Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rocking the Kasbah

Perhaps, like me, you've seen Kasbah Mod's beautiful custom typewriters.

But I didn't know that "around 75-100 machines are sold each month at prices ranging from $200 to $1,200."

The success of Kasbah Mod and USB Typewriter make me start to believe that the time is ripe for what McGet calls a 21st-century typewriter. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Latest typewriter news from NPR and LA Times

Latest news:

Steve Soboroff collects typewriters of the famous (L.A. Times story including references to the typewriter renaissance and a comment from me).

Zach Houston makes a living composing poems in public on a typewriter (NPR story complete with a clip from Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter").

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Share Your Typewriter Stories

Along with a slightly oily-musty-sulpher smell and the occasional half-used eraser, many typewriters come to us with a story attached. Gary Nicholson (of typewriter documentary fame) is collecting photos and stories to include on their website in advance of the release of their film. Here's the information from Gary:

Do you have a personal relationship with a typewriter? Do you remember using one that you loved? Your father's or your grandmother's?  Do you use one now? We'd love to hear your story and if you have a photo, all the better. We will be collecting them for our website on the Typewriter in the 21st Century to coincide with the release of our feature film in Fall, 2012.

The email for responses is:

Thank you!

Obviously the Typosphere has a few stories about, and even if you're not part of the group proper, I'm sure Gary would be happy to hear from you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

How is a Typewriter Like Google?

Well, if it's a Chinese typewriter -- or any designed to handle a large number of ideograms -- then there's a certain level of prediction that can be built into the system to help figure out "what's next."

Google does this when you type in the search box. I get as far as "typosp" before Google has figured out "typosphere" and placed this blog up at the top of the results (*blush*) This video talks about how Chinese typewriters pre-date the current predictive systems in use by engines like Google. Not coincidentally, it's a Google talk:  

A Chinese Typewriter in Silicon Valley

And in case you've never seen one in action, here's some footage of a Chinese typewriter in use. Note the two-handed motion to slide the symbol-picking mechanism as the type-tray is also being arranged.

 Chinese typewriter 中文打字機 1978

 Thanks to the Typewriter Movie guys for the tip!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Typewriters: The Long Farewell

Suzanne Fischer writes a little essay about the typewriter resurgence in this piece in the Atlantic, titled "The Long Farewell: Typewriters as Objects of Nostalgia." And this:
As a historian who cares about objects, I'm pleased by this new appreciation for typewriter aesthetics, and I'm hoping it will mean a decline in keychopping. Keychopping is the arguably pernicious practice of removing a typewriter's keys to make jewelry or to decorate olde-tyme projects. To typewriter enthusiasts and collectors, keychoppers are the enemy, destroying the integrity of typewriters and rendering them useless scrap.

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