Discussion question for Week 4

Here is the discussion question for this week:

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of digital writing technologies, as compared to the analog technology of ink on paper? As a way to get started thinking about this, you might look at this video.

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Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm  Comments (16)  

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  1. I feel that digital-writing technologies have created a sense of impermanence for writers that is liberating. Automatic-fonts and typing have enabled writers of documents and texts alike to quickly put their ideas down, with an inhuman, pristine legibility that is only possible in the digital medium. The ability to immediately edit, change, reshape words and paragraphs at will also are aspects of this impermanence that are entirely beneficial to the creative as well as informative writing process.
    The loss of the “humanness” that is usually associated with pen and ink is a weak argument I feel, because one could just as easily imagine a time when those chiseling words into stone might possibly sneer at the prospect of “splashing” words onto compressed wood and thinking it is a weaker interpretation.
    Digital-writing is simply the next step for writing technology,
    and truly this desired “humanness” is felt through the ideas possessed by the end result of their writing, and not the act of bringing them out.

  2. Digital writing technologies have made it much easier for people to quickly communicate their ideas. A person can only write down their thoughts with a piece of paper and ink as quickly as they can move their hand, which is usually not that fast. That is why shorthand was invented. So the process could be spead up. However, a keyboard allows a person to press a button and quickly type out ideas. Technologies such as e-mail, instant messaging, and texting have allowed people to not only type out messages quickly but to send them instantly as well. A piece of paper with a handwritten message has to be personally delivered by a mailman or woman. This instant form of communication has taken off and is becoming more and more popular. The post office has even felt the effects of communication turning towards the digital world, as less and less people send letters. Digital technologies have also allowed people to quickly copy and spread their ideas. Blogs and forums have become an important way to spread information and opinions. Someone who might not have been able to afford a powerful printer, ink, and paper to print a paper, can afford a free blog.

  3. The implications of modern-day digitally written text in comparison to analog ink and paper are many. As far as what is advantageous, there is the obvious quickness with which one can mete out the individually distinguishable written words. Writing utensil technologies would require one to curve, bend and align strokes in order to write out uniquely identifiable characters. A simple button press is all that is required on computers. The end result is that there is a quicker response time due to less reliance on a single muscle formation. Since we will be covering video games in this class, I hope it’s not too out there to equate this to the comparison between traditional game pads and arcade-style joysticks. The idea being that an arcade joystick allows a greater degree of control due to being grasped with all the muscles of the hand, as opposed to a game pad which would be controlled only through movement of the thumb.

    The craft of handwriting of course suffers from this, since the effect of pressing a button on a keyboard is the same regardless of what angle or with what amount of pressure you push it with. A line on a paper reflects all the human bumps and imperfections in a line, whereas the computer simply produces a uniform character every time.

  4. The development of digital writing technologies brought about a change in how text can be created, moved, and manipulated. Computerized text processors allow for words to be copied or deleted with only a few clicks of a mouse or keystrokes. This can be done long before the text ever reaches the physical paper, allowing for the correction of mistakes without leaving any phantom marks or having to re-write entire documents. Also, digital writing technologies allow for stylistic typographic elements to be applied at anytime. Instead of having to use trial and error to draw and redraw texts with different colors and forms, wasting expensive inks and paper, one can manipulate text on screen and backtrack with a quick press of the undo command.

    Any disadvantages of digital writing come from a lack of visual authentication. When text is converted to digital form, it loses all aspects of the handwritten form including any nuances capable of distinguishing it from another’s work. With these technologies, text can easily be copied and forged for malicious purposes as well as simply suffer a loss of individuality.

  5. The world of digital writing technology is everywhere. The only humans who do not do it are not human; just as much as we cannot live in a world without paper and ink. As mentioned in Derrida’s essay, “eventually everything gets printed onto paper…”
    The advantages of digital writing technologies compared to ink and paper are: chosing to add different effects or objects into the document (harder to do if done analogue or traditionally). It is faster! The use of spell check and other revision tools right in front of you, displayed at the very top of the document. Less likely to get up and need other tools or resources for the completion of the document (everything is right there in front of you). The ability to send a document without needing a post office, stamp, or envelope. Digital is also phenomenal in the use of mass printing/ production or copying. The digital world has is more universal than the traditional analogue in the form of translation and interpretation. It makes it easier to send documents in multiple languages and viewable as well. Documents can be sent instantly and viewed instantly, instead of traditionally waiting for mail to arrive. Also, digital, can sometimes finish a word that you begin to write.

    And the disadvantages of digital compared to analogue are: The computer needs to be updated in order to compete with ever-changing technology; costs more in the long run ( internet, software, and a computer storage). There is also that fact that a person always has to wait for the computer to load and set up the software or program in order to start writing, versus just needing a table, writing tool, and some paper. It is more accessible. Saving on electricity or cutting down thousands of trees… Graphite/ ink smears. And the fear of authenticity of the document, and if it has been read by others for censorship or national affairs. Also, it is very impersonable to write on a computer. Pretty much everyone writes in the same font.

