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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Type Is Not My Type : #IWSG

Mechanical desktop typewriters, such as this U...Image via Wikipedia

       Our A to Z co-host Damyanti Biswas who has the blog Daily (w)rite was recently talking about Word programs as opposed to typewriters.  This got me to thinking about my own experiences.  I disliked typewriters immensely when I had to deal with them.   Being able to use Word programs was like a dream come true.

        Technology is exciting, but it also scares me.  Electric typewriters were better than the manuals, but still it was a hassle when you made a mistake.  Correction ribbons and white-out kind of helped but I would still end up with a messy looking manuscript.   I wrote a lot by long hand in my notebook with my Bic pen and I liked that just fine.  But nevertheless I was deterred from being a professional writer and just doodled for myself and anyone who cared to take a peek.

        I once bought a Sears Type-O-Graph.  This was in the late 1980s.  This novel little machine was like a typewriter that instead of making impressions with type heads it had little pen tips that wrote whatever it was that you were keyboarding.   It also made really cool graphs and did a few other tricks.

       The store demonstration sold me on the Type-O-Graph, but after I started using it I realized that it was too complex for me to want to learn about.  Besides that, the little pen tips ran out of ink pretty quickly if you used them a lot and those things were expensive.  The machine was not very effective and not economically practical.  Besides, even though the graphs and diagrams that the machine could create were kind of cool, when would I need to use this?   My whole point in getting the Type-O-Graph was to make writing easier and truth be told it did not do that.

        When I finally started using computers I discovered true facility in writing.  No more erasures and an easy view of what was going to be put on paper before it was printed.   I could easily edit.  My fingers were able to fly faster across the keyboard.  And I could look at the internet when I wasn't keyboarding.

         However, I was also now head to head with advanced technology.  There is so much that I don't get about computers.  There is too much to learn and new things keep coming.  Just when I think I've got something down they change it.  New versions of Word, new operating systems, new software, new hardware.   When does it all end!!!   I can't keep up.
          I'm kind of concerned how things keep changing.  Google, Blogger, Facebook--I get used to something and they make it different.  Sure it's supposed to be improvements that they're making, but I liked the old ways.   I can't keep up Twitter, video on YouTube, or all of the other things that are so abundant that I can't even name them all.

          Someday I just know a computer virus is going to eat everything I've ever created, steal all that I have including my identity, and then infect me and my wife with some brain eating disease that will turn us into zombies. Then some stupid zombie author will turn me into a damn story about zombies and instead of writing a book, I'll be a book. 

           Of course, I suppose there's an upside to that.  I like to see the up side to things, but I'm not thinking of it right at this moment.

           Let's leave it at this:  I'm kind of happy with the way things are right now and I don't want things to keep changing so fast.  I'm glad we don't have typewriters anymore and I like computers.  Leave my Windows and Word the way it is now because I'm used to it.  Stop messing with Blogger, Google, and Facebook.  All this change makes me feel so insecure.

            To hear from other insecure writers go here.


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  1. Your post parellels my own today about change.
    I enjoyed reading what you thought.

    Have a good day.

  2. I'm a creature of habit, so I don't like change either.
    However, when it comes to actual computer software and stuff, I'm a total geek - bring on the upgrades!
    And you need to write your own zombie story before someone else does.

  3. Although I've never used a typewriter before I actually always assumed it would be cool! However that's an assumption I made without considering how irksome it would be to make mistakes and need to correct them, now like you I'm glad we just use word processors haha!

  4. I hear ya, Lee.
    You know what? Never heard of a Type O Graph thingey. Amazing weird device by the sounds of it. Thanks for the introduction!

  5. I'm with you. Every so often there is an update that leaves me scratching to find out how things work all over again. Sheesh. But, I guess that is what is keeping the old "grey cells" working eh?

