The typewriter’s death is imminent, but QWERTY lives on

typebars

Clackety-clackety-clack, clackety-clack, TING!

Depending on your age, the line above may or may not hold some meaning for you. Actually, looking at it again, it may not mean anything to anyone. We’re trying to convey the sound of the good old-fashioned typewriter, with its heavy keys, inky ribbons and typebars that used to jam together if you got carried away and hit the keys too quickly.

Well, for the nostalgic types who enjoyed giving their left arm a workout at the end of every line when they had to shove the carriage back into position, some rather sad news has come through. It looks like the pre-computer typing device is about to be consigned to the same dusty room as the Polaroid camera and the record player. According to a report in Business Standard, Godrej & Boyce, the last typewriter manufacturer in the world, ceased producing the machines in 2009 and now has only 500 machines left in stock. The company, based in Mumbai, will be selling its final batch for 12,000 rupees ($270) each.

“From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating,” said Milind Dukle, the company’s general manager of operations. “All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year.” Happily, it’s not TING! for Dukle’s company quite yet. They’ve now moved on to making something which which they believe is unlikely to be superseded anytime soon by something starkly different: refrigerators.

Of course, for many office workers around the world, due to great technological advancements over the years, the typewriter has been long gone, replaced by flickering screens and keyboards. No longer do we have to deal with the issue of blue ribbons getting tangled up in the works. Blue screens perhaps, but not blue ribbons.

Typewriters are bound to become even more of a collectors item now that production appears to have finally ended. Tom Hanks will probably shed a tear; the movie star is an avid collector. The typewriter’s legacy, however, is secure. The QWERTY-style layout of the letters that we see on every English-language keyboard around the world, a layout created by American Christopher Sholes more than 130 years ago, is here to stay.

Let’s finish on a piece of typewriter trivia which is, in its own way, a rather fitting tribute to the humble typewriter: What’s the longest English word you can make using only the letters found on the top row of a keyboard? Answer: typewriter.


Photo credit: Tom Burke

Cars

Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.
Home Theater

LG price cuts on C8 OLED TVs for Black Friday are more of a sliver than a slash

LG cut prices on its vaunted C8 series OLED TVs, but the deals aren't as good as last year, and therefore are less compelling. Still, if you're in the market for a new TV this year, we still suggest giving these deals a serious look.
Photography

Full frame or 4K for less than $1K? These 4 older cameras still have a lot to offer

Looking for a great camera deal? Sometimes, you might be better off buying one that's a few years -- last generation's professional models may not cost much more than today's entry-level models.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Computing

Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Everything you need to know

The Surface Pro 6 is officially here, though it's not as big of a redesign as you might have hoped. With a new coat of black paint and an 8th-gen processor, this is a small update. If you've been eyeing a Surface Pro, you may want to wait…
Computing

Turn your iPad into a display for your new Mac Mini with this workaround

The folks at Luna Display have figured out a workaround which lets you get the best of both worlds and use Wi-Fi and an adapter in order to turn your iPad into a display for the 2018 Mac Mini.
Computing

Latest SMS breach could allow hackers access to your online accounts

A new security breach that exposed more than 26 million text messages could be a huge nightmare for users relying on two-factor authentication. Many of the SMS on the database contained security codes and account reset links.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mail client goes freemium with the introduction of ads

Microsoft Windows Insiders are finding a nasty surprise inside the Mail app on the latest Windows 10 preview build in the form of banner ads. These ads will appear in the Mail app regardless of the webmail service you use.
Computing

All the best Apple MacBook deals for Black Friday 2018

Shoppers looking for a new Apple laptop could find huge savings on a new MacBook come Black Friday. Retailers are offering discounts as much as $650 on select MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models this holiday season.
Computing

Apple discontinues AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule as it exits Wi-Fi router business

Apple is now officially no longer in the router business. The company had already stopped selling the AirPort Express, and now its retail stores and websites have stopped offering the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Computing

PDF to JPG conversion is quick and easy using these simple methods

Converting file formats can be an absolute pain, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide on how to convert a PDF to JPG, no matter which operating system you're running.