Wednesday February 22, 2006

The Death of Handwriting?

Has this happened to you?

We spend our working days tapping into computers. We communicate with each other via email rather than letter. ...
Rather than sinuous penmanship, our identities are increasingly confirmed by numbered sequences that have been imposed on us. And, if signatures are becoming increasingly irrelevant, what then is the future for handwriting in a world when (according to a new Lloyds TSB Insurance survey) one in three children has a computer in the bedroom, many more are accustomed to writing on them at home and school and, if I had a penny for every time I have heard or read parents and teachers bemoaning the poor state of pupil's handwriting, I would have enough for a £335 Mont Blanc Meisterstück fountain pen in precious resin with a gold-plated finish?

[ The death of handwriting in the Guardian Unlimited, Tuesday February 14, 2006 ]

I'm just as happy to have a good keyboard attached to my computer. Not only has my handwriting deteriorated over time but my hand cramps up most painfully whenever I try to write anything by hand for any length of time, especially if I try to keep it neat.

I can take very fast, nearly verbatim, notes in meetings (periodically stopping to massage my hand) but I wouldn't want to ask anyone else to read those notes before I have transcribed them!

I used to write all of my papers for school in longhand, in pencil, on yellow paper, then type the final draft on a manual typewriter (an old fashioned upright manual typewriter, a well-loved gift from a family friend!). I used to write multi-page letters (in ink) to my parents and friends. Now I can barely write one page before my hand gives out. Ouch!

I still hand-sign many things (although I've noted that recently, MasterCard charges under $20 no longer require a signature at the local drug stores!). I like my signature. I designed the font myself for my High School graduation and used it to address all of the invitations I sent out. I haven't used it for anything much since then, but it lives on in my official signature.

Other than that, I still (as I said) take notes by hand. And I write notes into my Palm-based PDA with the stylus. I don't think handwriting will be obsolete anytime soon. Nevertheless, I'll stick with a keyboard as my regular input device!

Found via Rebecca's Pocket

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