Here’s a rather charming little video from the LA Times on three generations of repairmen who’ve operated a typewriter shop. The proprietors say they’ve seen a resurgence of interest in the manual typewriter in recent years as interrupt-driven computer users seek out a writing tool that does just the one thing: allow you to write, undisturbed by pop-up ads, joke emails, and tanking stock tickers.

Video: Typewriter stays relevant in technology-saturated world

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4 thoughts on “Typewriter repair shop

  1. “interrupt-driven computer users seek out a writing tool that does just the one thing: allow you to write, undisturbed by pop-up ads, joke emails, and tanking stock tickers”

    Are the technophobic writers simply unable to close their email client and browser, while running a word processor?

    This takes me back to Jerry Pournelle’s complaints years ago re: word processors. All he wanted was a 16×64 ASCII screen, with no highlighting, line numbers, cursor position counter, etc. Well, back to that and far beyond! At least Jerry’s dumb terminal text capture device created an editable output!

  2. I think the idea is that, in such an interrupt-driven world, any excuse or trick or thing you can tell yourself to get you to write is worth pursuing, so if setting up a nice refurbed manual on a table in a back room gets it done…

    Personally, I close down EVERYTHING but OpenOffice, take the phone out of the room, and set a kitchen timer for hour-long writing stints. I turn the timer away from me so I won’t see the face. When it goes off, I check/answer my mail, answer the phone, etc. and then go back under for another stint. I am so distracted and fragmented otherwise, I’d never get my actual target-tasks done. Each person is different. This is what works for me.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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