Practical Technology

for practical people.

In the beginning, there was the word processor


nce upon a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, instead of word processors like today’s favorites such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs or OpenOffice and its brother LibreOffice, we had to use typewriters. Some of us, dare I admit it, wrote by hand on paper. The horror! The horror! But, then along came word processors and the world changed.

In my case, I made the change-over in 1980. I went from using my “prized” IBM Selectric II to using two word processors at almost the same time. I’ve always been a glutton for punishment.

The first, and the one that counts as a real word processor, was WordStar. I first used it on an Osborne 1 “luggable” computer. This was a portable computer only in the sense that if you absolutely had to move it, you could “lug” its 24-pounds from one place to another. Of course, you had to have a power outlet where-ever you went, we were a long, long way from having batteries that could power something like the new iPad for ten hours.

WordStar, which was God’s gift to touch-typists, made it possible to use the control key-at the time the only “alternative” key most PC keyboards had–to copy, cut, and paste text. While there were earlier word processors, Electric Pencil, WordStar was for many of us the first word processor we could use on a general purpose PC.

In the beginning, there was the word processor. More >

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