Chris Aldrich Avatar
Chris Aldrich
Biomedical Engineer with interests in: education, information theory, complexity, math, journalism, mnemotechny, food, indieweb, economics, history, anthropology, note taking ✪ http://stream.boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@JohnBrady Nabokov may well have done at some point, but the fact that he wrote a lot of his work in three languages, sometimes simultaneously would have made it harder, especially since one was Russian.

The primary portion of his process involved researching, writing, and outlining much of his work on index cards which he did almost everywhere. Presumably after this, he dictated his typescripts to Vera. Carl Mydans documented some of his index card work in photos for LIFE Magazine. He talked about some of his process in a '67 interview in The Paris Review.

That review quote is priceless...

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Typed white index card that reads: I've been hunting for a Smith-Corona Silent for my collection for several months. I've come pretty close on several auctions recently, but I've been losing out. Tonight the dry spell has ended and I've purchased an early 50s model in brown with green keys. It looks to be in about as good a condition as any I've seen in months. Even better, I got it for less than half of the average of $55 or more than I've been seeing them go for. Patience really does pay off. The other bonus is that it's an elite machine which I haven't been seeing many of lately.

More details when it arrives…

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@JohnBrady I think this may, in part, have been the reason why Richard Polt used 'typers' in the URL for his page for Writers and Their Typewriters. According to it, Bukowski used several including the Royal HH, Underwood Standard, Underwood portable (ca. 1940s), Olympia SG1, and an IBM Personal Selectric. See also Bukowski's poem "IBM Selectric".

Reminds me that now we need a photo of @patrickrhone with his typewriter to add to that list...

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@JohnBrady That's awesome. Is there anything left of it now? A museum perhaps? I'm planning a trip to New England to see some parts of Remington's old manufacturing infrastructure soon. Should I swing through Groton too?

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@patrickrhone Those mid-'50s Royals were part of what I call "peak manual typewriter". They will last for centuries.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@patrickrhone Which one? The '49 Henry Dreyfuss with tombstone keys in the front or the rounder green keyed '55 in the second row?

I'm holding my breath to find a '48 version with the grey center stripe in an elite typeface. Our fellow QDL typists include the likes Anne Sexton, Clifford Odets, Stephen King, Edward R. Murrow, Marlon Brando, Virginia Cowles, Theodore Sturgeon, S.J. Perelman, David Niven, and Claire Chennault.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@dgreene196 If it's card catalogs you're into, I've got a collection of those too! 🗃️

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

A Small Brother Charger 11 Repair Surgery Wooden table with a blue towel on top of a portion. On top of that is the internal frame and components of a typewriter with the hood, bottom, and side piece of the machine sitting behind it. Strewn around it are a variety of screwdrivers and small tools as well as a can of compressed air. boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@onewildcrow Typing everything in lower case seems so e. e. cummings—a '40s Smith-Corona Clipper fan, btw—like the black 1949 machine in in the front left of the photo.

I've fixed at least two different shift issues on these machines using videos on YouTube and either a screwdriver or a pair of pliers. If you can describe what your shift issue is, maybe we can track down a quick-and-dirty solution for you? My Brother Charger 11 (blue machine on the right in the last row) is fairly similar to the 250 and I need to pull it apart to fix a few things myself, so if looking at the shift set up on a working model is useful, I'm happy to help.

I think your lower case solution is so much more romantic though... Don't let me talk you into anything.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Two rows of typewriters lined up on a wooden table. From front to back, left to right are a curvy black '48 Smith-Corona Clipper with glass keys, a '49 Grey boxy Royal Quiet De Luxe with tombstone glass keys, a dirty '55 Royal Quiet De Luxe with green keys, a gray '57 Remington Rand Quiet-Riter with green keys, a bright 1960s teal Remington Streamliner, a blue and cream colored late 60s Smith-Corona Galaxie Deluxe, a green early 70s Smith-Corona Classic 12, and a low slung 70s blue metal Brother Correction 11.

A photo of the burgeoning typewriter collection so far.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

I’ve seen many references comparing the use of typewriters in an overstimulating technology space to the slow food movement. Since one regularly pairs wine with their meals, it only seems right to extend the typewriter analogy to liquor as well. Today, I’m pairing this smooth 10 year single malt Glenmorang... boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Listened to The Informed Life: Episode 139 Chris Aldrich on Cybernetic Communications by Jorge Arango from The Informed Life Chris Aldrich has the most multi-disciplinary resume I’ve ever seen, with a background that includes biomedics, electrical engineering, entertainment, genetics, theoretical mathematics, and more. Chris describes himself as a modern-day cybernetician, and in this conversation we discuss cybernetics and communications, differences between oral and literary cultures, and indigenous traditions and mnemonics, among many other things. If possible, click to play, otherwise your bro... boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Angle down on a 1960s 20 gauge steel double pedestal tanker desk in gray with blue drawers. On the center of the desk is an open book on a book rest behind which sits a desktop filing cabinet with 5 thin drawers for paper, a sock monkey, a line of papers and books in a row of Princeton files, a two drawer card index as well as three other smaller desktop card indexes. On top of the two drawer index is a gray 1957 Remington Quiet-Riter typewriter with green keys and on top of a writing drawer pulled out of the left side of the desk sits a gray 1949 Royal Quiet De Luxe with black glass keys.

