Tech #11 Typewriter Days
Remember when an adding machine was the size of a two car garage?.... or when you had to take out a second mortgage to afford a calculator? It's become clichè to point out the alarming advances in technology; but when you really stop and think about it - it's still frickin amazing. It's hard to believe that things as commonplace as a copy machine didn't exist when I was a kid. To make a copy we used carbon paper! And that was the only record of the transaction. There were no databases or hard drive storage, or CDs, etc.
If I want to make a copy of a document today, I can scan it or make copies on a Xerox machine, or maybe convert it to a PDF, or save it to a secure server - the list of ways I can duplicate and save this document boringly endless. Back then, the carbon copy was put in a file cabinet.... and that was about it.
God forbid you make a mistake. You either had to start completely over, or you got out the liquid paper. Originally invented by Monkee Mike Nesmith's mom, who as a secretary used white nail polish to fix typos. You also had the added grief of the ribbon getting curled up and tangled or the paper wasn't in there perfectly and the lines are all slanted.
Good luck writing a "special character" like ê or £ or using font other than Courier. Just try and insert an image or increase your font size - "caps lock" is as close as you're gonna get. When we wrote stuff back then, it was plain single or double spaced text..... and if you spilled coffee on your term paper, you were SOL.
I remember the first time I used a word processing software. It was Aldus Page Maker and it came in about 50 floppy disks; and it still couldn't do shit. Nowadays, text and simple graphics aren't good enough - you've got to have "multimedia" with hyperlinks, sound or video clips, spreadsheets with charts.... it's almost gotten to where I miss the ol' typewriter.
I'll be honest, I don't have the slightest clue what contraption is in these brochure photos. I scanned and cropped these images and never bothered to write down what they were from. Obviously, punch cards are involved.... but beyond that I'm at a loss. One thing's for sure, it cost a small fortune. And I can't help but wonder if it was more trouble than it was worth...... as a matter of fact, I wonder if all our document technology of today is more trouble than it was worth. We lived without Microsoft Word and flatbed scanners for thousands of years and somehow we managed to survive.