He took an arrow to the knee

Third and last post from the old blog. Can the spread of information be traced and mapped?


As said in the previous post, the printed materials are stable, mainly because it takes considerable time and effort to change them and even when they get changed, there is always a paper trail leading to the old version. Its stability makes it ideal for referencing – it can be found with relative ease. This is not necessarily the case with native digital sources, as the information on the Internet is in motion. It gets copied, deleted and altered constantly. It changes location. This makes a digital historian’s hunt for the particular piece of information, say, a text, much akin to a real hunter’s.

In this situation, the digital historian would have three options – she can either witness, kill or mark the text. Mind you, all of the terms are meant metaphorically. Witnessing the piece of information is perhaps the most common method at present. In practice it means…

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Treasure hunt vs real hunt

The second post from the old blog. I still remember that train ride. Lausanne ThatCamp in 2011 was perhaps the most interesting conference I’ve ever attended – a new form of academic event organization; more free, chaotic and way less streamlined than any traditional conference, but the enthusiasm of the participants was palpable.


On my way back from THATCamp Switzerland, I took the night train from Basel to Copenhagen. This journey takes approximately 15-16 hours and allows plenty of time for reflection, as there is hardly anything else to do. CNL is no Orient Express. At least the five remaining inhabitants of my sleeping car reached a tacit consensus of going to sleep at about 21.00. Given that the attempts of reading before that had been punctuated by electricity disappearing and reappearing at random intervals, it was understandable. So, as the sweet old lady sleeping on the cot underneath mine was snoring like Hulk Hogan, I spent a considerable part of the night musing about different things (including premeditated murder).

Still, most of my reflections circled around the questions of digital sources and the changing role of a historian in the increasingly digital world. So I tried to map out the differences…

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How it all began

Found my old blog from 2011, only thanks to the fact that I had saved a link to it on Academia.edu. So, as the questions I set out to ponder back then still interest me, I’ll reblog the existing posts to my current blog and hopefully continue.


The thought of writing a blog about digital history has been lurking in my mind for some time, however, procrastination got the best of me in terms of finally starting it. There was always something more urgent to do whenever I sat down to open WordPress and write the first post – mail to be answered, pictures to be reposted, news to be read, you name it.

Why did I decide to start a blog about digital history? The main reason actually dates back to Wikileaks and the CableGate. On January 8th, one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, Politiken, published an article about CableGate and added a link to a selection of cables that the readers could access. Reading this article made me think – this material would be gold for future historians. However, how could they actually find it? What are the chances that the link would still work in…

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Drum conversion and error D04-534

Finally a Christmas miracle! Second day into trying to convert one of my drums from Sunflower Yellow to Fluorescent Orange and at last I found a fix that worked.

The tutorial on Stencil.wiki seemed otherwise simple enough.

  • Insert new ink tube. – Check
  • Hold right and left position arrow keys down and turn on the machine. it will start in Test mode. – Check

and the error message D04-534 appeared. Apparently it means either that the ink tube is incompatible or the code at the bottom of the ink tube has been damaged, so the machine is unable to read it.

(I believe it was here in the sequence that the machine (it’s RZ570EP) for some reason locked the drum into its position, so it was not possible to move it either with the ink tube inside or removed. As the master roll also needed changing and the machine was prompting to have it replaced, I replaced it and after a few restarts the drum unlocked itself. I have no idea whether the master change had anything to do with it or the restarts (test mode and normal) fixed it. Either way it seems not to have been a mechanical, but a software issue of some kind.)

I turned the ink tube into unlocked position and the error message disappeared. So I tried to complete the steps from Stencil.wiki

  • entered 117 on number pad
  • pressed Start (green button)
  • pressed Stop (red button)
  • entered 890 on number pad
  • pressed Start (green button)
  • pressed Stop (red button)
  • pressed Reset (yellow button) shortly and restarted the machine (by switching it off and on)

First thing to appear – error message saying that ink tube was not detected or it was of the wrong type. (As the drum still wasn’t properly locked into position, it was hardly surprising, but as soon as I locked it, D04-534 error message reappeared.)

