Basic word processing as transformative tool for THINKing

Let me briefly identify myself: 40+ years veteran of corporate computer programming who got PTSD from trying to make Angular 2 jump thru undocumented hoops, with an earned doctorate in interpersonal communication. Trying to do anything with the computer these days is likely to throw me into a rage about how bad much of it is; my current nemesis is the Wiki webpage writing sort-of-api.

Here’s what I want to say: Starting back in 1980 working in IBM MVS development, I discovered basic word processing on the computer. I quickly disovered that it is a powerful tool for THINKing, perhaps the only such tool since the invention of the alphabet. Why? Previously, if you wrote text and wanted to change it, it was a real pain in the ass. If you could not finesse it with Wite-Out, you had to recopy unchanged text to keep Humptedy Dumpety from falling off the wall (repagination and so forth). But with basic word processing, the computer does all the scut work of editing the text. What does that mean? Instead of asking “Is this change to my text really worth the effort to do it, uggh?”, now the question became: “Oh, that was easy, let me see if I can find something else to improve in the text” ad infinitum. THINKing is usually reflection on what one has previously thought, and basic word processing made this super easy in terms of the mechanics, so you can focus on the intellectual substance. I do not just type what I have already thought: I THINK in the process or writing. So the ease of basic word processing has for 40 years now, facilitated me THINKing. I have been revising / improving some of the same thoughts/text for decades. If I had not written them down I might have forgotten them. Without basic word processing I might not nearly as much have improved them. ~ Writer’s block? (1) Just type down any shit that comes into your head no matter how dumb it seems. (2) Go to bed and (3) revise it in the morning. Still dreadful? Go back to step #1 and reiterate (recurse). Ex nihilo nihil fit: from nothing comes nothing. But anything can be improved.

So while now I really hate a lot of compter stuff (nobody wants to hire me to critique their user interfaces or programming language syntax), I am still an evangelist for basic word processing. Note I say “basic word processing”. I can’t cope with stuff like MS Word or Wizzywig apps. I have a huge personal website and hand code (Notepad) it all in very rudimentary HTML with some very painful CSS. No qlitzware. KISS (Keep the technology simple, and keep the ideas as simple as possible without oversimplifying them).

If I get the syntax right, a picture of an old IBM THINK desk sign will be shown below


I have a tangentially related blog entry about the Think signs:

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This also reminds me of Jef Raskin’s pet project… it was an instant-boot, ultra fast always on minimalist note taking / brainstorming hardware device for the Apple //…

He went on to make the Canon Cat based on these ideas

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