Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

The New York Times is testing out the idea of pumping out audio of typewriters in the newsroom to help keep its journalists on pace with their deadlines.

From the Independent:

To the surprise of Times journalists, a tall speaker on a stand has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press. 
But not everyone is convinced that current Times' journalists will be thrilled with the throwback and nostalgia. Former Times writer George Brock says: 
“Typewriters disappeared from newsrooms in the late 1980s. There will be very few people there who remember the noise of massed bands of typewriters in the newsroom,” he said. “They will have to find out whether a crescendo of noise will make reporters work better or faster.”

Either way, the trial seems harmless enough, so it's worth a shot.

The introduction of the typewriter speaker was “a playful idea”, said Lucia Adams, deputy head of digital for The Times and Sunday Times. “Technology has always been an important part of what The Times has done and the typewriter might be an old technology but it’s still a technology.” 
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Most modern keyboards use the "qwerty" layout. This name comes from the first five letters on the top row. The qwerty layout was designed for manual typewriters initially by Christopher Sholes in 1872. He purposely selected a physical layout that was difficult to type, so that typing speeds would be reduced! This was needed to reduce the jamming of "hammers" used to create individual letters on manual typewriters. The QWERTY layout was never changed when computers started hitting the market. Secretaries and people using typewriters were used to the old layout and even when other, more efficient layouts, have been proven effective, the old layout has remained with us, and will for many years.

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The first "Sholes & Glidden Typewriter" (shown above) was offered for sale in 1874 but was not an instant success. A few years later, improvements made by Remington engineers gave the typewriter machine its market appeal and sales skyrocketed.

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Mark Twain enjoyed and made use of new inventions.  He was the first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to his publisher, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

(At the time the operator was called the typewriter and the unit was called a typewriting machine.)

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The word TYPEWRITER can be typed entirely using the top row of keys. It has been speculated that this may have been a factor in the choice of keys for ease of demonstration.

The longest common word using just your left hand is STEWARDESSES.

The longest common word using just your right hand is LOLLIPOP.

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