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Typewriters may not make a return, but keyboards that imitate them are desired products

2018-07-25

There must be something magical in those loud and clunky keys that old typewriters have. Several keyboard products have been created during recent years that imitate the design and mechanical features of typewriters. One of the most stylish and most wanted (as indicated by the number of investors) keyboards is the KnewKey Rymek.

KnewKey Rymek keyboard
Rymek keyboard is connected to a computer with a USB cable, and to a tablet or phone via Bluetooth. Then, it can be used like an ordinary keyboard, but the big differences are long movement of the keys, proper sound when typing, and it looks absolutely gorgeous.

If you use a tablet or a smartphone as your word processing application, you can drop the device into a holder that is located in the same place where paper used to be in old typewriters. Rymek keyboard must be charged once in a while because the battery lasts about 50 hours.

Rymek comes with a few special effects that some writers may find very attractive. It is possible to switch on lights in the keyboard, allowing the lights to blink while typing. The keyboard even has a large carriage return handle, but it is used for switching between Bluetooth and USB connections. A knob for turning the carriage is there as well, but its function is volume control.
Rymek keyboard for writers who want a typewriter
The Next Web had an opportunity to test the Rymek keyboard, and they were convinced that its most important feature – typing – was convenient and fun.

The production process for the keyboard started in July 2018, after investors at Indiegogo had poured in money to the product over 10 times more than the target was.

KnewKey delivers the product anywhere in the world, but it only comes with a US keyboard. The caps can be removed and their places changed. The retail price is set at 199 dollars.

Another keyboard that has borrowed its design and some features from old typewriters is Penna.

Here is a video that demonstrates Rymek’s features:

Rymek keyboard

Write with style: a retro keyboard for your tablet, smartphone or computer

2017-04-17

I have had a Bluetooth keyboard for quite some time, and have been very happy with it. I have connected the keyboard to an Apple iPad or Android tablet and usually typed notes or messages on it. It is a regular, light and thin keyboard without fancy design elements. It just works well. Elretron, however, has designed a gorgeous Bluetooth keyboard called Penna that also comes with additional features that regular mobile keyboards don’t have.
penna, retro bluetooth keyboard
The design of the Penna keyboard is beautiful and smart: anyone who has ever used (or even seen) a mechanical typewriter will instantly recognize that Penna is a writing tool. The Penna even has the handle that was used in mechanical typewriters to shift the paper to the beginning of the next line. The handle has another function in Penna: it is used for shortcuts.

In addition to the overall retro design of the product, Elretron says they carefully designed the feel of the keys and the contact they make with the unit. Company’s web pages explain all the details, but it is possible to order a Penna with different types of keycaps and key sounds. The difference in sounds results from different types of mechanical switches that connect the keys to the unit.
penna, retro bluetooth keyboard
The Penna has a slot where you can fit a 10-inch size tablet in landscape position. Larger tablets than that must be held in portrait mode. There are no mechanical ports or connectors from Penna to a tablet, phone, or computer, because the information is transferred wirelessly over a Bluetooth connection. Elretron says the keyboard is compatible with Windows, Android and Apple iOS operating systems.

The keyboard is powered by two AA-size batteries. Battery life depends on the usage frequency, but in standby mode the batteries should last for six months.
penna, retro bluetooth keyboard
Elretron will start product deliveries in August 2017, even though it is still in Kickstarter. The funding goal has already been achieved, so we should see the Penna in the wild soon. At the moment, the product can be ordered for $99.

Promo video:


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Ebook news digest: exciting new travel cameras, mobile security, history of writing tools

2016-07-08

Ebook News Digest July 8th, 2016

freewrite typewriter, word processor, woman
This Pocketable Camera Gear Will Change the Way You Take Travel Photos (The Wall Street Journal)

Wall Street Journal’s traveling reporter tests three new small cameras that are designed to change the way you photograph. The reviewed cameras are the LG 360 CAM (a 360 degree camera that can shoot photos and video), Narrative Clip 2 (a tiny camera that can document everything you see), and Moment (a set of lenses for the iPhone).

Executive’s guide to mobile security (free ebook) (Zdnet)

Scary news of a new virus that can invade Android-powered phones and tablets is the latest proof that all Internet-connected computing devices must always be protected from malware. If your phone doesn’t work, you have lost a camera, and if your tablet doesn’t work, you have lost a valuable writing and reading platform. Zdnet wants you email address, but you get a free ebook download.

How to Write a History of Writing Software (The Atlantic)

First, a mechanical typewriter was invented to help writers write, and a century later, computers were equipped with word processing software. Science fiction writers were among the first to adopt modern technology because they realized it made them more productive. Fascinating stories on the history of writing.

Auroras Make Weird Noises, and Now We Know Why (National Geographic)

Many people who have seen a strong display of the Northern Lights claim that the lights made sounds. So far, science hasn’t been sure if that is really the case, but now a group of Finnish researchers believe they have discovered that the sounds are real and what causes them. Once you have read about the sounds, here is a guide to finding, viewing and photographing the Northern Lights.

National Geographic travel photography contest winners unveiled (BBC)

An image of a horseman in Inner Mongolia wins first place in this year’s National Geographic travel photography contest. View the amazing winning photos – our favorite: the Chinese school dormitory. More travel photography from Klaava Media here.

Word processor for writers who love typewriters, but want modern features

2016-02-24

There is something romantic in old mechanical typewriters that make a loud noise when a writer types a book or an article with one. Computers and word processing applications make writing a manuscript faster and more convenient, but a computer offers distractions that may attract some authors away from their actual work. What if these authors could get a single-purpose machine like a mechanical typewriter, but it was equipped with modern conveniences? That’s exactly what the Freewrite provides.
freewrite typewriter, word processor, woman
The Freewrite is a remarkable hybrid of the old and the new: a merger of a mechanical typewriter and a cloud-connected writing app. The key features of the Freewrite are:

– E Ink screen. Black and white screen that is commonly used in ereaders. It is sharp and very battery-friendly solution. The Freewrite has added front light to the screen, allowing typing in poor lighting conditions.
– Full-size mechanical keyboard.
– Wireless connection (Wi-Fi) for backups.
– Documents can be saved on a cloud service: Google Drive, Evernote, or Dropbox.
– More than one million pages can be saved in the device storage space.
– Aluminum body and stowable handle. Writers who travel or like to go out to write want ruggedness.
– Multiple languages supported.
– 4-week battery life.
– Instant start.

freewrite typwriter, cloud connected via  wifi
The Freewrite costs $449 (plus taxes and shipping). You can order it here.

It is easy to find a decent Windows laptop for the same price that has more than enough processing power for writing, photo editing, communications, following the news and web surfing. Research carefully, and you may find a laptop with a full workday battery life as well.

An alternative – which we have been trying out on our recent trips – is a good 9- or 10-inch tablet and a wireless keyboard. We have been using a $30 Bluetooth keyboard that we have connected to the Apple iPad or Android tablet, and we have absolutely liked the typing experience. It is instantly on, and we can save our work on the device and copy it to the cloud for backup. Tablets have a long battery life when used for typing.