A published writer who has decided to remain mysteriously anonymous on this occasion, has sent us this piece for publication and for weekend reading.
Writing – but not as we know it
I’ve an addiction to writing.
When nine years old or so, I fabricated a letter to ‘The Saturday Express’ for which they sent a postal order for ten pounds. My dodgy fiction masquerading as fact was published as a ‘Star Letter’ and thus, I was a paid writer.
Giffnock Scouts were holding a Jumble Sale and my first typewriter purchased immediately. It was black and gold and extremely heavy. The rest of the money went on Biggles books from the old Fletchers shop…
I hate typewriters. Or rather hate typing.
The method of getting words onto page has always frustrated. A successful author ( unlike me ), a bloke called Stephen King, would regularly flagellate his lead characters in early works by naming them after typewriter makers and models, devising interesting methods of death.
As years passed, my typewriter became portable, electric, then electronic, a word processor and finally – after queing at a shop on Leith Walk – the first IBM PC in 1981 or so.
This thing was soon to be replaced by the IBM ‘AT’ computer which finally had a keyboard I liked. Big, clicky, clunky, and heavy. More years were to pass and civilisation cured the ‘AT’ keyboard of its useful features, making it user friendly and leaving me to choose the hysterical Microsoft Ergonomic Design.
Now this was, and remains, a real keyboard. You need training for one of these odd shaped things but most people remain ignorant of the key feature. It can nestle nicely in your lap when sat back with feet on the desk. It’s simply incredibly comfortable and heavy enough to take a pounding. Better still, it ensures no-one will casually sit down and use your computer as the keyboard instils immediate panic.
For the last week, I had a problem. I was detained at Her Majesties Pleasure and they wouldn’t let me take a computer ‘inside’. Now that sentence is out of the way, the ‘Her Majesty’ in question was one of her hospitals and ‘inside’ meant a week in clinical isolation for a silly condition.
But I’ve an addiction to writing, worse than ciggies, booze or finding the perfect coffee bean. And as the years scrolled onward, my handwriting now rivals my 18 month grand-daughter.
A quick conversation with medical staff produced a solution. Buy one of these new fangled smart phones and spend the week figuring out how to use it, while a slightly asthmatic machine wheezed and squeezed something friendly into my body.
Following a visit to the inevitable row of mobile phone shops in Oak Mall Greenock, the only device which looked about right was the Samsung Galaxy Note. The salesman in the 3Mobile shop assured me I was making the wrong decision. It was ‘too big’, it was ‘now the old model’, and would do better with the smaller screened Galaxy3 or even just an iPhone4.
It was love at first sight. A phone I wouldn’t lose, would be loathe playing with in a restaurant because it’s a bit vulgar, it could play talking books, I could read Kindle titles, it had unlimited internet access, I could probably write on it. And I could even call my Mum! (Note: must call Mum…)
Samsung have changed the rules of writing.
This thing has a touch screen and a silly pen gizmo. The usual qwerty keyboard layound is present BUT and this is a biggie BUT, they’ve introduced something called ‘Swype’. You essentially run the pen over the letters of the word you are aiming to miss-spell and it appears, correctly spelt and capitalised. The computer is clever enough to know what you had in mind and with a small amount of practice, typing becomes very easy. Easier than hand-writing also.
I’d a column to produce by Friday and thought of dictating it to my wife. Instead, 595 words were essentially drawn on my keyboard within thirty minutes and flown out by email while my asthmatic machine wheezed patiently in the background.
An important report my company produce every evening was emailed for final verification. I would ‘Swype’ in any changes and with Potterish flamboyant wand gestures, dispatch the results back to the office within 20 minutes.
Writing has changed, finally. I wonder if this is going to catch on or will it go the way of my old IBM ‘AT’ keyboard? Hopefully not.
My week in hospital taught that ‘Swype’ is a good halfway point between the rigours of a keyboard and the nirvana of Speech Recognition. Time will tell if Samsung realise what they’ve done.
‘Swype’ is available on the Samsung Galaxy Note and S2 & 3 phones. Needless to say, once I did a little bit of research, had I waited another month for my 5 year oil change, the new Galaxy Note 2 would be available.
I hate technology…
What has this to do with Argyll? Things change. Perhaps our stupid toy ferries are the equivalent of Version One and we’ll be provided with transport which is comfortable and competent for the weather conditions. We could call it Argyll Ferries 2, The Return Journey. Then again, when has a SINGLE politician done the right thing regarding the ferry route at any point?
(That was a tenuous link to a whimsical story. All Swyped…)