Jan 9: Hardcopy vs. Softcopy

Are you zealous in your attachment to hard-copy, or have you left all that behind and completely shifted into bits & bytes and the soft-copy world? Out with paper day-timers, in with smart phone apps galore. Or maybe you’re a ‘tweener’ like me, a ‘harft-copy‘ (terrible, I know, but couldn’t resist they way it sounds like ‘half’ with a cockney accent) advocate always trying to balance the two? My friend RS sent me an article from NYT about the paper day-timer choice.

I’m unquestionably immersed and fluent in the bits & bytes world. However, there are a couple of deficiencies that drive me into the ‘tweener’ zone.

Firstly, lots of personal history will be vapor before we know it. Calendars, letters, musings. Stored on today’s technology platforms they will be lost to us in future technology platforms or even sooner in current hardware malfunctions. I’m still crying over a collection of stories I wrote in Singapore that evaporated in a hard drive crash trifecta at our house. The backup and the main drive chose to self-destruct within days of each other.

These will disappear, unless you somehow systematically migrate them and bring them along with you to the next platform, or print them out. I make picture books, keep a paper family calendar in the kitchen that duplicates my electronic calendar (I have everyone saved since I was in college! These have resolved many family arguments about what we did when), hand-write personal journals and periodically submit my blogs to print (try Blog2Print). I hope my kids don’t complain about this to their friends when they are stuck clearing out all our things after we are gone. Maybe they will sit down and read, enjoy, and understand something new about where they came from.

Secondly, I find my favorite font is my own handwriting. It speaks to me. It’s unique. It varies to fit the situation, needs for emphasis, size of paper, color, style, and allows for embellishments like doodles, smiles, checks … anything easily added with a quick flourish of the pen. It’s fast, doesn’t accidentally crash and erase, doesn’t require a charged battery, can drop on the floor, or in the sand. Hand-written To-Do lists compel me to action – electronic ones are easily ignored. A hand-written journal or letter can be read 100 years from now by just picking it up and looking at it. It’s resilient. So I keep special words and memories in hand-written form and make sure I print others and put them on the shelf, so I can pick them up in the future. And if I really want to get something done, the paper to-do list appears on the kitchen counter. I transcribe all the overdue items collected in my iPhone to paper. It’s a signal that I mean business and these things will be checked off, for real this time.


About lynnmorstead

Writing about the small things that shape our lives
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