Clacketty-clack!

For those who long for the clacketty-clack sound of a real typewriter keyboard, but who don’t want to throw away the undeniable advantages of computerised text processing, here are three ways to satisfy your longings, and one more for laughs:

old-typewriter1.
The “Typewriter Keyboard”… You miss your old typewriter? You want your Macintosh to play typewriter sounds when you press the keys of your keyboard? You even want your keyboard to play your own sounds? Then Typewriter Keyboard is what you need! “Typewriter Keyboard” allows you to make your keyboard play typewriter sounds or any other sounds. Find it here.

2.
Buy a proper mechanical keyboard (like the Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless, see photo.) A keen user says

filco-tenkeyless

“…a mechanical keyboard will hold [that is, endure] up to thousands upon thousands of keystrokes. A membrane keyboard may be prone to “wearing out” or changing in feel over time. It may even result in outright failure. A mechanical keyboard, while not being a necessity, is certainly a nice to have. If you are looking for a “no frills” mechanical keyboard and have some space constraints then the FILCO TenKeyless is a solid option if you can find it. It is very comfortable and can withstand hours of abuse.”

Search the Internet for “Filco Majestouch”. (There will be different importers for markets in different countries.) I use mine every day.

Also note: CNET’s knowledgeable reviews of the Filco Camo Majestouch-2 keyboard, the Rosewill RK-9000 USB Keyboard and the famous Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent keyboard. A whole new world awaits you!

3.
Buy one of these strange machines: they really look like they’re “more fun than shooting monkeys in a barrel”, as a dyslexic friend once remarked. Blogger Leslie Katz here on CNET says:

usb-typewriter

Miss the good old-fashioned manual typewriter? The USB Typewriter (see one here), a “new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence,” according to its creator, turns the old machines into retro-style keyboards that hook up to any USB-capable computer to let you type like it’s 1948. Jack Zylkin, who humorously describes himself as “a reclusive genius with 57 cats,” created the peripheral with materials provided at Hive76, a maker co-op in Philadelphia where Zylkin does his tinkering… The USB Typewriter consists of a sensor board that clips underneath the typewriter key, and a USB interface board that features an Atmega168P microcontroller chip, a USB Type B socket, and supporting components like a power supply, crystal oscillator, and USB voltage conversion. The USB interface board controls the operation of the sensor board, sending keystrokes to the host computer over USB.

4. This one is for laughs… but why not? Amanda Kooser’s tech-savvy blog on CNET is here. She says:

usb-typewriter

“If you’ve ever wondered what words taste like, you’re now in luck. Russian artist Morskoiboy has created a contraption that mixes cocktails based on letters. Behold, the Typewriter Cocktail Machine. It’s the illegitimate child of a Remington crossed with a bottle of Smirnoff. It features more tubes than the DareDroid 2.0 cocktail-making dress and has a rainbow of flavored syrups at its disposal.

It’s hard to describe exactly how this contraption works, but I’m going to try. Each key on the keyboard is a syringe pump. Push it down and it sucks syrup from a corresponding bottle, mixing it with the top-mounted alcoholic beverage of your choice.

The resulting combination of liquids lights up an LCD-style display that shows the letter you just pushed. It all gets mixed together in a glass off to the side.

So drink up, and start writing!

Oh… just for the nostalgic among us, here’s John Ashbery’s Royal typewriter. I took the photo in 1985. He told me that he was “always loyal to Royals.”

ashberys-royal-1985

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