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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Alleged Killian memos part IV

I really really will stop wasting time with this soon. However, I was struck by an ad for an IBM executive typewriter (which seems to date from 1954) posted by Their point is that it has curly quotation marks. In fact it also has curly apostrophes. While looking at one, I noticed that it looks a whole lot like a Microsoft Word document with Times New Roman (except the background is grey). I typed it (with the wrong tabs) printed as pdf read into adobe saved as bmp read into adobe resized and painted the background the shade of grey of the ad. Can you tell which is which (except for the tabs).

Update: answer below
PC Magazine has a much more challenging quiz. They present two samples and challenge the reader to tell "Which one was typed on a typewriter 40 or more years ago, and which one was typed on a word processor today." I answered wrong Wrong WRONG (I'm really pissed). Don't read the following until you take both my test and the PC magazine test.

What's wrong with my effort ? The 1954 ad does not match MS Word Times New Roman plain text. It is closer to MS Word Times New Roman Bold, but bold overdoes it so my sample (below with long tabs) is darker than the ad. But hey if it is easy enough that I could almost do it, it is very easy.

Now for the tinfoil hat part. Back 3 days ago when the word was that the alleged memos were grossly obvious forgeries I was very attracted by the idea that a Bush supporter (who conceivably might have a first name not beginning with K) had planted them counting on the incompetence of CBS to distract attention from Bush's going AWOL, his arrest record, his insider trading, his exchange of favors with the guy who bought the rangers, his refusal to commute the death sentence of a probably innocent person, his lies about the distribution of his tax cuts, the distribution of his tax cuts, his golfing on August 6th 2001 and well you know everything. It would explain the apparent clumsiness and the instant response of the right blogosphere.

Now it is clear that the memos are not obvious forgeries, although they might be forgeries. I wonder at the instant response. Obviously the most likely explanation is that the memos look very much like MS Word with defaults. However, the explanation that I find most emotionally satisfying is that the Bush administration knew the memos were out there (because they had removed them from Bush's file) and had prepared anti-memo talking points distributed through the vast righ wing conspiracy. Would be fun if true.

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