16 October 2010

[tech] USB Typewriter - For That "Max Headroom" Look In Your Home Office

2520.You may or may not remember that wonderful series ABC TV imported back in the 80s, but even if you didn't, you certainly sense the iconic value of the name Max Headroom.

The series depicted a dystopian future in which TV networks ruled the world as an oligarchy, so there were heroes who were occasionally villains, villains who were occasionally heroes, and a world in which this all happened which sometimes didn't notice much.

To achieve the look of a "used, spit-out" future which was still very technologically advanced, sets used a lot of retro technology. Dramas played out on computer screens which were very technologically sexy (at least as we thought in the mid-80s) which seemed to be driven but old-fashioned typewriters and had an overall look which was very grimy and almost proto-steampunk.

Credit Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) for injecting this one into a couple hundred thousand Twitter timelines (including mine), and they're probably getting hammered right now by curiosity-seekers, but there's a story on Etsy - USBTypewriter - that can give you that bizarre hybrid Max Headroom-Network 23 look to your hardware by providing you with a real mechanical typewriter that's been modded so that a USB plug will turn it into your actual computer keyboard. All input is provided for, F-keys apparently enabled through a toggle, and the enter/return key is actuated by ... what else ... returning the typewriter's carriage.

You can not only use this as a computer keyboard, but also - quaintly - the typewriters still type on old-fashioned paper.

This is accomplished through a sensor board and a small circuit board - which you can actually buy yourself so you can DIY it, which makes sense for those of us on a budget. Full mods from the shop can be quite expensive, but you just can't pick up these old typewriters for a couple of bucks at the Goodwill like you used to be able to. And, of course, there's the refurb ...

Anyway, true old-fashioned keyboards for your computer. Go Here:
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