Something Springs Eternal

From Steven Levy, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything (1994, rev. ed. 2000), pp 275–76, describing an article published in January 1990:

Some people have criticized Macintosh on the grounds that it does change one’s thinking. Marcia Peoples Halio, an assistant professor of English at the University of Delaware, raised considerable hackles among Macintosh adherents in the academic community by writing an article in Academic Computing entitled, “Student writing: Can the machine maim the message?” In it, she described how the Freshman Comp papers she received differed according to the computers the students used to compose them. After several semesters of having her students used DOS-based IBM computers, she was shocked at the papers generated by Macintosh users: “Never before in twelve years of teaching had I seen such a sloppy bunch of papers,” she wrote. The problem went deeper than punctuation: the Macintosh students also wrote in a more casual style (Halio was reminded of the loose colloquialisms of the mass media) and even chose more frivolous subjects to write about. While the IBM students addressed issues like capital punishment and nuclear war, she complained, “Mac students chose to write about such topics as fast food, dating, bars, television, rock music, sports, relationships, and phenomena such as the foam ‘popcorn’ chips that come in too many packages.

“Can a technology be too easy, too playful for young immature writers?” she asked. “It seems to me that schools with only Macintosh computers may need to alert teachers to the possible effects that using this icon-driven, super-friendly system can have on students’ writing.”

Mock all you well, but you can’t deny that chiseling in cuneiform promotes critical thinking.

Before cuneiform, people could remember how many tokens were inside a sealed clay jar.

Shear luxury , We used to dream of sealed clay jar , all we had was mud on the cave wall.