Sunday, April 22, 2018

Invention Fourteen: Word Processing

The other day I fired up MSWORD and PCWRITE under DOS. It seems to me that little has changed in word processing in thirty years. We still have menus, tool bars, and so on. However, the conceptual possibilities have changed altogether. When I look at a screen of text (like this one), it seems to me that I think about it first in terms of blocks or areas of action. For instance, the ragged right margin. This is an area which is ragged. Supposing then that one should circle (or something) that area. One has now narrowed down all of my possible actions to a few -- which could pop up for selection. Or supposing one should circle a paragraph. Likewise, there are just a few things I would do with a complete paragraph -- which could pop up for selection. This may be a more intuitive way of working, rather than being confined by the technical possibilities of the 1980s.

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