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  1. #1

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    Which do you prefer?

    I was talking to NYC ace trumpet man Joe Magniarelli the other night about this. We both lean towards writing by hand, feeling it is more personal and less generic than using a program.

    I realize that especially younger musicians nowadays prefer and even expect computer-generated music. It's just that I enjoy the process of writing by hand. Maybe it is partly that my first medium as a young creative person was visual art. Even using whiteout reminds me of painting. And I like that my handwriting and copying has steadily improved over time.

    I also like to read by-hand charts by others, and check out their styles, markings, etc.

    Of course I also appreciate the advantages software offers, especially if one is writing for a larger ensemble it can save many copying hours.

    I think that eventually composers using programs will be able to 'personalize' their work with individual fonts, etc.---if they aren't already.

    Thoughts?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Sorry, Joel, not that it matters to anyone else, but I prefer Sibelius or Finale. There is something about the architecture of formal notation. Even though Sibelius has fonts that mimic "jazz" notation and handwritten, I still prefer the standard.

    Call me irresponsible....

  4. #3

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    You woulnt wanna see my hand written charts, trust me! Lol. No, Sibelius is my steady choice, and it has handwrtten kind like font. No way im going back to hand writing anything!

  5. #4

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    I had Sibelius, and kept it shelved since 2004. When I finally got around to wanting to try it recently I couldn't find the damn CD.

    Everybody I asked told me Finale was too hard.

    There are free, less feature-heavy systems for downloading. Will give those a shot, I think...

  6. #5

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  7. #6

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    Software is consistent. Hands are not. Some people write and draw much better than others. With software it's all the same, and easy to get used to reading it.

  8. #7
    Musescore is great. I think you'd like it once you get the hang of it. I have the keyboard shortcuts printed out and posted in my office.

    I look at notation software much as I would look at spreadsheet software. When you make one mistake with an adding machine, you have to go back and re-add everything, figure out where you messed up, as opposed to spreadsheet software, where you fix the one thing and everything else automatically adjusts.

    It's not as bad with had handwritten music charts , but you still have to fix it, and sometimes deal with gaps and holes in the visuals, if it's by hand, as opposed to just deleting the part which doesn't work and reprinting the score.

    ...even more so, if you have multiple parts. Musescore and the like are pretty handy for printing entire scores and then, automatically splitting them into separate parts when you're ready to go. Maybe it wouldn't make as much of a difference, if I made fewer mistakes, but I can't tell you the number of times I've gone back and changed scores. If it's big enough chart, or has enough parts, it can be serious pain to edit a measure here and there, by hand, as opposed to editing a master score which is later split and reprinted.

    Musescore has jazz "real book" style fonts by the way, if you want more of that hand-written look.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 09-17-2016 at 09:18 PM.

  9. #8

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    Perhaps you should consider Staffpad if you enjoy the physical writing process; perhaps the best of both worlds


  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Software is consistent. Hands are not. Some people write and draw much better than others. With software it's all the same, and easy to get used to reading it.
    I have accumulated a few of Tom Harrell's (a man not without problems) handwritten charts. They are steady as she goes, and rather beautiful to look at.

    I myself am nervous as a baseline. I find notating by hand therapeutic and calming. And i'm proud of how the results often come out. Writing lead sheets and such nearly daily I have quite a library in my own hand.

    Again, I also love looking at how others handle it. It is educational to me...

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith View Post
    Perhaps you should consider Staffpad if you enjoy the physical writing process; perhaps the best of both worlds

    I sure would! This is what I alluded to before. The future is now!

    In the words of Cyrano: 'I thank you, I thank you---and again I thank you...

  12. #11

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  13. #12

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    Keith, you have made me a happy man! If I can use this with a laptop I am in like Flint. I was getting ready to pay a guy $25/page to copy music for intended publication. Now for a cool $50 total expenditure I can do it myself and save...

  14. #13

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    Sadly, I cannot. There is no 'active pen' feature on my Samsung Notebook 9---and Staffpad requires it.

    Ah, well, it was a nice thought...

  15. #14

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    I use StaffPad and LOVE it.

    I absolutely HATE reading handwritten music. Why? Because most people are not careful enough in their markings to show unequivocally whether a note is ON the line or IN the space between lines. And the note-heads end up being inconsistent, varying in size and shape. And instead of really BLACK and white, you usually get grey and white, which is more difficult to read on the fly.

