Monday, November 11, 2013

RTTA: Oz Typewriter edition

Robert's blog - indisputably the most frequently updated and richest in content in all the typosphere - may be found here: Oz Typewriter. Thanks for taking part, Robert!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

RTTA: I dream lo-tech edition

You all know who Ton is, I'm pretty sure, but if not this is the time to head over to I dream lo-tech and discover all his fantastic typecasts and superb photography, with lots of the items he discusses in this post displayed - particularly Mid-Century Modern furniture and objects. His new Triumph Perfekt - and cursive at that - is a beauty!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Retro Tech Thrift Adventures (RTTA) Q&A Series

A thrift store find from this summer...

Yes, it was a fabulous Brosette... I had one before that I didn't end up keeping either, although I blogged about it here.

While the first Brosette had a serial number in the 38,000s, this one was manufactured a bit later.

I didn't recognize which typewriter it was at first, seeing this case in the thrift store. My first Brosette had had a vinyl case that was terribly battered by the time it reached me, but this was just fantastic.

Gorgeous, isn't it? I don't mind not having kept it, though, we will (knock on wood) be moving in less than two weeks and I am already dreading the typewriter procession up and down stairs. So, one less to worry about is just fine by me.

I was pleasantly surprised not only by how rare of a find it was, but also by the excellent condition the machine was in. So photogenic, too!

Decals intact, too.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Typecast: Planespotting

Typed on Hermes 3000 - epoca typeface

Air France, taxiing before takeoff.

EasyJet, coming in for a landing. There is a wide strip of field between the runway and the fence, and a road right around the perimeter that is regularly patrolled by police. Also, the fence is pretty high and the barbed wire is ... well, somewhat reminiscent of a concentration camp. I do appreciate the security measures, though, as a traveler, and as a tourist/ amateur photographer, it's nothing a good vantage spot and a zoom lens can't overcome.

EasyJet a few seconds later, just about landed.

 British Airways, also coming in for a landing. Love the colors and paint scheme on this one.

Swiss, taxiing before takeoff. I am always so thrilled to see large passenger aircraft in motion - such magnificent feats of engineering. Good thing I don't drive - if I was at the wheel of the black van and saw this plane so close, I would certainly be distracted! Although I bet regular users of that road are used to it :)

And there she goes... off to Zurich?

Taxiing before takeoff - Air France and a smaller plane I couldn't identify take turns on the runway.

There were smaller planes too, but I usually find those less interesting.

Lufthansa, also taxiing before takeoff. I asked J to take a picture of me with it when it came back around the runway (picking up speed) and he said it would be hard. How hard?:

Oh well. Me grinning madly, out of focus, Lufthansa even more out of focus. Hey, close enough!

And then we were off home!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Typecast: Trash to Treasure

Here's what it looks like all opened up - looking on eBay, I see this style is also referred to as an accordion sewing box, which makes sense! Since it was empty when I found it, I am looking forward to filling it up with all the sewing clutter crowding my secretary desk. I hope it will last a good while!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Strange Happenings Afoot, but Typewriter Sightings Abound

It's been an interesting - and not in a good way - week over here at RTG headquarters. As you may have noticed, I have had my own domain,, for more than a year now. Not for any commercial purpose, really; it just seemed easier to type and remember, hosting remained free with Blogger, and, heck, I just liked having my own little .com address. Call me vain. Plus it is really quite inexpensive, if anyone else is interested. (Credit goes to Rob Bowker of Typewriter Heaven for encouraging me to go ahead.)

It's been fun, for the most part - barely perceptible, in fact, which is just how I like it. For a retro tech enthusiast, I like to keep my knowledge of high tech as superficial as possible - solely on a need-to-know basis. I could probably figure out more if I tried, but I have a pile of sewing so high I can barely see my desk. That said, it has been nice to have this little thing chugging along without too much intervention, posting when I am able and having Google index the pages on its search engine so new visitors can land here when they look up one typewriter or the other.

So it went until just about a week ago, when J pulled up my blog and saw that it had disappeared. Vanished! And in its place, was a page from a strange web hosting company that I would later learn was Vietnamese. I had been hacked. At first, I thought this was something to do with not having updated my credit card details in time to pay the yearly renewal fee - it was due in June and I had been rather preoccupied with personal matters around that time, so I had ignored it. I promptly logged in and changed my billing details to current ones, but the problem persisted. I changed my log-in details everywhere I could think of, and as I was not able to figure out how to get the site back, I quickly snapped up the domain, in case .com was lost to me forever. At least I had the presence of mind to realize that the contents of the site were still intact, hosted as they have always been on Blogger.

