Typewriters Vs. Computers Essay, Research Paper
TYPEWRITERS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES? For well over a decade, experts in office automation have predicted the demise of the typewriter. In their view the computer is destined to tale over the word processing role enjoyed by the typewriter for over a century. Yet, a recent report (Fernberg, 1989, 49-50) indicates that electronic typewriter shipments over the last three years averaged about a billion dollars a year. Further, the Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers’ Association projects that the annual growth rate will remain constant at 1.5 percent over the next five years. With sales holding steady at over a million units a year, the electronic typewriter does not appear endangered. It is likely here to stay-and for good reasons. Typewriter Familiarity Virtually anyone who has learned to key can sit down at the electronic typewriter and within a few minutes operate it with amazing ease and speed. According to Paez (1985, 55): A familiar keyboard, which requires fewer keystrokes and has a simpler, less code-intensive user interface, makes the Transition to a high-end typewriter much easier than the Transition to a personal computer with the same functions. Typewriter Flexibility An electronic typewriter can perform some functions computers cannot, but a personal computer (PC) cannot be used a mere typewriter (nor should it be). Perhaps that is why one large survey found that 85% of secretaries who use PC’s also use typewriters. Using microchip technology, sophisticated electronic typewriters can perform many of the automatic functions and editing functions of which computers are capable. Automatic functions. Among the features of electronic typewriters are automatic centering, right margin justifying, and hang-indenting/ these features are available on computers as well, but some users of both kinds of equipment say that the typewriter is more “user friendly.” Editing Functions. Some electronic typewriters permit operators to backspace/delete, insert copy, move copy from one place to another, and search and replace specific words or terms in a document. Some are equipped with templates that make form fill-in easy; others permit the merging of information from different sources. All these functions are performed without rekeying documents. Typewriter Sophistication Electronic typewriters range from low-end machines with full-page displays, diskette storage, and complete text-editing capabilities. The price range varies with the amount of advanced features included. Some machines are upgradable so that the appropriate level of sophistication can be obtained without replacing machines.
Audion, Mark. “Using Electronic Typewriters: the Basics, Plus?.” Today’s Office, July 1986, 55-64. Fernberg, Patricia M. “Electronic Typewriters: Understanding the Product.” Modern Office Technology, March 1989, 48-50. Paez, Patricia. “Typewriters: Technology with an Easy Touch.” Today’s Office, September 1985, 55-72.