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Typewriters Next Generation of Computing

Blair Hanley Frank

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Frank.  Photo by Marie von Hafften.

Blair Frank ’13, a self-described “hipster with self-control problems,” defenestrated his laptop earlier today. Photo by Marie von Hafften.

I’ve thrown out my laptop. While I adored my MacBook Pro while it lasted, it’s time for me to move on. Sure, it has some amazing processing power, and I love the user experience, but let’s face it: Computers are too mainstream.

Today, instead of my usual computing device, I’m now using a manual typewriter from the 1960s. My instrument of choice is a Royal Safari, which, in addition to sounding like something a ruler of the British Empire would do, is also a real workhorse. Well, if all you need to do is type.

This may seem an unusual step for the technology columnist, but my foray into asceticism has one goal: to eliminate distractions. See, there’s no way for me to distract myself with multitasking when the machine I’m working at can do only one task.

My typewriter is a knight in shining armor, fending off distraction after distraction. Twitter and Facebook no longer hold any power over me. I laugh in the face of video games, because I don’t even have the capability to make vertical lines and play Tic-Tac-Toe. My productivity has gone through the roof.

I realize that it’s possible to think that I’m an overreacting hipster with self-control problems. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, it’s my firm belief that all this new tech is overwhelming us, and making it harder for us to work. We need to go back in order to move forward in a productive manner.

In addition, my time with a typewriter has given me a greater connection with my writing. Even though I have to go through dozens of copies of the same essay just to make sure that I don’t make any typos, that tactile sensation of hitting keys in order to produce a printed letter is something you just can’t get anywhere else.

It gives my essays a great throwback look. Even if my professors end up frustrated with me because my margins are a bit off and my bibliographies are … inconsistently designed at best, it doesn’t really matter, because my essay is going to be standing out from all the other Times New Roman clones.

Finally, there’s the matter of self-defense. When I was carrying a laptop, I was constantly concerned for its well-being. But now, I’m using a machine made of steel that has survived for decades, and what’s more, it makes for a great bludgeoning weapon. So please, tell me about how silly I am for using this typewriter. I dare you.

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Typewriters Next Generation of Computing