  6. WOW on the typewriter. Those were the days. In the 80-90's I did dictation- the whole machine, headphones and the typewriter I was in my own little world.
    thanks for the little piece of Deja Vu : )

  7. Haha, I was just thinking what a great story that would make and then you said it!

    I'm so with you on all the changes at Google & Facebook---only because it seems like a lot of change for the sake of change (or to do what somebody else already does quite well, but oh no, got to grab that market share) rather than it being an actual improvement. I want Facebook to DIE to be completely honest.

  8. You are absolutely right about everything you said here. Typewriters seem to make the work little complicated with us having to be careful everytime we type eacch word and sentence. Because a little error would just spoil everything and we have start it all over again. And its not the same case with our new technology. Like you said changing technology seems fascinating but at the same time keeping up with every new thing that is coming up like a challenge is very difficult. Interesting post based on the old and new technology taking the example of our old typewriter.

  9. I'm with you, Lee. Technology is great, but also brain-wracking. Ah, love that typewriter pic, a step up from the old Underwood I posted previously. But like you, I wouldn't want to go back to the messy corrections, the white out, etc. etc. The ease of the computer has enabled me to compose on the keyboard SO much faster than I ever could in longhand - and I suspect it will preserve my fingers as I get older!

    I don't like the way things keep changing either, so I too hope they'll stay "stable" for a while, at least for the rest of my lifetime, which may not be possible if I live into my nineties!

    Glad you enjoyed my story about traveling in the desert. I like these kinds of stories also from bloggers. Thanks for cheering me on and have a great week!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  10. I'm learning to pick and choose regarding technology. I'm also learning that I can't keep up with it all anyway so I'll keep up with what I choose to keep up with it. Also, just because something CAN be done or updated or whatever, doesn't mean it SHOULD. :)

    Oh, I did a blog post today about the A-Z Challenge. Can't wait! :)

  11. I can't keep up with technology...
    The sum total of my tech abilities: posting & commenting (oh, I did learn how to embed a video on my blog; googled it and did it myself; that's a major accomplishment for me; by now, I've probably forgotten how to do it...*chuckles*)
    I know the basics of twitter.
    Don't know anything about Facebook/Skype etc.

  12. I learned to type on a manual typewriter, but never got good enough at it because I would get frustrated with all the correcting I had to do and end up doing my writing by hand. PC's and programs like Word helped a lot, though I'm not much of a Word fan. I prefer to use a plain text editor to do the initial writing and Word or Google Docs to add the formatting (italics, boldface etc.).

    I know what you mean about things changing after you get used to them. I'm about one change away from deleting my Facebook account...

  13. Technology has vastly improved my ability to write on a deadline, yet I still sometimes write longhand on yellow legal pads, like I did before I had a laptop.

  14. Yvonne -- Very cool. You and I were on the same wavelength for sure.

    Alex -- I wouldn't be surprised if that story hasn't already been written. I won't be surprised if it's actually true.

    Matthew YW-- You've really missed out on the typewriter fun--not.

    Cathy -- The Type-O-Graph never caught on and wasn't around long, probably for the reasons I cited. It was a novelty though.

    Delores -- Believe me, I can find plenty to give my brain cells a workout without dealing with all of the constant change.

    Gossip Girl-- Taking dictation is an amazing skill. I was never fast enough for that.

    Nicki -- I'm thinking that a lot of the changes are not for the better and maybe with somewhat devious intent.

    Elvirah -- Using a typewriter was always a huge exercise in frustration for me. Now the world is moving too fast.

    Ann -- Things seem to be changing too quickly. I learn one new thing then I have to learn another and eventually have to go back to relearn the changes. Too much in too short of time.

    Madeline -- I do a lot of picking and choosing as well. Thanks for the blog post. I'll be over.

    Mish -- I also have the problem of learning something and then forgetting. I have to do something several times to get it down.

    John -- Your story is my story--I know what you're saying. I won't delete my Facebook account as it helps me keep up with my kids and other friends and family members.


  15. Kelly -- I would say the benefits of technology generally outweigh the security of staying with the old. I love how the ability to produce writing product is more comfortable now and easier. I rarely write things in longhand like I was so wont to do in the past.