Today’s reading and writing desk. [1][2][3][4][5]

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Typewriter Backing Sheets for Index Cards Ive finally spent a minute andmade a manilla backing sheet for my index card use with typewriters. It should help in properly formatting cards, but will also help a lot with respect to being able to use more of the cards as well as interacting with the paper bail on cards moreefficiently. The set up should allow me to insert two index cards at a time which will also help with typing efficiency at the same time. I've cut small angled frame edges into the card stock into which I can then insert the index cards. I'm also hoping this will cut down a bit on typewriter noise with cards as the index cards will now Typewritten index card in elite type with black ink (typos fixed for readability) which reads:

I've finally spent a minute and made a manilla backing sheet for my index card use with typewriters. It should help in properly formatting cards, but will also help a lot with respect to being able to use more of the cards as well as interacting with the paper bail on cards more efficiently. 

The set up should allow me to insert two index cards at a time which will also help with typing efficiency at the same time. I've cut small angled frame edges into the card stock into which I can then insert the index cards. I'm also hoping this will cut down a bit on typewriter noise with cards as the index cards will now boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@odd It is pretty interesting how true that statement has been over the years. I wonder if the same holds for the cost of some of the old database technology from Gaylord Bros. or Steelcase? I'll have to do some digging...

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Digging into some typewriter pricing history, I found a copy of the 1949 Sears Spring/Summer Catalog, which lists a version of my 1949 Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter (Sears SKU: 3 NM 4584T with Pica Type) for $95.08 on page 285. Converting 1949 dollars to 2024 using an inflation calculator indicates this... boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

A blue library book charge card with space for the book title at the top and fields for date and issued to below. Typewritten, it reads: Polt, Richard The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century Countryman Press, Woodstock, VT,, 2015 Under DATE column it reads: 2024-04-29 Under ISSUED TO column it reads Intro, ch1, ch2 At the bottom in small blue type original to the card is the ordering information: BRO DART CAT. No. 23-115 PRINTED IN USA

Some how it felt sacrilegious to post it to Goodreads.com and not to type my status update for Richard Polt’s poetic paean to typewriters.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@adders Did you have lots of it around the house the way I had a variety of roller bearings (my father's work) to play with? I wish I had kept more of the old Bakelite items I had as a kid. Alas...

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@bradenslen Bakelite for the win. Universal ribbons are certainly nicer to use. One of my primary strikes against Remington is the time it takes to spool ribbon onto those cores...

I just came across One Typed Page today. I'm curious if you've submitted there before?

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Acquisition: 1949 Royal Quiet De Luxe Portable Typewriter Front view down onto a gray crinkle painted Royal Quiet De Luxe with black glass keys and a wide black space bar which overlays the metal frame of the front of the machine. The typewriter sits on a polished wooden table which provides a stark natural contrast to the industrial nature of the typewriter's esthetic.Serial number A-1927573 stamped into black metal recessed into the gray frame of the typewriter. boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Tortured poets Dylan Thomas and Patti Smith both used typewriters. I still use several too.

Typed white index card that reads: "You left your typewriter at my Apartment straight from the tortured poets department I think some things I never say Like, "Who uses typewriters anyway? ... I laughed in your face and said 'You're not Dylan Thomas, I'm not Patti Smith." --Taylor Swift, The Tortured Poets Department Dylan Thomas used an Imperial Good Companion. Patti Smith used a late 60s/early 70s Smith-Corona portable. --Chris Aldrich, tortured poetTyped white index card that reads: "You left your typewriter at my Apartment // straight from the tortured poets department // I think some things I never say // Like, "Who uses typewriters anyway? 
... // I laughed in your face and said, // You're not Dylan Thomas, I'm not Patti Smith." //--Taylor Swift, The Tortured Poets Department 
Dylan Thomas used an Imperial Good Companion. // Patti Smith used a late 60s/early 70s Smith-Corona portable. // --Chris Aldrich, tortured poet
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@dshanske I used to go through socks like water. During the pandemic I switched to Darn Tough. It's been my mission to try to return a pair under their lifetime warranty. That has been an abject failure, but I have had happy feet. They do have larger sizes which would hopefully accommodate you and your Disney hiking needs.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Knowledge management practices on romantic display in George Eliot’s Middlemarch boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Shadow of a colander held up in the sunshine at the peak of the eclipse. The multi-pinhole camera shows a flower pattern of sun circles with a small bite taken out of each of them by the occlusion of the light by the moon all focused onto a concrete background.

