8/17/2012

Word Processors revisited

Let me start by saying that here at Preludium, after years of using Microsoft and MSDos Computers for word processing, I moved over to Apple some six years ago. Couldn't be happier. And of course there are so many other things to do with the software and hardware that comes with the computer.  

Still it turns out that with the hardware provided by the manual typewriter and the software provided by my brain I can do some of the most elementary tasks I bring to the computer, and do them fairly well. I can write most anything I want provided I am willing to put up with my wretched spelling and typing errors. And I don't have to worry about having electric current.  I can find new technological ways to overcome the power problem. And I will.

But just for the moment I am exploring the use of the manual typewriter as a machine for journal writing and poetry.  Of course I will have to clean the text up for public use using a computer.  Of course.  But I will be at a different starting place than the scrawl I call my handwriting. And maybe, just maybe, being able to think faster than I can write will have some advantage. 

Anyway, here at the head office at Preludium we have acquired a new/ old machine.. a 1948 Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable Typewriter.  

I've also been able to find online the manual. The manual, all six pages of it, sing of the possibilities afforded the one fortunate enough to have and use this machinery of joy and creativity. 

The unfortunate cover, true to the time, misses out on the fact that the portable typewriter was used not so much by competent secretaries, who may indeed have been women, but by people "in the field," as often as not men. But no men on the cover, showing off how easy it was to carry to far off exotic places. For that matter, no women. Instead the woman fresh from the office pool holds it out, proud that she is holding, "the first truly modern portable typewriter."


I've put together a bit of a comparison between the Royal Quiet De Luxe Model Portable Typewriter and the MacBook Air I am using at the moment.  Here are the results:

Royal Typewriter:
14 pounds, including hard cover box.
no power brick or cord needed
no electricity needed
no software needed
printer included
produces copy on all sorts of paper
not subject to electric shock or surge
can produce instant copies by using carbon paper
single letters or marks can be made anywhere on a page without special formatting
eliminates the need to choose fonts or sizes
never needs to be upgraded
reusable printer ribbon


MacBook Air:
3 pounds
1 pound brick and cord
110-220 v. ac power 
external printer 3 to 7 pounds available
(total weight to produce copy - 7 to 11 pounds.)
8 hour battery life
lots of software and software updates
does many things besides provide text copy.
typing software has spell checker
many fonts and sizes available
printer requires power brick, cord
printer requires new ink cartridges
printer and computer need to be connected either by cord or by network.

Obviously I need the computer. But perhaps too there is a place for the simple hit - the -key, make - a -mark sort of writing tool as well.  Simple has its place. 

The problem persists: here is the blank page... now write!






                           

10 comments:

JCF said...

Ah, what a classic! (the typewriter too, Mark ;-p)

John Edmonds said...

Try:
http://www.usbtypewriter.com/

Best of all worlds!

Grandmère Mimi said...

More power to you Mark. You will be able to write even if you lose electrical or internet connectivity. Simple has its place, indeed. I won't be joining you on the typewriter, but I wish you all the best.

Fred Schwartz said...

Mark,
I have been through about 13 different word processors. It was great fun to cntrl this and cntrl that. Now, WP programs have become a little more sophisticated.
That being said, the benefit of a computer is not in the first draft but in subsequent drafts. The ability to cut and paste is but one significant item. And I still mis-spell words quite regularly even with spell check.

Brother David said...

No issues locating ink ribbons for this museum piece?

Mark Harris said...

John Edmonds.... thanks for the link. And I thought I was retro!

Brother David...no... inked ribbons seem pretty easy to come by.

Fred...ain't giving up the MacBook Air. Too late to learn to really spell, and even spell check is better than me.

SCM said...

Plus: no distractions from blog bloviating.

Brother David said...

There is a real one John E, not just these parodies;

http://www.austin-yang.com/index.php?/projects/iturntable/

Tracie Wilke said...

Oh, and just for the record (and giggles...)

That should read "wretched spelling" not "retched."

Just sayin'

Mark Harris said...

Tracie...well there you are! Thanks.