Alchemical Thoughts

A bit more on writing by hand

Posted on: November 10, 2010

Recently, I wrote “Some idle thoughts on handwriting” over at The Gypsy Librarian. Today, I just came across this piece by Patrick McLean where he writes “A defense of writing longhand.” The piece seemed like a nice follow-up to some of my earlier thoughts, so I wanted to make a note of it. McLean’s post was written in 2009, but it was reposted on Lifehacker, which is where I saw it. The post is worth a look, but there was a passage that caught my eye, and it is one that I often want to tell to certain IT and Web 2.0 geeks who like to say everything will be easily available online. McLean writes:

“Sure paper is perishable. But it is predictably perishable. Data turns to noise in all kinds of unpredictable ways. Like hard drive crashes. And if an IT person tells you that there is a way to archive a file, not touch it for 500 years, and guarantee that it will be useable – they are lying to you. If you think I’m wrong, I’ll email you some WordStar and AppleWorks documents just as soon as I can figure out how to get them off my five and a quarter inch floppies.”

I sure remember those 3 1/2 floppy disks getting “corrupted” somehow and destroying any data or writings I may have had on them. While I have moved on, and I try to move things forward as much as possible, I hold no illusion that for certain things, my personal journals will probably outlast anything saved in a digital format.

Something to consider.



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November 2010
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