When the product is free …

by | Mar 22, 2018 | Uncategorized | 14 comments


  1. Unknown

    The free "convenience" of the internet is so seductive. It's so helpful to have a smart phone give you driving directions at the drop of a hat…..except your phone always knows where you are. My online documents are saved automatically and I can never lose them….but I don't know where they are actually stored. I probably won't throw away my smart phone and rely solely on an atlas when I drive. But I should give more thought to these conveniences. I will throw my Skyriter in the back seat though!

  2. John M

    I remain steadfastly confident that one day humanity will successfully overcome the machine. The irony is that the machine already has a growing database of typewriter users with type samples to track our correspondences even if we try to stay off the grid. Well we do have the capability of manipulating our typewriters to alter their individual typesets and I actually refrain from posting (& listing in the database) with newly acquired typewriters out of principle to keep it out of sight. Is the machine really concerned with encrypted letters, postcards, street posters and classified ads? I don't know maybe I'm unjustifiably paranoid on this.
    But hell it's fun!

  3. Richard P

    If I stayed completely off the grid, I would lose most connections to other typewriter lovers, and that would make the pursuit considerably less fun and meaningful. But I do think it's important to be aware that every typewritten text we post online can be, and probably is being, scanned for text recognition. Paranoia becomes more factual every day. I wrote a little story about this.

  4. John M

    I'm digressing here but what did we call those etching notepads that we would sketch on the overlay plastic sheet and peel off the black surface underneath to erase the image or text?

  5. Richard P

    I guess "Mystic Writing Pad" is just a rough translation of the German name "Wunderblock," or "Wonder Pad."

  6. John M

    Yes mystic pad search brings it up. Unfortunately it will never be practical with typewriters but it is an alternative to paper if we ever come to that state. If used properly would be close to untraceable after multiple uses.

  7. Mark Adams (type-writer.org)

    Knowing how social media works, I consciously appropriate is data tracking to express myself. I don't tweet because I want people to see my tweets, but that I know that in the aggregate I'm shaping thought on a given issue. I use Facebook to connect with friends and family, but my posts are generally "sterile" or else deliberately political – again, for the aggregate. I self-host my blog, Type-Writer.org, because I want the added control I have over it, but search engines crawl everything and that, too, becomes part of the aggregate. That I'm a "piece" of some larger voice is not entirely satisfying though.

  8. Bill M

    The latest FB is exactly why I never did anything on social media. The internet tracks enough of what I do. All anyone needs is to sign onto a PC, use a smart phone, and go on the internet and there is a digital foot print left behind. Even if a PC is never put on line if the HDD is not destroyed by smashing it there will still be digital tracking of most of what was done on that PC, yep, even a failed HDD can be recovered. I like the security of my typewriters.

  9. Robin Heilschild ????

    And that's the why most of what I have written and drawn in my lifetime is still on paper. The idea about being tracked by an enterprise (not even is a government!) in order to be attacked by lots of commercial advertisements first, and then watched by the N.S.A., the C.I.A. and all those paranoid American government's departments in order to avoid terrorism (as if we Mexicans were terrorists) and "keeping national safety" (my country's spionage works only during elections). xD

    Fortunately, a mechanical typewriter can't be hacked, bugged or such. It only needs some upkeeping and maintenance (as vibrations make them to get disadjusted while they're being used as time goes forward), and that's all. Computers and "smartphones" (a phone can't be smart in Spanish, my native language), on the other hand, are a vulnerable and expensive mess. Computers ought remain inside laboratories, banks and airports only. xD

    We could use radiocommunnications instead (and being radio ham operators), as they're free (you just need the radio ham license and power supply; unlike Internet, where you need to pay expensive fees to read/watch stuffs that might be written by anybody) and you just need the receiver and an antenna (they also are watched by lots of governments, but I'd rather to hear the voice of the guy/gal who posts instead of just reading a text, and there are lots of special "keys of communication" based on letters and numbers there; Internet is somewhat, somehow eerie as you just see objects, not subjects, and it seems all was made by robots only) and then getting in touch with each other via post mail (post mail is also watched everywhere, but come on! English is not the only language on our Earth!). xD

  10. Richard P

    Postal mail is tracked, but rarely opened, so it is one of the few remaining reliably private methods of long-distance communication.

    The Soviets actually did figure out how to bug Selectrics, but it's not easy! Here is an interesting article.

  11. Robin Heilschild ????


    Selectrics 2 and 3 are electronic typewriters (Mom operated them in the middle and late eighties, and she was able to kick them out due to her typing speed!). I was talking rather about mechanical typewriters, but I understand your point of view. Making an expertise in mechanics is something that only a very few people dares (and are able) to do. xD

  12. Richard P

    I think all Selectrics were electric mechanical typewriters, not electronic.


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