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Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Our new world?? OT

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  • Steve Robison
    To all, I m sure that early colonial inventors, and surely letterpress printers and tinkerers such as Ben Franklin, would have firmly embraced technologies
    Message 1 of 6 , May 18, 2009
      To all,

      I'm sure that early colonial inventors, and surely letterpress printers and tinkerers such as Ben Franklin, would have firmly embraced technologies like computers, digital photo-polymer plates, the internet, and many of our 20th and 21st century inventions and technologies.

      But my guess is that these early American pioneers would have been very practical about the appropriate and best use of these technologies as well.

      As has been stated eloquently in previous posts, just because a technology exists doesn't make it useful or even desirable to use in every circumstance.

      Just because I use a computer doesn't mean I don't still have pencils and pens around. I still am compelled to pen the occasional letter by hand when it's more suited to the purpose and more influential than an impersonal email.

      I also have learned to text our niece on her cell phone instead of calling her and leaving her a message hoping she will call back. I text her because I know that she will text a reply right back. Otherwise I might wait for a long time or perhaps never to receive a telephone call reply. This is so simply because in her busy hectic life, she never seems to find an appropriate time to return a call.

      So I think that our latest century is not plagued with bad technology. It's just that the choices of technology are so plentiful now that it sometimes makes it difficult to decide what the best technology is to use. Should I call? Should I text? Should I email? Should I send a computer generated letter as an attachment to my email, or should I print it out and send it snail mail? Should I draft a letter by hand using fine ink on some really cool paper? Should I print letterpress or offset? If letterpress, should I set the type by hand? Or should I machine set it on a Linotype? Should I have a cut made? Should it be Copper, Zinc, Magnesium or photopolymer? Should I put it on the Vandercook or use the platen press? and the list goes on and on....

      But isn't it fun to have all of those choices? We don't need to be defined by every single one of them, but if they work well then let's use them. And if they don't work well, then let's quit using them.

      I happen to think that most of our technology has both helped and hindered our development. The internal combustion engine is a good example. If it hadn't been so captivating, prolific and successful, we might have had a completely non-poluting solar electric vehicle by now and the planet would be in a better place. But the mobility that the inexpensive motor vehicle gave us allowed for easy travel, the exchange of ideas, and who knows how many other inventions that went along with those transformations.

      In this current day and age I was totally in bewilderment as to how Twitter could possibly be a useful tool, and yet now we learn that it's a apparently a very powerful one if used in certain ways. Who knew?

      Anyway, I will be using the computer, photopolymer, lead alloy type, vandercooks, platens and all the technologies in between...whenever the need calls for them.

      And when the time is finally right, I will probably be driving a completely emission free 100% solar powered vehicle, and maybe converting my 1890's press to run on solar electricity as well!

      Best wishes,


      Steve Robison
      The Robison Press
      Belmont, CA - about 25 miles south of San Francisco
    • Gerald Lange
      Alex Back in 1976 I took on a job where I had access to email and online retrieval of information (from scientific, industrial, and military databases) but was
      Message 2 of 6 , May 20, 2009

        Back in 1976 I took on a job where I had access to email and online retrieval of information (from scientific, industrial, and military databases) but was still sending announcements of all my letterpress related stuff through the mail. Obviously, since no one had access to online material at the time! When I published Printing Digital Type. . . it was announced via traditional printed sources and printed prospectuses were sent out via mail. I don't even bother with that anymore. I don't even bother to keep a mailing list anymore. On the other hand, I too don't use a cell phone, mainly I guess because a land line works just fine and I really don't want to be bothered by calls when I am not at my desk. First time I ever saw someone using a cell phone in a grocery store, the guy walked out talking, and left his purchases behind. Okay, something to be learned by that I thought. The other day, I'm standing in line at the ATM and the woman in from of me is bitching on the phone about how lame someone is. I get to the machine and it asks me "would you like another transaction"? Man, temptation. "Hey, lady, you forgot your card." She grabs it out of my hand and too busy still on the phone to even say thank you, walks out the door.

        Quite a mixed up lot of technology we have gotten ourselves into. And, especially us, with our half-century + + + + old presses.


        --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, alex brooks <alex@...> wrote:
        > We're often called Luddites, or perceived that way, but the Luddites
        > were not against technology. They were protesting against a change in
        > their way of life. The new looms were too expensive for the artisans
        > to afford, so businessmen, all of a sudden, had all the power over
        > these people's lives and finances.
        > I'll proudly follow the Luddite example by careful consideration of
        > what technology can do for me. Technology includes my C&P, my board
        > shear, vandercook, car, bicycle, computer, cell phone, and paypal
        > account. I can decide which benefit my life and which do not, but
        > it's pompous to try and make this decision for others.
        > I know one local printer who refuses to use a computer. Theo Rehak
        > refuses to get a cell phone but loves his internet connection. Fritz
        > loves beautifully printed cheques, but also has credit cards, has a
        > cell phone, and hangs out on the computer till all hours. Who am I to
        > tell them how to live.
        > In Tokyo there are thousand upon thousands of commuters using the
        > subway at the exact same time. It benefits everyone's interests to
        > reduce congestion. In this way, that technology is definitely working
        > for everyone involved.
        > At the same time a new generation of Japanese children are unable to
        > write their traditional Kanji. They can read them, but can't create
        > the strokes by hand because they overwhelmingly use buttons now for
        > expressions. It's more interesting to wonder how this will affect
        > culture than to rail against it and call a generation stupid.
        > I am of the last generation to know a world without computers, the
        > last generation to search for a physical payphone. Everyone younger
        > than me takes cell phones and laptops for granted, but that doesn't
        > make them stupid.
        > The Luddites probably would have used looms if they could have
        > afforded them (they also claimed that looms produced inferior work).
        > A hundred years ago, a working class kid like me couldn't have
        > afforded a printing press, but today anyone can buy one for $200.
        > When I was 15 I used a photocopier to become my own publisher and
        > printed posters promoting grassroots music. I couldn't have done that
        > ten years earlier.
        > I've been thinking about e-books lately, and how bad they are. But
        > instead of railing against them, i'll focus my efforts on improving
        > them. They are wholly different than the books I make, but they have
        > exciting possibilities we can only imagine now.
        > And it's gratifying to know that things are swinging back toward the
        > Luddites' ideal. Today I can buy local food, meat, cheese, cottage
        > produced soap and jams. I can trade handmade books & cards for food
        > grown on a small farm. It's a lot more complicated than some of the
        > sweeping generalizations that have been made. And, by the way, really
        > hypocritical for someone who's in the business of selling printed
        > items to make one-dimensional proclamations regarding the evils of
        > consumerism...
        > I'm done with this topic for now, sorry to the mods for our detour,
        > Alex
        > press eight seventeen - lexington letterpress._,_._,___
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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