    StaffPad is my ideal (though it has some bugs...)

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    I use StaffPad and LOVE it.

    I absolutely HATE reading handwritten music. Why? Because most people are not careful enough in their markings to show unequivocally whether a note is ON the line or IN the space between lines. And the note-heads end up being inconsistent, varying in size and shape.
    Strongly disagree. I know scores of writers who write quality and very readable scores and never do what you allude to.

    Part of the problem may be that younger musos start out writing with programs, never learning to properly notate by hand. IMO this is their loss, for previously-stated reasons...

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    StaffPad is my ideal (though it has some bugs...)
    Not only bugs: not compatible with my laptop, and Surface tablets---which Staffpad claims it works best on---start at ca. $400. Sorry, but f that noise. I ain't made out of $, and just dropped $800 on a laptop.

    Too bad, I was hoping it could work out. Maybe, down the line, another product will...

  18. #17

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    My handwriting was f-ed up from the start, before I even start learning music. It's just bad, it is what it is. It's not a requirement for musicians to write accurately. Hell, Django couldn't write anything at all, period! AFAIK there were special people with nice handwriting who would get pay to write scores. Now with computer everyone can do that, and I'm happy the handwritten scores became thing of the past.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Now with computer everyone can do that, and I'm happy the handwritten scores became thing of the past.
    'They say it's idiot-proof, but I found a way to beat it'


    John Eckert...

  20. #19

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    Joel, obviously everyone has their personal financial situation - mine currently is "unemployment" which does tend to discourage discretionary spending. But one advantage that cannot be underestimated to some other notation solutions is that Sibelius has the performance playback with midi files plus the capability of transposing the score. Performance playback for me is a big deal. Verify what I wrote is correct and rehearse tunes or to compose. Transcribes what I can play in real time. One could literally use sections for recordings.

    And the kicker? When I bought my now legacy Sibelius G7 software eons ago, it cost me $60 or so on sale at GC. Best money I ever spent.

  21. #20

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    Agreed, Sibelius is great. Never said it wasn't...

  22. #21

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    Finale is much easier to learn than it used to be. It also includes Garritan sounds for playback, and some are amazingly good. I think it's an excellent way to learn orchestration while developing your own style at the same time. It is, of course, just one of many, but I settled on it once the learning curve was flattened.

  23. #22

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    Just wrote out And the Angels Sing for tonight. In hand.

    It'll do fine. Will have to...

  24. #23

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    And Dorico, the new Steinberg software created by the Avid fired Sibelius development team, is even better and easier to use since designed to address many usage problems of Sibelius

    No affiliation with Steinberg !
    Perfection is in the Details, but Perfection isn't a Detail (Leonardo da Vinci)

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhch View Post
    And Dorico, the new Steinberg software created by the Avid fired Sibelius development team, is even better and easier to use since designed to address many usage problems of Sibelius

    No affiliation with Steinberg !
    I bought Steinberg's Cubase, over 20 years ago. Set me back over $400, and I never used it...
    Last edited by fasstrack; 09-18-2016 at 04:41 PM.

  26. #25

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    I've been a busy lad today. Working tonight, and getting to call the tunes---so I wrote out the 1 I mentioned, plus Once Upon a Summertime (in pen).

    Time to chill. Badass Alessio Menconi coming to listen and play, Kevin McNeal, too. Maybe Pasquale G.

    Should be fun, maybe a mini-guitar fest.

    I love​ NY...

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by fasstrack View Post
    I bought Steinberg's Cubase, over 20 years ago. Set me back over $400, and I never used it...
    Me too, although a bit later I keep using Reaper and Ableton instead

    But having used Sibelius for years, hitting its various shortcomings (like triplet editing), and reading/seeing/following the Dorico presentations, I think the development team did its best to improve a lot over it and make it simpler and easier to use. Now if one must buy Cubase to get Dorico ... it's another story.
    Perfection is in the Details, but Perfection isn't a Detail (Leonardo da Vinci)

  28. #27

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    I learned how to write out a lead sheet by hand, make parts and all that from my friend's dad when I was growing up. Mr Koehler was a bandleader in the 50s and he showed me how to line out your sheet and some tricks music copyists use to make a nice sheet.

    I can write out by hand something that is very readable in less time than it takes to try and operate a computer based music copy program.

    So if you are talking about parts for just one tune, I'll do that by hand because its faster and I get exactly what I want with no effing around. Think of me as the "John Henry" of music copying.

    the sad thing is that music copying is actually a musical skill, but people just don't write things out by hand anymore.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    I can write out by hand something that is very readable in less time than it takes to try and operate a computer based music copy program.
    That's what I'm talkin' about.

    Hear hear (here?)...

  30. #29

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    Hear, hear is correct. It bugs me, for some reason, that many people insist on writing it as "here, here". Reading seems to be a lost art, and often people rely on what they mistakenly hear. It's "hear, hear", as in I hear what he said, and so should others. I have no idea what "here, here" is supposed to mean.

    Just another rant from the grammar police. Carry on with your day.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Reading seems to be a lost art...
    ...As is writing and non-digitized conversation.

    But, in the words of that shrewd commentator on human behavior, Billy Crystal, 'Don't get me started'...

  32. #31

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    Here here is my buddy accordionist's drawing of a beautiful handwritten score. Stole it from his FB:

    Handwritten or software-generated charts/parts?-handwriting-jpg

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Hear, hear is correct. It bugs me, for some reason, that many people insist on writing it as "here, here". Reading seems to be a lost art, and often people rely on what they mistakenly hear. It's "hear, hear", as in I hear what he said, and so should others. I have no idea what "here, here" is supposed to mean.

    Just another rant from the grammar police. Carry on with your day.
    Perhaps people imagine here here to be the opposite of there there.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  34. #33

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    I can write out by hand something that is very readable in less time than it takes to try and operate a computer based music copy program.
    Me too... but I know guys who can hardly write by hand at all. They did not do it after school for years using computers.

    I prefer hand-written... I like to see a blank sheet of paper, I like to fill it in, I like to see ready - real one with real letters or notes, the one I can drop in the box and find ina year, throuw in the trash can or use to wrap my breakfast)

    but being professional it is almost impossible today. Nobody wants to see hand-written parts any more.


    I work with texts a lot too and I had the same issue... I hate typing texts on computer on the same reason... I prefer writing by hand..
    but when you have to deal with hundreds of pages re-typing is so time-consumimg and sometimes it is alos unreadable that I finally found a compromise...

    I use old type-writer and when the text is more or less ready I scan it and use software to edit it. (Or to be honest... I edit the manuscript, and my wife or elder daughter scan it and edit on computer)))

  35. #34

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    you know, I didn't realize this, but a lot of schools don't even teach cursive handwriting anymore. When I was in elementary school, they taught us to write in cursive because people wrote things out by hand. apparently, that is not being taught universally anymore.

    the thing is...writing something by hand and seeing what you wrote there on the paper are strong memory triggers.

    typing it up and seeing on a flatscreen for some reason doesn't make those same memory connections, which means that it may be actually harder for the young guys to pick up some of these musical skills. It sort of like cheating on an exercise and not getting the full benefit of the workout.

    That's what I mean about music copying being a musical skill and learning it helps. A rising tide floats all boats, so the more you know the better off you are. you want to really remember something? you want to know if you really know something? .....write it out on staff paper by hand and try not to make a pig's breakfast out of it

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Here here is my buddy accordionist's drawing of a beautiful handwritten score. Stole it from his FB:

    Handwritten or software-generated charts/parts?-handwriting-jpg

    see what I mean?

    when you take the time to write things out, the finished product is so much better than a stale printout

  37. #36

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    you know, I didn't realize this, but a lot of schools don't even teach cursive handwriting anymore
    In Russia it is still obligatory... my daughter's excercise book looks like this
    Attached Images Attached Images Handwritten or software-generated charts/parts?-png 

  38. #37

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    typing it up and seeing on a flatscreen for some reason doesn't make those same memory connections, which means that it may be actually harder for the young guys to pick up some of these musical skills. It sort of like cheating on an exercise and not getting the full benefit of the workout.
    One poet said that he wrote only by hand because if you type and print it gives you false feeling of completion and perfection because it looks like it is published already. Of course it is a matter of being self-concious...

    Another thing I do not like about typing on computers that you cannot amend or correct, you can only delete and re-type... and when you delete you feel like it never existed...
    And then it effects writing as it is... if you can so easily erase it any moment, copy and paste, change the order of words... then what is really the value of all this?

