Thursday, December 27, 2018

Stranger Than Fiction?

Common Grounds Coffee Shop in Payson, AZ

Post-Script: We finally had Internet service restored before dark. Once returning from the cigar store, I spent the afternoon and into the early evening typing up a third draft of my story, in the final formatting required (4"x7" text area), using the Facit 1620. Being as it's a pica typeface, those lines were pretty short, only 40 characters wide, which meant either a lot of empty space on the right side of each line, or excessive hyphens to break up longer words. I chose mainly to leave spaces, but also changed some of the wording from the 2nd draft, so as to fit words more exactly on each line.

To make the process a bit easier while still adhering to the required borders, I drew up a 4"x7" rectangle in bold ink, centered on my backing sheet of paper, to use as a typing guide. It was easy enough to see through my typing paper, which wasn't all that heavy in weight, making the typing process manageable. I'd seriously recommend this method to anyone working on their story for Cold Hard Type.

I also thought about reverting to an elite font machine, but I do like the clearer imprint of pica. My wife reminded me that I'd have the same problem of breaking up words at the right margin, regardless of typeface size.

This exercise also reminded me how nice it is to read a book with justified text. Perhaps someone out there is writing their story on an IBM Wheelwriter 2000?

Despite the challenge of fitting neat, readable type within such narrow confines, while keeping one's story intact, I do understand the needs of the printing process, since the pages need to appear uniform once in book form.

And now it's snowing outside, with a promised blizzard hitting the area. I guess I'll stay indoors and do more typing. Hopefully the Internet stays up.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Cold Hard Typing




I've been enjoying this collection of jazz tapes. The Panasonic player is monaural, but has a pretty good tonal range. It's especially handy sitting table side; next to my writing area, where I can stop it easily enough before leaving the room. My Sanyo cassette deck with the Lafayette receiver and Polk speakers are in the garage, not where I want to sit while writing in the wintertime. The garage is also too cold for the Sanyo's health, which I should bring inside the warmer house during the winter months. The garage gets 45f in the winter, not too bad, but enough to cause the old deck some grief. That garage stereo system was intended to be there for the warmer months, and I don't really want a loud system in my office, since it adjoins the bedrooms and I have a tendency to be up late at nights on my off days. So the little Panasonic player is about ideal for my office cassette music needs.

About that top photo, you can see in the upper left corner a Japanese soroban abacus, another addition to my collection. I need to make a video about it soon. Maybe also review my entire collection.

Regarding Richard Polt's Cold Hard Type project, see this link.

If you're interested in my collection of Loser's Blend short stories, see this link.

Here's the website for Rust is Gold Coffee Shop, here in ABQ.

More about my coffee shop typing and the Cold Hard Type project in this video:

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Family Reunion

Joe’s Collection

Post-Script: This was fun. Not just trying to make a self-portrait, but more so the gathering of the typing clan. Do typewriters travel in clans, flocks or gaggles? Hmm. Bunches? Troves? That's more alliterative. Yes, a trove of typers. So be it then. As for the portraits, I ended up with these two:


Also captured some nice "B-roll" footage of the trove.

Typecast on Adobe Rose, the Royal QDL, onto the backside of the recently acquired 4-3/8" wide thermal paper. About perfect width for blogging with elite-sized font.

Here's the video about this shoot:

Today I spent hours making test exposures with my various video cameras, trying out various settings, then uploading the footage repeatedly to my computer and viewing full-screen on my monitor. I'm trying to optimize my video quality. I keep wanting to use the little Canon Vixia 800 camcorder, as I like the form factor and it has good image stabilization. But the video quality just doesn't keep up. Some of the footage in yesterday's video was shot with the Canon and I wished I'd used one of the Lumix cameras instead.

The el cheapo "Ape Man" Go Pro knockoff camera is really small, but has a fish-eye field of view and rather cruddy image quality. I wish someone like Go Pro made one with a flip-up screen and external mic input for vlogging. And better image quality, like the Sony RX0.

