Thursday, January 26, 2006

Activator Boot

Typewriter - the longest word you can type using only the top letters on a qwerty typewriter.

After getting my D70 back from Nikon and spending quality time with the grandmother I got home and had the urge to type up a letter using my manual typewriter. It had been collecting dust since I first got it as a payment of sorts for helping someone move. Personally I think they were just too lazy to drop it off at a donation/charity drop box. As it was in pretty good shape and folding into a nice compact case I figured I'd save it from the landfill.

I love the name. The "Activiator 800T". When first reading the label I thought it read "activator boot". Huh? When buying this product, way back when it was new, the name probably reflected high end, state of the art technology. It almost sounds like it's allowing you to do work on the go. You can be active with the "Activator"! If it was called the "Activator boot". You could be doing work on the go with this typewriter because it, like a kick in the ass (boot), would be the thing to get you going. You were inspired to write if you bought this thing. Maybe I'm reading too much into the name?

In this day and age of high tech gadgetry and electrical gizmos it's kind of bizzare that you can type anything without using power. Of course the first thing I noticed was the amount of force you have to use on the keys just to strike the paper. You'd have to press even harder if you wanted the letter to be dark enough to read. After about half a page of typing my wrists were getting sore.

Another interesting thing we take for granted using modern keyboards is that you can type pretty much as fast as you want. Using the manual typewriter if you typed too fast the keys would jam into each other. A note to all those youngsters out there, that's the reason why the keyboard letters are laid out in such an odd order. The arrangement was to slow the typist down on purpose.

Once finished typing up the so called letter, mainly due to my hands cramping up, I decided to return to the modern era and fiddle with the D70. (see picture above). The dirt that used to be on the camera sensor is now gone thanks to the cleaning staff at Nikon repair. woo woo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, D. As you may or may not recall, I collect typewriters. Originally, keyboards were completely random, according to the whim of the maker, and where they thought their favourite letters ought to be, but as they became more commercially available (at some point prior to the 20's), it was decided to make the keyboards all alike, and Qwerty became the standard.
(Interestingly my Czech 30's era Remington is a Qwertz.)

That "typewriter" can be spelled entirely on the top row is on purpose - because the letters are all in one line, the traveling typewriter salesman could type "typewriter" quickly and impressively, making it look easy. Otherwise, the keyboard is supposed to be arranged in a way that places the more oft used letters under the main fingers.

Keyboards have evolved; for example, there used to be no "1" (one) - you typed a capitol letter "I" and the apostrophe was shift - 8, which, with a backspace and a period, made an exclamation mark! My British, French-Canadian and Czech machines have different keyboards, too, and indeed, typewriters were once considered quite the impressive machines! I have about 20 working machines in my collection (in the typewriter collecting world, that's very few), from the 20's to 70's, and I will happly rescue any and all from junkyards...

You can see one of my 'writers (a early 20's toy Berwin) on my website,