An introduction…

Hello and welcome to vintage writing blog! A blog about distraction free
writing as well – typewriters, vintage computers, vintage PDA’s – it all fits
in there. I will include tips and reviews of vintage equipment from a writer’s
perspective.

One thing no one can deny – today is we live in a distraction full environment
– all communications, phones, tablets, computers, we sometimes forget to live
our lives. How many new likes my picture has on a Facebook today? How about
Instagram? Did I tweet something today? New update messages on our computers,
especially if you plan to use Windows – does 30 minutes long “configuring
updates” message helps when you plan to write something? It’s one more
distraction preventing you from reaching your goal.

I’ve spent many years of searching the perfect writing machine. And, before
you wait for the announcement of the best one – there isn’t. We all ar
different, we have different needs, feelings, preferences. This leaves a mark
on how we choose things, either for live, or writing as well. However, my
experience can help for those, who are starting to appreciate vintage
equipment, and find the most appropriate one.

First, the definition of vintage. Typewriters sure are, all of them, except maybe some cheap built Chinese made plastic typewriters, hiding under name of once great U.S. manufacturer – Royal.

Computers – that’s another story. While many would call their 5 years old laptops a vintage, it really isn’t – it’s just old. It’s not that powerful as today’s laptops, but is sure full of distractions as well. In my opinion, a vintage computer is a computer (either portable or desktop), which is able to run DOS, or even earlier operating systems, and can run Windows 95 at most, not more. It’s memory will be Kilobytes or some Megabytes (Not Gigabytes), and storage space will not reach one Gigabyte (when we have Terabytes today). Even then, many of them offer more capacity than you really need. Remember, it means writing, not gaming, photo viewing or anything else.

For your own sake you really do not need online services as well – with that I do not mean you do not have to back up your data – sure you do, since vintage equipment may fail (but so can the modern one as well).

Software – all you really need for writing is an editor, which can save plain text only. Sure, features as word search/replace, automatic backups and word count ar handy, but you can live without it. What about formatting? Do you care for formatting when writing longhand? So why should you care about it when you start to type? Remember, all you need is to get your thoughts written, you can do all your formatting later, on a modern machine.

Oh, so you mentioned a modern machine? Yes I did, and you will need it sooner or later! Remember, you use vintage equipment for drafts, and do your  final processing on whatever system you like or need – be it Microsoft Word, LibreOffice or anything else you prefer. However, for drafts, nothing can beat a vintage machine.

Before I end this topic, let me explain, why vintage equipment is better for writing:

*  It is unique – in good old days there were many different machines, with different design, ergonomics, weight, autonomy – not like today’s one’s, which look like they all are made in the same factory with slight design changes. You have large choice of very small, portables, ultra portables, luggables, and desktops, and all kinds of typewriters as well

* Distraction free – no updates, social networks or other things will take your writing time. When you use it, it’s for writing only, and this is where it really helps.

* It has better ergonomics. You think your computer’s keyboard is good enough? Think again. It’s most likely built on a cheap membrane, providing no or little tactical feedback. If you are old enough, you sure remember “clicky” keyboards from 80-ties? There is a reason – it’s a mechanical keyboard.  If you press a key, it’s movement presses mechanical switch, which provides great tactile and audio feedback as well. There are some mechanical keyboards made today, but they are really expensive. You can get a vintage machine with similar keyboard rather cheap today.

*  It’s not expensive – unless you are patient and do not click on first “buy it now price” you see, you can get decent machines in a great shape for a very reasonable price. It all depends on your patience and a machine chosen – a more rare machine will cost more, and then there are some, which are simply “collectables”, and it drives the prices higher.

*  You can always sell it later – unless you manage to burn or break the machine, market for vintage machines is growing, as more and more people start to appreciate the features they give.
That’s enough for the introduction, it’s time to write reviews of actual hardware. As interesting as typewriters are, it’s time to review vintage computers first. Somehow, there is very scarce information from writer’s perspective, at least much less than for typewriters. So, keep reading, and drop me a note, if you have experience with vintage writing equipment as well, and have some thoughts to share!

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2 thoughts on “An introduction…

  1. Delighted to meet a fellow seeker of ergonomic advantage! Great of you to stop by my blog to discuss gear.
    If there are kids in your life, you can always see the joy of mechanical devices. I actually had to have my ’63 Smith-Corona Classic 12 repaired, they enjoyed it so much!
    One great complement to text-editor composing is Markdown syntax, a simple system of punctuation to identify headings, italics etc. Programming editors often have built-in HTML converters. Or, with Pandoc, a command line app, you can turn Markdown text into HTML or DOCX quickly. Find articles on my blog, or through web searches.

    Like

  2. Typewriters – I enjoy mechanical one’s a lot, and have many in my possesion. However, one electrical one stands out as well – it’s IBM Selectric – the only electrical part is motor itself, everything else is pure mechanics, and the sound it makes, the speed of the “golfball” is just fascinating.

    Never thought about markdown syntax, by the way. I usually type text only with no markings, all editing is done later, when the draft is finished. An interesting approach though!

    Like

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