futurebird,
@futurebird@sauropods.win avatar

Waiting for the moment when I share my cool 40% #keyboard and someone pops up out of nowhere and is like "a full alphabet? You are like a little baby to me." #mechnicalKeyboard

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar
Virginicus,

@coprolite9000 @futurebird This was a joke in “Buckaroo Banzai”. (All the best jokes are real.)

moira,
@moira@mastodon.murkworks.net avatar

@coprolite9000 @futurebird please tell me the pedal is the shift key

because it sure looks like the pedal is the shift key and i kinda want that to be the case kinda bad xD

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@moira @futurebird
Alas, I think the pedal is for ratcheting up that heavy weight, powering the mechanical side of the device...

Best I can figure out about how it works: a small shuttle spins round a horizontal metal disc at a precise 120 rpm. Pressing a key raises a small peg in that disc which, when the shuttle passes it, sends an appropriately timed electrical pulse to the remote device.

1/2

moira,
@moira@mastodon.murkworks.net avatar

@coprolite9000 @futurebird oh, dang, that makes sense yeah. probably that.

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@moira @futurebird
Each device has an inked, alphanumeric wheel rotating in sync with the shuttles - the pulse presses the paper tape against the wheel at the necessary moment, printing a character...

(I have no idea how any 'shift' mechanism works! There are two blank keys - maybe one of those? The patent - US 22770 - isn't exactly readable...)

Of note: this stuff predates the QWERTY typewriter, and quite possibly helped inspire it. Excellent.

2/2

moira,
@moira@mastodon.murkworks.net avatar

@coprolite9000 @futurebird i was wondering about the blank keys - I mean, they could both be shift but I also wonder if one is a start-of-message synchronisation signal or something?

wikipedia has a picture of one with cyrliic alphabet keys and its blanks are in the same places definitely implying some sort of meta function

oh wait

one of them is probably space. xD

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@moira @futurebird
There's definitely some sort of per-character synchronisation going on - you can have a go at making head or tail of how it works from the patent here:

https://patents.google.com/patent/US22770A/

(Apparently there's a dog involved. Presumably a mechanical metaphor rather than a hairy four-legged effort?)

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@moira @futurebird
(And yes, I do have much more important things I should be doing!)

moira,
@moira@mastodon.murkworks.net avatar

@coprolite9000 @futurebird Are you sure? Really sure?

this seems pretty important that's all i'm saying

xD

In the patent one of the keys is actually labelled space so I think we can accept that one of the blank keys is indeed space but the rest is a bunch of 19th century type setting i am not ready to try to parse tonight xD

I actually think I've figured out the per-letter synchronisation in that pressing a letter key triggers two signals, effectively, what amounts to a "start of tone" and the second an "offset" tone which arrives when (and only when) the receiving typewheel will have had time to reach the appropriate letter. And that time is determined by the sender's wheel reaching the intended character.

No SHIFT yet tho'

moira,
@moira@mastodon.murkworks.net avatar

@coprolite9000 @futurebird although i don't need to read scary typesetting (which I started to do anyway lol) to recognise that this thing is a mill

like, a medieval water mill of the hammer kind

which also is what a mechanical watch is

i mean, there's the barrel, driven by weight instead of water (or later in watches, a spring), there's the second wheel, there's the third and fourth wheels and there's the escape wheel and instead of a hammer (mill) or pallet fork (watch) you've got the type wheel which works kinda like a pallet fork

it's amazing to me how many machines are basically exactly grain breaking mills just smaller and smaller

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@moira @futurebird
You'll like this - seen on another trip to London's Science Museum. Part of Charles Babbage's never-built Analytical Engine was called ... the mill. His son, Henry Prevost Babbage, eventually got round to constructing this small section of it...

(The word tickled a bit of my memory!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_engine#Design

moira,
@moira@mastodon.murkworks.net avatar

@coprolite9000 @futurebird Oh yes, love Babbage's engines. :D

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@moira @futurebird
If you haven't been already, definitely visit the Science Museum at some point. A reconstructed Difference Engine, bits of Analytical Engine, and (at least when I was last there) - most of Charles Babbage's brain in a jar. Eek.

(Also: a small room full of things relating to Ada Lovelace, including the originals of every picture you've ever seen of her. Wow.)

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@moira @futurebird
Hah - trip to supermarket completed, I now have food!

Some sort of marker for the start of a letter definitely makes sense - allowing for a slight drift between the two devices that can constantly be corrected.

