Book Typing SoftwareSoftware for book typing
Writing a story of writing software
Asimov, John Updike and John Hersey altered their ways of typing in order to fit in with text editors, according to the first bibliographer of science. It' s unbelievable, but one of the most important changes in the spelling of the last 50 years has been largely ignored by the history of the world of letters.
Text processing - any computer program or computer device used for authoring, an almost omnipresent technique used by writers, authors, doctoral candidates, international correspondence and managing directors - has never had its own literature story. Matthew Kirschenbaum, an British lecturer at the University of Maryland, five years ago recognized that nobody seemed to know who had written the first novel with the help of a text-writer.
The first long text editing game. This new tale follows a much wider group of scientists about other advanced typing technology - especially typeswriters. Scientists, for example, believe with confidence that the first volume ever typed was Mark Twain's Mississippi. Someday there will be a similarly extensive work on programming - and Kirschenbaum will be one of his first people.
ROBONSON MYER: "Who was the first writer to have written a novel about text processing? "You asked this as what made you compose this volume. When we consider a text processing system or a computer as something that corresponds to what we currently comprehend - basically a typed machine attached to a television screen - then there are a few competitors from the mid to late 1970s.
Especially Jerry Pournelle, who was a sci-fi writer. Wrote the infamous Hiroshima. This was the first time they actually resold and distributed it as a text processing software. An experienced user could then use it for editing, just like we do with a text process. It was often the clerk, who was very often a woman, who learnt how to use the text processing.
If someone used the MT/ST, did they have to recall what they typed? You' ve typed on the Selectric - it's the same kind of machine we see in Maggie Men, for example; it's a popular 1960s electrical machine - and if you've made a mistake, you'd switch back. This is obviously quite a bit of cash, and IBM has used the concept of text editing as a promotional tool.
First, it alienates our minds as to what text editing is. And the other thing I like about it is - there is a phrase I use in the textbook, "suspended encryption". "This catches the dynamics of text processing: You' re a writer, but there's some kind of suspension anim. Text stays in its liquid, formable state until you transfer it to paper.
And the other thing I like about the narrative is that it catches this gender dynamics, this societal aspect of the letter. The Deighton example also shows that Track Changes is a famous literature piece, not just a sophisticated report. You say that everyone - the famous authors, the authors and their readers - will find the right technologies together.
For example, the authors and the reader get an Apple II. This is a prominent story in the story? Typewriters can only do one thing - they are typewriters, they are typewriters. You were someone who got a typemaker at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, it was because you wanted to work.
When you got a computer in the end of the 80s, it wasn't necessarily because you wanted to use it to create a novel. But the other thing I would like to point out is that this really interesting mixture of literature and technology histories is dramatically condensed and shortened. It has a range of about 20 years in which it has operated, but the vast bulk of it - excluding Len Deighton and these singular conditions - is from the end of the 70s to about 84 or 85.
It changed so quickly that a novelist who started using a text editor - or, as they were then known, a microcomputer - in 1977 would have had a dramatically different experiance than a top-notch system, say, a novelist who bought one in 1983. And, of course, there was a great deal of opposition and fear of the workmanship, and some of them could be attributed to a general techophobia, a fear of the burning pane of pane of glass.
However, many of them were just authors who were overcome by the possibilities. The one thing that was really different about text editing is that there were tens and tens of text editing choices, tens and tens of shops and programs and formats, which were all incompatible and relatively costly. Have you seen a resurgence of fear of the diminishing use of hands-free?
Kirschenbaum: There were certainly authors who were the conscientious objectors to golds. Likewise, a little later, when the web appeared and you had famous jeremiades against the web, a number of high-profile authors were complaining or rioting about text-editing. Vidal asserted that text editing was "the deletion of literature".
" Pynchon said that all the authors he knew were in a hurry to get a text process. So, you had these very doctrinal, colourful attitudes that fossilized among some quite prominent authors. Many of the more interesting tales have to do only with authors who were more worried that their editors or agents would think that their computers "did the work".
" It was a genuine fear. The one thing I did was just go back and reading text processor favorite reviews, and many of them begin by reassure the readers that the computer really doesn't write the work. Meyers: Is it because so much of the work of the letter was so tangible before?
The one thing I am trying to get into the script is that there is an inventory of images of culture around the act of the letter. After a while, similar images for computer use become part of the literature fantasy. There is a rather popular R. Crumb comic by Charles Bukowski, which I was able to put in the work.
The one thing I like about the picture is that it shows how the computer has been incorporated into the inventory of images of culture within a decadel. It was a great deal of fear about calculation and automatization for a few years before the PC came onto the scene.
As a menacing, transcendent mind that could substitute for mankind' s work and creativeness, the computer was an accepted source of worry and disquiet, and it fitted right into typing and text-editing. When you describe "the hard-boiled writer who hits the typewriter", it's very brutal - and you describe Deighton working with his clerk, and the clerk is actually the one who uses text editing.
Surely any author who would have purchased a text processing program and read the user guide would have realized that all the photos show ladies with the press, because that was the standard in the workroom. Much of it collapsed along the line between speech and writings. One more interesting tale that appears in the work is about John Updike, who got a Wang text processing at the times when Stephen King did it, in the early 1980s.
