Typing and technology through the ages!

Typing and technology through the ages by a 47 year old.

What has your experience been with typing and technology through the years?   I remember my son asking me if cars were “a thing” when I was young!

At age 47, it is funny to think that when I was a child, all communication with friends was done through my parent’s phone with number dial.   I remember ringing my friends to arrange a cinema trip and coordinating who could make which date and which parents could give children a lift, which meant several phone calls.  I also remember calling directory enquiries if I needed a phone number.

My first mobile phone was a Nokia “brick” which was given to me by my parents towards the end of secondary school.  It was given for emergency use only and I had the ability to call or text.

Computers weren’t so common either.   

Our first computer was a Sinclair QL.   The computer used a small microtape to save files and games were really basic.  I used to type in commands to move around a text game (L for left, R for right)  or I could play a game of pixelated tennis.   I remember at secondary school when I got a “tape is full” message when typing my A level dissertation on Vivaldi and I had to start the whole thing again, 7000 words in.

At secondary school I was fascinated by computers and the only place where I had access was the school library.  I was a school librarian, in part to get away from bullies in the school canteen as I was able to eat my packed lunch in the library office.   The head librarian had a computer in there and encouraged me to do a computer qualification in my lunch hours (the equivalent of half a GCSE).

I remember at university, that my printer (same computer) quite often put page breaks in the middle of a page, much to the annoyance of my English lecturer Dr Swift who resembled “The Penguin” from Batman in both dress and character.  I got marked down in an essay for my unconventional page breaks.

When I was 20, my brother purchased an Atari ST computer which was amazing and actually had proper games (of a sort).  This gave me time to finish my degree with the knowledge that I could actually safely save a document.  Our Sinclair QL remains in my parents loft.


At secondary school, as well as computers, I also loved typing and got my chance to get my hands on an electronic typewriter in our “keyboarding” GCSE class.  A girl in my class was able to “touch type” and I wanted to do the same.

I loved this lesson but unfortunately had a disastrous GCSE exam as I ran out of paper (I accidentally used a sheet for blotting), I had no working comma on my assigned typewriter, my rubber (you know the one I mean, half blue and half white)  was smudgy and I was desperate for the loo.   I came away from school with a Pitman’s 1 qualification and a pretty rubbish GCSE grade.

So now in later life, I have redeemed myself.  Although a pretty fast typist, I tended to use random fingers so I took the Type IT! touch typing course and have become a typing tutor, a victory after my defeat at GCSE.   I have a wireless printer which has normal line breaks although it does have to think about whether it wants to print or not.  I have a Lenovo think pad laptop which is fast enough with a big enough memory not to freeze up when I open multiple tabs.

Technology has moved on so much in the last 40 years and I am always looking for the latest thing.  I am fascinated by video chats, online webinars and Alexa and love the thought of talking to turn lights and appliances on and off, although I’m not quite there yet.

I was telling my son this morning about an article I read some years ago about a vending machine in China which had been specially adapted so you could take payment through someone’s pupil.    Just think of that and what the future holds.

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