Typewriter to Printer Conversion: Current Status

Remington 1212So I had to learn that the 30 solenoids I got, wont have enough power at the low leverage point I wanted to connect them to the typewriter. Making me wonder to either get stronger ones with same pull-in (7mm would do) or get ones that can pull in 3 cm, will have to investigate what is around and affordable.

Finding use for the 30 cheap solenoids I already got should not be to difficult, thinking about a little music making installation. Ideas for other uses are welcome! The ones in the picture are not the ones I have. 

While in Vienna, I had a chance to talk with Manuel Laber from Laber’s LAB about my project. Great guy, always inspiring to speak with btw. He had some improvements for me. Instead of a stepping motor, I will just use the ‘Buehler DC Motor with Gear Train and Optical Detector’ I already got and instead of multiplexing I will use a shift register.

Looking for electronic parts in Toronto, I came across A1 and Active Surplus Electronics, both kind of conveniently located, A1 being close to my girlfriends parents house and Active Surplus being right here on Queen Street West (Thanks Andrew).

upverter sketch

The solenoid issue can be solved by money, of course there is powerful solenoids with enough pull to do the trick, but I need 30 of them, so I am still brainstorming how to get this working.

Some ideas are (not investigated yet)

  • Use electric magnet on each key to pull it down
  • Get just one powerful solenoid that can be connected to any key by a different mechanism (since only one key can be pulled at a time, would be more efficient anyway but was dismissed first since the extra mechanism will cause extra trouble)
  • build up lever action in favor of the solenoid

No matter what I will come up with, I will still use the electronics layout / collaboration cloud tool provided by Toronto based Startup Upverter – already re-learned a lot about electronic engineering because of their tool.

Ideas to help me out? Please let me know!

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How a park made a fool out of me, 3 times. True story.

Considering a downtown park, in a mega city like Toronto, I assumed the following things are impossible, can’t exist or just won’t work. Oh boy, was I wrong:

1. Did you know white squirrels exist? No? Me neither, until I saw one at the park!


2. Checking out the neighbourhood of an apartment we where going to see, I discovered this huge park where Google Maps revealed 8 tennis courts in there. Looking forward getting some use out of my racket, I considered worth shipping over from Vienna, I started searching for the Tennis Club operating it, trying to find out membership fees, etc. I did not find anything! Okay, maybe they just don’t have a website. After moving there I walked up the the tennis courts and just asked someone about where to get a membership and how much it is.

Continue reading “How a park made a fool out of me, 3 times. True story.”

How to live without cable TV

Image representing Boxee as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

After years without a TV in Vienna, we ended up receiving one as a gift after moving to Toronto. Since we did not really miss a TV, it stayed in its box for a while. What made us not miss a TV at all? Our entertainment / information consumption habits had completely changed!

  • It started at University in England: Besides high TV licence fees, we did not even think about getting a shared TV for our flat, as there was just so much else to do on campus for entertainment. The news we collected online anyway already. For movies and shows there was already the itunes store.
  • Back in Austria, moving in with Jane, I brought my old TV to our apartment (just because I considered it part of my furniture) and removed it again after a week.
  • We still watched TV shows and movies on itunes every now and then. But owning a physical TV device with a cable / satellite connection did no add any value for us, as the “live” factor did not matter to us (we dont watch sports).
  • It made us go outside and meet people, read books, etc, as there wasn’t the convenience of just pressing a button and sit on the couch any longer.
Boxee Box and Remote
Boxee Box and Remote (Photo credit: William Hook)

So here we are, having a huge TV, we got as a gift. We needed to work something out. Looking into streaming solutions, as we hate the TV cable companies here, brought us to boxee.tv about a year ago. And we are happy with it, we hardly see any ads, watch tv shows and movies whenever we want and got access to lots of alternative / independent libraries. First we were scared that his convenience will get us to watch more TV again, but we were wrong. We still can’t just go to a channel and let it flow. And I think that is what makes us watch less TV. What are your thoughts?

If you are planning to get a boxee.tv, make sure you have a real unlimited internet plan. Also they have a stick now that will give you live TV in case you want it (just a few channels). I like about the boxee that they are improving it constantly, the user interface improved very much in the last year and I am sure that buying a boxee was a good investment. Let me know if you have questions about available content in Toronto.

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