  39. #38

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    That's what I mean about music copying being a musical skill and learning it helps. A rising tide floats all boats, so the more you know the better off you are. you want to really remember something? you want to know if you really know something? .....write it out on staff paper by hand and try not to make a pig's breakfast out of it

    When I was a kid studying classical guitar there was no internet and the editions of guitar repertoire were quite limited too..

    I often had to stay after classes and copied a new piece by hand from my teacher's book.

    When I had some experience I could memorize a piece before even playing it... and also whlie copying it I got it very personal, like I composed it myself.

    The modern accessability of everything requires a lot of discipline.

  40. #39

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    I really like writing music by hand, I find it very satisfying, for some reason.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  41. #40

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    I'd love to have a midi transducer for my guitar so I could have some software transcribe whatever I play, but that is still too expensive for what its worth to me.

    I found an old notebook earlier this summer from back when I was living at home. My friend's dad, Mr Koehler, had all these great old fake books down in his basement, but he'd never let us leave the house with them. We couldn't take them to the library and make copies like that. But he'd let us stay up all night hand copying tunes, so I'd spend the night and me and Grant would be up all night playing cards and copying tunes

    anyway I found one of those old notebooks and my bass player remarked at how easy to read all the tunes were, even close to 40 years later.

    since most of my copy work got handed out to the boys in the horn section or turned in as a semester project back in school, it was pretty cool to come across an old notebook full for tunes

  42. #41

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    Similar sorts of discussions exist for the digitization of any media. The tech introduces shortcuts that can create handicaps if one simply relies on them and does not understand the manual process and all the "whys". At the same time, the tech introduces shortcuts that can make the process faster, easier, and arguably better.
    An example can be found with how math education has progressed over the years. With the introduction of increasingly advanced calculators, the basic memorization and repetitive practice approach to learning has shifted toward an understanding of concepts and how to use tech as a tool to do the grunt work. This has allowed us to move deeper into the subject earlier in instruction and cover debatable more interesting ground instead of trudging through foundational material. Granted, the foundation is always necessary and the balance is in finding how to "use" the tech and not "exploit" it.
    To save the time transposing for Bb and Eb and bass clef instruments in order to create a unison line? Priceless. But to rely entirely on the software to the point of being lost should you have to do it on the fly somewhere, clearly not desirable.
    I'd say my own preference is to handwrite early drafts, for things like jotting ideas or writing a melody. Software for reproduction and distribution and archiving.


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  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by pants View Post
    ...An example can be found with how math education has progressed over the years. With the introduction of increasingly advanced calculators, the basic memorization and repetitive practice approach to learning has shifted toward an understanding of concepts and how to use tech as a tool to do the grunt work...
    and that's why kids today can't even jockey a cash register

    there is this thing called "mental discipline". I didn't memorize multiplication tables because there weren't calculators. There were. And there were slide rules before that. You memorized the multiplication tables so that you could do the necessary calculations in your head to solve real problems without having to check with your stupid iPhone.

    That idea you are putting out that technology somehow makes it so that kids don't need to know anything is the most destructive idea in modern education.

    the fact is that young people don't understand any concepts either. Just talk to somebody in your office under the age of 40 about a simple application of integral calculus and you'll see what I mean.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    and that's why kids today can't even jockey a cash register

    there is this thing called "mental discipline". I didn't memorize multiplication tables because there weren't calculators. There were. And there were slide rules before that. You memorized the multiplication tables so that you could do the necessary calculations in your head to solve real problems without having to check with your stupid iPhone.

    That idea you are putting out that technology somehow makes it so that kids don't need to know anything is the most destructive idea in modern education.

    the fact is that young people don't understand any concepts either. Just talk to somebody in your office under the age of 40 about a simple application of integral calculus and you'll see what I mean.
    I am relatively certain that I never said modern tech makes it so that kids don't need to know anything. Tech in education is a tricky balance for sure. I agree that it is increasingly common for the education system to turn out kids who do not understand core concepts and relationships but only how to solve for specific answers and that part of the problem here can be misuse of tech. This is part of the thrust behind the (much misunderstood) common core math. It's aimed at pushing a conceptual understanding of numerical relationships instead of simply memorizing tables. But that's a HUGE and different discussion.
    My math analogy might not have been the best choice as there are a number of other loaded issues tagging along with the point I was trying to make, which is simply that tech, used responsibly and as a supplement rather than a replacement, can help to streamline some of the tedious components of tasks like transcribing up and down keys and whatnot. Certainly the composer still needs to have that knowledge and doing it all by hand all the time increases mastery by providing hours of practice. But in the real world, the time saved can often outweigh the benefits of more practice on something you already know how to do.


