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A Historical Study of Typewriters and Typing Methods: from the Position of Planning Japanese Parallels

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Abstract

The recent progress in electronics suggests that an efficient processing of Japanese text at a reasonable cost will be feasible in the near future. The only unsettled link in the processing step will be the input aspect. Manually operated keyboard will remain the only viable input method for the foreseeable future and various keyboards together with different methods of computer aids are currently investigated or put into practice although only a few of these are to survive the test of time just as what has happened in many other technical areas. The present note is a part of an attempt to shorten such time of trial by critically examining what has happened in the history of Western typewriters and by identifying the blind spots and pitfalls their contemporaries failed to recognize. It is our hope that such information at least will arm us with an ability to spot potential trouble areas which we should not overlook during our course of research and development. We attempted to point out the essential features needed for the typewriter's acceptance what people did not know about typing method consequently what misjudgements people made on keyboard designs and what they suffer from even today.

The recent progress in electronics suggests that an efficient processing of Japanese text at a reasonable cost will be feasible in the near future. The only unsettled link in the processing step will be the input aspect. Manually operated keyboard will remain the only viable input method for the foreseeable future, and various keyboards together with different methods of computer aids are currently investigated or put into practice, although only a few of these are to survive the test of time just as what has happened in many other technical areas. The present note is a part of an attempt to shorten such time of trial, by critically examining what has happened in the history of Western typewriters, and by identifying the blind spots and pitfalls their contemporaries failed to recognize. It is our hope that such information at least will arm us with an ability to spot potential trouble areas which we should not overlook during our course of research and development. We attempted to point out the essential features needed for the typewriter's acceptance, what people did not know about typing method, consequently, what misjudgements people made on keyboard designs, and what they suffer from even today.

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