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Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Comeback Kid

My father and I had this debate: Would anyone be interested in a period film version of Batman and the Justice League? I stood (and stand still) firmly on the side that says. 

My reasons for why are: the rise in fascination (and the price in resale) of typewriters, rotary phones, vintage glasses and vintage anything; Kickstarters like the qwerkywriter; the popularity of Mad Men, Gangster Squad, Public Enemies, Boardwalk Empire, and Gotham--all of which borrow an analog aesthetic; hipsters; and now the Hemingwrite.
According to its press kit, the Hemingwrite will be everything that I had ever wanted in a word processor. As a prototype, the Hemingwrite sports a Macish aluminium body, cloud connectivity, mechanical keyboard switches, and a 1 million page memory. Also, it kind looks like a typewriter, which is perfectly fitting for it. It's named after one of the most famous typewriter promoters of all time. All it needs is a place to put in the paper and laser print the text as I type, and it will truly be a machine out of my dreams.

And it's about time.

It's been too long since the dedicated word processor was sold to potential writers and not to public schools. For Christmas last year, my fiance bought an Alphasmart NEO for me from an elementary school. For those that don't know, the Alphasmarts were marketed for students with special needs to aid in their education. They are as simple as they come: instant "on," automatic save, no internet, and universal computer connectivity.

Neo Direct, the maker of Alphsmart, stopped making the Neo and Neo2 (the last incarnations of the Alphasmart) in 2013, as their sales were in decline as laptops became cheaper and more powerful. Yet there remains a fierce loyalty to the dedicated word processor. A new version of the Neo is in the works from called the Forte/Fusion. There are journalists and novelists that adore the Alphasmart models still out there - even if they are ugly as sin.

Will there be some kind of renaissance for the word processor, launching it back into the lime light with a hip, new design that strikes the right chord with the nostalgic millennial generation? Who knows. But I hope it does. There was once a time when everyone thought that the tablet was a bad idea. Costs as much as a computer but no keyboard. Now the world practically runs on the silly things. Perhaps one day, seeing a college student on what looks like a steam punk keyboard will be as natural as swiping on the iPhone.

That's all from Elliott at the Kitchen Table, getting ready for NanoWriMo.