Goodbye, cruel Word: A personal history of electronic writing

Steven Poole in his blog:

For the first time, I no longer have a copy of Microsoft Word installed on either of my computers. That’s some change. I wrote my first two books, and many hundreds of articles, in Word. But I’m writing my third book in an inexpensive yet wonderful piece of Mac-only software written by a single person instead of a “business unit” at Redmond. Scoured of Word, my computers feel clean, refreshed, relieved of a hideous and malign burden. How did it come to this?

I remember when Word was all clean and sci-fi and inspiring, on the sharp monochrome screens of late-1980s and early-1990s Macs. When I was at university, hardly anyone owned a computer. We wrote our final dissertations on Mac Classics running Word in the college Computer Room. Afterwards, when I began to write for newspapers, the first electronic writing tool I owned was one of these:

Screenhunter_18_sep_06_1547For some reason the fact that this is called an Elektrische Schreibmaschine in German makes me feel all nostalgic for the ultrasmooth Kraftwerk future it seems I was living back then without even realising it, tapping out theatre reviews on a six-line green LCD (not even backlit), and then watching the typewriter daisywheel chatter back and forth to print a hard copy, that I would then take to the library and send to the TLS or the Independent, via a facsimile machine, at 10p per page.

More here.