Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alt+0162 or C backspace /

My First Laptop


You can only take so much ISEBOLA  


In the not too distant past a comment thread started with a German saying and soon turned to the creation of the mysterious letter Ö.  That thread came just a few days after I was contemplating the tragic cultural loss of the ¢ symbol, an atrocity equal in my mind to the Taliban blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan.  How can you mind your cents and let the dollars take care of themselves when there aren't any ¢'s?  

My thoughts on $'s and ¢'s probably came about from a discussion at work regarding the now commonplace QWERTY keyboard and someone complaining about the layout.  In the discussion of the QWERTY keyboard I tried to explain that the reason for the layout of the letters was to prevent the typebars from colliding and/or jamming on their way to and from the ribbon and platen.  The blank stare, glazed eyes, and accumulation of spittle at the corner of the mouth disclosed that I was dealing with either a late Generation-X'er or possibly an early Millennial and I realized I needed to resort to Youtube.  

"Was that before or after you did away with the chisels and stone tablets?", he snidely asked.  So, after smacking him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper I volunteered that the QWERTY keyboard layout went back to 1878 and the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer... 

... that was before they sold out to Eliphalet Remington and his boys who produced the Remington No.2.  The mention of Remington immediately brought back some of the street cred previously lost.

Someday, some learned person will write about the decline and fall of the American Empire, I'm sure he'll start with the introduction of the IBM Selectric and their accursed ball!

I remember when my first office got a brand new IBM Selectric III.  I was the assistant manager (ANCOIC actually), and my boss called me into his office one day.  He was red-faced and fuming... "WHY? Why does this damned thing keep beeping at me", he roared.  I studiously examined the machine, the paper inside it, turned it off and on, and started typing...

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"... I typed, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party", (obviously socialist indoctrination in schools started early).

No Beeps!

"Hmmm", I ventured, "Perhaps if you don't misspell so many words it won't beep".  That was a valuable life lesson for me, for shortly after uttering it I found myself assigned to typing duty and soon learned to keep my mouth shut. 

Many years later there was a bright up and coming young boy that worked in the office.  We all know that he had only the best thoughts of us in his heart when he went out and purchased these for all our computers...

Yet to this day all that knew him and experienced this unnatural abomination of Satan curse his name, although he did fair better than that other guy, the one who like Lord Voldemort shall not be mentioned, he's the one that purchased these...


So, close your misogynistic eyes and start the video below.  Perhaps you'll be able to conjure forth the angelic image of the girls in the steno pool, feel the oily ink upon your fingers, breath in the sweet aroma of carbon paper and the sour wafting perfume of WhiteOut and remember civilization before the digital collapse. (Don't worry, you'll probably get the full effect in a minute or so... after that you're welcome to continue listening if you so desire.)

Stay tuned, perhaps someday when the memory is not so recent and painful, I'll reminisce about dot matrix printers.

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