I recently got a surprise gift for my birthday. It was an iPad Air, my very first tablet. I downloaded Pages on it and typed a little rather tentatively.
The iPad Air is a really sleek, thin, shiny thing, cool and smooth to the touch. The experience of typing feels a bit different from my now relatively old laptop with its chicklet keys, short, square and almost noiseless, which had felt so smart and new when I’d first got the notebook compared to my older, bulkier, back-breaking laptops.
As I heard the distinct kchchh sound each virtual key made as I hit it, the experience I savoured seemed familiar even though the device was new. I flew back in time over two decades to a very old incident from childhood, inspired by a feeling of awe and wonder at the stylish new device. A similar kchchh sound surfaced from deep down in memory made by something when it had clicked shut a long time ago. Continue reading Writing Implements of Wonder→
For the longest time, we were talking about how the internet was making us unsocial. Rather than socializing with our neighbours and “real” friends and family, we were running after people we hadn’t even met, talking to them, chatting and exchanging ideas neglecting our real social lives (if we had any).
Or if we had a roaring online life it was automatically assumed that we chose internet social as a kind of consolation prize to real social. People were afraid that spending a lot of time online would lead to depression and unsocial, even antisocial behaviour.
Stereotypes of nerds have abounded in our social imagination a long time, of course. Think of Chaucer’s clerk in the Canterbury Tales with his threadbare overcoat, not speaking a word more than he could help, bent down with the weight of his twenty leather-bound books, a very rare handmade commodity back then. Continue reading How reading has become more social→
It was probably the year 2001 and I was checking my email in a computer lab in a school in Florida trying to concentrate amidst the loud noise that the dot matrix printers were making on the aisle (which were the only printers completely free for students then although laser ones did exist).
I was checking an email that had the following subject line:
We had some new furniture delivered the other day. As will happen with deliveries, some chinks and scratches appeared on the varnished surface as an inevitable part of the delivery process. The store sent a very gentlemanly elderly man to paint over the chinks. He had a can of spray with him. He cleaned the surface with sandpaper, readied the spout over the scratched area and asked me a very normal question.
We drove to a quaint little town on the banks of the Hudson with nice little roads lined by painted houses with small well-tended gardens and quaint little antique shops that had their wares displayed on the pavement. The town seemed to be mostly populated by the elderly. We had coffee and freshly baked honey cake at a pretty little coffee shop.