Typewriters?

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smileyranger's picture
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Hello!

Today I was using my Smith Corona Coronet Super 12 typewriter to write a script for a YouTube series I'm making, and then thought I should ask the Apple Fritter community if any of you guys still use a typewriter.

Oddly enough I find I can type faster and more accurately on one because there is a definite tactile response, unlike the mushy keyboard that comes with the MacBooks, which is what I am using to type this message.

I'd insert a picture of mine, but alas, I don't have my camera readily available at this time.

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

in my memory I used quite long a typewriter too because the keyboard of the apple II caused similar problems to me - just the other way around - it was the missing "feedback" of the striking typewritertypographarm that i missed.....
then i used an external keyboard that generated a clicking sound which enabled me to changeover to the computerkeyboard....

after the change i started to prefer the keyboard because i started to speedup my typing and i got familiar to the habit of typing fast and the "control-reading" my text later and doing the correction and time after time the possibility to correct mistyped text with the edit-function became more important to me... it was much more easy rather than using a correctionfluid or other correctionutilities on the typewriter ....

But the most important reason to switch to the computer was the ability to "typ just from the belly" without bothering form, style or expression.... and the ability to format later the "raw"-text and improve used idioms and using less agresive terms... my text became "politer"...

and the formatting brought great improvement to the readability by adding visible structure to large text-bulks.... and by exchanging order to proper axis of incidents with the possibility to cut a piece of text from one spot and inserting it at another place within the text due to the timerow....

nowadays i stay away from my abandoned typewriter, because i would not want to miss these style-correction abilities...

but just a thought from my side:
there are a lot of thirdparty-companies out there that realy have a wide range of different kinds of keyboards... If you are just on occasion in a larger city and have the chance to spend some time in a shop that is specialized to computer-addons or a shopping mall with a large shop for computers and peripherials or a shop specialized to office supplies - it might be a good idea to just spend some time by viewing and testing the keyboards that are presented at the front-ups....
that was what i did befor switching from the typewriter to the AppleII - and it realy improved by the fact that i finally found "my keyboard" for "my demands"...

probably you might find a keyboard that even just satisfies your expectations and needs to a keyboard and you might get a third party keyboard that matches your demands and also fits direct or by adapter to your mac.... probably then you might simplify by that the "switchover" from typewriter to mac - the more if you spend some time to get familiar with the advaced abilities of the Textprogram to add formatting and structure to your text.... you probably then might realy prefer these advantages one day....

speedyG

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smileyranger's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

You did mention a problem I encounter frequently with the Typewriter, which is the lack of being able to go back and edit. Especially long paragraphs to be inserted at a later time.

This has set me on a similar search to find the "perfect" keyboard. For a while I had a couple of dell keyboards that I rather enjoyed. Sadly they wore out. I have now found the rave reviews of the apple extended keyboard II. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_Keyboard_II.jpg

I intend to look into possibly purchasing one at some point.
Have you ever used one and do you recommend it?

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

It depends as I explained to your demands... i.e. not to my demands... - but if i think about the typewriter and the text you displayed above i´ll try to resume:
it seems to me, that you prefer some kind of "resistance" similar to the typewriter if you say that the keyboard seems "weak" - so in that case you probably should look for a very old fashioned keyboard with mechanic springs and mechanic keys inside instead of the new keyboards that are all some kind of "soft-touch" i.e. they have no real resistance....another point that is common to the old mechanic keys is the fact that they have a "long push-down distance" quite similar to the typewriter and not same like new keyboards that have "shorter press-doewn distance" and very soft touch....
the reason for this changes in modern keyboards (i.e. weaker strike, shorter press-down, weaker press-resistance ) had resulted from years with recommendations from doctors that treated thousends of ladies with weak wrists and damaged tendons in the fingers and middlehand ( from thousends of datatypists and secretaries ) that had been typing 8 hours per day....
so we might assume the more time spent with typing the "weaker" the keyboard should be by recommendation from the doctors...
but that are just guesses from my side.... mistakes still possible...
the Keyboard type II has a "long press distance" but nearly no resistance to the pressing finger and very soft touch at the end point. I´d resume from your text above the most similar solution to the "typewriter"-feeling would be provided from a keyboard out of the early 80´s with mechanic keys. These keyboards had common a PS2-plug and there was a adapter from PS2-Plug to a USBplug availiable so that these keyboards could be pluged into a USB-Port. my first hint would be in that case you might be more happy with a keyboard of the "backyard" of a sparepart-shelf in an "old-fashioned" computer-store with own service department that still has some new "forgotten" units otherwise it might require some search in google for manufacturers that also offer keyboards with mechanic keys... but that might be "time-eating" or resultless ....

among the modern keyboards i guess the best choice would be to look for a keyboard that is determined for "heavy-duty-conditions" like outdoor-use because they will surely have more "resistance" to the "push-down" than those used in an office.... thats probably the best second hint i could give...

and finally the best advice is realy just to try several keyboards in a mall or large-sales-store... and compare the diffent ones by yourself... nothing and nobody can realy assume or substitue your "personal feeling" in your fingers
regards speedyG

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BDub's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

The Apple Keyboard II is a really nice keyboard if you're going for haptic feedback. Personally I'm a fan of the Apple Extended Keyboard II. It's soft enough to give solid feedback, but it's not too loud or 'clacky'.

If you're looking beyond Apple keyboards, the IBM Model M keyboard is considered to be exemplary, though noisy.

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smileyranger's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

Thanks for the many tips about the world of keyboards.
I do know of a place where I can scour over a great deal of keyboards. They date back to the 80's, so chances are, there's going to be a coffee stained typing gem buried in there somewhere. Right now I am using my 2001 Apple Pro keyboard. Although it's not what I'm looking for, I can say that the raised altitude is much better than having to use the awkwardly placed MacBook keyboard.