So, after some googling I found a slightly different fix from Fixya for a similar machine (RZ390UI) and this one also worked on mine.


  • enter Test mode by holding down left and right position arrow keys and turning on the machine
  • when the error message D04-534 shows, press yellow reset button
  • press ‘C’ on the number pad
  • enter 890 and press Start (green button)
  • when the machine beeps, press ‘C’ on number pad again and enter 112
  • when the machine beeps again, press yellow reset button and hold it down, so the machine will reboot

And voilá, after the reboot there stood ‘Fluoresc. Orange’ in the lower left corner of the display. As the colours are rather similar, I did not clean the drum, but will prefer to see how the transition phase will look on prints. The current ones are still sunflower yellow.

Merry Christmas!




Riso printing on different paper stocks

Finally time to continue noting down my riso experiments thus far. One of my favourite features of risograph is that it can print on a much greater variety of paper stocks than a ‘normal’ printer. Uncoated paper types are the best, as they allow the ink to absorb into the paper.

RZ 570EP can according to its specs print on paper weighing between 46 g/m2 and 210 g/m2. Three of the samples I’ll show are within this range and the other two over the maximum limit.

These samples show orange ink printed on black Canson paper, uncoated, thickness I’d estimate about 140-160 g/m2.


This was originally a collage, and the print imitates the different textures rather well. Here is a closeup of one piece as well.


This one is riso print on Fabriano Elle Erre, a rather thick textured paper that is mostly used for charcoal drawings, thickness 220 g/m2. As the design (mistakenly) had a thick dark blue stripe on the top, this printed uniformly, but afterwards the paper got stuck and the coverage became uneven. I don’t even want to think about how much ink one of these prints takes, as it is A LOT.

A piece of image here:


And a closeup:


The following one is printed on “White Rose” (Russian brand) canvas-textured watercolour paper (unusual texture for that), 260 g/m2. Coverage was – as expected – uneven like on Elle Erre.


And a closeup:


Pastel paper stock, however, was a different story. Quite much thinner than the previous ones (estimated 100 g/m2), textured, uncoated – riso loved it. This particular paper was actually leftovers from book covers, but the texture reminds very closely that of Ingram pastel paper.


And closeup (the dots are back!):


The last one is “White Rose” watercolour paper, cold-pressed with a typical texture, 200g/m2. The image here is the same as on the black paper example. This type and thickness is great for riso art prints. (The unevenness of colour in the down right corner might speak against is, but the other images in the same print run did not have it.)


And a closeup again:


And that’s it for this time.

Picture tells a thousand words and yet costs less?

Something I’ve started to wonder about recently, as I’ve been scouring the web in search for sites where to submit work – there is a reasonable number of sites that accept written submissions (like short stories, poetry, etc) and pay for the accepted pieces. I’m yet to come across a page that offers similar conditions for submission of illustrations and frankly starting to question whether they even exist.

Which brings up a question – how come? Why is the value scale so tilted towards written word that a drawing is literally worth nothing, although in many cases it can communicate complex concepts just as well or even more efficiently? In fact a drawing can be worth less than nothing, considering that many well-reputed competitions charge an admission fee of approximately $25.

An article from the Irish Times that I came across a few days ago referred to a similar topic – illustrators of children’s books in Ireland not getting proper recognition for their work as all the laurels were endowed upon authors. The idea here is not to diminish the authors, but simply to have them share the limelight with the illustrators. Judging by the article, most authors wholeheartedly agree.

I actually believe that it was here in Greece that I saw illustrators’ names printed on the covers of children’s books for the first time, because I remember noticing it as something unusual. Whether this symbolic recognition also translates into practical rewards, is of course a different question altogether.