspondence." Those of you luddites who own a phone, anyway. ;-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Typewriter Is Dead, Long Live The Typewriter

Typewriters are in the news again, this time in a well-circulated piece about the last manual typewriter factory in India nearing the end of their stock of "new" machines. My feed reader first sniffed it out on the Daily Express web site, but I'm not sure if this is the origin of the story, and it most certainly won't be the last incarnation of this tale. Like a game of "telephone," it seems to be picking up variations with each retelling.

I think it's no surprise to anyone here that manual typewriters aren't being made in the numbers they once were, and those that are made today are typically poor shadows of the quality of their forebears. I think one of the reasons this story has such motive power around the 'nets is that everyone is surprised they're being made at all in any form. They are, of course, for although it may be a sign of Ye Olde Times Gone By, and The Way Things Used To Be But Aren't Any More Thank God, the lowly typewriter still exists in countless offices and businesses, doing what it does best: put words on a page, fill out a label, or complete a form.

The backlash stories are starting now, fueled by manufacturers like Swintec who want to assure the world that they're feeling fine, thank you, and not gone yet. My own inbox has been collecting links from well-meaning friends and family who know about my little, ahem, typewriter problem. It doesn't bother me, though, inaccurate as the piece ultimately is. I know that typewriters as we're using them are a dead technology, and I know that we're keeping them alive at the same time.

Keep blogging, everybody. Keep holding those type-ins and scouring those flea markets and sending letters and winning converts. The technology may be dead, but the community is just getting started.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Origin of "Typecasting"

Did you know that the term "typecasting" was apparently coined by Paul Lagasse in this blog entry from September 20, 2005?

His blog, Sotto Voce, is still going, and he's still typecasting. Good going, Paul.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

CBC interview with Matt Cidoni

Don't miss the CBC interview with Matt Cidoni about typewriters and the typosphere. (April 20th episode of "Q," starting around 1:00.)

I'm so glad this is a Canadian show. A typical American talk radio personality would have been rude, mocking, and hasty.

News Links

I've kept an RSS feed of Google news stories featuring the word "typewriter" for a while now, and maybe every tenth story or so is relevant (most often the typewriter is used as a cultural touchstone of "times long gone by.") Today I had the wise idea to try a search for "Typosphere" and lo! The stories are plentiful. So much so that I've added a new "In The News" section to the page, over there on the left, just below the members. The recent NY Times article is there, plus a few others. As I write this, the top three links feature fellow typospherians:
Blogger seems to limit this gadget to the five most recent stories, but I'll see if I can tweak that: the layout has the space, certainly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Towards a multi-lingual typosphere?

The NY Times article really created quite a spin-off. Recently, German on-line platform wrote a very nice article on the on-going typosphere activities.
Which brings me to an aspect which has not been much of a topic yet: language and the typosphere. Just as with the internet in its early days, English is the predominant language of the typosphere. A look at the typosphere map will confirm this. A closer look however will reveal some exceptions to the rule: Frank's and Dirk's pages are in Dutch, or mixed Dutch and English. I use German on occasion. So far, I haven't come across typecasts in other languages. They probably exist, but are not mapped yet.
My guess is that rather sooner than later, the news will spread and typecasts in languages other than English will appear, just as it happened with the internet, and internet domains.
Will it be connected or parallel typospheres? I had this thought when visiting the Perrier typewriter museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Last year I had joined the Swiss typewriter collector's club. It turns out that all of the members are from the Swiss-German part of the country, with good connections to the German collector's association. I asked Jacques Perrier on how collectors are organized in the French speaking part of Switzerland. It seems that most are members of the French collector's association (e.g., ANCMECA), and that there is little to no exchange with the German-speaking community. So it seems that multi-linguism (more precisely: several parallel mono-linguistic spaces) on the one hand is a positive statement of pluralism, on the other hand entails a certain degree of separation.
The links of a multi-lingual typosphere will be multi-lingual typospherians or mixed-language blogs. Maybe there will be means for automated translation of typecasts in the future (at this stage, because they are pictures, typecasts escape OCR). In any event, I  invite readers of this note to typecast in any language and make this a truly global event!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Type-in: Tacoma, WA - May 1, 2011

Another type-in! A ton this month and next. Surely, there's one near you? If you're near Tacoma, Washington, stop in to the Tacoma Public Library on Sunday, May 1st.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Type-in: Los Angeles! May 22nd, 2011

