[TUHS] Early Unix and Keyboard Skills

Stuff Received stuff at riddermarkfarm.ca
Fri Nov 4 07:51:44 AEST 2022

On 2022-11-02 03:11, Rob Pike wrote:
> Neither ken nor dmr were impressive typists. In fact few programmers 
> were then, at least of my acquaintance.
> In the 1970s Bell Labs created the Getset - think of it as an early 
> wired smartphone, or a Minitel, with a little screen and keyboard. It 
> cost quite a bit but was a cool gadget so the executives all got one. 
> But, in fascinating contrast to the Blackberry a generation later, no 
> one would touch it - literally - because it had a keyboard, and 
> keyboards were for (female) secretaries, not (male) executives. The 
> product, although well ahead of its time, was a complete failure due 
> to the cultural bias then.
> There may be a good sociology paper in there somewhere.

I remember the dep't administrators having colour terminals connected to 
the mainframe, and all they did was look up the occasional telephone 
number, whilst the "secretaries" (as they were called then) being given 
b&w terminals for work.

> I'm not saying K&D shared this blinkered view, not at all, just that 
> typing skills were not de facto back then. Some of the folks were even 
> two-finger jabbers. I was a little younger and a faster typist than 
> most of the others, and I am not a good typist by any modern standard.
> bwk was one who could smash out the text faster than many. His having 
> learned on a teletype, the keyboard would resound with the impact of 
> his forceful keystrokes.

I learnt in high school on a manual typewriter so I can appreciate 
that.  (Learning on a manual really builds up the muscles on one's 
little fingers. #6-)


> -rob
> [...]

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