The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Old school journalism

Want to freak out a newsroom full of college journalists?

Sit them down at manual typewriters and ask them to plunk “2011” onto a piece of paper.

They’ll only make it halfway.

“Mine’s broken!” one reporter at Florida Atlantic University yelled a couple of Saturdays ago, when we launched the inaugural ALL ON PAPER project. “There’s no number 1 key.”

Via spin the cat, HOW TO BUILD A NEWSROOM TIME MACHINE « journoterrorist

I don't know whether to be amused or horrified.

I used to write a column for the FAU newspaper The Atlantic Sun (now The University Press) and I certainly remember walking into the weekly meetings on Wednesdays and seeing the layouts for the current issue out on the tables. I would then use an X-Acto™ knife to cut out my column (since they were going to toss the layouts) as a momento.

[If you look closely, you can make out the guide lines]

I wrote most of my columns on my TRS-80 Color Computer but there were times when Wednesdays came around and I hadn't even started my column, much less finish, so on those rare occations, I would grab my manual portable typewriter (a gift from my paternal grandfather, who wanted me to learn how to type if I was going to become a programmer) and literally bang out my column at school.

In fact, the column pictured above was one such column banged out on a manual typewriter, written in the cafeteria as I was eating lunch with a few friends. And on my manual typewriter, not only was there no “1” character, there wasn't a “0” character either!

I also found it amazing that the students had to use a make-shift dark room. What? Is there no dark room at FAU anymore? I distinctly remember there being one, back when I took photography.

[This is what they call a “negative”]

Yes, I know all about removing 35mm film from the canister and loading it onto a reel in total darkness, using obnoxious chemicals to develop the film, and once rinsed, letting the film dry overnight, then coming in the next day, cutting the film into strips of five pictures each, mounting the strips into a protective sheet, making the proof sheet, picking which photos (10 out of 72) to print, placing the film into the projector, exposing the photographic paper and using different obnoxious chemicals to develop the picture (and as much as I like my 35mm camera, I do not miss the expense of buying film nor the expense of having it developed).

[This hasn't seen much use in the past fifteen years] [“It is a good day to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!”—Ken Maier]

So I find it odd that they didn't bother to ask the Art department if they could use the dark room.

That is, if the dark room still exists.

Obligatory Picture

[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2024 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.