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Johnson talks about his first experiences using a computer in Interface Culture. More specifically he talks about using the computer to write, and how he used to write by hand and then how he transitioned into writing purely on the computer.
He talks about “interface design” and how the Mac’s version lured him into using the computer by making their word processing program seem like paper on a desktop. I can see how that makes sense for someone who grew up using a pen and paper to write. But for me it doesn’t quite work that way. I grew up writing on paper as well and I remember the first time I wrote using Word, but I didn’t really start getting into writing until late high school and early college. Until then I had used word processors, predominantly Word, for writing research papers and five paragraph essays. Now, when I open up Word and stare at the blinking cursor in 12 point Times New Roman, it just feels stale and uninspiring.
I’ve had to find new avenues to go about writing via computer. Mostly I mean using anything but Word. I joined the blogosphere a few years ago and I’ve found it both welcoming and inspiring. Knowing my work is “published” as soon as I hit enter gives a feeling of permanence and encourages me to make sure I’m content with what I’ve just written. I know I have the option to go back and edit it, but I like to be fully satisfied before I send it down the tubes.
Even Blogger seems like a welcome change from the confines of the five paragraph essay and the research papers of olde. It’s funny how similar the two interfaces are, but the subtle changes make all the difference. The orange against the gray background seems to carry so much more warmth than the cold sterile blue on white of Word.
Though, I can tell it’s just me. There isn’t anything wrong with using Word. It’s not like I have issues with the program itself. (Though, they keep coming out with new versions and moving all the menus around. What happened to file-print? Why is it so complicated now!? I digress.) I’ve just associated too much emotional pain and suffering with Word. Strangely enough, the Notes application on Facebook was how it all started. I liked the interface. It was simple, straightforward, and wasn’t Word. It was after that I figured out why I hadn’t liked writing until then. It was the uninspiring, static, dull, coldness that is Microsoft Word.

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