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The Return of Manual Typewriters! Retooling to Avoid Hackers and Spyware.

August 19, 2016       Tech Buzz
Typewriters Are Back!
People hate hacking and lack of privacy
bad enough to  go back to using typewriters

The German government has recently announced that it will be re-equipping some of its agencies which handle sensitive data with analog document managing systems such as typewriters again to avoid spying and theft of sensitive data.  Both the British, and ironically even the Russian government, has announced that some of their own data departments will revert to using typewriters again as the primary means for writing messages and creating documents.  Expect even our own local governments to key in on this return to old hardware in the light of having worktools that can still be useful in spite of blackouts, caused by storms--and to keep sensitive data safe.

Kids are supposedly getting in on going retro tech by buying one for themselves and writing their stuff or work on a portable manual typewriter or settling for those archaic selectric typewriters made famous by IBM of all brands.

In downtown Manila there are at least 2 to 3 local shops that actually sell and recondition the darn things.  If you had from P1500 to P5000 or more, the best investment you might want to plunk all that money down on should not be some two-year-electronic-brick-in-the-making smartphone.  Nope.  Not even a netbook computer or spanking new laptop--both of which often have 5-year lifespans.

You want to buy yourself the coolest typewriter you can afford.  Preferably the steampunk looking Underwood series or if want practical compact portables, get Olympia or Commodore for slightly under P3500 only. 
Among millenial hipsters, lugging along a huge portable vintage typewriter and hanging out in coffee shops with one is the thing to do.  You don't even need a power battery to run one--just  a good stock of ribbons, machine oil and a trip to the repair shop when the keys start to go out of alignment and get stuck on each other. 

Lugging that big bastard of a typewriter also provides you with a nice, and heavy URU Hammer to smash on predators oggling you if they dare do more than oggle.
  A portable typewriter is not considered a deadly weapon--so you can bring one along to double as a medieval self-defense weapon known as the mace.

1930s and 40s typewriters like the Underwood have widely-spaced
keys compared to typewriters from the modern 70s to 90s which
have a more compact overall design and tighter key layouts.

A caveat with using a typewriter--second thoughts on how to write down a sentence or paragraph costs you plenty downtime--and a sheet of paper or sometimes 5, if you don't strike the right keys.  Learning to type fast and accurate is also takes some getting used to.  White-out fluid is an archaic tool once used to paint over typos and type the write words over once the white out dries--and it looks horrible on a clean sheet of paper.  You need to learn how to load a sheet of paper onto the mechanical carriage and align it to slide in properly so your sheet of paper does not pull up slanted.  While typing you need to be conscious of returning the carriage properly once you reach the end because mechanical typewriter do not have wordwrap.  You can adjust spacing between lines just by flicking a small lever. 

No one among millenials would probably understand how much work writing used to be on a typewriter before a decent WYSIWYG wordprocessor was invented--aka Microsoft Word, Notepad or even LibreOffice for us who use open source apps.

The advantage of having a typewriter--you sit down and focus like an expert or it costs you time and lotsa paper.  Your documents are securely written and privacy is guaranteed, no malware, spyware or computer viruses to wipe out a month's work on your novel or short story anthology and even sensitive business documents.  No one to sneak around your computer and steal your data and manuscripts in under 20 seconds just using a USB thumbdrive to copy your life's work.  Sounds good?

Forget about the Internet of Things if you value safekeeping your identity and personal data.  Going analog again looks like its just around the corner with the revival of tape decks and record players.  But if you do get one typewriters now, get the most underpriced retro reconditioned ones before they become too expensive when everyone starts ditching their tablets and laptops for one.


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