Death of the Typewriter

Typed words in the electronic media spread so fast these days. Only that they seem to typed on anything but typewriters! Godrej and Boyce made an announcement last week that it was phasing out the manufacture of its typewriters due to falling demand. The story was tweeted, re-tweeted and picked up fast and suddenly a whole bunch of newspapers and blogs were running around searching for their lost keys. This particular website actually provided real-time updates on its spirited search to find a fully functioning typewriter manufacturing unit and it seems that their efforts seem to have paid off! Surprisingly, while Godrej and Boyce seems to have deserted the cause of what was once a truly empowering and revolutionary technology at the turn of the previous century, the lone (?) torch bearer seems from the place where I am typing this piece from!! But its good, according to me – a sign of the changing times. An indicator of how and why perhaps electronic products are muscling out manufactured ones from our share of mind – much like what I’ve tried to depict by the much larger firefox logo “jumping” over the lazy looking Hush Puppies one.

Of course, there is nostalgia for old technologies as they fade away, with the sense of loss increasing with the age of the mourner, but a teenager of today would care no less. Of course, the teenager is likely to have picked up the story as it got tweeted but would have forgotten about it the next instant. I do remember the boring typewriting classes that I had once joined. People around me (read elders) had advised me that learning typing is essential to using the computer keyboard. Well, I quickly got bored and lost count of the number of times I had made my quick brown fox jump over the typing instructor’s lazy fox. Many times, my fox would just refuse to trot the keys and I had to back (some) space and re do the whole show again!

That was good riddance then and my keyboard skills are definitely not worse off at all. I just played a part of Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech (2005) video and typed the whole thing as I heard it out. It took me 29.75 minutes (length of the clip = 7:14 minutes) to type out the whole thing implying a typing speed of 42 words per minute, punctuations included. Not bad for someone who gave up on the machine invented by C.L. Scholes. I made 2 errors and had to pause and rewind the clip more than 20 times!! I did add the seconds that were thus lost to my total time to arrive at my typing speed. It was a good video clip to choose I guess since it talks about how Steve Jobs built in all the typefaces and various fonts into the first Macintosh computer. Old technology and work methods giving way to newer ones. Now we learn that even the CAPS key is being done away with by the latest paradigm changer on the block: Google!! Interesting times are at our fingertips.

About Kaushal

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