monday search term safari XLII.

Today’s MSTS is the “Writing and its Implements” edition.

keyboard “feels like” typewriter

The only keyboard that comes close to feeling like a typewriter is the IBM Model M.  It has buckling springs under each key that make a lovely racket as you type.  The engineers at IBM designed it to emulate the feel of an IBM Selectric, to win over all the secretaries who were in the process of switching from their typewriters to the newfangled computers in the 1980s.

inexpensive fountain pen

There are quite a few serviceable inexpensive fountain pens on the market.  For sheer value for the money, I consider the Lamy Safari to be the sweet spot–it’s a high-quality fountain pen, made in Germany, with bulletproof design and generally very smooth nibs.  They run $25-ish online.  Chinese-made fountain pens can be had cheaper still, but their quality control (or lack thereof) means you may end up with a scratchy piece of crap.  I have a Hero in my pen case that I bought for $5 on fleaBay, and that one works very well, but you do roll your dice when you buy Chinese pens, especially in the sub-$20 price bracket. 

“if i’d had more time” “i would” “writte

I’ve heard that statement before many times.  Hell, once upon a time, I even uttered it myself.  But you know what?  If you want to write, you’ll find the time to do it.  I mean, is time really the issue for you?  Writing even just a page a day takes twenty minutes at most, and even at that slow pace, you’ll have a novel in a year.  What do you do when you’re not writing or working on your day job?  Watch TV, perhaps?  Play computer games?  Categorize your porn collection?

Everybody can carve time out of their day for writing, if they so desire.  Stephen King wrote Carrie in the laundry room of a trailer, at night after work, on a typewriter perched on a kiddie table he had to balance on his knees.  John Grisham wrote A Time To Kill on the train while commuting, in longhand on legal pads.  I know aspiring writers who write at work during their lunch hour.

(Another anecdote on the subject:  I had two years of downtime before we had Quinn, and all day to write during that period.  You know how much I got written?  Precisely dick.  Fast forward to being a full-time stay-at-home dad who has to carve his writing time out of a very busy day, and there are two finished novel manuscripts in my virtual desk drawer, with a third one about to be completed.  I don’t want to sound like an all-knowing, pretentious ass here, but what you need isn’t more time, it’s the desire to get it written.)

my ram is reading at half the speed

Then your RAM may be dyslexic, and may require special tutoring to bring it up to full speed. 

alpha smart or netbook writer

Personally, I think the Alphasmart devices have it all over the netbook when it comes to writer-friendliness.  Their keyboards are better, they are less fragile, and their battery life is a hundred times that of the longest-lasting netbook.  In addition, the Alphies don’t distract with Intertubes or games.  For banging out first drafts, you simply can’t beat an Alphasmart.

alphasmart neo ubuntu

The Neo will work just fine with Ubuntu–open up a text application, connect the Neo, and hit the “send” button.  The Neo works as a standard USB keyboard when it’s connected, and you can send the buffered text to any application that accepts text input, under any operating system that recognizes external USB keyboards.  (The AlphaSmart Manager won’t work under Linux, so you won’t be able to send stuff back to the Neo, but that’s really not an issue for most people.)

parker 51 vacumatic

The Vacumatic system was the filling method used for the “51” in the first eight years of production.  That’s the system that uses a push button underneath a cap at the back of the barrel–you stick the nib into the ink, and press on the button a few times to suck ink into the reservoir.  Later on, they switched to the much superior Aerometric system, where you unscrew the barrel and press down on a pressure bar to compress the ink sac instead.  The Vacumatics tend to suffer from leaky diaphragms after a while, but most Aerometrics are still going strong after fifty or sixty years.

“second person, present tense”

That would be a really awkward novel to read.  The only genre where this has been pulled off successfully on a regular basis is the Choose Your Own Adventure stuff.


And that concludes this week’s edition.  Oh, and dude?  The one who has some sort of sick fetish involving dachshunds?  Just don’t go there, man.  That search term made me flinch.


3 thoughts on “monday search term safari XLII.

  1. I wrote my first book in five months, sandwiched between ambulance calls while sitting in the passenger seat of an ambulance in the dead of night.

    If you want to write, time and environment are not issues.

  2. Kristopher says:

    The guy has a male goat that can read at half speed?

    Is it for sale?

  3. Mer says:

    Hi, I’m new here, and I’m also a fountain pen nut.

    I’m actually a big fan of the inexpensive pens on the market, because they allow me to have more than, say, one, and have it now. The cheapo chinese pens are a gamble, but you can game the system by shopping for them at His stuff is always interesting, and what is awesome is that… Norm? the owner takes the time to tune each nib on each pen that goes out his door so that the pen you’ve bought writes about as well as it’s capable of. You can get pens cheaper on eBay, sometimes, but it’s easier and a better gamble to get them from that guy.

    The guy at hasn’t paid me for this endorsement, but i wouldn’t mind if he tried.

    Also, Hero pens kick serious ass consistently.

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