Prison Pete

Monday, August 15, 2005
  It is the little things sometimes.
My current approach to writing involves creating drafts using carbon paper, instead of ribbon, on my Smith Corona WordSmith 250. Since this particular model has a four or five page memory, I am able to review the draft, make corrections then print a final copy with the ribbon in place.

The carbon paper, since it was the top sheet, would leave a glob of black 'ink' on the plastic paper guard as it was thread into the machine. When I would insert a clean piece of paper to make the final copy a black skid mark would appear on the top couple of inches of my page.

To clean the plastic paper guard required the removal of the platen (roller). I finally figured out that if I simply fold the top and bottom quarter inch of the carbon paper over and no more smudge marks.

Why am I bothering to write about such a minor accomplishment? Am I that starved for attention? Yes but that is not the real reason I am writing this somewhat trivial post. The point I am making is that it is very often not what a particular tool is designed for that is important, but how you can make modifications while using the tool to suit your individual needs that is the heart of the issue.

The single use ribbons cost fifteen to twenty cents per typed page. While this clarity is needed to enable the OCR scanning to read the page it is not necessary for the drafts. I can use one sheet of carbon paper at the cost of eleven cents to print out over twenty-five draft pages.

This raises one other point of person versus computer and which one is smarter. While the OCR software could not read the pages I printed with the carbon paper, even after only two or three uses, without giving a slew of errors, I (and most other humans) could still read pages after twenty or even thirty uses of the carbon paper.

The moral of this post? Be sure you fully explore the way you can use technology, and do not let technology use you.
Hi Pete! I was just wondering if you had received my letter. I mailed it about a week ago. It is in a pretty thick envelope with some other things I printed from the internet I thought you might like to see, but I put 3 or 4 stamps on it. Well, let me know on here or threw your editor who has my email address. I will have to send another one if you don't get this one. Try to have a good day now! Tammie
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