On a whim a few weeks ago I downloaded the Tom Hanks Typewriter app for the iPad. It was free, struck me as a little silly (who would want to use such old technology?) and thought it would just be fun to look at.
The compelling interface kind of draws you in, with the look, feel and sounds of three different styles of typewriters.
Cute, thought I, but totally impractical.
Then I had the thought to experience what the app can do beyond the novelty aspect. I thought I should try to actually write something and experience it first-hand. Or, really, experience it using both hands.
The experience perplexed me.
Instead of writing on a PC or Mac and using a windowed application, I’m sitting here with an iPad, a piece of really cool, modern, hip technology, mimicking a device that’s over 100 years old. It sounds like thunder-claps with every keystroke and rattles and prattles along as I type in hunt-n-peck mode because I never took a typing class. I grew up in the computer age where, just like on Star Trek, we don’t type words. We speak them.
I was short-sighted. I didn’t realize that solid voice technology would take much longer than I thought …
This blog post is the third one I’ve written in this manner and – I love it – and I’m wrestling with how to explain it.
Writing in this way lets me focus on the actual words. I’m not thinking about the font, the typeface, the kerning, adding links, the spacing, the font colors or a myriad of other things that would distract from the writing. No, I’m focused, single-minded and considering the words before I write them, becoming an architect of thoughts and sentences while the sounds clatter and pat-a-tat-tat away.
The sounds are another interesting experience! I’ve not been interested in using the app without the sounds as doing so would seem unnatural. No, the sounds are a must for me, so in the office I have headphones so my office-mates don’t have to hear the glorious noise.
May I be so bold as to suggest you try this for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below?
After trying this app and watching Guardians of the Galaxy I my need to find my old cassette player.