Attention Deficit Seduction

Smartphones, Texting, Technology

Image credit: Richard Revel

Have we become blinded by how much we are more controlled by technology than we care to admit? Our very thoughts, imagination, analytical perception, and creativity all seem to be controlled by our digital devices. Are we now becoming the robots, in this crazy role reversal? Don’t get me wrong, I like my mobile devices, but I refuse to let them seduce me into a scary and obsessive relationship.

I was recently listening to a conversation about how common it is for people to walk and text, or drive and text simultaneously, oftentimes resulting in some scary and tragic situations. Although driving while texting is illegal in many states, walking while texting can be just as hazardous. Why are we so obsessed over our Smartphones and digital devices? How did we become so seduced by those illuminating screens that make us lose our sense of awareness?

Many people do not find this seduction problematic, but let’s face it, our digital devices are just as addicting than controlled substances. Go into practically any restaurant and observe how many people cannot sit, talk and eat without grabbing their Smartphones. It appears that no one wants or prefers to talk anymore, but instead prefers to let their fingers do the talking.

Another alarming thing I have noticed more often than I care to admit is when you see parents or caretakers paying more attention to their smartphones than they do to their kids. Of course, as some of you may have experienced, saying something to these adults brings on a glare of war declared on you for saying something, or they may even hurl insults back at you…like mind your own damn business kind of responses. 

While many feel this is our new normal, should we just deal with it? I am inclined to believe that Attention Deficit Seduction is too great of a risk to take when it comes down to the safety of yourself and others. That’s just my two cents for today!

Androids Replacing Writers?

Robots, Androids, Writing, Writers

Yesterday I wrote about an idea to make and use a collage should you need some extra inspiration to write something when you run into writer’s block. As I was watching a documentary about the rise in artificial intelligence, they demonstrated how humanlike they are making robots to look, act and interact. Fascinating, but pretty scary at the same time, especially when one android said, “I want to be smarter than humans.” Wait, what? This is not your typical robot as depicted in the 1965-68 TV series, Lost in Space. These androids look more lifelike than some people I’ve seen.

I suppose the thing that struck me about this advancement in technology conversation is not the fact that it is supposed to be a helpmate to us, but it is becoming more of a human replacement in many scenarios. If you don’t think this is so, just go into practically any store and it seems like the self-service checkouts are increasing more than those with cashiers. I believe the one thing that caught my attention as I was reading an article one day, was the rise in more automated content generation versus that coming from real writers and journalists. In other words, writers are becoming obsolete in many industries as curated content is on the rise more and more. Content development systems are being created and programmed to kick out an article, white paper, blog, report, etc. on practically any topic, which means the system is designed to be faster, more cost-effective and more productive than hiring a writer.

I know, pretty scary, huh? I believe genuine “human” writers have a great opportunity to show just how valuable our writing is and the compassion we put into producing the compositions we share. So on that note, let’s not get overly anxious about these predictions that many analysts and theorists have forecasted. Let’s show ’em what we are made of, one letter, one word, one sentence at a time!

The Beauty of Vintage Typewriters

vintage typewriters, typewritersThere is something so nostalgic about this vintage machine that started the popularity of dictating handwritten words through keyboard writing. The sound of that tap-tap-tapping away at the keys is a familiar sound we would hear in an office or newsroom. Now that vintage typewriters are basically retired, there are still many people who love the aesthetics and feel of a good old-fashioned typewriter. I wrote this article 9 years ago and in light of recent conversations about vintage typewriters with a few fellow writers, I decided to repost it again. Do you collect or still write with a vintage typewriter? Share your thoughts.

The Typewriter: Influencing Communications Technology
By Kym Gordon Moore

Without the invention of the typewriter would it have been possible for the computer to bask in its global popularity today? Would you be reading these words if it wasn’t for the invention of the keyboard? When you think about the ease of usage as you type compositions that appear on the screen of your computer monitor, we should never forget the celebrated invention of the typewriter.

Mastering the use of the typewriter comes with the tag team precision of eye, brain and hand coordination. During my tenure in high school, typing classes were taught as an elective. Typewriters were extremely popular at that time, due to a soaring demand in secretarial careers. Accuracy and the number of words typed per minute were primary requirements for secretarial positions.

The evolution of the typewriter dates back to around 1713. An English engineer, Henry Mill was granted the first English typewriter patent in 1714, but never got around to manufacturing it. The first American typewriter patent was granted to William A. Burt, an inventor from Detroit in 1829 who introduced the typographer. Burt’s method was designed for transcribing letters singularly and progressively, one after another on paper.

The first practical typewriter, called the “Sholes & Glidden Type Writer,” was conceived and invented by Christopher Latham Sholes, Samuel Soulé and Carlos Glidden. The Type Writer was marketed by gun manufacturers, E. Remington & Sons. The keyboard arrangement was considered notable enough to be included on Sholes’ patent, granted in 1878. The typewriter worked great for beginners, but for the professional, modifications had to be done. The problem arose when increased typing speed caused a problem with the keys sticking. Hence, this influenced the invention of the QWERTY typewriter by Christopher Latham Sholes. The letters “Q,W,E,R,T” and “Y” beginning with the first row of letters from the left on the keyboard, gave the layout its name. It was also called the “Universal” keyboard.

The transition from the development of the typewriter to the computer keyboard resulted from the introduction of the teletype machine that combined the technology of the typewriter with the mechanics of the telegraph. The first machines only typed capital letters. The home keys (where the typist’s fingers rest) are “ASDF” for the left fingers and “JKL;” for the right fingers.

It is noted that Mark Twain was the first author to submit a “typewritten” manuscript to his publisher. Clearly, through the evolution of writing machines, the typewriter made a major impact on professionals, students and anyone wanting to make a written impression in a tasteful and organized manner. It is evident that the nobility of the legendary typewriter canvasses its way throughout the evolution of writing machine history.

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