In 1983, the US got a tip-off that the Soviets had designed a new breed of hard-to-find bug, capable of relaying information from office equipment. The Moscow Embassy had more than ten tons of gear, all of which was immediately suspect. It had to be fixed, and now. Problem one: how do you replace it all? Problem two: how do you get the old stuff back? Problem three: what on earth were they looking for? What they found surprised them! A tale of bureaucracy, secrecy, narrow corridors and IBM Selectrics that weren't quite what they seemed. (SL NSA PDF)
The Art of Letter Writing investigates The New Century Standard Letter-Writer (1900), a collection of example letters for people to use as templates over the course of one's whole life," from A Clerk Apologizing to His Employers, and A Young Lady Desirous of Securing Farm-House Board, to A Gentleman to a Young Lady Friend of His about a Misunderstanding (from Wondermark)
A series of BBC News Magazine articles on the office as workplace: (i) How the office was invented; (ii) The ancient Chinese exam that inspired modern job recruitment (previously); (iii) The invention of the career ladder; (iv) The arrival of women in the office; (v) Do we still need the telephone?; (vi) Are there too many managers?; (vii) The era of the sexually charged office; (viii) The decline of privacy in open-plan offices; (ix) How the computer changed the office forever and (x) Why did offices become like the home?—by columnist Lucy Kellaway. [more inside]
Wired.com takes a look back at these charming machines and visits three Bay Area workshops whose proprietors keep hearse-colored Remingtons and Underwoods from disappearing into the grave. (Typewriters previously)
Antique typewriters. Welcome to the Martin Howard Collection of Early Typewriters. Comprised of typewriters from the very beginning of the typewriter industry (1880s & 1890s), it is the largest of its kind in Canada. The collection contains many rare and historically important typewriters, showing the remarkable diversity and beauty of the world's first typing machines. (Via)
In 1963, in a pawnshop in Knoxville, Tennessee, Cormac McCarthy bought an Olivetti Lettera 32 manual typewriter for $50. After typing 5 million words on it - including all his novels - he replaced it with an identical model purchased by a friend for $20. Last month, the original typewriter was auctioned for $254,000 to benefit the Santa Fe Institute. (previously)
"I have never had an accident where I have pressed a button and accidentally sent seven chapters into cyberspace, never to be seen again. And have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter? It is very secure," says author Frederick Forsyth. In the computer age, people still love typewriters. BBC News Magazine examines why, with some interesting comments after the article. Via.
Why I bought a typewriter on ebay. Nate, a writer, tells why...well, the link is self-explanatory. A follow-up to an earlier post.
One cool thing to have come out of all the typewriter discussion going on these days.
A history of the IBM Typewriter. When in high school (ca. 1993), a room full of these was replaced with a room full of 286s.
The Classic Typewriter Page. A gorgeous site to behold (and informative). Everything and anything you ever wanted to know about the classic typewriter. Before you ask, What's a typewriter?, check out this site.
Typewriter Dependency (common disorder resulting from metaphysical thinking about punctuation) [nyt reg req] "A recent survey of the top 1,000 living English-language authors finds that more than 80 percent own manual typewriters averaging 43 years in age and three broken functions, with a per-unit resale value of $4.75 and slipping. Yet in a questionnaire about their response if brigands should invade their homes and demand either their beat-up old manual typewriters or their spouses on pain of death, a whopping 96 percent wrote ''Spouse.''