Hanx Writer

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James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
Hanx Writer
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For those who miss old-fashioned typewriters, actor Tom Hanks has created the iPad app Hanx Writer. It recreates the sound, carriage returns, and other aspects of typewriters. Text can be copied and pasted. It's rather nice.

The app is free, but you can make optional in-app purchases of other typewriter fonts, different colored ribbons, etc.

Simon 'Sye' Robertson's picture
Joined: 21 Jul 2005 - 12:42pm
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Created or endorsed? Does the app have any specifically good features?

Simon 'Sye' Robertson's picture
Joined: 21 Jul 2005 - 12:42pm
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James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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Hanks has collected typewriters for many years. Last year the New York Times carried an article by him on the subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/opinion/sunday/i-am-tom-i-like-to-type...

The app was created by Hitcents. They say it was a collaboration. It's currently the #1 free iPad app.

http://www.hitcents.com/b2b/work/hanx

John Savard's picture
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Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm
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And from the image, it seems as though a certain famous beagle is a satisfied user of the app... (as the rest of the text resembles his work more than Paul Clifford)

Mark Simonson's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2001 - 11:00am
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I tried it, but it doesn't quite work like the real thing.

For instance, by default, backspace deletes the character just before the cursor, as all modern text editors do. If you don't want that, there is an option to make it work like a real typewriter, except it doesn't work anything like a real typewriter. On a real typewriter, when you backspace, it moves the carriage back one character. If you want to "delete" something, you type X's over it. The way they implemented it, when you backspace, it puts an X over the character (overstrike) just before the cursor AND moves the cursor back one character, preceding the overstriked character. Consequently, when you resume typing, the overstriked text stays to the right of the cursor, and the new text is inserted before it. I'm hoping this is a bug and that they'll fix it, but who knows. Ultimately, such functionality is a bit silly, but if you're going to do it, at least get it right.

Another bug is that when you try to type an accented character, it crashes.

There are no options for adjusting line spacing, setting tabs and margins, or underlining. The automatic carriage return isn't very authentic. It should "ding" when you get near the right margin, reminding you to hit return before you run out of space (and when you do, the keys should stop working). Makes me wonder if they ever used a real typewriter. A rather superficial simulation (so far).