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Category Archives: Technology

How much does cursive matter anymore?

⬆︎ Spencerian script, 1884. This was the ideal in business correspondence. Source: Wikipedia. The Atlantic has an interesting piece this morning by a former Harvard president: “Gen Z Never Learned to Read Cursive: How will they interpret the past?” The article mentions that learning to write in cursive was dropped from the standard American curriculum […]

The Royal family (of writing instruments)

⬆︎ A Parker Duofold Centenntial fountain pen, first bought in London in 1995, now in my hands Earlier today, Henry, who frequently comments here, sent me a link to a Washington Post story that I had almost missed. It’s “Beyond the keyboard: Fountain pen collectors find beauty in ink.” I was about three weeks ahead […]

Another forever home for another typewriter

I have written here in the past about empathy for mechanical things. The syndrome must surely be related to the feelings — should I call them moral intuitions? — that cause us to adopt homeless cats. The mechanical version is the conviction that beautiful old machines ought to have a home. They ought to be […]

A stupid new book about Apple

Inside an Apple store First of all, I have not read this book, and I’m not going to read it. In fact, it won’t be released until two days from now. But this morning in the New York Times, the book’s author has an utterly stupid little collection of misleading anecdotes under the headline “How […]

Twitter, schmitter. And Musk, schmusk.

A breakdown of Twitter content. Source: Wikipedia. From its beginning, the whole idea of Twitter seemed ridiculous to me. How could 140 characters possibly convey anything useful or meaningful? Surely the contemporary attention span can handle at least 190 characters! And (glory be!) now we’re up to a breathtaking 280 characters, doubling the speed at […]

Oil: Why can’t we ever learn?

The 1935 Mercedes-Benz 770 that belonged to Emperor Hirohito. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Here we are once again in that most familiar of geopolitical pickles. The advocates of progress and democracy still have the oil leash tight around their necks, jerking them around and holding them back. The other end of the leash is held by […]

‘Typewriters are haunted’

Tom Hanks in California Typewriter ⬆︎ Twenty years ago, typewriters were headed toward extinction. No new typewriters of any quality were being made. The surviving typewriters were deteriorating, unused and unloved, and many were being junked. Around 2010, typewriters started making a comeback, particularly among young people who were born after the Golden Age of […]

Math education

A rare desktop scientific calculator (Victor Model 230), circa 1978. It works perfectly, though it resolves to only seven decimal places. If I had children or grandchildren (I don’t), I would take a very keen interest in math education. Things have changed since I was young, and for the better, I think. I was never […]

Bitcoin, schmitcoin

A very small, modest, home-size “mining” rig for bitcoin. Source: Wikimedia Commons. We are surrounded by crazy people and fanatics. Fanaticism, of course, is found in many varieties. Some varieties are much more dangerous than others. Here’s my list of the top three categories of crazy people and fanatics, ordered by the danger they pose […]

Some progress with the old calculator

There are a number of YouTube videos about the restoration of machines like this (a Monroe 8N-213) and comparable machines (such as the Friden STW10). The challenge to getting them fully operational is getting them to multiply and divide, operations that are much more mechanically complicated than addition and subtraction. So far, though, I have […]