  16. Boy, do I relate! I love having Word, but I get so tired of everything changing all of the time too. To make it worse, every-time I sign in, somebody new wants to hijack my homepage and tries to make me use their stuff! I think that FB has slowed down for a bit on change, but now Google is going through a lot of change. Irritating.

    Hope your week is going well,

    Kathy M.

  17. Aww! It can be hard to keep up with all the changes. Sometimes the old way is better, but I wouldn't trade writing by computer for any other way (unless they invent writing by thought processes alone...I'd completely go for that).

  18. Hey, Lee, Thanks for the visit. I have not spent a lot of time in Blogland lately, but my heart is still with it. As for the love-hate relationship with a typewriter, I learned to type in my last year of high school, back in 1950-51, over 60 years ago. Can you believe that? Time has changed so many things since then. Typing has been the most useful skill that I have ever learned and I am so grateful for the experiences I have had using the keyboard. I have typed up term papers for myself and others and (cussed a little) when I had to make corrections. When the computer came along, it was like heaven to use the keyboard! Yes, I do intend to join the A to Z challenge again.
    Love, Ruby

  19. Wow, guess I'm glad I can type. It's a consider the alternative kinda thing. Good for me today.

    Thanks again, for the help on that A to Z thing the other day. You have got to think I'm a ditz - you're probably right. Now you also know I'm an insecure ditz.

  20. When I was in middle school I had a typewriter and hated it! I was always making typos and it was a major pain. So, I loved it when I got a computer and it didn't matter how many typos I made 'cause I could go back and fix them. I fairly average at computers and programs, but I do love technology. :)

  21. I remember Angie and I playing on a type writer and a really old computer at the old apartment!

  22. I really like technology and have found that it makes my writing so much faster than it used to be.

  23. Kathy M -- Everybody is spying on us on the computer and everywhere else.

    Cherie -- Thought controlled writing would make it all so much easier. I would be so prolific then.

    Grammy -- I also learned to type in my last year of high school and I'm glad I did. Glad you'll be A-to-Z'ing again.

    Faraway -- If you're a ditz then I'm a ditz too. There are a lot of computer things that totally confuse me.

    Jessica -- I love technology too, but I get so confused by a lot of it.

    Emilee --- That was the Type-O-Graph that you were playing with--it's the only typewriter I ever owned. And I still wonder what happened to that old useless computer.

    Tasha -- Writing is definitely faster and easier on the computer. Love the spellcheck and other features--so helpful.


  24. I love the way you went from typewriters to a brain eating disease that turns you and your wife into zombies. Hope that doesn't happen:)

  25. It's funny how we love technology so much, but doing things from "back in the day" like using typewriters or writing a letter in your own handwriting is still considered great.

  26. I typed all my papers in undergrad on a manual typewriter. With footnotes, too. I'm so glad word processing was invented.

  27. I'm excited about some change, but I do understand what you're so worried about.

    Myself, I'd rather have a typewriter than a pen and paper, but my alphasmart or laptop is even better!

  28. I've never heard of that typewriter, but it sounds very neat as a novelty. I would like to see one some day.

    In high school, when all the other kids had computers, I was still using my electronic typewriter. It was one of those ones you could push the demo key on and read all about the fox jumping over the wall or some such thing. It had the built in eraser ribbon, but once it ran out we didn't get anymore, and back to white-out I went. I have fond memories of that beige and brown monstrosity.

    I agree on change: I don't handle it well. Once I get to know something, it irritates me no end to have it change, because that just means getting to know it all over again. I guess that is life these days, though, and I need to get used to it.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 A-to-Z Challenge!

  29. Love it! We finally tossed our last typewriter at work 3 years ago! We are all on pc or mac but for some reason we couldn't let go of that typewriter... it was so convenient to roll a form in for a quick fill-in instead of figuring out how to line everything up perfectly between the computer and printer.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind words! AND for all your work on the A to Z Challenge, I'm so excited!

  30. I totally get what you are saying. It seems like as soon as I get use to something it changes. I don't like change. BUT, I totally like new technology if it works better.