Thanks again!

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

There's been a booming market for mechanical keyboards in recent years. Geekhack is a forum dedicated to them. I got a Leopold Tenkeyless (with Cherry MX Blue keywsitches) for work and love it.

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Re: Typewriters?

I've been wanting to get a mechanical keyboard for some time, and finally bought a refurbished Razer BlackWidow a few weeks ago. I wish I had sooner! Like Colin's, it has Cherry MX Blue switches, which have a great tactile feel, but are quite noisy. My biggest complaint is that the keyboard's height and width make the trackpad difficult to reach. I've actually been thinking about getting a left-handed keyboard to get around this, though I'm not sure how well I'd do left-handed.

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Re: Typewriters?

I like loud keyboards. Especially like on an apple //e with no expansion cards in it. A marvelous echo chamber for over enthusiastic keystrikes.

On my laptop, its got a short-throw scissors-style keyboard. While I like the short throw ergonomics/ That will not do. So I downloaded clickkey and set it to make a loud sound like a duck getting stepped on. This really riles up Starbucks and Panera Bread but good.

My other favorite sounds are the warning klaxxon from like a nuclear power plant. And the fat-man-in-wet-shoes squish.

When I do serious work I like the nice little click. Just a click.

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eeun's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

BDub wrote:

Personally I'm a fan of the Apple Extended Keyboard II.

Likewise. Back when I was doing a lot of text inputting, that keyboard was a wonderful thing to have. The later extended keyboard that shipped with the 603/604-based Powermacs was terrible, like typing on marshmellows.

It was at the Geekhack forum where someone had used a Teensy to create an ADB to USB adapter so they could use their Extended Keyboard II. It's one of those projects I'd like to do, but never seem to get around to.

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Re: Typewriters?

smileyranger wrote:

and then thought I should ask the Apple Fritter community if any of you guys still use a typewriter.

Every once and awhile, when I want to fill out a paper form, and make it nice and neat.

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Re: Typewriters?

Wow! Gone for less than a day and this thread suddenly takes off! Looks like I have quite the response to make.

@Dr. Webster,

Wow! It seems as if there are a lot more people than I thought that are wanting and/or proudly own mechanical keyboards. I will most definitely spend some time browsing geek hack. Who knows, maybe I can find a good keyboard there that'll suit my needs. My current reason for trying to find a good keyboard that I will enjoy using is because I could very well end up with a job soon that would require me to be typing, virtually non-stop for a good portion of the day. That is, if my application goes over good with the people who could potentially hire me.

@Tom Owad,

Would you recommend the Razer keyboard?
I'm willing to try just about any kind of keyboard.

Also, noise isn't an issue to me, since no-one would be annoyed by the sounds of typing.

@Keatah,

I do enjoy the sounds of the keyboard as I type. An audio response seems to almost trick me into thinking that I really am using a mechanic, clicky keyboard.
Is it an audio-physical illusion? who knows. Maybe i am thinking too far into this.
For a while I had the sounds on for whenever I typed, but those near me tened to not appreciate them as much as I would have liked.

@eeun,

I forgot who makes it, but for about $40-50, you can get a ADB-USB converter thingymajigger to use for older keyboards and such.

@Dog Cow,

That is the main thing I use my typewriter for. That and quick drafts.

--------------------------

Well, I do believe I am caught up on things now.

I just noticed...this is my 100th post!

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Leografix's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

Many many years ago I was used to my typewriter although already owning a Spectrum ZX. This typewriter was indeed old: named "Torpedo" and built around 1942 or 1943 it was nearly as heavy as a fully loaded PowerMac 9600. It's keyboard was very tough so You actually had to hammer the keys to get something printed on a sheet of paper. It wasn't fun to weite with it but I loved it. I've been writing the first "manuals" for the early computers used by my friends and even for my school. And I used it for the school's newspaper, published every month.
I dropped that large box around the early nineties, today it would be great to built a computer looking like the ones in the movie "Brazil", the keyboards nearly were the same...

smileyranger's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

Also, do you guys know of any good wireless keyboards?

And I know there probably isn't one, but do you know if there is an adapter that makes a USB keyboard wireless? I know it is a rather foolish question, but I'm willing to try many options to still be able to use my current keyboard.

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

I´m sorry smileyrranger,
but I fear that there is no chance....
i don´t know any solution that permits this kind of altering a link from USB to wireless and thereby replacing the USB-cord with a wireless connection ( and if there will be - it will be only as DIY-project in a electronic-magazins ) and if it exist it might not be payable or you´d have to give your first born child for it....
and at the other hand : nearly all wireless keyboards are of the "modern fashion" i.e. with plasic-contact-sheet => nearly no resistance to press, nealy no distance in press-down-distance and of course nearly no tactile contact feeling....
sorry for the bad news - i guess you´ll stay with the proposal of spending some time and coffee in the store with testing....
regards speedyG

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eeun's picture
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Re: Typewriters?

Yes, there are USB wireless extenders.

Sticking point is they're expensive, and you'd probably find a complete wireless keyboard for less.

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Re: Typewriters?

As was mentioned, there's little reason to use a typewriter when there are superb mechanical keyboards out there that in many ways surpass that tactile experience. I personally use a Razer BlackWidow Ultimate (Dragon Age version) with my laptop, but several companies make such things: http://store.razerzone.com/store/razerusa/en_US/pd/productID.211651300/categoryId.35156900 . The clicky sound is annoying for some, but that's part of the charm for me, and is certainly a factor in high speed typing...

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