Friday, February 26, 2010

Local Students in Action

Mindport was hopping earlier today!  30 students from Kulshan Middle School made the trip to Mindport as part of an economics class led by eighth grade social studies teacher Jeff Thran.  The class combines in-class work and discussions with field trips to local businesses (organized by the students themselves) in an effort to enhance students' understanding of economics.  We were impressed by the students' excellent questions and level of interest, and by the effort Mr. Thran has made to get students off-campus to see the local economy in action.  We wish them well as they travel to other businesses and continue their studies. 

Thanks too, to the parents who volunteered to drive! 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dumpster Diving: A Mindport Tradition

A few months ago, Kevin spied an Underwood typewriter in the alley next to the trash cans.  He brought it in from the rain and restored it to its former glory - or as close to that as possible given its age and experience. 

The Underwood now graces the front desk, introducing younger visitors to a machine that takes physical effort to use, doesn't delete, and has only one font and one font size!

Last Wednesday morning, I was inspired to undertake a rescue mission of my own.  Hauling out the garbage before racing off to work, I lifted the dumpster lid and discovered this lovely machine resting heavily on a bed of black plastic trash bags.  A muddy jacket, a cut knuckle, and a few minor expletives later, I had myself - or Mindport, rather - this R.C. Allen mechanical adding machine.


What will we do with it?  We'll probably try to make it work again and then put it out for visitors to try.  We've been talking a lot lately about some of the benefits of traditional mechanical technology over modern microelectronics-based technology (think mechanical typewriter versus laptop).  While it's true that modern electronic technology does a lot that the older versions don't, its impressiveness is overshadowed by the fact that its inner working are invisible, so that it's almost impossible to either discern how it works or to repair it when it breaks. For the most part, it's throwaway technology, and if you find even a twenty-year old computer in a dumpster, you might as well leave it there. . . unless you're public-spirited enough to salvage it for a trip to a recycling facility.

Keep an eye out for this machine on your future visits to Mindport, and never underestimate the value of what your local dumpster holds.  

For information on mechanical adding machines click here.

For the R.C. Allen Company history click here.

For a comprehensive site on "dumpster diving" click here.

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