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Equal Time

 5:26 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

With all this griping about the younger generation, I have to say one thing on our children's behalf: At least they are not our parents.

A while back, my mother gave me a printout of part of her unpublished autobiography. Around 1945 in what was soon to become East Germany. Except her immediate neighborhood, which became Poland. So of some interest.

I asked if she still had the original word-processor file. In reply she said that she didn't use a word processor, just her computer and printer.

Now, it is true that the document contains no formatting beyond paragraph breaks, so she might have meant that she did it in a text editor.

But I don't think so. I think we have here the equivalent of "I didn't use a browser. I just went online."




 7:53 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I still have print outs of documents that I wrote "on a computer" using IBM Script on the mainframe. In those days a "word processor" was a new design of typewriter with a screen and memory.


 8:31 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yah, but you didn't write that stuff in 2011 did you? :)

I remember those word processors too. One step up from the very last generation of typewriters, which could hold up to two full lines in memory so you didn't have to haul out the little bottles of stinky green liquid if you discovered a typo three words later.

And then the word processors got sucked into computers, the way e-book readers are getting sucked into tablets...


 11:12 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

First word processing program I used was ScripsIt on my Trash80.


 1:31 pm on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

My first word processor was on an Apple II+. The display was only 40 characters wide instead of 80 because my dad didn't get the upgraded graphics card. But he did pay for the upgrade to a whopping 64K of memory!


 1:37 pm on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@lucy24 your original post didn't say when the document was written.

I am not suprised that an older, non technical, person hasn't transferred their usage of the term "word processor" from the original machine to a computer programme.

But I don't think so. I think we have here the equivalent of "I didn't use a browser. I just went online."

And then they berate you for using "jargon"!


 1:45 pm on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

People don't go "online".. they go on Google.. to get to facebook..to post about the things they pinned on pinterest.. "things".. that they "found" on Google..


 7:36 pm on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

your original post didn't say when the document was written

I guess it depends on your interpretation of "a while back". I admit I have been known to misplace a few years, sometimes even entire decades. ("How can my kid be graduating from college? Last week he was five!")

Idle query: What proportion of computer users begin every search by entering "google" into the search engine's search box because that's their default home page?



 10:42 pm on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I once sold a computer to a guy wishing to write his memoirs, he was almost blind by this stage and we had to enlarge everything to a ridiculous scale. He was very frail and as it later turned out dying.

He was a demanding customer and we had to visit several times on top of hours on the phone. Finally we got everything to spec and he turned round to me and said "I am too tired to write my memoirs, but when I die I have a wonderful computer to leave to my grandchildren"


 1:54 am on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just to throw this out - OCR has gotten pretty darn good. You could get this into an electronic form with a fairly high degree of accuracy without a huge effort.


 3:56 am on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

For a given definition of "good". Remember, I'm coming from an e-books background. I could give you a list of stealth scannos as long as your arm-- and that's before even starting on the special issues involved in, say, long-s texts.

Ever looked at the plain-text versions of Google Books? Read it and weep.


 2:56 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, it depends on your source. Some fonts, for example, have very thin spots (like at the top of the "n"). I've had source materials with some fonts on glossy paper with relatively low contrast that scans as an endless series of iniiiiijjjjinnn

But in other cases, I've seen error rates of less than one letter per page.


 12:47 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yeah, words. It's interesting. For English we might want to start with letter usage. Some universal agreement would be nice. I'd start with "S". G might be next up...


 8:37 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, we could follow the example of Dutch and call the language by a different name once it gets settled in a different country :) So last week's Spanish is this week's Castilian OR Mexican OR Chilean OR ...

I recently watched the DVD version of The Harder they Come, with interviews. I have never heard white people speaking Jamaican before. It was the coolest thing you can possibly imagine.

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