By Dennis Baron
Pcs, now the writer's instrument of selection, are nonetheless blamed by way of skeptics for quite a few ills, from dashing writing as much as the purpose of recklessness, to complicating or trivializing the writing strategy, to destroying the English language itself.
</em>A greater Pencil</em> places our complicated, still-evolving hate-love courting with desktops and the web into viewpoint, describing how the electronic revolution impacts our examining and writing practices, and the way the most recent applied sciences fluctuate from what got here ahead of. The e-book explores our use of desktops as writing instruments in mild of the historical past of verbal exchange expertise, a heritage of ways we like, worry, and truly use our writing technologies--not simply desktops, but additionally typewriters, pencils, and clay pills. Dennis Baron indicates that almost all writing implements--and even writing itself--were greeted at the start with anxiousness and outrage: the printing press disrupted the "almost non secular connection" among the author and the web page; the typewriter used to be "impersonal and noisy" and could "destroy the artwork of handwriting." either pencils and desktops have been created for initiatives that had not anything to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by means of woodworkers for marking up their forums, have been speedy repurposed through writers and artists. the pc crunched numbers, no longer phrases, till writers observed it because the subsequent writing computer. Baron additionally explores the recent genres that the pc has introduced: e-mail, the moment message, the internet web page, the web publication, social-networking pages like MySpace and fb, and communally-generated texts like Wikipedia and the city Dictionary, let alone YouTube.
Here then is an engaging heritage of our tangled dealings with a variety of writing tools, from historical papyrus to the trendy machine. With dozens of illustrations and lots of colourful anecdotes, the booklet will enthrall someone attracted to language, literacy, or writing.
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Extra info for A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution
Moreover, Thoreau didn’t make pencils because he considered them simpler than telegraphs, or because he was old-fashioned. Rather, Thoreau designed pencils for a living: when he wasn’t vacationing at Walden, pencils were his day job, one he took seriously. Instead of waxing nostalgic about a golden age when pencils consisted of little more than a lump of graphite on a stick, Thoreau sought to improve the wood-cased pencil of his own day by developing a cutting-edge manufacturing technology. And he did so because he needed the money.
DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME Using the technology of the mass media helped Ted Kaczynski get his words before the public, and it helped catch him as well. But the Unabomber could not have carried out his antitechnology campaign without the technology of bomb making. True, his devices were homemade, the product of an individual craftsman, not a munitions factory. But all nonmilitary bombs are either homemade or stolen, and it would be difﬁcult to argue that one goal of the do-it-yourself bomber is to restore craft, artistry, and human dignity to the manufacture of explosives.
In mathematics, he was an indifferent engineer. One expert who examined the completed device and the many bomb parts found in Kaczynski’s shack when he was arrested reported that Kaczynski’s craftsmanship was not of the highest quality either: 28 ■ A Better Pencil He polished and sometimes varnished his wood pieces, but it was clear, from the skewed corners and amateurish joints, that he was not a trained woodworker. “He’s not a craftsman,” Don Davis, a top postal inspector in San Francisco, said months ago.