Here's a link to the Eventbrite page for this event
- RSVP if you'll be there! As a side note, there is a typewriter technician from US Office Machine Co. attending the event. Here's an article about this typewriter shop that used to have a video posted (bring the video back, LA Times!) and here's an absolutely fantastic story about the shop written by Steve Grant.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 2nd Phoenix Type-In

I am happy to announce that the 2nd Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up has a venue at the historic Monti's La Casa Vieja.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Swiss Meeting

Dear typospherians,

I may duly inform you on a first Swiss Typosphere Reunion, held at lake Geneva on April 9th, 2011. See the progressive reports on Retro Tech Geneva and Sommeregger's Sammelsurium.

as always, happy typing!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Free to a Good Home

Hey folks,

Mike.Speegle here.

I know this newfangled blog wasn't meant as some sort of retromechanical Craig's, but this seemed like the best place to make an offer: I have, right now, a Remington Quiet-Riter that is not seeing any use. Rather than let such a beautiful machine languish in a corner, gathering dust, I will send it free to the first person who requests it. Just pay whatever shipping fees are involved.

Respond back here if you are interested.


Typewriter 001

Call for mail fiends

Dear typosphere,

If you aren't getting enough awesome snail mail, consider emailing me at to get in on our web-of-mail that we have going.

If you are already in on it, but want another person to write to, leave a comment on this post and I'll send you a new participant.

-Ryan (the one in Seattle)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Type-In Roundup

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Week in the Typosphere

  • Our ranks are growing. Just since last week's update we've seen the number of UK-based members double... to two. April Foolishness aside, I know that I've added about six or seven entries to the blogroll and map this past week, many of which I've found by checking through the list of links on your own blogs. Did I miss someone? Go ahead and nominate them in a comment. If they're even tangentially typewriter-related, they're welcome in the fold and I'll add them.
  • Speaking of the UK, there was a little chatter on the PTF about holding a type-in over there: why let us colonists have all the fun? Not a member? You should be. It's a Yahoo-based mailing list, free to join, but you need to request membership and prove that you're not a spambot by including something typewriter-related in your request (like "I am a fine upstanding member of the Typosphere and run a blog and can't stop combing eBay.") Things are still a little heated over there right now thanks to fallout from keychopping discussion that went sour (as they often do. There are no winners in an argument held on the Internet.) For a little perspective on 'choppers and some great mental imagery of the back room of a typewriter repair shop, follow the link on Strikethru to an interview of the repair wizards at Ace Typewriter in Washington.
  • Did I mention that the second UK typecaster is insane? But in that mad-dogs-and-Englishmen sort of way. That's right: typecasting while running. Somehow, doing this in front of the Wii just doesn't seem as challenging. Since we had a spate of propaganda posters in blogs lately, you're all charged with making one out of typewrunner's photo, linked from this victorious post. That photo brings tears to my eyes. The good kind.
  • We'd love those posters in the flickr "Anablogger Archives" group, by the way. Links to the group, the Yahoo lists, and other places of interest to the typosphere community are on the left, under the "Resources" header.
  • The biggest news this week is that we were the news, at least for a day or two in the New York Times "Style" section. Congratulations all around for everyone who was interviewed (and to those who were eventually cut.) Sounds like Jess may be a convert. If we can rope her into the Typewriter Brigade, I think she'll be hooked for sure.
  • Brigadiers! You know that Script Frenzy starts today, right? It's an automatic excuse for not editing your NaNoWriMo novel for another thirty days (like you needed one.)
  • One last item for you statistics wonks: we turned a bit over 2,000 pages in our first month as a real trafficked blog, with a little uptick in daily pages to coincide with all of us mailing the NY Times article to our tolerant friends and family. The most traffic comes from the "" domain, so extra thanks to Ryan for setting that up and pointing it here. My own humble blog is second for driving traffic here (since I'm whoring the link everywhere) followed closely by Strikethru (since she has actual readers and is an interesting person.) "typosphere" is the search term used most to find us. Page views by country are:
  1. United States: 1,811
  2. United Kingdom: 113
  3. Switzerland: 25
  4. Australia: 22
  5. Canada: 21
  6. Sweden: 21
  7. Netherlands: 18
  8. Italy: 13
  9. Germany: 11
  10. Philippines: 8

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