The Typewriter Project – The End

dsc00238I was working on my typewriter project today and had finally removed all the parts needed so that what I basicaly had was an empty frame.

One of the beams wennt into the area where the motherboard would be located and needed to be removed. This was held in place by a number of pegs. Using a hammer and an awl/center punch, I began tapping the pegs to push them out. As they wouldn’t move, I used a little more force.

And that’s when the frame broke. Both front and back, so it was now completely in two pieces. As it is made out of cast iron, the chances of getting it repaired and still look would cost many times more than I paid for the actual typewriter (which was 80 SEK).

dsc00239

Economically, it’s no biggie. It’s just the time I’ve spent on it that feels a bit sour. It took over 10 hours to get it stripped down to the state it was in before it broke.

To commemorate the moment, I took some pictures of just the screws that I removed from the typewriter when pulling it apart. Note there were more screws than this on the typewriter, including tiny calibration screws for each and every key. These are just the ones I unscrewed.

So now what?

There are a few options. Either I find another typewriter with a more suitable frame. Or I use a NES casing (I have two in storage for such a purpose). Or I build a custom case. Or I find something else to build my computer into.

Let’s see what comes my way.

What should you do when people you don’t know are crying?

Two times in two days I’ve seen people I don’t know crying in public.

Yesterday on the subway station on my way to work, a woman in her forties were crying. I wanted to do something, say something comforting but I didn’t know what. I didn’t know if she would have wanted me to.

Just now on the commuter train, on the way back home from a party, a younger woman around 20-25 were sitting on the row across me. Suddenly she got an SMS, and she started crying uncontrollably. As the tears started to flow, she turned away to hide her face, sobbing loudly.  Again, I wanted to do something but didn’t know what. As this was the last train for the night and the train was almost at my station, I felt I didn’t have time to talk to her. As I passed her on the way to the door, I gently stroked her back in a comforting gesture. I don’t know if  it had any meaning for her, but I simply couldn’t just pass her without doing something – especially since she and I were practically alone in the train compartment. Perhaps I should have stayed on the train, trying to talk to her and then grab a cab to get home – to have someone to talk to could be worth so much more than the money I would have spent. Perhaps she just wanted to be alone, whatever message her phone brought her needed solitude to digest.

What should you do in a situation like that? When you have no idea why the person in question is crying and don’t know if they want to talk to a complete stranger in a situation like that. It could be that a friendly hand means the world to them, but it might as well make things worse, putting them in an even more uneasy situation.

I hope both of them will be alright.

The Typewriter Project

Last weekend I was down to my parent’s place outside Ulricehamn, and on Saturday we went to a huge second hand store/flee market.

There were a lot of things I wanted to buy but unfortunately I don’t have enough space in the apartment. These included a wonderful piano with a horizontaly placed frame (like a half-grand piano), an old Akai reel-to-reel tape recorder, a bureau with a built in radio and 78-rpm record player and lots of other stuff that i really don’t need but would just like to have.

What I did buy was a typewriter.

It’s an old Halda-Norden N.r 3 from 1931 in decent condition.

So what should I do with it? Well, my main plan is to rebuild it into a computer. Not that I need one, but it would be both fun and comfortable to have a dedicated HTPC/web/file server hidden in plain sight. Since Windows (probably XP) and Matroska with at least 720p (max resolution on my projector) is required, I’m thinking of either using an Intel DG45FC motherboard with a decent Core2Duo or P4 processor, something based on the Nvidia Ion platform (when available) or some mini-ITX solution based on Intel’s upcoming Atom Z500 processor. Any other ideas for a small, energy efficient and silent (preferably completely passively cooled) system are most welcome.

If possible, I would like a dual Raid 1 storage solution, probably using something from Western Digital’s Caviar Green series.

Anyway, there will be plenty of time for that later (like when I am trying to sleep). I can’t afford anything yet anyway, since in the coming month I will be going to both Iceland and Barcelona, followed by another tattoo session. But by summer I should have accumulated enough money to spend on this project.

Being as I am, I couldn’t resist to start pulling it apart, though. The mechanism was more complicated than I had expected, with a lot of little springs, bracers, levers and cogs.
Next project is to find a small enough keyboard (26,3 cm wide would be ideal) to use as a base. Original (or rather original-looking) keys will be used as far as possible, but it may also be completely keyboardless, keeping the original (non-functional) one if space allows.

Enough words. Time for pictures.

Movie mini review: Watchmen

Earlier today I finished reading the last issue of Watchmen. This is the second round I do so, and it makes so much more sense now. Not that it didn’t the first time, it’s just that it is filled with such nuances and hidden clues that you could probably read it five times and still get new aha!-experiences.

This evening I watched the movie. I’ll try to keep the review spoiler-free and mainly focus of what isn’t in the movie instead of what is.

What I disliked:

  • I found that Carla Gugino was completely wrong casted as Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre (I), at least when older. She didn’t look like a 67-year old, but just like a 35-year old with bad makeup. And I missed the hair.
  • Matthew Goode was also bad as Adrian Veidt for two reasons. First, he is way to young. In the comics, Adrian appears to be in his late fourties. Matthew Good is born in 1978 and has yet to turn 31. Second, he is too thin and wimpy, not at all the build or features of his drawn counterpart. The gay flirting for the character was a bit too much as well.
  • The ending. Even though similar results was achieved the way it was done, it was not to my liking. I miss the squid! I disliked Dan’s behavior after that, which is the complete opposite of that in the original.
  • The added dialogue of Dr. Manhattan. There is so much he says that is simply fantastic in the comics. They don’t keep it in the movie, but instead add other things that to me seemed out of place.

I can understand why they had to shorten the story. The original graphic novel is 12 numbers filled with graphics and text, and to have all that in the movie would add another few hours. Still, I hope for an extended version that spans over 4 hours. That would be enough time to explain why Laurie moves in with Dan (aside from what is shown in the movie), the Island, a lot more from what Manhattan is trying to show on Mars (along with a rough grasp of his understanding of time), the significance of the watch, an explanation of the Keene act, Rorcshach’s mask, coffee and music on archie, the newsstand, the open dome with the butterfly, Ozymandias history and a full explanation of his behavior.

What I liked:

  • Uncensored. They didn’t seem to skip of the violence or the nudity shown in the graphic novel. And they not only showed Dr. Manhattan’s junk – they made it about twice the size of that in the comics (which was a bit disturbing). But what can you expect from the man who’s last project was 300? 😉
  • The casting for Rorschach, Comedian and Nite Owl II. Spot on. Dr. Manhattan is a bit on the stiff side (looks animated/dubbed when he speaks), but I liked his gentle voice.
  • Footage was good and the effects were nice, as was the soundtrack.

Final thoughts:

As usual when I look forward to a movie that I have earlier read in comic or book form, I tend to get my hopes up. I expect that the movie version should be at least as good as the original, and hope that all my favorite scenes will be there, shot in the same way as I’ve imagined them when I read the original. When I then see the movie, I am a bit dissappointed even though the movie might actually be good. It’s just that the comic/book is so much better.
This happened with Watchmen. As it happened with The Dark Knight, Let the right one in, Spider-Man 3, Alien Vs. Predator and many more.

Should you read the graphic novel before watching Watchmen?
I’m not sure. You will probably understand a whole lot more of the movie if you do, but it won’t nessecarily make you enjoy the movie more – the opposite is quite possible.

In what order I cannot say, but you should definitely read the graphic novel – at least twice.