I saw hundreds of images of the eclipse today, but none remotely similar to mine. While thinking back on how I imaged the eclipse with my “pinhole colander camera”, I realize that so much of my life is informed not only by science, but the science of cooking.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

If you’re an analog zettelkasten fan, I just bought a few bricks of 500 index cards for $6.08 each at my local Amazon Fresh. Most brands list for $12-$16 for this many; even Amazon.com is currently listing them for $10.50. Sadly it doesn’t match my all-time-best of $2.06. What’s your best? 🗃️📝

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@eumrz I'd say it's typecasting-adjacent. 🤣

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@chrisheck Three of the drawers are stacked full of index cards already and lots of the others have a variety of other stationery and office supplies (staplers, scissors, my pen collection, washi, typewriter ribbon, etc.) Only 1/2 a drawer dedicated to photos and 1/2 a drawer to holiday cards (honestly a 5x8 or 6 x 9 index cabinet would be better for larger gift card filing.) Earlier this morning I calculated that if it were fully loaded just with index cards the entire thing would weigh almost 500 pounds.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

I’d mentioned that my Steelcase card index came without the traditional card stops/follower blocks at the back of the drawers. Needing a solution for this, I’ve discovered that my local Daiso sells small, simple bookends for $1.75 for a pair and they’re the perfect size (7 x 8.9 x 9.2 cm) for the drawers. ... boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@chrisheck Wait are you saying there was an option besides buying an 1/8th of a ton custom filing cabinet for archiving cards? 🗄️🗃️😊

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@brian_wolf This is the way.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@bryan I inherited the family comal, but still prefer a bit of char on mine. I have a butane torch for custom smoked cocktails, an occasional crème brûlée, and the regular scorching of flour tortillas.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@aa A6 to have just a little bit more real estate than pocket, but pre-supposing the purpose behind your question, I also sometimes carry pocket notebooks which would also easily fit into a leather A6 billfold-like cover. 📓😁

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@ayjay Thank you for your present for us.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@jthingelstad Huzzah! 🎉Can't wait to see this incarnation of the carnival...

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@eumrz This is something I appreciate about writing by means of typewriter... **goes back to typing**

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@bradenslen I'm sure someone somewhere does, but they've broadly disappeared for quality reasons. @odd You're close with the stencil portion. One used the typewriter stencil setting (the center "white" between the typical black/red ribbon selector) to create a stencil which was then put on the duplicator to make copies—usually around 30-40 after which the copies became progressively lighter and less legible. It was the duplicator chemicals that had that distinctive smell, so associating stencils with it is very natural. The last time I used one was in the late 90's to make a small print run zine on a machine I "borrowed" time on at a church that no longer used theirs.

Purple wasn't a horrible stretch (FJA products has a variety of colors and combinations), but I think I'm going to have to go full DIY to make the teal ribbon I'd like to have. Ribbons unlimited offers un-inked ribbon in cotton, nylon, and silk that you can self-ink. I'm thinking that refill stamp ink, potentially mixed with some glycerin to keep the ribbon from drying out too quickly may do the trick.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@odd A spirit duplicator (ditto machine) or a mimeograph are next on my list of potential acquisitions. So far, all of my typewriters, save one, have stencil settings though.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@bradenslen Definitely an interesting format. From the looks of the typefaces, he's using an older manual model and she's using an electric.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Fontal view of a mint blue Remington Streamliner sitting on a glass table top.

My new Remington Streamliner is now finally in solid fighting shape. Type on!

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

@bradenslen The typewriter acquisition spree comes to a glorious close with a mint blue Remington Streamliner ultra-portible:
Fontal view of a mint blue Remington Streamliner sitting on a glass table top.

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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Acquisition: Remington Streamliner 196X Portable Typewriter in Metallic Mint Blue Fontal view of a mint blue Remington Streamliner sitting on a glass table top. boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Here’s a version of the timeline of some of the intellectual history I presented today at the PKM Summit in Utrecht. I’m happy to answer any questions, or if you’re impatient, you can also search my online digital repository of notes for any of the people or topics mentioned. It covers variations of perso... boffosocko.com
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Chris Aldrich
@chrisaldrich

Faded green cover of a book entitled The Card System at the Office by J. Kaiser.

This book from 1908 by J. Kaiser seems like a fantastic instruction manual for how to use Obsidian, Logseq, Notion, Evernote, OneNote, and most other note taking tools for just about any application.