Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's Earth Hour

We're in the dark! (Except for the laptop. It's a good thing I learned touch-typing eleventy-seven years ago.)



Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Touch typing! This is another skill, like subtractive sculpture, that looks like something supernatural to me. I took the typing class twice and still can't do it.

11:50 a.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Yet another thing my Dad taught me to do, along with baseball and, well, everything: touch typing. When I was a pre-teen and imagined that I could be a great science-fiction writer, he challenged me to type a story. When I went for it, he gave me an old manual typewriter that had belonged to J.C. Murphy, my maternal grandfather.

Except that he had taken off all of the key cap letters, so the keys were blank, and he had drafted a map of the keyboard and glued it into the inside of the portable Royal's case, which opened up to face the typist when in use.

To this day, I can't type comfortably without looking straight ahead (which comes in handy in this age of computers), and I still strike keys with a force sufficient to kill small rodents.

11:08 p.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

My mother insisted we all learn to type, since it was an essential skill for college students, or at least the ones who didn't want to pay to have papers typed for them. In those days, typing was part of the business curriculum and not such a bad course for a senior guy. There were more cheerleaders in typing than, say, in Latin II. However, I believe the folks who designed laptops are hunt-and-peck types, since those flat boards are really not conducive to those of us who aren't watching our fingers.

6:01 a.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

I agree about laptops' keyboards, Mike: it's like typing on Chiclets. The little bumps on the f and j keys are helpful, though.

10:49 a.m.  
Blogger Dann said...

They changed the name from 'typing class' to 'keyboarding class' at some point in the 1990s. Instead of focusing on setting tabs, page margins, and other formatting issues, keyboarding focuses instead on using some of the basic types of software that is available.

i.e. word processing, spreadsheets, database, etc.

And of course they still worry about things like typing speed. My impression from when my kids were going through that class is that they expected speed and accuracy to come of its own accord rather than as a result of educational focus.


2:08 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

I graduated high school at 16 and my parents deemed that I was too young to go to University, which would mean a move to live on my own in St. John's. To kill a year I took a Stenography (remember that?) course at the local vocational school. We used IBM Selectrics (remember them?) in the class but I had an ancient, hi-top manual that I used to practice at home. Like Sherwood, I developed pinkies which still have the strength to kill a man. (You had to use them to use the 'shift' key, which lifted the entire large and heavy carriage of the typewriter.)

Among other useful skills I learned how to file, keep a set of books, and how to properly write cheques and address mail - the latter thing which I still notice about 90% of people don't know. I also learned Gregg shorthand, which I use to this day to annotate documents.

In retrospect, a dull but useful year :)

9:03 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Gregg shorthand! One of the few things that I know of that my over-achieving Dad (you just try following someone like that in the parenting department) didn't teach me that he could have. He was principal, bus driver, "business skills", and math teacher at a tiny high school in Upstate NY when I was born and for a brief time thereafter, and taught me a lot of those useful things later on, but not shorthand. I guess maybe he considered that to be an exclusively woman's job.

Oh, well. Gregg stuff looks suspiciously Arabic, anyway.

(Are we approaching a record comments:post length ratio yet?)

10:42 p.m.  
Blogger Dann said...

I suspect that we have a way to go before we reach a record. Which brings up the interesting question of how to comments discussing the impending record affect the ability to reach the record?


I noticed before posting the above that I was about to be posting as "Shelly". Which is my beloved bride's Google account.

Now that she has transitioned to Firefox, I suspect that I'll be posting as more than one person in the near future.

Coming to a blog comment near you!

8:50 a.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

8~) I considered bragging that i typed my way through college, grad school (both in the typewriter era) and writing a novel, all using three fingers! Then i thought, maybe that's not something to brag about...

1:15 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

That depends on which three fingers they were, Ruth, and whether or not they were all yours.

1:56 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

LOL! I suspect the record for comments, on this blog, would be firmly held by one of my post-op posts, or possibly one of the posts my sister wrote on my behalf post-op, when dozens of RACsals posted good wishes. (Chris Clarke organized that effort, by the way, for which I will forever love him.) I'm afraid we're chasing a record that cannot be beat.

Sherwood, you're right - Gregg does look slightly Arabic, which is why I like to use it. (Senior Management is suspicious enough of me as it is.)

NFTP, I'm with Sherwood. Which fingers, and whose?

9:28 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Always my own fingers! I of procrastinated in my work and typed through some all-nighters. I type with my left and right middle fingers, plus my left ring finger.

They were actually starting to offer a class called "keypunch" by the time i was a HS senior (1971-2), but both typing and keypunch were offered separately for awhile there. Oh and i well remember the IBM Selectric! We used it in the library into the 1990's.

11:02 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Yes, it had the patented something-ball... amazing technological advance that solved the problem of the individual keys getting jammed together.

What I remember most about the old days of typewriters was the damned carbon copies... and having to erase mistakes (remember the pencil-style erasers with the little brush on the other end?) individually from each copy before trying to realign the offending word so that the correct letter matches up with the rest of the word (sigh)...

9:20 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...


I remember being just blown completely away by two aspects of the Selectric technology: 1) the whizzing speed & accuracy of that dizzy little ball, and 2) the ability to change font in the middle of a document just by flipping a little lever on the magic ball's top and replacing it with another ball! Yow!

There is still a Selectric in use at my college here in the heart of Silicon Valley, believe it or not. It's in a little corner of a hallway in the Admin. building for those occasional times when somebody has to use an old-fashioned carbon-paper-based form. Used to be that dot-matrix printers would do the trick for impact-copies, but nobody has those any more. Used Selectrics outlived old dot-matrix machines, I guess, as far as upkeep and supplies are concerned.

12:04 a.m.  

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