Day 145 – Typing 101

Cadence asked me today if I would please print her out a few coloring pages, so I grabbed my laptop to look something up. She watched as I typed in my password and remarked,

“Wow, Mom. You type really fast!”

I told it was because I’ve had a lot of practice, and that I took some typing classes back when I was not much older than she was because they were just starting to use computers in classrooms.

Yep, I blew my 9-year-old’s mind today when I lived in a world before cellphones and tablets and home computers.

Then she asked how fast I can type, and I told her I wasn’t sure anymore. The last time I took a typing test, it was around 90 words a minute. So we took a detour from the coloring page and found a website where you can test yourself and practice typing. You can check it out here:

https://www.keyhero.com/free-typing-test/

And while I’m certainly not always this fast or accurate, I gotta say, I even impressed myself a little with this one:

You know you want to try it, too. ūüôā

365 Project – Day 233 – The Death of the Pen

Many moons ago, when I was just beginning my educational career, we spent a lot of time practicing our penmanship. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, was a formidable woman, with a head of curly reddish-orange hair and a habit of standing over me and my classmates and making us nervous as we carefully copied letters and printed words in our handwriting and penmanship workbooks.

In spite of the anxiety caused by Mrs. Smith’s looming presence, I fell hopelessly in love with writing.

There’s just something about holding the notebook in my hand. There’s something about flipping open the cover and thumbing through to find an blank page, and seeing those empty white spaces trapped between the rigid blue lines. There’s something about the way the pen fits between my fingers, something about pressing the tip against the page and watching the words form beneath it like a sculpture emerging from a block of stone.

My brain works differently when I sit down to compose my thoughts using a pen and paper, and I’d wager a guess that the same is true for anyone. Handwriting forces you to slow down, to think, to form your thoughts and your¬†words more carefully. It can even help you remember things, which is why I also take notes by hand instead of typing them during a class or a lecture.¬† Give me a choice between the keyboard and the pen, and I will choose the pen every time.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love computers. Hell, I’m sitting here typing up this blog right now. But when time allows, I much prefer to handwrite everything before typing up the final draft. Call me silly and old fashioned if you want, but handwriting is one of those things that keeps me sane. I’ve been known to handwrite dozens of drafts when I’m working on an essay or a story, crossing words out, adding sentences, making notes and sometimes even doodling in the margins, and then setting each draft aside as I write up the latest.

I pity the poor soul who will be cleaning out my file cabinet when I die.

I think it is a shame that handwriting is slowly dying in favor of typing and texting and instant messaging. Things like spelling, grammar and punctuation are languishing. Creativity and imagination are being stifled. And penmanship? Trying to decipher the handwriting of anyone under the age of 20 these days is like trying to decipher a meaningful sentence in a bowl of soggy Alpha-Bits cereal.

Many people believe that it won’t be long before things like pens and paper will be¬†completely obsolete. Perhaps they will even disappear from the face of the earth altogether, like floppy disks and public pay phones. One day here, the next day gone.

There are dozens of things that have gone the way of the dodo in my lifetime, and I can’t say that I was really sad to see any of them go. Okay, so maybe at first I was a little peeved with CD’s and DVD’s replaced cassette and video tapes. After all, I had amassed quite a collection and was suddenly faced with the burden of replacing them all after my last tape deck and VCR finally crapped out on me during college. But the impending demise of good old fashioned handwriting? Now that has me on edge.

See, I’ve never been completely comfortable in front of a computer. Sure, I like to surf the internet and catch up with my friends on Facebook, and I’ve even been known to hammer out a last minute essay or two and then sprint to class so I can turn it in on time. But even so, the computer will always play second fiddle to my notebook and pen. And I sincerely hope and pray that it will be the same for my daughter, and that she will continue the good fight against the death of the pen.¬†After all, it is the only thing that has ever been mightier than the sword.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to all of the other hand writers out there. No matter what, I hope you’ll keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.

365 Project – Day 192 – People That Piss Me Off (part 2)…

Hackers.

I get it, you know. I loved the 1995 flick starring Jonny Lee Miller and¬†Angelina Jolie. Hell, I enjoyed it so much I even bought the soundtracks. Yes, plural. There were three, and I own them all, even though I’ve never liked much dance/electronica music.

I always thought it would be kinda fun to know that much about computers. Sitting through the endless DOS classes in high school, I dreamed of being able to do something really fun with the knowledge, instead of just knowing how to get into a file or folder through the DIR command. Nothing destructive. Nothing flashy. I just wanted to be able to do something interesting, you know?

The issue I have is with the dirtbag hackers. The ones who go out of their way to destroy websites just because they can. These creeps target innocent people, innocent businesses and agencies, tagging their websites with cyber graffiti. One of my friends had her photography blog site hacked recently by this piece of work…

Open a website hacked by The O77 Hacker and you’re greeted with the signature black screen and a little pop up window that announces that the website has been hacked. Once you click to exit the website or to get rid of the pop up, you get the full view of The 077 Hacker’s handiwork…

Try to exit out of this screen and close down your internet browser and The 077 Hacker throws one last shot¬†at you–like a child caught stealing cookies from the jar who can’t help but to shove one last bite in his mouth…

Really? I mean, really people??? Google this 077 Hacker and you’ll see that he has defaced thousands of websites and is apparently still going strong. And for what? Glory? A laugh? A cheap thrill? Bragging rights with your hacker friends?

It makes me wonder how much time and energy these people waste with this useless past time? I mean, seriously, what kind of amazing things could they accomplish¬†if they put their efforts into doing good or doing something constructive? Or hell, if you’re going to hack websites, why not go after websites providing kiddie porn to pedophiles. Shut those creeps down and keep our children safe.¬†And what about¬†hate spewing Al-Quaeda¬† or¬†Neo-Nazi sites? Or how about hacking into any websites with photos of Casey Anthony and painting devil horns on her head? If you’re going to hack something, if you’ve got this God-given talent that allows you to understand and manipulate computers in ways that most people can’t even fathom, then dammit, why not harness all that energy and use it for something worthwhile?

Tonight’s 365 Project is dedicated to the hackers we hate to love and love to hate. I guess I just don’t understand it. Maybe I never will. But, in the meantime, I can only hope that someday Mr. 077 Hacker will start using his powers for good. Because remember what Uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibility.