My first typing experience was on an old Royal manual. I could go like a bat outta hell on that thing, typing 80 words a minute with maybe one typo. The other people in the office where I worked would sometimes stand around my desk and just watch me. My boss bragged about his secretary’s amazing typing skills. Eventually, I was rewarded with a promotion — and a new electric typewriter, with expectation that I could type even faster.
Wel-l-l-l-l, no. My eye-hand coordination was fine-tuned to almost punching the keys with my fingers as I read from my shorthand pad and typed. This newfangled machine required a much lighter touch. The keys were closer together so my fingers ended up touching the wrong keys. I had to learn to type all over again. My boss, great guy that he was, patiently put up with my bumbling till I finally got it right. Just when I did, the IBM Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter (MT/ST) flooded the market like a tidal wave, sweeping up my office. Back to typing class! The barrage of blinking and flashing lights were a major distraction. (A little accompanying music would have been a nice touch.) The upshot was that everything I typed, in including boilerplate sentences and paragraphs, was stored in the machine. In a matter of seconds, a clean, mistake-free document was produced by merely pressing a few buttons.
However, the MT/ST was soon eclipsed. Without elaborating on the various phases of the evolutionary process of the computer, a state-of-the-art one was eventually at my disposal. Every single iota of information, from newspaper articles to recipes to fashion to the photos of naked ladies my co-worker, “Bob” I’ll call him, spent his afternoons staring at was easy to trace. You can listen to music, play games, gamble, buy anything, find a spouse, and the list goes on and on. Bob got fired. His replacement was interviewed via Skype then hired and processed in by Human Resources. All she had to do was show up.
Computers are wonderful things when used to good intent. You can do practically anything with one, including opening Pandora’s box. Just watch/listen to the news. Or read the news on the computer.
What ever happened to shorthand?