Mark Zuckerberg’s typewriter

by | Nov 26, 2021 | Uncategorized | 17 comments

(starting at 1:03, with a good view of the Smith-Corona)
From Zuckerberg’s “Founder’s Letter” introducing Meta:

“The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.

“The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. …

“In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up. …

“Think about how many physical things you have today that could just be holograms in the future. Your TV, your perfect work setup with multiple monitors, your board games and more — instead of physical things assembled in factories, they’ll be holograms designed by creators around the world.”


JoAnna Novak


  1. typewriter.works

    fan-eff'n-tastic, richard. you succinctly elucidated my thoughts and emotions of this "meta" crap into short blog post. and no, the last bit wasn't wicked. unless i am. because i'd prefer a life sans hollow digitality which thinks it can literally touch me. i'm over it. now, this formerly well-salaried san francisco art director can't bring himself to make a website for his typewriter biz.

    i'm an old man. stay off my lawn. punk kids.

    in my five years in prison, i never realized how little touch i gave and received. a handshake here, a fist bump there. a nurse swabbing my arm before a flu shot. only when i was free and was given a hug did i realize this year-long loss. it brought tears to my eyes.

    ms. novak is on to something powerful and true.

    peace out, mister. thank you.

  2. RobertG

    Oh – that's such a staged scene with a retro-prop…

    And yes to the tactile experience – with a type-writing machine you are operating something physical (thinking of you there, Underwood 5 :-). Same with driving a really old car; more like operating a machine than using an 'appliance'.
    Also; do try a mechanical calculator. See and feel how the numbers make sense; recommended :-)

  3. HBlaine

    Amen, Richard. Amen.

    And, by the way, thanks for mentioning handwriting in this context as well. Having just repaired a 1949 Sheaffer Statesman, and put it through its paces for a journal entry, this sentiment really hits home for me.

    And, a further by the way, your “post-apocalyptic” scenarios were were wicked. Wickedly wonderful.

  4. John Cooper

    Excellent essay! There's nothing I enjoy more than a (convincing) well-constructed argument backed up with real emotion and a (yes) wicked sense of humor. And it's so hard to pull off.

    So ironic that Metaboy says that his holographic playground will "touch" every product his company builds. Yes, in the same way the 19th century "saw" the introduction of the telegraph. In the Metaverse, all sense is metaphor.

  5. Bill G

    This definitely hits a nerve with me. I am convinced that unless some sort of usage standards are established for social media, Zuckerberg will end up going down in history as a villain who wreaked even greater havoc on the world than Hitler himself. This is definitely not meant to make light of Hitler's impacts. I visited Dachau three decades ago and literally felt sick for quite some time afterwards as a result of the things I felt and witnessed while there. I don't necessarily believe that Zuckerberg started off with evil intentions, but I have no doubt that he fully realizes the magnitude of the impacts that will result from the sort of things that Meta (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) along with Google and many others are getting away with today, altering the perceived reality of all who use their services.

    I personally view insecurity as the source of all evil and in this light Zuckerberg is likely one of the most insecure persons to ever exist. For what it's worth, over the past year I deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts, along with dumping my use of Google and a few other services. When it came to Facebook and Instagram, I wasn't a long-term user by any means, nor was I nearly as active as many others, yet even then I personally found it somewhat challenging to completely step away from these things. Still, I have zero regrets.

  6. Mei Travis

    Folks of the older generations have unique perspectives growing up with zero computers in the home. Then we had to embrace the evolving digital revolution for an income. I like this information age though. My typewriter repair skills developed quickly thanks to the Typosphere. It's nice to move back & forth and combine the two worlds. Evenings are best spent relaxing with analog activities like needlework, typing, playing music, and my indoor garden. They're perfect antidotes for long workdays of teaching & learning using the latest technologies with the generations that only know the digital world. It's wonderful to see some of them become insurgents for the same reasons I did.

    Turn off, tune out, and type on!

  7. Robin Heilschild ????

    I just can agree the content of this post. Totally, thoroughly right, as always!

    I am amazed by your amazing literary skills as well!!

