Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 603.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2002 06:47:46 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <email@example.com>
Subject: pencil and paper
>*pencil and paper* n. An archaic information storage and transmission
>device that works by depositing smears of graphite on bleached wood pulp.
>More recent developments in paper-based technology include improved
>'write-once' update devices which use tiny rolling heads similar to mouse
>balls to deposit colored pigment. All these devices require an operator
>skilled at so-called 'handwriting' technique.....
The New Hacker's Dictionary, 3rd edn., comp. Eric S Raymond (MIT Press,
Explaining jokes is invidious, but perhaps untangling their implications is
excusable? There are two interesting ones in the above: (1) that a new
technology puts older ones into sharp relief, illuminating their
mechanisms, as the computer has done for the printed book; (2) that
historiographically seeing a former technology as a crude attempt to be a
current one is dead wrong (hence the joke). I am reminded of the fellow who
converted all (or so he claimed) allusions and references in Eliot's
Wasteland to hypertext links.
Dr Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer,
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London,
Strand, London WC2R 2LS, U.K.,
+44 (0)20 7848-2784, ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/,
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