4.17.2018

First Poem in Years

Hi everyone,
Figured I'd write another poem - this one took three tries but I think I got it to a point where I could post it. This is my first poem here in at least 2 years, I think...

This poem was brought to you by my new typewriter! Stay tuned for the full post about it!

3.28.2018

On Resurrecting One's Blog

As I opened up my Blogger feed for the first time in an embarrassingly long time, I saw posts from kiwi-d at http://davesmechanicalpencils.blogspot.com, which he resurrected after a nearly three-year hiatus.

It got me thinking I ought to update this blog more often as well. After all, it started off as a place for me to share what I thought was "cool stuff," and only evolved into a typewriter-centric blog a year or so on after my discovery of the typewriter, and the Typosphere thereafter.

But it got to the point where I was only sharing when I felt like dragging out one of my typewriters, which, while I still find it fun, I was finding myself doing less and less often. Eventually I only posted when I found a new typewriter to add to the collection.

Rather than limit the blog to typecasts and typewriter-related/retro-tech related things, I'm going to take it back to the general-purpose blog I remember from when I started coolstuff4819 in 2011 (heck, the first post was about my brand-new camera, the Sony DSC-HX1!). 

Typewriters will certainly make an occasional appearance, but so will my myriad other interests, which have definitely evolved in the interim.

To those who still read this blog, despite the draws of microblogging via Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, thanks!

--Vikram


8.12.2017

New addition: Olympia SM-8 from 1965


The machine itself!

The dust cover
Name and partial address redacted, but it looks like this machine lived on the East Coast for a while!
All the accessories that came with the machine (grubby-looking case not pictured)
Cleaning cloth
official Olympia brush
Can't forget the Ko-Rec-Type!
very slightly used

8.07.2017

Seven Years of Typewriters / Wristwatches



Even the box/desk stand is stylish!
This is how I display the watch.
Warranty card, complete with punched-out section!
The plainest back, ever. No country of origin mentioned, though I'm guessing either Hong Kong or the Phillipines.
The watch face in all its glory.
The classic Casio CA53W, wrist shot.
The indestructible Casio G-Shock DW5600E, wrist shot.
The Casio "Duro" MDV106 dive watch, with an aftermarket NATO strap.

5.21.2017

New Camera: Ricoh GR II; Re-Reading "The Pencil"

Hello everyone!
Lately, I've been going to a lot of metal concerts, and always end up wanting to take pictures there. The main problem was that my phone camera was simply not good enough to take decent pictures in the low-light environment of a concert venue. In addition, large cameras are typically forbidden at larger theatres/venues, so that would preclude the use of a DSLR. The camera I had already, the Panasonic DMC-LX7, is a small camera, but it's not pocket-sized (jeans pocket, not jacket), and so it would constantly be in my hand, a problem for clapping along or defending myself against the mosh pit behind me.

Hence, I needed a small camera, with a decently sized sensor or fast lens, which could fit in my pocket and be looked at as a "nonprofessional" camera to any bystanders, so that I'd be allowed to bring it in anywhere. This search led me to the single solution, the Ricoh GR-II.



Shooting with the GR-II is awesome, mainly because of its intuitive design and layout of the controls. The camera draws on a heritage that Ricoh has built up over the course of two decades, starting with their GR-series film compacts of the '90s. This one is their sixth digital GR; it's a minor update of the "GR" which came after the GRD (Digital) I, II, III, and IV.

The key feature that sold this camera to me is that it has an APS-C size sensor, much larger than the 1-inch sensor of other compacts such as the Sony RX100 series, or the Canon G9X. Couple that sensor with a sharp f/2.8 18mm lens (28mm equiv. 35mm focal length), and it means that I can comfortably shoot at ISO-3200 without worrying too much about noise ruining the picture. It's got a bevy of other features that take the manual 150 pages to explain, so suffice it to say that for now, I love this camera.

One downside is that it tends to overexpose the scene, at least from what I've seen so far. Hence, I shoot in RAW, and then go back and adjust the exposure and white balance in an editor (RawTherapee).
I am very happy with the results, though, and hopefully you are too!

Below are some photos that I took yesterday. (Uncompressed photos are here and here. The concert pictures are from a show at the Riot Room here in Kansas City, featuring Arkona, Sirenia, MindMaze, and Sicosis. This current tour is Sirenia's first North American tour, and Arkona's second (they are from Norway and Russia, respectively) - and thus I can understand why the crowd went so wild for them! I invited a friend from work who has never been to a metal concert, and he thoroughly enjoyed it as well.





In other news, I've been rereading The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski, an illustration of the process of engineering through the lens of the ordinary pencil. When I initially read this book seven years ago, I was entering junior year of high school, not even sure where I was going to college, much less what I wanted to study. Now that I am working, I have a new perspective of the concepts that Petroski, a professor of civil engineering at Duke, shares. My love for pencils and writing instruments has not waned one bit, though, so I am absorbing the book on two different planes of appreciation, making it all the more rewarding. Definitely a recommended read for anyone interested at all in the development of engineering, and of everyday things.

Thanks for tuning in!