Trash Eighty Four Pea

I had completely forgotten how nice this keyboard is to type on for me, despite the fact that it's very non-standard as far as where the characters are on the keys. It took about 10 seconds for me to get back into the rhythm and be typing faster on this old beast than I can on a modern keyboard. The keys make an extremely gratifying sound when you push them. I have completely forgotten all of AllWrite's hotkey commands, though. Even how to delete or cut/paste.

Looks just like a sewing machine when all folded up, and dang, it's filthy. I dunno if I even want to try to remove the years worth of dried printing inks that are all over this guy. Fingerprints of various pressmen are archived on the sun-yellowed off-beige surface and on the keyboard, in a dizzying array of Pantone colors. This old soldier has been very useful over the years.

Updated: August 5, 2011 — 2:39 pm


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  1. Amazing piece of retro tech, even though it’s not an Apple. ( :

    1. The old box Macs had a plastic dongle that you would insert into the back to push a button inside the case that enabled access to the programming environment. My dad threw that away because he didn’t want me messing with his software. That and the fact that you needed a special tool to open the case is what turned me away from Apple products. I decided to buy something that was very open to both hardware and software hacking, which the Rat Shack machines were. (this old 4p could run any of about a dozen or so OS’s, and you can access anything inside it by removing 4 easily accessed phillips-head screws.)

      I have never owned an Apple product since then. Apple just has an attitude that screams “our way or the highway”, which I find that I don’t like to support. Early Apples like the II series were great, but once the Mac came onto the scene their entire corporate attitude changed, and has stayed changed. Heck, I’m pretty sure that the OS that Macs run now is based on the open source BSD Linux, but I would guess they’ve turned it into something I would have a hard time recognizing or even navigating.

  2. cool! reminds me of my dad’d Kaypro II

  3. Ted, it’s my contention that the first one or one-and-a-half generations of a design are very well engineered, and after that the efforts are directed toward making the thing cheaper and then a bit after that they are devoted to making the thing wear out or break on schedule. Ever notice how this works even in aesthetic design? The first year is usually the best-looking and then they start trying to differentiate the look (keep it “fresh”(!)), which results in various excrescences? Surely that’s one good reason we all like the older stuff.
    == Michael

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