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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spaced out

I went to a very academic school.  The type of school that awarded extra-curricular prizes grudgingly and with an air of suspicion, as though that was time you should have ideally been using to solve Fermat's Last Theorem.  And only then if it was on the syllabus.

I did a range of GCSEs in a range of useful-sounding but, practically-speaking, pointless subjects.  And at A-level I took English, French, History and General Studies.  My French I have (sadly) all but forgotten.  I'm not sure I ever knew any History, other than what I had to learn for the exam.  (Plus the nature of my education means I have a massive gap from about 1067-1485.  What's 400-odd years between friends?  Civil War, what?)  English was enjoyable but ultimately disposable.  And I fell asleep in my General Studies exam (I was ill) and still managed to get a B.

So, from my tender teenage years, did I learn anything useful?  Yes.  Mrs Nunn enrolled me in an evening class at the local community college.  Touch-typing.  I was a bit reluctant at first, as I could already type pretty quickly (albeit using the wrong fingers).  Plus Monday nights were hell on a plate with Senior Orchestra (hell enough), followed by three hours of homework, and a regular Tuesday morning Biology test, meaning that I generally had to get up at 5.30 a.m. the next day to finish all my prep.  Swotty little spod that I was.

I picked up the typing quickly.  As a pianist, I had no trouble with deft finger movements, and as a teenager, probably a more absorbent brain (or at the very least, one that was more practised at taking in new info) than most of the other class members.

And the touch typing, oh it's paid dividends.  Reaching eventual speeds of about 70 words per minute, university was bloody brilliant.  Not the actual university bit; like most people, I found it OK in parts but generally overhyped.  But being able to type a 3000-word essay in a fraction of the time it took most people was bloody amazing.

However, there has been one - increasingly significant - drawback.  I learned on an actual typewriter.  You know, the type you see in films that quite often are in black and white.  I'm not that old - they were electric, and I believe our class was the last year to use them, before PCs were brought in.

Dirty typewriter porn

There is one significant difference when you learn to type on a typewriter versus learning to type on a PC; the spacing.  I was taught that you always must do a double space after a full stop.  Like that.  Nowadays, this is frowned upon as archaic, pretentious even.  But it was how I was taught.  And muscle memory means that as soon as my fourth finger on my right hand hits the "." button, I automatically hammer the space bar a couple of times.

I have been trying to wean myself off the double space, but it's tricky.  And I would rather be consistently wrong than inconsistent.

But I am going to try.  This may (but probably won't) be the last Plog utilising the double space.

I think I may have just written the most boring Plog in the history of the world.  Apologies.  I am going to go back through it and see if I can insert some dirty porn* or something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When did this fashion arrive? Always was one space after a comma,then two after a full stop. Sorted