Re: [NTLK] Pen computing is dead... long live the iNewt

From: Lord Groundhog <>
Date: Mon Aug 17 2009 - 08:34:02 EDT

~~~ On 2009/08/17 00:34, Ken Whitcomb at wrote ~~~

> Has anyone else ever heard that tale or able to confirm or refute it?
> I wish I could recall the speaker or the meeting I was at when I heard
> the tale, but alas, too much time has passed since the mid '90s.

I heard something like it once, awhile ago now, but I've regarded it as the
product of a fevered imagination -- like the folding plasma screen for
ultra-portable laptops I was told about in 1988 or '89.

The reason is that for a number of years I worked with a fine, traditionally
trained secretary of the old school. Even though I'm usually regarded as a
very quick speaker, this woman was an excellent stenographer who could write
down what I was saying faster than I could speak. That is, I could read
from notes to her and she'd just have it down on paper, without delay. Her
typing was also very fast. If I dictated something to her, she had it typed
and on back on my desk in a blink. When she was with me, I got into the
habit of stopping for a quick coffee while she typed up her notes, because
it wasn't worth starting anything else and then being interrupted.

*If* this company really had this product, someone would be using it by now.
At the very least, a government or two would have it, although by now I can
see no reason why they wouldn't have allowed it to go public, and we'd have
heard about it. But if they kept it to themselves, why are they still
hiring stenographers by the herd?

OTOH, *if* this demo were faked (and it wouldn't be that hard to do), what
would they gain by faking it? If all you have is vapourware, you're busted
and you end up being hyper-publicly humiliated on the internet.

As for how to fake it, Ryan and James are right: a small team of
stenographers working sequentially, taking down a chunk of text and then
typing up their notes into a common file on a computer, could be finished
within 2 minutes or less of the talk ending. One high-speed laser printer
later -- voila! Hand out the copies and spin a lie.

But as I say, faking this would be committing commercial suicide in public.

Urban myth.


~~~ ~~~ ~~~

łAny sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a Newton.˛
            -- what Arthur C. Clarke meant
(With thanks to Chod Lang)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
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Received on Mon Aug 17 08:35:52 2009

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