A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution

By Dennis Baron

Pcs, now the writer's device of selection, are nonetheless blamed through 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.

A higher Pencil puts our advanced, still-evolving hate-love dating with pcs and the net into viewpoint, describing how the electronic revolution affects our interpreting and writing practices, and the way the most recent applied sciences range from what got here prior to. The ebook explores our use of desktops as writing instruments in gentle of the background of conversation expertise, a background of the way we like, worry, and really use our writing technologies--not simply pcs, but in addition typewriters, pencils, and clay drugs. Dennis Baron indicates that almost all writing implements--and even writing itself--were greeted in the beginning with anxiousness and outrage: the printing press disrupted the "almost religious connection" among the author and the web page; the typewriter was once "impersonal and noisy" and may "destroy the paintings of handwriting." either pencils and desktops have been created for initiatives that had not anything to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by way of woodworkers for marking up their forums, have been quick repurposed through writers and artists. the pc crunched numbers, no longer phrases, until eventually writers observed it because the subsequent writing desktop. Baron additionally explores the recent genres that the pc has introduced: e mail, the moment message, the net 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 old papyrus to the trendy desktop. With dozens of illustrations and plenty of colourful anecdotes, the ebook will enthrall a person drawn to language, literacy, or writing.

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Then again, print has come to motivate confidence not only since it might be rather uniform, but in addition simply because we’ve discovered that a lot of what will get 134 ■ a greater Pencil released undergoes editorial scrutiny and a winnowing method within which beside the point or deficient fabric is rejected and basically the easiest content material makes it to the clicking (at least that’s what’s purported to happen). furthermore, as soon as authorized for e-book, such textual content is vetted earlier than it reaches its viewers. a person, a duplicate editor, writer, supervisor, or authority of a few variety has fact-checked and proofread the record, authenticating and certifying the textual content sooner than passing it alongside to us. ■ ■ ■ SIGNING OFF once pcs allowed us to generate electronic types of traditional texts, skeptics started to query the authority of these texts, not only debatable records reminiscent of the Bush memos or visible frauds just like the Abe Lincoln–Marilyn Monroe liaison, however the mundane records of lifestyle, the emails that threatened to supplant the phone name and the electronic orders and receipts traversing the realm extensive net with out their universal signatures. It was once quite a few years in the past that almost all humans thought of on-line procuring a reckless pastime, yet this present day e-commerce is enormous enterprise and getting higher. american citizens should not simply procuring from web models of widely used shops, but in addition from digital shops without bricks-and-mortar presence in any respect. so much lately, person-to-person on-line procuring has exploded, with person dealers and dealers buying and selling items throughout the mediation of such entrepreneurial websites as eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist, all actively pumping up the nationwide storage sale mania. So common is on-line buying, buying and selling, banking, and invoice paying this present day that the signature, the long-trusted validator of records ranging in import from declarations of independence to greeting playing cards and private exams, and the single final survivor of the decline in handwriting, might quickly move the way in which of clay drugs and quill pens. Even such simple identification records as driver’s licenses and passports are relocating towards new methods of validating authenticity to again up, and eventually supplant, the written signature and picture. in spite of everything, signatures should be solid, images faked—and neither can compete with the newest technological identifiers: the thumbprint reader, which has began appearing within the office, and the extra “scientific” eyeball experiment and DNA research, them all mediated by means of the pc and promising extra accuracy than a John Hancock ever may well. the approaching loss of life of the signature is only one of the hot wrinkles that the pc has delivered to the method of constructing and comparing the written note, wrinkles that would occupy us for the remainder of this ebook and for a few years to come back. eight ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Writing on monitor commonly asked QUESTIONS 1. Are e-mail, texting and speedy messages destroying the English language, killing the artwork of dialog, and rupturing social relationships?

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