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QWERTY vs a fountain pen


This age and that kind of childhood we had to use fountain pens, never Biros.

I learnt to type because I was given a second hand mechanical typewriter as a Christmas present. Odd, I thought. I had wanted an electric guitar.

30 years on my son wanted an electric guitar. With three acoustic guitars in the and little desire to be tutored or to follow his lessons at school the electric guitar didn’t materialise for him. Instead his saving, looking after a neighbour’s guinea-pigs when they were on holiday & playing with their primary school & nursery age boys … and some deft online searching, he bought an iTouch.

His bedroom is an emporium to all things iTouch.

His three best mates all have an iTouch too now. He’s the early adopter … they follow. He leads & champions wooly hats, T-shirts & trainers 😦 Jsut the way he is gregarious and enthusiastic for new ‘stuff.’

Homework last night required some research on the history of Blues. Fed up with being told Google has 94% of the search market in the UK I reverted to ‘Ask Jeeves’ which I used to prefer or trial over various others a decade ago ? (or less). We were taken to Wikipedia either way.

‘I alwyas wiki my home work.’ He says.

Like ‘to google,’ ‘to wiki’ is now a verb.

He touch types at 40 wpm. He is 11.

He has had access to a computer since he was … 2. He played a Mavis beacon QWERTY keyboard game/learner age 4.

How un-21st century, how clunky is a QWERTY keyboard? What happened to voice recognition? Why has a better keyboard not been adopted?

Being a ‘game boy’ he ignore the mouse. He could be shooting at the enemy the way he uses the cursor to get around.

Later in the evening my daughter is doing History Homework.

It is the First World War. Her great-grandfather was a machine gunner. Her survived the Somme & Ypres and successfully transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.


Three ‘Really useful’ boxes contain a collection of Imperial War Museum books, his medals, photos & postcards of the time … even a cutting from the Consett Gazette where he is featured in November 1917 having been awarded the Military Medal. In this box there is a full collection of 54 magazines on ‘World War’ published c.1929 with contributions from H.G.Wells.

The covers are red, everything else is in black and white.

‘When did they invent colour?’ She asked.

We discuss this.

We look through the many pages of mules & limbers, mud & soldiers, planes that are barely recognisable has such (a flying hay-rick) and ‘tanks’ that look as static as pill boxes.

“When did they start inventing things?’ She then asked.

By this she means mobile phones, computers, TV sets … or ‘stuff,’ as in ‘eletronic stuff.’

When did humans ever not invent?

From the perspective of a child, ‘innovation’ within the context of the world they are familiar with must produce considerable advance. particularly in this era when ‘new stuff’ is redundant as it hits the shelf.


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