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January 3, 2014

Hashtag typewriter

If only my typewriter sent tweets.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

I am a great fan of technology. All technology.

So I was delighted when my girlfriend gave me an Adler Tippa typewriter this Christmas.

What? It was cutting edge tech once…

Despite my lifelong attraction to typewriters, it’s the first time I’ve actually owned one, meaning it has turned into a fun process of discovery for me, working out all the tweaks, quirks and cheats (a capital O makes a great zero when your numbers run from one to nine) of the mechanical clacker.

At the same time, I’ve just bought a keyboard for my iPad mini, so I can write up stories at conferences this year (this Logitech keyboard, for any interested parties, into which the mini slots neatly via a magnetised cavity).

I like the juxtaposition of the two devices, especially for the reason that both are deemed to be portable. The Adler comes in a hard shell carry case, which feels less like you’re carrying a writing implement than a bomb-wired suitcase.

The iPad on the other hand is almost light as air, and in the context of the newly-acquired keyboard, I use it for pretty much the same reason the Adler was first made portable – to type stuff up when I’m out and about.

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Yeah, technology has caught up a bit with the definition of portable since the 1970s.

Adler

But while Apple’s device is about as sleek and simple as it gets, there’s a certain charm to typewriters that has ensured a lasting fame for the relics. I love the way I have to hammer the keys to make an inky imprint on the paper, and how when I reach the end of a line I’m greeted by the ring of a bell.

Despite the fact that the typewriter is the ancestor of the word processor, writing on my Adler is vastly different to the way I write on this desktop, or on my iPad.

Someone once described using a word processor as sculpting; crafting and honing a sentence with judicious (often generous) use of the backspace key.

The typewriter has no such room for improvisation. Unless you want a page of Tippex blobs, you have to get it right first time.

That certainly suits the time pressure under which journalists write up breaking news, but I reckon my editor would prefer an email from me than a posted letter – plus my typewriter doesn’t connect to Twitter for some reason.

I’ll have to send it off to be repaired.

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