  31. Lee, it's not that I'm in love with old technology, or even against changes with things like Facebook (which I love) or blogger, it's the time it takes to make all the changes when they update or improve the sites. Gah!

    I'm the sort that thinks, dammit, my profile ain't broke leave it alone! It took me forever to get it the way I liked it and now you want me to change it all around again? Sheesh!


  32. I feel the same "insecure." Why keep fixing what isn't broken?

  33. I hate new versions. Guess I'm a creature of habit. While we're at it, stop "improving" on my hamburgers, tacos, and breakfast burritos. Why do restaurants do this? I just don't know.

  34. Oh man I am totally with you, Lee! At first I was all about the upgrades. But danged if it didn't take me the better part of a year to get used to the new "ribbon" layout on MS Word. I'm about to just give up entirely on Facebook. Google seems more intuitive to me somehow, but maybe that's just in my head.

    I used to type stories on my mom's old typewriter, and something about the simplicity of that really helped me focus. Half the time that I'm writing on my computer, I have to shut off the internet just to get anything done!

    And don't even get me started about cell phones. My learning curve on those things is HUGE. I'm supposed to pick up these tech changes quickly because I'm young, but nooo I just end up spending more time on it so I don't look like a failure at being the tech-savvy youth.

    It'd be nice if it all just sloooowed doooown a bit to give me some time to catch up!

  35. I agree on the thing about all the platform changes. Not to mention I keep getting hit up with new social media sites to join by all my writer friends who swear this new site will make me more famous and sell more of my unwritten books. It can be overwhelming and we will all be zombies in that great and terrible day of which you speak.

  36. Happy to see that my post sparked off this one :)

    A to Z Challenge April 2012
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  37. I totally agree with your thoughts. I much prefer a computer over a typewriter, but when a computer stops working, I don't have any idea of how to fix it.

    Sort of like a car - I know where the gas and break are and that is about it.

    Computers are a mystery ... a wonderful mystery ... but a mystery just the same.

  38. I prefer the computer as well. My old electric typewriter is still somewhere in my parents garage.
    As far as upgrades and new programs, I force myself to learn one bit at a time, just so I can keep up with my kids 10 years from now ;)

  39. I kinda liked typing on my ol' typewriter. I liked the feel of the keys, the DING it made at the end of a line, and the way it sounded when you pulled out your sheet of paper. The biggest downside was if I made a mistake, good ol' Murphy's law would always dictate that it'd happen on the very last line of the page. As for modern technology, it can be baffling, but you can always do what I do. If in doubt, ask one of the grandkids.

  40. I get it. I don't mind change but it is frustrating too. So often the change comes with a bug because it wasn't tested properly before its release. ARRRGGGGHHHH!!

    I'm having a problem with that now and I'm fit to be tied.

  41. Goodness, I stepped away from these comments for too long. Loved what everyone had to say and appreciate all of you stopping by. I guess like me most of you are not ready to trade your computers back in for on old typewriter, but it was fun to reminisce.


  42. Facebook is constant change. From one day to the next, it's different. I wonder if anyone is really comfortable there?

  43. Once I get settled with something I disliking as well... just means more work, when what I have is prefect...:) Great post.

  44. I couldn't agree more with this. I love computers and cringe when I remember using white-out to correct my mistakes on typewritten pages, but the social media stuff is tough for me. I can't keep up with the different sites, and when I do start to get used to them they change. I'd love for things to stay just as they are now, but I know that won't happen!

  45. Enjoyed the post. I'm not always receptive to changes with technology. I know change can be good, but some changes happen so fast it leaves a person's head spinning.

  46. AMEN Lee! This is my mantra: "If it's not broke don't fix it!"

    However, as we all know, if one hangs around long enough, change is always inevitable. That doesn't mean we have to like it.

    I love my computer, but when I first got it I was in mourning for my last Selectric. Times change and eventually I did too.

  47. Thanks for the comments. I think many of us are resistant to change. It takes time relearning everything. And then when you got it down, they start changing again. It's a never ending cycle!



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