    (Plato) – decline of human memory

  6. Digital writing technology certainly has many advantages over analogue and, in my mind, the primary advantages come not from the quickness of it, although it is significant, but from the availability it creates. With digital writing and the advent of the internet, it has become much easier to share documents than ever before. Not only can you send a document, instantly to anywhere in the world with a computer, but digital media has erased all concern of legibility. That being said it has also worsened the problem. I recently read an article concern the loss of the art of penmanship. Now that children can simply type and perfectly legible essay on their computers, school systems everywhere are beginning not to teach penmanship after middle school.

  7. While I do believe there are a great number of advantages to digital writing technologies, for instance, the fact that I started this post in a word document verses pen and paper so that I can check spelling and grammar before I post it is one fantastic advantage. Other advantages are the easy proliferation of ideas digitally (if I wanted I could also send this post to several other people through email, or facebook, or another blog). The ability to delete or copy things easily, I’ve had to use a typewriter before and there is no actual “delete” button, you have to use correction paper or start over.

    But beyond that I still think there is something to be said for the pen and paper. I still write notes instead of using a laptop. I also have an abundance of notebooks lying around so that I can jot down random things and ideas. I think it’s easier to write down my ideas than to type them on my laptop (I can also doodle in the process). I also feel that technology is just not reliable enough. If my computer randomly decides to crash and wipe my hard drive there is no possible way I will ever see the stuff saved on my computer again. I do have an external hardrive just in case of that, but another problem with writing technologies is they can become obsolete. At some point I’m going to need to buy a new external hardrive that is compatible with my new computer, or again, I lose those digitalized ideas (remember floppy disks?). However nothing has ever gone wrong with my notebooks, save the occasional spill, but that is not always a loss since most pen ink doesn’t run when wet. And although all those notebooks take up a lot more space than my laptop, they are much more comforting in their permanency.

  8. Digital writing technologies, first and foremost have made the distribution of all sorts of information much quicker and more readily available to an enormous mass of people. Literally with the one click of a mouse any document on a hard drive can be sent anywhere, to anyone on the planet. This however can also be a double edged sword as one can also easily give out information to unwanted people if not careful about the distribution process. Digital technology also makes the preservation of writings much easier to maintain, as digital works are much less likely to be damaged than written works are, and as already stated, it is a lot simpler to make a copy of digital data.

    A huge disadvantage of digital data, at least from the point of view of the writer, is the easy access. Stealing works published online is much more practical than stealing from a written article. At this very moment people can, for little or no fee, download an entire book onto their computer. The odds of someone copying an entire book, either by theft or by using a copier are a great deal less.

  9. Like a new shiny toy, digital technology always appears to be the best new thing. However, there are quite a few disadvantages to using digital technology over analog. For one, no matter what some people might believe, digital technology comes between the artist and their creation. There is nothing compared to drawing something with ink on paper. With digital technology, sure, images can be replicated infinitely, certain features, such as, straight lines and semi-circles can be drawn perfectly straight, and the creation can be stored in a computer’s memory forever. On the other hand, it limits the creativity of the artist, and the originality of the piece decreases. As someone who likes to sketch, I feel that digital technology, although at times helpful, can hinder my creative release. In a way, it is like saving a life with a machine of some sort. Sure, the life was saved, but the doctor does not receive the mental reward of doing it with his/her own hands.

  10. The most obvious advantage of digital writing technologies is that is gives users almost unlimited freedom to alter their text graphically, in less than half the time. A user can grab their text and change its color, size, shape, etc. to and align it perfectly, without error whatsoever. On paper, however, this process would much more time consuming and required a skilled hand. A person who draws calligraphy might be able to write a line of prose as equally beautiful as digitally written font, however it most likely cost the person many hours to produce. The element of time cannot be ignored; digital text is the future.

    However, on the other, I do not think that digital text can replace the beauty and skill required to handwrite (or even ink press by hand). The controversy there seems to be in the appreciation of art and its various forms, and while digital text may serve as the best tool for the day-to-day, handwriting and analog ink technology will hold its place in the realm of physical skill.

  11. Since its inception, writing through digital media has become an integral part of our culture. Not only does writing on a digital piece of paper make it easier to jot ideas down faster, change or reshape previous ideas, and offer its own form of legibility, but it also provides us a way to see what other people are thinking about as well, and make comments on those thoughts as well as receive comments on our own work. It makes the process of giving and taking in editing much easier, and provides a way of crowdsourcing that may help in the generation of workable ideas.

