Marcin Wichary Profile picture · Wrote a book about the history of keyboards: · Design manager @figma · He/him
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Feb 12, 2023 54 tweets 22 min read
To celebrate the Kickstarter for Shift Happens going well, I thought I would show you 50 keyboards from my collection of really strange/esoteric/meaningful keyboards that I gathered over the years. (It might be the world’s strangest keyboard collection!) This is technically a bit of a spoiler for the book, but a) a lot of them are not in the book, and b) the book comes out in half a year, and we’ll all forget by then!

Let’s start!…
Nov 14, 2022 24 tweets 11 min read
Pssst. Ok.

So our product marketer @pseullah is distracted, and I thought I could just go ahead and quickly launch a few @figma improvements before she comes back!

(And also share some secrets.)

👇 Spy Mode Activated  1. Nume... 1.

Figma has numeric scale now!

Press K and you can type a precise multiplier, scale from an edge or a corner, or get to a precise width or height. The previous way of scaling – by hand – also works! Numeric scale screenshot in...
Jun 17, 2022 49 tweets 25 min read
I visited three different Dutch computer museums last week, and they were so great I wanted to tell you about them a bit more. 1. The first was HomeComputerMuseum in Helmond, which was sort of a “living room museum” – over 500 computers, mostly from the 1980s onwards, many of them running and available to play or interact with.
Jun 14, 2022 9 tweets 4 min read
Nice moments on Dutch railways:

The ticket ordering machine has a nice button to finish the transaction that has a smart label: Next customer. Image (The label is also bilingual to account for both the person before, and the person after pressing the button.)
Jun 21, 2021 263 tweets >60 min read
Image Image
Nov 9, 2020 15 tweets 4 min read
Here are some things you can do to help with the Georgia runoffs in January.

1. Follow @fairfightaction. 2. Sign up for text or phone banking next weekend. I will be doing a shift or two!
Jul 8, 2020 24 tweets 12 min read
I’ve been trying to find a good photo of a 1970s/1980s microcomputer store for my book and I haven’t had great luck – but sharing what I found so far could make for an interesting thread!

This is 1983 in Sunnyvale, CA:… “On 8 May 1984, young people play concentrated on a Commodore computer in a store in Nuremberg.”…
Apr 14, 2020 70 tweets 23 min read
Wanted to share a bit of the process of building Selection Colors, a little @figmadesign feature I feel rather (maybe strangely) proud of.

(This was originally meant to be a blog post, but the Covid-19 situation is sapping my energy…) Selection Colors allows you to see all the colors and styles in your selection, no matter how far deep they reach. It’s meant to help with quickly changing palettes, promoting colors to styles, cleaning up your design system, and dealing with multiple colors in text.
Dec 28, 2019 22 tweets 14 min read
Now this one is just confusing. Image These are incredible! Both the art direction, and the fact that they’re typing on themselves.
Sep 17, 2019 44 tweets 21 min read
Hello, stranger.

I’m glad you decided to join me on this impromptu tour of a somewhat forgotten era of computing: the time when Screens Were Expensive – and so computers had no choice but to use smaller screens, small screens, and even ridiculously tiny screens.

Shall we…? In the early 1980s, if you couldn’t afford a (ridiculously expensive) Xerox 860 word processor will a “full page” display, you could save some money by buying a Xerox 850, with a “half page” display.

(The 850 was still ridiculously expensive.)
Jul 28, 2019 18 tweets 17 min read
One of the fascinating things about the 1976 Apple I computer was that it was only sold as a board – you had to bring your own keyboard, screen, and power supply.

That meant every single Apple I was different. Here’s a gallery celebrating some of the most interesting ones. A lot of wood and old-fashioned TVs remind us this is all happening in mid-to-late 1970s.…
May 23, 2019 7 tweets 4 min read
I am seriously fascinated by the weird anthropomorphized illustrations of mainframe computers from the 1960s and 1970s. I find them all the time now in my research. (Sometimes I imagine all of them as a cast of some sort of a sitcom.)
May 3, 2019 9 tweets 7 min read
I learned about the most delightful little device today at @SFCB.

You know these typical old-school restaurant bills in America? @SFCB I never thought twice about the numbers on them, but it’s a tricky challenge.

You want the number to be different on every copy, but typesetting a completely new number every time is cumbersome – and numbering by hand afterwards might be equally annoying.
Apr 17, 2019 53 tweets 23 min read

Didn’t cut as much as I wanted, plus there are probably at least two more drafts to do… but I don’t want to think about this now. The book is getting better and better, and for some time at least I can focus on visuals, instead of writing. :·) Buy my book (eventually) to understand this cryptic conversation!
Mar 18, 2019 27 tweets 9 min read
Earlier this month, @hannahjdotca alerted me to the existence of this weird novelty calendar with a cat in front of an old HP computer. I couldn’t help but grabbing it and scanning it all. It’s very proto-lolcat in nature. The premise is largely that Morris hates the high technology of the 1980s…
Jan 11, 2019 11 tweets 9 min read
This thing is so *cute*, I cannot help but laugh.… Diehl Alphatronic from 1970s – a rare computer from a German arms maker, and a rare green keyboard with very weird (but pretty) keys.

(If Alphatronic sounds cool to you, you might like the company’s overall naming scheme:…)
Jan 2, 2019 9 tweets 5 min read
A few tiny things I learned about London Underground today that delighted me, a small thread: 1. There’s a station called Farrington that was recently massively upgraded, but it’s been done in a way that the new entrance is opposite the preserved old entrance, so the past and the future are literally staring each other in the face:
Dec 29, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Mind blown, but also:

If a design detail is so invisible no one knows about it, is it a failure? We’ve seen this not so long ago with the “hold space to move cursor” trick in iOS, too.

“Where have you been all my life” years down the road doesn’t feel like a good UI strategy.
Dec 29, 2018 12 tweets 5 min read
I want to watch more documentaries, particularly about social issues and the relationship between technology and people.

Please send me recommendations if you have any!

Here are a few recent ones from me: The Prison In Twelve Landscapes:

I really liked the format, exploring the messy, unfair, and broken criminal justice system through a dozen fly-on-the-wall vignettes that connect if you make an effort. (On my mind ever since my year at Code for America.)
Dec 12, 2018 4 tweets 3 min read
I just finished a story about ghost stations in San Francisco.

I was inspired after my little Forest Hill station thread, and then I found some really great photos and cool stories about the early wild years of SF transit plans, streetcars, and tunnels.… So many thanks to @enf for help with research, and encouragement, and proof reading – and the massive/impressive SF archives he collected over the years.

Also thanks to @outsidelandz. This tweet/photo jumpstarted the whole project:
Nov 19, 2018 26 tweets 14 min read
What I really admired about the Videogame Museum in Berlin is that they didn’t stop at cheap nostalgia, or simply trying to recreate an arcade parlor or a mancave. They went much further than that. They managed to put together the biggest celebration of videogames I’ve ever seen. Sure, there were displays of old hardware like this, and artifacts strewn around to remind you that You Were Young Once.