"FIRST"??!? (Was: word processor history -- interesting article

Swift Griggs swiftgriggs at gmail.com
Thu Jul 7 10:45:24 CDT 2016

On Wed, 6 Jul 2016, Fred Cisin wrote:
> Yes, the author seems to be young enough to think of "word-processing" 
> as starting with TRS80/Apple][.

I can forgive him. So few people actually got to put their hands on 
mainframe and "real" (non-micro) computers before the PC "revolution". I 
was in the same boat. However, I do agree there's some hubris in making 
claims like "first" etc... as others have already said. 

> Nowadays, the kids think that word processing can not be done without 
> on-screen font display.

No, that was my generation (Gen-X) and came around in the mid 90s, IMHO. 
That was right about the time your average administrative assistant and 
tech-writer went from using character-based Wordperfect, to some flavor of 
GUI "office suite" that included a GUI word processor.  Half-joking, but 
with a few notable exceptions, the current generation hasn't heard much of 
"word processing". To them, it's a widget that sometimes gets embedded 
when an application on their phone has the nerve to ask them to type 
something. If they are "technical" or a "developer" then they know that a 
word processor is that little javascript thingy you can embed in web pages 
when you "need to type". Yes, I'm being snide. There are just as many 
smart kids today as there were when mainframes ruled. It's just that most 
computing tasks these days seem to revolve around consuming media rather 
than creating it. Plus, the same fools you were previously able to simply 
ignore like the walking dead as they scurried home to watch TV are now all 
carrying computing devices (phones) and influencing (read: disturbing) our 
previously peaceful technical spaces.


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