Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Retro writing

A recent post in "Musings from an Overworked Translator", Jill Sommer's excellent blog, brought back the old days of mechanical typewriters, ink ribbons and whiteout fluid.

Not enough to push me to dust off my old typewriter, last used to write my thesis, a quarter of a century ago: it is thousands of miles away, back in Italy. (I doubt I could still find ribbons.)

But enough to give another go at Dark Room1, the most minimalist word processor available, and to kit it up with an authentic-looking typewriter font (VT Corona - but there are plenty more on the Web). I even installed a small program that faithfully reproduces the sound of a mechanical typewriter when you bang on your keyboard.

Using a program like Dark Room is not only an exercise in nostalgia. It offers some distinct advantages: without the distraction of spelling checkers and other frills, you can freewrite at speed, leaving corrections and rewrites for later.

1If you use the Mac, you can try WriteRoom, instead


  1. Hi Riccardo, I'm glad my post inspired you. I found the magazine article interesting enough to want to talk about and have enjoyed reading the comments and reminiscing in the comments for that post. I'll have to look into getting a typewriter font. I think the mechanical typewriter noise might become annoying in the long run though :-) It's a fun idea though.

  2. The mechanical typewriter noise does become annoying in a very short time, especially for someone trying to translate on her own computer just a few feet away (my wife).


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