    However, by allowing this form of writing to take a central role in our culture, our society has lost a great part of that which it previously held dear. The lack of traditional handwriting styles has made it more permissible for individual handwriting to be illegible, because they can just type it up if it’s that unreadable. Also, we have lost the beauty and style of traditional handwriting, and thus have lower standards of what handwriting “should be” than we did in the past. The technology of inventing typography and letterpress has gone out of style, and this has even had an effect on the vocabulary of our culture. For instance, since it’s so easy to type simple words for little kids, as opposed to the economy of writing bigger words by hand, children today are seen as “less intelligent” than children of the past, because of the increase of simple-mindedness in our culture. This brings up a slew of questions as to the value of not only digital media, but also as to how we expose our children to media.

    Though digital paper definitely has its uses, we should not allow the traditional methods of handwriting and style to continue to decline.

  12. Digital writing technologies offer a great deal of advantages to a wide variety of users. For example, while analog technologies such as ink and paper remain permanent after the transcription process, text created digitally may be altered (most notably through size, font, and color) at any point, even after a document reaches finalization. This ability offers undeniable flexibility to businesses dealing with a large amount of differing texts as well as to the average person who simply wishes to send an aesthetically professional resume to a company.

    Alternatively, the issue of ownership and digital rights surfaces with digital technologies such as eBooks. Consumers purchase these digital copies and house them on their personal eBook readers which gives the illusion of ownership. However, when examining the rights associated with such texts, the distributor still retains ownership of the purchased material and may alter or even revoke the rights held by the consumer. In essence, the consumer who “bought” the eBook is merely borrowing the content from the provider. Non-electronic books belong solely to the purchaser and he or she may do with the material as he or she sees fit.

  13. Digital writing technologies have provided the average American consumer with a word of power analog technology could not have. The invention of the computer allows an individual with access to a library or the machine itself the ability to create and duplicate masses of texts. Texts have also become easier to store as digital copies and backups are easier to make than paper back ups. As mentioned in the film Helvetica, computers have also put the art of typography into the hands of the masses. An infinite number of font choices and page variations are available for people to, if they choose, better express and represent their ideas.

    Digital writing tech is not without its flaws. Computer files have compatibility issues that pieces of paper do not. I, for example, have trouble opening .docx files my friends and professors decide to send me. Computers have also made data less secure. Pieces of paper, such as legal documents, can easily be kept hidden from sight, but even the Florida public school system has not been free from hackers stealing information that could lead to, say, identity theft. Computers have also given text creators an unhealthy confidence. Where we keep paper in file folders, meticulously safe from water damage and tearing, data files, which are much more volatile, are often not even backed up.

  14. Technology is moving further and further from the old ways of the pen and ink. There many advantages to this leap but at the same time there are a few disadvantages as well. With the new Laptop by Apple we can see a further step away from the old ways of writing. The wheel for example may make the laptop more accessible but at the same time it would be tedious to scroll for each individual letter. Before with the pen and paper the hand drew out the letter that the mind wanted, this process was almost instant. The next leap was the keyboard and it allowed one to write or type as it is called faster and readable to all. Before handwritten documents were sometimes if not all the time hard to read. Technology cleared that up. Though digital media is not solid as say a piece of paper and as such can be altered or deleted easily.

  15. Digital writing presents and individual with a myriad of benefits as opposed to pen and paper. The medium of digital technology itself creates a major advantage. Writings can be sent and received faster than paper over large distances and to multiple sources. With a pen and paper, recipients would have to wait days for information and the writer would have to make copies in order to facilitate sending a document to multiple sources. Digital writing also offers easy error correction. Pen and paper techniques are muddied by human error and, especially in professional documents, require the utmost attention to detail in order to achieve perfection. Digital writing allows the writer perfection without attention to detail. Uniformity in line structure and the ability to erase without blemish are major advantages to digital typeface.
    Human handwriting offers a warmer message to readers than digital typeface. The stroke of a pen on paper allows the reader to experience part of the author’s personality within the handwriting. The tangibility of pen and paper creations also benefits immediate transference between parties. Digital writing requires an extra step to print hard copies, so the efficiency of immediate transference only applies to digital mediums. Both mediums offer benefits and disadvantages to the extent that neither method will ever cease to exist. The benefits of one compliment the disadvantages of the other, so the forms of writing compliment each other as alternatives.

  16. As Derrida has pointed out, the act of inscription on paper remains a recent phenomenon. it seems natural to draw a parallel between the inscription of paper and electronics and the shifting away from vinyl records to discs.
    Much of the virtue of paper as well as vinyl lies in its analog nature. the trace left of music or art on the physical surface of the two mediums is directly affected and defined by the intent, the mastery, and the complexities of the inscription process.
    The nature of digital media, recessed and codified, is inherently limited by its resolution. With ink it is child’s play to create a smooth curve, yet with nearly all digital media such a shape is wholly impossible. Instead, it can only be used to approximate, albeit with such fine detail as to be indistinguishable to human eyes.
    similarly, the nature of vinyl records allows the sound of the music to be directly recorded into a medium, encouraging certain aficionados to prefer them over their remediated counterparts. It is precisely the ‘mediation’ of the media that interferes.


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