The last thing Updike does with the typist is a memo to his clerk saying that he doesn't need her typewriting because he now has a text processing system.
Mayer: There is a story of materials that you can tell from a typograph. You will cite the example of Lawrence Rainey, a T.S. Eliot scientist who can decipher the composing story of The Waste Land by looking at his typecar. I also recall the fear of composing softwares and the fate of this kind of fellowship.
Have you been afraid that we will not be able to conserve the work of modern literature? Kirschenbaum: So much of typing now, and that involves literature that involves fiction and poetics that become cultural resonance and important - all this is now happening digital. That was something I wanted to write about, write the script.
I have found that there were often very unexpected samples of proofs left over from those early stages of text editing as well. There are also some authors who use the real tracking change function or other version control system to get their own literature scripts at the touch of a button.
He is an Aussie writer and uses a system that was initially designed for developing all his designs. If we had had Eliot's composing of the poet one by one? Have you found out that any of the verses typed her work? A number of verses were early adoptive parents at the same period as the novelists.
I found more of what you mentioned before, namely a differentiation between authors of populist and fictional literature on the one side and sophisticated or fictional literature on the other. I have a very close look at one of the different types of music. Not surprisingly, the sci-fi authors were among the first users together, as a group.
But, as it turns out, it's not for what you might think, oh, sci-fi, of course they're really technically savvy folks, they'll all get a computer and they' ll like it as soon as possible. Rather, the fact that sci-fi authors were among the first to come to text editing is that they had such an influence on the physical work of novel composition that authors who used text editing found that they were more productiv.
And, as some of my interview partners said to me, to live as a sci-fi writer in the later 70s, early 1980s, you had to be able to write two or three novels a year. Meyers: You're talking a little about looking at different ways of text editing in Microsoft Office.
They go into "economy measures", which is your expression for WriteRoom which tries to reduce distraction. Kirschenbaum: I think we see this interesting comeback to what the teachers of the letter have long described as free text, and that is just the unrestrained proces of getting things out and making a first fast and filthy design.
What interests me is that there are now certain utilities and plattforms that are developing with this accurate pattern of typing in the head. Whoever has attracted the most interest is the one I am going to describe at the end of this work. It was Hemingwrite at the age I wrote, but now it's Freewrite.
This is reminiscent of the way many authors speak about their pen - these beautifully designed and manufactured pen. Freewrite strives to achieve the same standard of craftsmanship and consideration in the manufacture of a custom-made pen. Well, you know, in a way, I think we're gonna see more and more of these particular writeboards.
We will still be doing all kinds of typing on our normal laptops, but it could be your e-mail, your corporate medium. In my opinion, there are more and more options for committed long-distance work. Will there be a ramification between instruments for recreation or building and for use?
Some types of correspondence associated with the workstation will in turn be associated with the much bigger issue of how it is distributed throughout the workspace. To a certain extent, I think our predicament could be similar to that of authors in the early 1980s, who had a dozen different choices, to the extent that they were afraid, and who really had to think through what they wanted from their text editing applications.
Maybe, hopefully, without that fear. We' ll really be able to decide which pen, which desk top we want to use and whether it should be the only piece of packaging that has been dominating the industry in the last years. Meyers: How did you spell this work?
Kirschenbaum: I used this one application that has been dominating the industry for the last few years. There is nothing interesting about how I have written the script - I did it with Word and a Thinkpad. Asimov: In the notebook you say that Isaac Asimov didn't know where the computer in the building was going.
Kirschenbaum: Isaac Asimov is of course one of the great Patriarch of sci-fi. When he gets his first computer, he is almost 70 years old. Popular Computing offered him the opportunity to publish a range of papers that document his work with text processing.
In those days, the computer often required its own place in the family. It changed the surroundings and other customs that we would not relate to the act of letter. Kirschenbaum: The volume contains a painting of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, the renowned scientist who at the times had a so-called "portable" computer - in contrast to a "portable" computer.
This catches the way in which the places where you could use a computer to type have already changed - we have already moved away from the computer's official position at the desktop, and we are at it. Mayer: There are not many or no theory about how text processing has resulted in a style-shift.
When you have been able to determine that the use of addictive terms has either increased or decreased significantly after they were adopted by text processing, what then? I believe that typing is a very multidimensional, complicated work. The computer, or whatever the compositional tool, can certainly be one of them, but also all the other things that happen in a writer's lifetime, his bio, his physical surroundings, the conditions in which the script is composed, the public for whom it is to be composed - I do not believe in the idea of isolation of a single visual element, and certainly not in a technical one, as the cause and effect in a whole that is as abundant and complicated as this one.
Much more interesting than that for a single author, I think, would be the perspective of doing it for a fellowship of authors. Well, the kind of sci-fi we used to talk about back then was a relatively small group. In the early 1980s there were several hundred individuals who probably made a livelihood doing sci-fi, and many of them knew each other.
The one thing I like about this work is all the photos of the workroom - especially the photos from the 1980s. Kirschenbaum: The pictorial story of all this is really interesting. What is a story of text editing literature, how to deal with it?
The best research for the work was the verbal stories I did.