Sunday, January 8, 2012

"I was so much older then/ I'm younger than that now" — Bob Dylan

UNIVAC I (1951) from: Lazy Desis

"The editor of Punch [September, 1867] sniffed out a deeper deal in the typewriter than simple legibility:
     'Every author his own printer! What a happy state of things! No more struggles to write legibly with nibless tavern-pens: no more labour in deciphering the hieroglyphs of hasty writers. Literary work will be in future merely play—on the piano. The future Locke may write his essays by a touch upon the keys.'
     But the disappointments of the possible future wouldn't stop there, and would or could or should go screaming into the dark night, the invention marking time in the brain of the writer, making able for him or her to compose without thinking, pillows taking over for the mind:
     'In this inventive age there really is no saying where discovery will stop. Now that authors are to put their thoughts in print with twice the pace that they can write them, perhaps ere long they will be able to put their works in type without so much as taking the trouble to compose them. A thought-hatching easy chair may very likely be invented, by the help of which an author may sit down at his ease before his thought-printing piano, and play away ad libitum whatever may occur to him. Different cushions may be used for different kinds of composition, some stuffed with serious thoughts, fit for sermons or reviews, and others with light fancies, fit for works of fiction, poetry, or fun. By a judicious choice of cushions an author will be able to sit down to his piano, and play a novel in three volumes twice or thrice a week, besides knocking off a leader every morning for a newspaper, anil issuing every fortnight a bulky epic poem, or a whole encyclopaedia complete within a month.' "
JF Ptak Science Books LLC
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