Last night, my husband and I went to the Minnesota State Fair and stumbled upon a demonstration of a linotype machine, a semi-automated, mechanical printing system that was used by newspapers and magazines (and basically everything else) from the end of the 19th century through the 1970s. It's a completely mesmerizing piece of equipment. An operator types out a line of text and the machine responds by collecting molds that match each letter and fitting them together. Then, it fills the mold with molten metal and dumps out the freshly minted block, ready for the printer ... before automatically re-racking all the letter molds so they're ready for the next line of text.
It's incredibly cool and I could have watched it work for hours. But then my husband thought to ask about what metal they were melting and pouring into the molds. Turns out, it was lead ... and my pregnant butt was hustled out of the building. I found a great video to show you, though — a 1960 educational film meant for future linotype operators. The full thing is way longer than you actually probably want to watch, but I've set it up to start right at the beginning of a really great explanation of how the thing works. Watch it from where the video kicks in to about 6:30, and you'll get a good 3-minute demonstration. You can also see linotypes doing their thing in the trailer for a documentary that Rob posted about a few years ago.
Also, there's at least one newspaper in the United States that's still being printed this way! (Thanks, Kyle Whitmire!)
The largest universal quantum computer available for external use will delivered in October 2019, IBM announced today.
First it was vinyl, then it was cassette tapes — now the latest old media that’s being praised for offering warmer, richer, higher-quality experiences?
Earlier this summer I stopped by the office of Joel Spolsky, CEO of Stack Overflow, the mammoth forum for software developers, to talk about my new book Coders, which is all about the subculture of programmers and their impact on reality. (And which you can acquire right here folks, step right up.) We were supposed […]
Life isn’t getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there’s a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you’ve somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try […]
When it comes to data analytics or deep learning, there’s one language behind the apps and algorithms that power the biggest companies of today: Python. The best part about this tool is that as versatile as it is, it’s actually fairly easy to learn. But mastery? For that, you need more than just a beginners’ […]
Your smartphone’s GPS is a modern necessity for some trips, but how do you use it safely? It’s been a problem ever since phones went mobile. A certain phone mount even shelled out the money for a commercial during the Big Game, so clearly there’s a market for the solution. Turns out there are a […]