Edsger Dijksta

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Tommy McGuire
Labels: quote, Dijkstra
I was poking around on the 'net, looking for fountain pen information to match the snazzy Pilot Petit 1 from JetPens that I just bought, when I ran across a mention of Prof. Dijkstra and his fascination with fountain pens and ink. I seem to recall a story about his experimentation with inks in order to find a formulation that was suitably archival, which reputedly led to fame in the ink world. In any case, what I tripped over was this paragraph from EWD 951:
The winter will, however, go down into the Books of History as "The Winter in which We Found the Old Mont Blancs". I love my Mont Blanc but for many years am aware of the fact that the company stopped making this model about a decade it is the model with the built-in pump that takes much more ink than its replacement, which accepts cartridges as well. Since it is nice to have a spare, it has become second nature for me to try new models whenever I encounter them. One afternoon I went to the village stationery shop to buy European staples, saw a new Mont Blanc, tried it and did not like it, when the saleslady behind the counter said with great hesitation "When you object to using an ink pot, I have another model, but it is very old.....". The dear soul sold me her treasure for the original price. After that find Ria suggested that we should try that other branch in Someren, where Netty van Gasteren and Wim Feijen bought the remaining three copies. They too still had their original price tags and were even cheaper; on top of that they even got fl. 10,- discount per pen! So much for the stationery shops in little Brabantian villages.

I feel better about my collection of IBM "clicky" keyboards, purchased cheaply or outright stolen.
Needless to say, I bought myself a typewriter the other day, a Triumph/ "satellite III". It is electronic and in its more advanced features so user-friendly that the corresponding sections in the (46-page!) manual are utterly baffling. So far, the alphabet works.
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