    Your post is so astounding that I'd love to translate it to Spanish (and credit you for the original post)! <3

  8. Robin Heilschild ????

    Not so old (I am 30), but I still remember the school days before computers took everything over. Typewritten homework (or even handwritten on a notebook), for example. Or large pieces of paper, handwritten by myself, and even with graphics and drawings made by myself on them, when I had to do a "classroom exposure" (a very common thing in Mexican schools). Back in the day, computers were a luxurious item instead of a necessary one (and Internet wasn't an indispensable thing), so libraries and books stores (and even newsrooms, those places in which you check out old newspapers) used to have lots of people inside (when reading was a pleasure, not a torture, as you didn't end up dazzled by overly bright screens, and continuously overwhelmed by the power supply's bill).

    I had to "embrace" the digital stuff for an income (rather, the digital stuff embraced us). It has its advantages and its disadvantages, of course. But sometimes I miss those good, old days, when I used to go to my hometown's downtown to sell my art directly to tourists (and what I earned was enough to have an easy life), instead of spending the whole day spamming Discord's servers in order to get commissioners or more subscribers for Patreon. :(

  9. Robin Heilschild ????

    Ooh… I didn't know pens could be repaired!! :D

    Writing and drawing with a fountain pen is delightful. <3
    (Specially when I practice my Arabic handwriting or when I ink a drawing on fine paper)

    I wish I could get a fine fountain pen like yours some day!

  10. Robin Heilschild ????

    Whoa!! Underwood 5!! That's really ancient!! :D
    I have seen models from 1916 to 1923 still in operation here in Mexico, but they are property of collectors and museums.

    I own an Olympia SG-3 from 1979. I love it. It's older than me, and probably it will survive beyond my lifetime.

    Mechanical calculator?
    Do you refer to adding machines?

    Well, the ones I have seen (on sale on eBay, overpriced) just can do the "addition" part, with no subtraction, multiplication or division. :(

    Or do you refer to cash registers?
    I knew the mechanical models. They were super heavy, but looked super cute as well. <3

    All what I know, regarding "mechanical calculator", is this super cute Soviet model. Alas, it's rather electro-mechanical, as it needs power supply to work:


    Old cars…
    Well, the oldest car I know (still in operation) is the VW Beetle. I love it. I still want to get one. <3

    My mother owned a VW Rabbit as well. Great car. It also felt like a machine, rather than an "appliance". Specially thanks to the "standard transmission", with a gearbox, the clutch pedal, and a lever in the middle of the front seats. xD

  11. Richard P

    I'm glad you like it. Feel free to translate it!

  12. Richard P

    Some mechanical calculators could perform all four arithmetical operations. One particularly clever and famous example is the Curta.

  13. Robin Heilschild ????

    Ah, the Curta one!!

    It's cute. It resembles a pepper grinder. <3
    I have always wanted to get one (since I know they exist), but they are so overpriced on eBay… :(

    Are there other models?

  14. Richard P

    I'm not an expert on calculators, but I think Curtas are always expensive. There are many other brands of mechanical calculators, and I'm sure some of them are more affordable.

  15. RobertG

    Oh yes, Curta's are very expensive. But most 50s or 60s machines can usually be picked up for reasonable sums. A post-war pinwheel machine is really a very capable 4-function (and more) calculator :-)

  16. Robin Heilschild ????

    Pinwheel machines look great! :D

    I have to check out some videos about them, as I had seen them before (long ago, when I was a kid, at thrift stores), but I ignored their names and their use.

    But my favorite one (and the kind of calculator I remember the easiest at the moment) is the Facit CM2-16 from late sixties and early seventies (indeed, I had never noticed that was a calculator, despite the "counters" inside it… I thought that was a sort of cash register because of all those levers). I wish I could get one… one that work. :D


    The Contex-10 (and its Soviet clone, the one I showed on that eBay's link) looks super cute to me. It's also from the early seventies. <3


    They both remind me of typewriters to some extent. <3

    The cutest one (and it looks as if that were really hard to make) is the Curta, as it's super small.

    And you should see Nepohualtzitzin, the Mexican abacus that dates from the Olmec era. :D


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