Monday, May 9, 2011

'Bye-bye, typewriters

A milestone moment slipped by the other day. The last typewriter factory closed down. It was in India and was apparently the last one left on the planet, all other manufacturers in the west having closed their production lines years ago. About the only place you’ll spot a typewriter now is in museums or in antique shops – displayed there simply because they’re quaint and look good, joining hand-operated coffee grinders and even corkscrews as things that were once indispensible but are now no good for anything.
What’s astonishing is the speed at which items now arise and die. The typewriter idea lasted for well over a century. I still have wistful thoughts about my first portable, an Olivetti Lettera with a turquoise case. It was so cute! But everything hits the trash heap in time. Take the Flip camera. I’ve had one for a whole 12 months – it was the hottest little thing around back then and was great because you could shoot a movie and plug it straight into your computer's USB port for editing. But just one year later, the Flip has been flicked into obscurity. All because the iPhone, and other smart phones, can do the same job better.
Makes you wonder what’s next for the chop… Personally I hope it's my Dualit toaster. Cost a fortune. Looks all very glam and retro. Worst browner of bread I've ever owned.

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