(If you want an absolutely ridiculous level of synchronisation, read up on SIGSALY if you haven't already - two gramophone records spinning in unison, thousands of miles apart, providing data for a one-time pad. For encrypting speech. Yep. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIGSALY )

janc,

@moira @coprolite9000 @futurebird Why do you assume there is a "shift"? Old telegraphs (usually?) didn't have lowercase characters; and even the original 1963 version of the ASCII code character set didn't have them...

moira,
@moira@mastodon.murkworks.net avatar

@janc @coprolite9000 @futurebird Because every key is printed with two character glyphs so there has to be a way to select which one is triggered.

janc,

@moira @coprolite9000 @futurebird Oh, right! (I should have zoomed in on the photos; they are tiny on my phone 🫤)

bornach, (edited )
@bornach@fosstodon.org avatar

@coprolite9000 @moira @futurebird

Yup. It is a Huygens chain drive as demonstrated by Wintergatan
https://youtu.be/MG3DBTPM_XU

The Hughes telegraph requires a near unchanging speed of a rotating 56-character typewheel so that drive mechanism would have been perfect for this.

coprolite9000,
@coprolite9000@mastodon.me.uk avatar

@bornach @moira @futurebird
What, that Huygens? (Discoverer of Titan, yes!)

... and that Wintergatan? (constructor of the Marble Machine, also yes!)

Excellent. (Some half-remembered photos I took of a weird telegraphy machine back in January 2016 have proved quite the productive source of rabbit holes...)

cstross,
@cstross@wandering.shop avatar

@coprolite9000 @futurebird If only this had caught on instead of QWERTY!

mikeful,
@mikeful@mastodontti.fi avatar

@futurebird Some day I'd like build this 😄 https://artsey.io/

mmby,
@mmby@mastodon.social avatar

@futurebird is it the vortex core?

I adore that thing but I think I could never get used to it.

gay_ornithischians,
@gay_ornithischians@sauropods.win avatar

@futurebird is this what sauropods and horses would type with?

tipjip,
@tipjip@bonn.social avatar

@futurebird
Would be interesting to play Counterstrike with this.

petejohanson,
@petejohanson@fosstodon.org avatar

@futurebird I mean, that's a nice pic of the key but... Show us that 40%!

chessert,
@chessert@mastodon.online avatar

@futurebird
My Dad grew up in the 1920s/1930s. He had a toy train layout. The neighborhood kids would haul their trains in little red wagons from house to house. On my Dad’s layout (in the unheated attic), there were actual copper wires strung on little telegraph poles. This let the boys telegraph instructions and converse without actually speaking to each other - part of the play. I think Morse Code knowledge was a fundamental life skill for kids of that era.

lumecolca,
@lumecolca@kolektiva.social avatar

@futurebird
Where'd you find that? I might have a project that could use a good Morse key actually

futurebird,
@futurebird@sauropods.win avatar

@lumecolca

There are a ton on aliExpress taunting and tempting me. I don't need it! I don't need it at all!!

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805371037571.html

lumecolca,
@lumecolca@kolektiva.social avatar
lumecolca,
@lumecolca@kolektiva.social avatar

@futurebird
oh wow, that's... Not cheap

futurebird,
@futurebird@sauropods.win avatar
gnomon,
@gnomon@mastodon.social avatar

@futurebird @lumecolca cough there are also uhh less cheap options

http://www.i2rtf.com/keys---paddles.html

futurebird,
@futurebird@sauropods.win avatar

@gnomon @lumecolca

I have studied the audiophiles.

I'm going to expand my research to these "hamophiles" I guess they want to have a really fly set up? I kinda get it.

futurebird,
@futurebird@sauropods.win avatar

@gnomon @lumecolca

"The Magnetic Traveler Light is an iambi key that addresses the needs of the traveling or backpacking ham in a no-compromise design."

Do people really go backpacking then... have a "need" to use morse code? Like a real NEED need? That sounds unlikely and also awesome.

Just alone in the forest, beepin and boopin. It could be me. I'm being seduced by these people.

NGL it's a nice design, plastic, carefully shaped. It's delightful.

stripey,
@stripey@meow.social avatar

@futurebird @gnomon @lumecolca oh hell yes! Summits On The Air!

lumecolca,
@lumecolca@kolektiva.social avatar

@futurebird @gnomon
"Just alone in the forest, beepin and boopin."
That's a bird. You're describing birds.

lampsofgold,

@futurebird no but it's very fun, especially with a small battery radio, you can do NVIS and get contacts for several hundred miles :)

edit: also it looks like a frog

Beardandbag,

@futurebird
Check out Parks on the air and Summits on the air!

You get… I think something like 8dB effective power compared to ssb. Which matters when running low power bc you have to carry your power and everything else with you.

Also, fyi, Begali is the Bugatti, the Ferrari, of keys. Buy once cry once.

Also also, thank you for your posts. I got a lotta privilege here, reading you helps broaden my perspective and hopefully be and behave better.

zzt,
@zzt@mas.to avatar

@futurebird @gnomon @lumecolca oh hell yeah! there are actually powerful (capable of international communication) antennas that are just a long wire you throw into a tree and a filtering circuit board, and this feels like the perfect complement for that

bornach,
@bornach@fosstodon.org avatar

@lumecolca @futurebird

Oh Morse code!

I was thinking of something much less efficient and orders of magnitude more frustrating
https://nitter.net/Foone/status/1236432401712078848

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