Monday, June 14, 2010

zOMG USB typewriter!

I gave up DIY electronics a couple years was eating up too much of my time. But I have been slowly getting sucked back in. Soldering a few cables here and there...and then a simple kit...and recently I found myself buying new batteries for my multimeter and thumbing droolingly through the Mouser catalog.

Well, here's a DIY project (via Engadget) that actually has something to do with my job for a change. Adding USB functuality to a manual typewriter.

$75 for the, I am so doing it. We happen to have two identical Smith-Corona portables...I may try modding one, and if I fall back in love with it, will try to find somebody to service the other and get it working normally again. This appeals to me in the same way that sticking a lens from 1938 onto a digital camera from 2006 appeals to me. Not steampunk--just anti-obsolescence.


rmellis said...

You realize you are totally insane, don't you? What you'd be making here is a word processor with the world's most awkward keyboard.

Seriously, I need to post to this blog more, try and de-geekify it!

jrlennon said...

What is literary fiction writing, if not an endeavor of limited utility, which results in an unpopular product of antiquated design? This device is the perfect tool for creating it.

Sung said...

This looks like a Timex/Sinclair computer I once played with...back in 1982, I think! Too funny. I love the site:

"The USBTypewriter™ is a new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence."

Field of Obsolescence -- now there's a great name for a mope-rock band. I hope you'll post a picture of the retro gadget when you have it running.

p.s. Rhian, I totally agree -- the amount of geek energy emanating from this post is positively nuclear.

sean said...

I'm editing a novel I wrote on a 1950's manual, this would be a pretty funny missing link between the first ink being pounded into paper draft and the current laptop draft... If I wasn't too broke to buy an iPad, and if I wasn't too paranoid about messing up one of my typewriters, I'd be all over this. But seriously, such an awesome idea, and if I could I would.

Anonymous said...

Attaching a 1938 lens to a modern DSLR is a good idea! Any window to the past, however dark, is an opportunity not to be missed. Sending keystrokes to a CPU via mechanical typewriter, on the other hand, is funny, MST3K funny. (And what about OCR or, failing that, a secretary?) Dickens and Balzac wrote long books (with quill pens) because, aside from worries about paper supply and ink, they had no limitations. (Write one MS page a day [yes, only one], for fifty years, et voilà: in the neighborhood of 80–100 volumes.) We moderns who do so much more with words do not have time for the long form, except as some sort of mid-nineties jest. But I would love to get my old Sears electric back: such satisfaction from each hard-won page.

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jon said...

Oh anonymous, a mid-nineties jest? what I would truly love to do is write nothing bu 19th century length novels, slow, luxurious, complete. With a quill pen no less. Provided it's a quill pen computer hybrid stylus...without the viagra.

Eeleen Lee said...

I want one of these! who cares of the keyboard is awkward, I miss the machine-gun patter sound of keys