The older Panasonic GH-3 has the best 1080P files of the four cameras, but it doesn't have as good of autofocus or dynamic range. The even older G5 has the best colors on its LCD screen but the results don't hold up once imported to the computer. The newer G7 has the best dynamic range and auto focus but the colors tend to be a bit orange, and its 1080P isn't as good as the GH3. But it also has cropped 4K, so that's what it's primary use is for.

As for lenses, the 14-42 kit lens has optical image stabilization but its F/3.5 maximum aperture is a bit slow for dim lighting; whereas the 14/2.5 is faster in low light but lacks OIS. I probably need to bite the bullet and fork over some big bucks for a constant aperture stabilized f/2.5 pro lens. The OIS isn't important for stationary shooting in my office studio, but for moving-around scenes, like this typewriter shoot, I really need better stabilization while maintaining a fast aperture. I don't think Santa will be dropping one down the chimney any time soon, however. Plus, our gas stoves' chimneys are rather narrow. Santa's a big boy, last time I checked.

Oh, well. As George Carlin once said, "you can't have everything - where would you put it?" Probably next to all the typewriters.

Now I have to work on Christmas cards. Yes, I'm running late again. I want to type up some letters to go along with them. Wish me luck.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

How You Doing Now?


Post-Script: I haven't thought much about how to "archive" these typings in my 3-ring binders until now. The width of the paper is too narrow to span two holes of a binder punch. I think I'll just cut some strips of thicker 11" tall paper, maybe several inches wide, then 3-hole punch that strip and tape the top of the thermal paper to the strip, sideways, and fanfold the thermal paper to fit inside the binder.

I use the term "archive" in quotes because of course thermal paper printing isn't archival. But if stored in a cool climate, it can last for years. My expected usage of this kind of printing is first-draft, to later be edited and worked into some more permanent medium; or journal entries; or just idle thoughts or notes that don't deserve permanence. The stuff that's important can of course be scanned into PDFs and archived digitally. And everything I put on this blog, image-wise, is also on Flickr - but we'll just ignore the question of how permanent online media corporations are in this era. I've a paid membership to Flickr, so all my images are, thus far, preserved from whatever upheaval is currently underway, as one company gets bought out by another. As long as I continue to pay my annual fee, that is.

I know some people have advised me to just host my own server and store my own images that way. But however you spin it, you've gotta pay somebody for some kind of service. The people who are currently complaining about the changes at Flickr mostly have been riding for free. You don't get something for nothing.

Okay, I've also got a video up today for The Tape Project series, comparing two "shoe box"-sized compact cassette recorders, a Radio Shack against a Panasonic. I expected the Panasonic to be the clear winner, but some surprises were found.

This week I also made a more permanent intro clip for my videos, that's in 4K, which in iMovie causes the rest of the video to be rendered also in 4K, even if the rest of the clips are only 1080P; which in turn improves playback quality once uploaded to You Tube. I also made an intro clip for the Tape Project.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Thermal Typing at Rust is Gold

Rust is Gold
Thermal Typing

Post-Script: Ted Munk's thermal paper roll holder was much more pragmatic than mine. As is usual for these kinds of projects, I rummage through a bin in my work shop for just the right bits. Usually they aren't ideal, but I figure a way to make them work. In the case of this project, it took several iterations to get a simple, workable holder system that easily breaks down flat enough to fit inside the front pouch of the Brother EP-20 carrying case, along with a roll of thermal fax paper.

When it comes time to cut or sand wood, I like to open the garage door and air out all that sawdust. But cold weather kept me from doing so, and now I have a cleanup job to do when (or if) it does warm up sufficiently.

Here are the components to my paper roll holder, disassembled:


To assemble, first one end of the brass rod is inserted into one of the side brackets:


Then the paper roll is slipped onto the rod:


Then the other bracket is installed:


There's enough clearance for the bottom of a full roll not to drag on the table:


The bracket has a low profile and sits conveniently just behind the machine. In practice it helps to pull out a "service loop" of paper and drape it behind the bracket, so the paper has enough slack to easily feed into the machine.


I thought the experience of writing using this system was actually rather good; better I think than using a manual typewriter in public, which for me is fraught with constant worry about what other people think about the noise. Definitely a usable writing system, and easy to tote around.

Here's a video about today's venture:

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