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  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by pants View Post
    I am relatively certain that I never said modern tech makes it so that kids don't need to know anything. Tech in education is a tricky balance for sure. I agree that it is increasingly common for the education system to turn out kids who do not understand core concepts and relationships but only how to solve for specific answers and that part of the problem here can be misuse of tech. This is part of the thrust behind the (much misunderstood) common core math. It's aimed at pushing a conceptual understanding of numerical relationships instead of simply memorizing tables. But that's a HUGE and different discussion.
    My math analogy might not have been the best choice as there are a number of other loaded issues tagging along with the point I was trying to make, which is simply that tech, used responsibly and as a supplement rather than a replacement, can help to streamline some of the tedious components of tasks like transcribing up and down keys and whatnot. Certainly the composer still needs to have that knowledge and doing it all by hand all the time increases mastery by providing hours of practice. But in the real world, the time saved can often outweigh the benefits of more practice on something you already know how to do.


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    fair enough. And just in the interest of "fair disclosure" I don't believe that technology helps people learn anything. I believe that it makes your brain lazy and then when you really need to figure something out, all you can think of is to look something up on your phone.

    besides, those "tedious components of tasks" are my favorite part of working a problem. Not having a head for those sorts of details is exactly what makes the millenials such a PITA to have to work with. Couple no mental discipline with their not being able to take criticism and throw in their penchant for being little crybabies and what's not to like, you know what I mean?

    so if that is the sort of educated adult technology produces, then we need to get back to pencils, chalk and erasers.

  46. #45

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    I try not to use navigator even driving in another country... (of course within reasonable limits)...

    I just feel stupid following these instructions... besides it's much more fun to find the way using real map or signs...

    I also noticed that if you use navigator in a new town you actually do not get to know it... you do not uderstand where is what and how you got to the destination.


    Last time I was in Finnland I saw in many public places regular doors with knobs (not slide doors) that open itself as you approach... i tried to ask: why do you need a door with a knob if you do not open it yourself?

    they could not answer...

    it looks like they are so comfortable that they do not know already what to improve... of course it's a good thing for disabled people, of moms with a baby carriage but they put in the places where you can hardly meet one.
    Or you can make a button for them but let those who can do it on their own - do it...

    It almost hit me in the face... they said: you know we do not walk so fast here...

  47. #46

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    I've started a different thread as educational tech is something I'm interested in more deeply and am curious to talk about it more. However, I don't want to get too far off subject here.

    Educational(?) Technology

    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?url...9&share_type=t


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  48. #47

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    You need a knob on any door. You don't always need to use it, but you have to allow for those times when the electricity goes out, etc. Without electricity, the technology being discussed in this thread doesn't work.

    GPS is wonderful technology. It was a godsend for offshore pilots, and boat captains, when it was turned on. Out there, navigation, especially in low visibility or in the clouds, is rather difficult without it. I've done my fair share of navigation using a wet compass and a clock, and GPS is much better. It's also helpful driving in a strange city with heavy traffic, where it isn't at all safe to be looking at a map instead of watching the crazy drivers all around you. Having the voice directions is very helpful, and much safer. I almost always have Google Maps running on my phone on trips, even if I know the route very well, just for the traffic information. Many times I've saved a lot of time by knowing about accidents and other road closures before I was trapped in stopped traffic. GPS and other technology are tools, nothing more, but IMO it's foolish to ignore available tools just because you're afraid of them, or think you're too good to need them. Tools are meant to be used. One needs to be able to get by without them if necessary, and lots of things can substitute for a hammer in a pinch, but it's better to use the tool best suited for the job.
    Last edited by sgosnell; 09-20-2016 at 06:08 PM.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    ... I've done my fair share of navigation using a wet compass and a clock, and GPS is much better.
    you know, I don't even care that you lit into me the other day in another thread...you're allright!

  50. #49

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    Guys, is it ok we are communicating here by typing on a computer that sends text electronically? How about we do handwritten letters and become penpals? These damn millenials dont know anything but internet, but we will show them! Lets be real old school, what ya say?

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    Me too... but I know guys who can hardly write by hand at all. They did not do it after school for years using computers.
    Thank you for making my point again.

    'I'd rather do it myself, mom, than flip a switch'

    ---Chuck Wayne...