The difference between Tell and Show

There it is, that typewriter in your “ToDo” pile, collecting dust because it’s not quite working right, but you don’t know exactly what’s wrong with it, or maybe you think you know, but are trepidatious to really dig in there and find out. Maybe there’s even a small amount of guilt. You know that machine wants to come out and play, and it’s THE FEAR that keeps that from happening.

Now, it’s one thing for me to dig up, curate and edit together the most complete and in-depth set of instructions for curing THE FEAR that have ever been assembled for your typewriter, and I can preach all day long about how that machine no longer has to be a black box full of magic – you can understand *exactly* how it works and how to make it work better. I can *TELL* you all that, but only a great communicator can *SHOW* you what it means in terms of “Here’s a problem I had, and now that I have the instructions, I can, without trepidation about messing stuff up, understand exactly what the mechanism is doing and the sequence of adjustments (not just the one) needed to solve the problem, step by step.”

Joe Van Cleave is one of those great communicators:

Yep, Joe gets it. You *show* what it means to conquer THE FEAR and lose the guilt about that machine collecting dust on the shelf. That’s something video is pretty good at, and if you haven’t paid attention to Youtube lately, you may have missed the literal *explosion* of typewriter related videos in that space this year. There’s a lot, with many vloggers (is that still the term?) producing a healthy stream of well-produced and fascinating video content *showing* people various things about typewriters, how to fix them and what we do with them. If you haven’t been paying attention, please do. It’s exciting!

Here’s the thing: It’s not enough to just make the material available again. Unless it becomes *relevant* again, these editions will just vanish into history the way the originals almost did. It’s going to take this kind of *showing* to break that barrier of fear, and I’m hoping to see much more of this sort of thing from the Typewriter Revolution’s budding YouTube stars. (:

Update: hey, a new video from Joe, boy I guess he was inspired, or more specifically emboldened (as in “losing the FEAR”) to tackle an issue on his SF:

And later, another Floating Shift Smith-Corona:

Updated: September 6, 2017 — 7:45 pm


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  1. Good to know that there’s a thriving Typotubeosphere. I am honestly too busy to watch many videos, but when I am in search of a particular solution I’ll remember to check YouTube to see if anyone has demonstrated it.

  2. I concur, I think the videos are great, Joe’s are well done indeed. The more the merrier. Might as well use the new technology to help repair the old technology…

  3. Videos like detailed fix-it posts are great–if there were only an organized respository of them where they can be archived, maintained, and indexed for when needed.

  4. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you, Typewriter Justice, Phoenix Typewriter, and of course, Joe Van Cleave, for so much great information and visual assistance. I have never been overly mechanically inclined, though I do understand the basic principal of mechanical inner workings, but being able to see pictures and watch videos has been nothing short of a godsend for me, as I am a visual learner. Always have been. Text alone is okay, but not nearly as effective for me as watching something happen, and seeing how various parts interact. Well done, guys… well done!

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