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Mama Deb
.:::.:....... ..::...:
Mama Deb [userpic]
I'll be over here in the rocking chair, rocking

Someone on my friendslist, one of the many college students, just said, and I paraphrase, that she sent in her paper with errors, but fortunately she has time to correct them and send it in again.

And all of you who are currently or recently college students or, possibly, professors, are nodding.

But it's making me feel, oh, so old. Because when I was first in college, in the eighties, you *typed* your papers. Sometimes, if you were ambitious and/or organized, you *retyped* them. If you made mistakes even after that, you took out a pen or a pencil and corrected them - that's why they were doublespaced. And once you handed in your papers - and that meant physically handing them to the professor *or* placing them in their physical mailbox - that was *it*.

Later on, in the later eighties, when I had access to a computer, I did word process them (using, I believe, a shareware clone of Wordstar) and print them out, although my profs weren't happy because I was using dot matrix and dot matrix was hard to read, even in the highest quality print, and you had all these perforations around the edges. So some teachers still prefered typed papers. And they *all* had to be handed in.

And...I'm intensely jealous. Just leave it at that.


I went to college in the early nineties, and the part about having to physically hand it in? I *so* relate. And if the campus printers were down, you were *screwed* because no one had their own machines!

Campus printers.

We had them in the computer labs. And I think there were some Apples, too.

I learned to type on manual typewriters.

Same here. And I was well impressed by the first computer I ever used - 1982, an Apple using WordStar 1.1. And, yes, we had to physically print our papers and take them to the profs. They wouldn't have known what to do with a disk.

There, there. A lot of places (and individual teachers) still require work to be handed in in hard copy. (Why should they use up paper and ink to do the student's job for them? Or, more importantly, why should they risk infecting their computer by accepting an attachment that may have a virus?)

My mother has been griping at me about the ease of writing papers on the computer, though, since I was in high school and she realized I could add a footnote with a keystroke. The woman typed her doctoral dissertation (in the early 70's) on a typewriter, and the two horror stories that stick with me are about footnotes and margins. You get to where you have a footnote, you take out the page and type the footnote on another page, measure up from the bottom, and then mark the first page where you're going to have to stop writing in order to fit the footnote on that page. (Good lord, it's no wonder they invented endnotes. But in these days of computer typesetting, I hate them.) And margins! Theses had very strict regulations wrt margins, because they were going to be recorded on microfilm and anything over the limit wouldn't get captured on the camera-ready whatever. So the department secretary had a template, and she held it over each page, and if the text ran into the margin she crossed out the page with a big red marker and the page had to be retyped. (And, naturally, so did every page after it, if the first one ran over the page break when it was fixed. Gah. Gah. Gah.)

We know how fortunate we are. :-)

I only used endnotes. Everyone I knew only used endnotes. Footnotes were far too much trouble. And I wrote history papers.

I didn't have to worry about margins, but I do remember the wonder of Mar Rel. And the bell to move the return lever - I even used an electric with a return lever. The return key? Amazing.

Auto-return? Even more amazing - especially when you combined it with correction.

Oh, God. I remember taking 30 minutes to produce a page of submission-ready copy, and even that page would be so leprous with White-Out that if I shook it the flakes would fall off.

And heaven help you if you were working in a field that required the use of weird alphabetical characters, like Anglo-Saxon.

One of my college jobs was as a temp secretary. I remember one place where I had to type a letter on an electric.

I typed that letter four times. The man was incredibly patient.

One of my graduation presents (from high school) was an electric typewriter. Yeah, been there.

Although later, when I moved to a dot-matrix printer, I used the paper that had detachable perfs, and tried to get the edges reasonably smooth.

I like my multifunction unit now, thanks. Photocopy (b/w OR color!), scan, print (and a sheet feeder). It does fax, but I think I am going back to WinFax, because the incoming on the printer can't be saved as computer-openable image files.

At least we've made actual progress in ONE area.

Laser cut dot-matrix paper helped a lot.

We only have the inkjet and it's way old. Time for a new one.

Well this is an exception. Usualy I do only hand in one final draft, though yes, the convenience of computers still applies. In this case, he's been helping me write it all along, since it's also my thesis, and he's my thesis advisor.

I used to handwrite papers until I hit high school, since it wasn't required to have them typed, and I would start writing in my notebook. Sometimes my mom would type them up for me.

But I love my laptop, since I take notes on it, and everything can be copied and pasted. :)

This was someone else, actually. She's not even going to school in the US, from what I gather.

I want a laptop.

I remember my first word processing program. It ran on a Radio Shack Tandy Color Computer II (hereafter referred to as the CoCo II). The CoCo was Radio Shack's (poor) answer to the Commodore 64. The word processing program didn't have anything close to WYSIWYG, it's answer was to have two modes, a mode in which you typed the text, and a "visual" mode which showed your text as small gray boxes. Think of a pdf at a magnification too small to read, like 10% or so. The visual mode was mostly useful for showing how much of a page your text took up and helping you decide if your paragraphs were short/long enough. I don't remember if it could do italics, bold, or underline and you could forget about changing font type/size.

On a separate note, the baseball program I had for the CoCo represented the players as...stick figures. Sure different from the "not only are they supposed to look like the players look, they're supposed to *move* like the players move"

I remember something similar, in the Galaxy program from my father's 286 (remember when computers had numbers, and 25 kilohertz was *fast* and 40 meg was never going to be full, and you stored everything on floppies, even if you had a hard drive?)

WYSIWYG was a long way away then.

A popular joke at PU when I was there:

"What are you writing your thesis on?"

"Eaton's Corrasable Bond."


I personally have seen someone drop the deck of punchcards (*punch. cards.*) containing their senior thesis.

A year or two ago, my daughter and I were in my school's media center, which houses one of the two type writers left on our campus. My daughter pointed to it and said, "What's that?"

I realized that we have made a nearly complete transition for typewriters to computers.

Up until a couple of years ago, we had an old Selectric in our office. It was part of my job to type leases on it. No one else in my office had actually used one before.

Then it broke. Now the agents handwrite them.

My parents got their first computer when I was 8 years old- well ahead of the curve.

But I learned to type on an electric typewriter.

I started typing things in elementary school- my handwriting was very poor, and very slow. They used to make you bring in the handwritten rough draft, and I swear the worst part was handwriting something that I had already typed.

This was the mid/late 80's.

I got to college in 94. You could use the typewriter or the computer, and I turned in a lot fo stuff printed off on my old dot matrix, where the pages wouldn't align right.

Now? I can email things to the professor. I can pull the file, format, and print multiple copies. I'm still getting used to the ease.

In the school I go to, some professors accept *only* email attachments.

I remember when I typed my highschool thesis on a manual because we were too poor for an electric typewriter.