Sunday, March 10, 2013

Filling a gap

These comments by Ken MacLeod should be of interest to us all:

Filling a much-needed gap 

One of the major problems for writers is that the machine we use to write is connected to the biggest engine of distraction ever invented. One can always disconnect, of course - there's even software that locks out the internet and email for selected periods - or use a separate, isolated computer, but I think something more elegant as well as radical is needed. 

What I'm thinking of is some purely mechanical device, that took the basic QWERTY keyboard with Shift and Return keys and so on, but with each key attached to an arrangement of levers connected to a physical representation of the given letter or punctuation mark. These in turn would strike through some ink-delivery system - perhaps, though I'm reaching a bit here, a sort of tape of cloth mounted on reels - onto separate sheets of paper, fed through some kind of rubber roller (similar to that on a printer) one by one. The Return key would have to be replaced by a manual device, to literally 'return' the roller at the end of each line. Tedious, but most writers could do with more exercise anyway.

Corrections and changes would be awkward, it's true, but a glance at any word processor programme gives the answer: the completed sheets could be, physically, cut and pasted. Someone more patient, less easily distracted, and more mechanically savvy than myself would have to develop such a device, and maybe already has - for all I know, the patent may be gathering dust. Now, its time has come. There's a huge gap in the market for it. 

I tell you, someone's going to make an absolute fortune from this. 

See the original post with comments here.


shordzi said...

Back to the Future hurray!

MTCoalhopper said...

By golly, we ought to patent that idea. We'll make millions, and salvage the mental health of humanity in the process.

I should also add the meditative sound of rhythmic typebar impacts. My girlfriend actually likes the sound of my typing while she's using the computer. (Yeah, I know, there's an app for that.) She is a child of her generation, and I am the product of my own.