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Computer vs. typewriter vs. long hand

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Posted by Wes Perdue
Oct 31, 2010 at 02:08 AM


JohnK wrote:
>So, four forum members with a passion for fountain pens.
>What does that tell us? 

Make that five. It’s been a few years since I’ve purchased a pen, but I love my collection.

- Wes


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Jun 30, 2012 at 09:56 AM


Now you can have it all:


Posted by Gary Carson
Jul 1, 2012 at 05:26 PM


Modifying a manual typewriter to work like a computer is an abomination.

This is worse than digital pens or silicone breast implants. It’s like installing a lawnmower engine on a 10-speed bicycle or replacing your cat’s head with a light bulb.

OK, that last example was a little weird, but the sun’s been frying my brain here in the Midwest for a couple of weeks now.


Posted by Lucas
Jun 3, 2014 at 07:54 PM


In today’s NYT Science Section: “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades”


PDF of the article stored on Dropbox:



Posted by Dr Andus
Jun 3, 2014 at 08:49 PM


Lucas wrote:
In today’s NYT Science Section: “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades”

Thanks for that, Lucas. It looks like the issue is far from being settled, though.

Whatever the case, I think there might be one thing going in favour of handwriting and typewriters. One definitely has to make a bigger commitment to what is being written down with the former two, than with computers, where it’s so easy to delete, alter and rearrange immediately. So there might be a case where the former might compel one to put more thought into what is being written down, which then might turn out to be of higher quality, perhaps less verbose and wasteful, and consequently requiring fewer revisions.

But one could also argue that it’s less easy to be experimental and do free writing with the former, which then could lead to writer’s block more readily. For this reason I can’t even be bothered to test the above theory because I’m afraid that I’d be wasting valuable computer writing time.

There is one more method still: dictation with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I did try it many times and have always reverted to typing in the end (though with the help of PhraseExpander), as with typing I don’t really need to think through the shape of the entire sentence upfront, but Dragon requires one to compose a more or less full sentence in one’s head, which I’m finding a lot more taxing activity mentally speaking. Somehow using the hands frees up the mind to think up the next part of the sentence, while dictation requires one to pause to think.

But it’s not impossible that these various methods work differently for different people, so it might be down to personal history, makup (physical ability or disability) and preference. But mechanical typewriters may not be that easy to have as an option for much longer…


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