After some more calm research on the subject, I realized that my DNS settings had been changed by the hacker and figured out how to get in and reset them. I was triumphant the first time I figured this out - until the hacker attacked again. This was followed by a few days of back and forth between the hackers and myself - I would log in to change the DNS, they would get in and switch it back. Sometimes the page displayed the Vietnamese logo, other times something from DreamHost, even a welcome message from Wordpress once. It was infuriating. I spent time on the phone with Google Apps support, and then with GoDaddy, searching for one solution and then another. I changed passwords, only to have the hackers return. I allowed Customer Service to lock my account to all log-ins, including myself, which meant that only a call to their offices from me personally would allow a settings change. The hackers scoffed at this - they still found a way in, changing my page to some gibberish from Dreamhost, a company I had never heard of.

In the meantime, I wanted to have my blog online anyway and so removed the redirect every time I figured that a new hack had taken place. Doing this 2-3 times a day quickly wore off, so I plunked the blog on the .net domain, where it remains now, and placed a holding page on the .com. After my web hosts assured me they were "monitoring the situation" and "looking for solutions", I reached the end of my tether when, after almost 20 hours without a hack and a false sense of security settling in, the hackers came again. Near midnight, on the phone with Customer Service, I accepted their suggestion to sever ties with Google Apps and register the domain entirely on GoDaddy. Doesn't make much of a practical difference to me or to you; I've never been one to tinker anyway. So that was done, my holding page is back up, and I am slowly counting to see if we can reach 72 hours of uninterrupted DNS settings. Fingers crossed.

Ultimately, even if the .com proves stable, I might decide to keep the typewriter blog here (I'm sure the search engines will catch on eventually) and use the other domain for something else. I have been thinking it's high time I blogged properly about my sewing adventures and this could be an opportune moment. I hadn't really wanted to call my sewing blog RTG as well, but I guess I do sew on machines that are just a tad outmoded... ok, enough of boring techy stuff. Back to the retro tech sightings:

How's this apple-green beauty to start off the show? I had never seen this color in person - only online - before stumbling across this in the flea market a couple of weeks ago. Still, at that price, and with a boring pica typeface, it was easy to keep walking. Pretty, though!

The same seller was offering this glossy black Hermes Media...

A deathly dull Brother Deluxe something-or-the-other...

And a cool colorblocked black and white Olivetti Dora (just don't look too closely at the paper supports... yikes.

Yay, group photo! A nice morning of sightings but no absolutely-must-haves.

This mikro Consul had me wondering just what was so mikro about it... it looks regular size to me.

This lovely Olympia SM-9 - which I would have snapped up a couple of years ago but have since lost interest in - had keys that might as well have been super-glued, so fast were they frozen. Old grease, ugh.

This Silver Reed did not inspire much of a reaction besides: "Pretty orange!... uh, AZERTY?"

This sweet little Olympia Splendid 33 begged to be taken home, but didn't give me any compelling reasons. Sorry, kid.

Another group photo - yes, it appears the apple-green Hermes Baby changed owners after this photo was taken. Not much else of note in the group... Hermes 3000s of different generations, one Hermes Standard 8, and this:

A Smith Corona Clipper. I used to have one, and they are lovely machines. This one must have traveled back with someone and not sold here: note the QWERTY keyboard.

What else? Ah, this was sighted in Zurich. Not all that many typewriters to be seen in that town, but just enough to make it worth my while touring the shops, I think.

This was a rather bizarre half sighting: case - check, manual - check, typewriter - ???

Just two days before I came across my prized italic Lettera 22, this one - in pica - turned up at the flea market with a stern warning not to touch. It's also a QWERTY.

Not sure what this is - telefax? - but it was vaguely typewriter-like enough to merit a picture.

I couldn't be bothered to take a closer look at this - Brothers have never been very tempting for me.

The Brockito where I snapped up my italic Lettera also had this gem in stock - a '50s Underwood Universal midsize portable with the charming logo that many typospherians love.

And then there was this Olivetti M80, a Lexikon by some other name, I suppose.

This uninteresting Triumph Junior 12 paled in comparison next to it. Although it now occurs to me - talk about belated - that I should have taken a peek at all their typefaces just in case. Hmm.
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