• Kerrie Davis

The generation gap


YOU may have noticed we have two new journos on board - Keegan Thomson and Jarrod McGrouther.

Both are exceptionally talented young lads and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading their contributions.

Like most of their generation, they are pretty savvy when it comes to techno applications.

As they are in their 20’s and I am in my 40’s, the 20-ish year age gap - or generation gap if you like - got us talking about the differences between beginning their careers in today’s technological times and when I was just starting.

When I cast my mind back it really is incredible how far we’ve come.

I remember going to North Sydney TAFE to do a week-long course learning how to operate a Wang Word Processor.

Yes. A whole week. It almost sounds ridiculous now that it would take five whole days to learn what was essentially typing a letter on a computer and sending it to a printer.

But at that time, the Word Processor seemed an amazing tool, because prior to that we used typewriters. I remember taking typing lessons at high school and the effort that it took to produce a document is mind-blowing now!

Firstly, just learning to type was a challenge, because we didn’t have mobile phones or any other tools that made us familiar with pressing a letter and it appearing - unless we wrote that letter with a pen or pencil.

On the manual typewriters, prior to the wham-bam electrical ones that came later, the letters had to be pressed with some force to get them to appear on the paper. Being taught to use all our fingers meant that the finished product was often a mixture of dark and light letters due to our stronger fingers being in charge of some letters and our weaker (pinkies) being in charge of others. Then there was the obstacle of keeping an eye on when it was time to make your words go down to the next line (this didn’t happen automatically) and bang on the carriage return - or you’d be typing off the page and on to the roller.

And heaven forbid if you made a mistake, because then you were in for the dreaded ordeal of applying liquid paper to the offending word, waiting for what seemed forever for it to dry, before reinserting the paper into the typewriter to

get it exactly in the right spot to retype the correct word.

Of course it never ever lined up perfectly.

So in amongst your light and dark letters you’d have words that looked like they were jumping for joy even thought you clearly were not.

It makes you wonder, when we’ve come so far in just over 20 years, what on

earth will the next 20 bring?

Your thoughts? kerrie@nepeannews.com.au


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