Sunday, 3 May 2009

Before the PC


I find that nowadays office-people stay back longer at work than say, in the late 70's to 80's despite having so-called productivity tools like the PC, or blackberrys or cell-phones to help them in the efficiency department. Back then, when we needed to have a letter written, we drafted one in longhand (umm for younger readers, that means we wrote it out on paper) or dictated it to a stenographer or a secretary who would take it down in shorthand (which is symbolic form of writing used for fast recording of what's being said). These are later typed out on a typewriter by a typist, or by the stenographer /secretary herself.

Those days we did not have the luxury of frequent edits and re-edits, it was quite impossible on the typewriter anyway. So you'd better get your draft perfect the first time lest, if you were very junior and the typist an aging, disgruntled deadwood, you suffer the pain of getting an earful from her. Yes, we tended to get things right the first time; we spent little to no time embellishing the work but we did have to check thoroughly for typos, if only for a chance to get back at the old bag, hah! Nevertheless, we got to go home before sunset, take the kids to the play-ground, cook dinner if we were so inclined, watch tv with the other half and then go to bed.

cartoon mad typist animated gifsNow most office-people prepare their own documents on the PC, they spend endless time correcting or re-arranging the contents, they write their own e-mails, or organise their own files and whatever else. And they go home late, and the children wait up for them, and they have a hurried dinner and they fall asleep in front of the tv (sigh).


And so the position of "typist" and her tool of trade, the typewriter, is now extinct - dead as a dodo. Typing is no longer a job classification but an essential job skill, a living skill even. For those who remember the typewriter, hope you'll enjoy this classic from Jerry Lewis.

If you have forgotten, "tings" on the typewriter warns the typist of an impending end-of-line and she needs to feed in another line by pushing the carriage back to the beginning of the line.


11 comments:

Me said...

ya...i still remember the ka ching days...seronok gak eh? but what would we do tanpa the computer and emails nowadays...i think sekarang banyak sgt hi tech stuff and communication gizmos that it takes up all our time..twitter la, fb lah, blog lah, email, sms, surfing...too much noise i say...

Zendra said...

I agree Me, there's simply too much noise and it's really up to us how much we allow ourselves to be carried away by it all.

The Sound of Silence is playing on my machine now hehe...

Kak Teh said...

I find that this hi tech communication leave very little room for interpersonak ones. You see people in the train, buses, busy talking, smsing to other people but nit talking to the people near them. There are people walking and sitting side by side in a cafe, yet talking and smsing other people miles away.

but zendra in defense of high tech communications, you know the radio programe that you heard in my blog? well I did the interviews using skype and recorded on skypecap, then did the whole programme from the comforts of my bedroom. That's technology. The studio is too far away.

Zendra said...

Too true Kak Teh, we are not expecting stimulating conversations or witty repartee or such like, but even people-watching seems like a lost pastime now. I think most of us are guilty of becoming too engrossed texting than enjoying/feeling our surroundings and companionship.

But working from the bedroom is the way to go Kak Teh! How not to when you're skyping China hahaha.

Zendra said...

By the way, I must try recording on skycap lah and then playing the conversation back for other people to listen later on. Cool, must research this.

Is it possible to tweak my voice pitch, you know, to make it sound like sultry.... sensuous.....? Hmmmmmm

Kak Teh said...

zendra , it is skypecap - google and you'll find it. Wirh certain countries the audio is not that great - but can live with it laa, cos with radio, it gves a kind of ambience and added attraction.

Sultry and sensuous? i did it in bed, remember? Otherwise, I sound like mak bonda..haha! Am sure you are sultry and sensuous, in and out of duvet!

Zendra said...

Shrieek!!! SKYPEcap. Unexcusable typo tu, I hear myself telling that ah-soh long ago. Aaah those were the days.

Me said...

Aiyo, that cartoon yg sampai berdarah2 tu menakutkan...heheh

Zendra said...

Me, writers block lah tu....

ke rintihan jiwa???

Madam Markonah said...

I love Jerry Lewis! I used to watch his movies with my younger brother back when we were kids and remember laughing golek2 in front of the tv! He used to pair up with Dean Martin. One of my faves is The Disorderly Orderly... hilarious!

Thanks for that clip. You had me giggling like a gedisss teenager *LOL*

Zendra said...

Yeah MM, isn't he funny? I never tire of watching him too, cos I then just can't help but laugh. Good therapy while angin I must say.