Typing and technology through the ages by a 47 year old.
What has your experience been with typing and technology through the years? I remember my son asking me if cars were “a thing” when I was young!
At age 47, it is funny to think that when I was a child, all communication with friends was done through my parent’s phone with number dial. I remember ringing my friends to arrange a cinema trip and coordinating who could make which date and which parents could give children a lift, which meant several phone calls. I also remember calling directory enquiries if I needed a phone number.
My first mobile phone was a Nokia “brick” which was given to me by my parents towards the end of secondary school. It was given for emergency use only and I had the ability to call or text.
Computers weren’t so common either.
Our first computer was a Sinclair QL. The computer used a small microtape to save files and games were really basic. I used to type in commands to move around a text game (L for left, R for right) or I could play a game of pixelated tennis. I remember at secondary school when I got a “tape is full” message when typing my A level dissertation on Vivaldi and I had to start the whole thing again, 7000 words in.
At secondary school I was fascinated by computers and the only place where I had access was the school library. I was a school librarian, in part to get away from bullies in the school canteen as I was able to eat my packed lunch in the library office. The head librarian had a computer in there and encouraged me to do a computer qualification in my lunch hours (the equivalent of half a GCSE).
I remember at university, that my printer (same computer) quite often put page breaks in the middle of a page, much to the annoyance of my English lecturer Dr Swift who resembled “The Penguin” from Batman in both dress and character. I got marked down in an essay for my unconventional page breaks.
When I was 20, my brother purchased an Atari ST computer which was amazing and actually had proper games (of a sort). This gave me time to finish my degree with the knowledge that I could actually safely save a document. Our Sinclair QL remains in my parents loft.
At secondary school, as well as computers, I also loved typing and got my chance to get my hands on an electronic typewriter in our “keyboarding” GCSE class. A girl in my class was able to “touch type” and I wanted to do the same.
I loved this lesson but unfortunately had a disastrous GCSE exam as I ran out of paper (I accidentally used a sheet for blotting), I had no working comma on my assigned typewriter, my rubber (you know the one I mean, half blue and half white) was smudgy and I was desperate for the loo. I came away from school with a Pitman’s 1 qualification and a pretty rubbish GCSE grade.
So now in later life, I have redeemed myself. Although a pretty fast typist, I tended to use random fingers so I took the Type IT! touch typing course and have become a typing tutor, a victory after my defeat at GCSE. I have a wireless printer which has normal line breaks although it does have to think about whether it wants to print or not. I have a Lenovo think pad laptop which is fast enough with a big enough memory not to freeze up when I open multiple tabs.
Technology has moved on so much in the last 40 years and I am always looking for the latest thing. I am fascinated by video chats, online webinars and Alexa and love the thought of talking to turn lights and appliances on and off, although I’m not quite there yet.
I was telling my son this morning about an article I read some years ago about a vending machine in China which had been specially adapted so you could take payment through someone’s pupil. Just think of that and what the future holds.
To find out more about Type IT! please see our website at Touch Typing in Harrow - Harrow Touch Typing Centre - Type IT! Touch Typing Courses For Children and Adults (touchtypeit.co.uk)