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This is lovely.

I always get a special joy from seeing things like this. This is something I would never have thought of. It fills such an obvious hole in hindsight. It opens up a place where folk can suddenly experiment and play with something that they might have been afraid of previously. It opens things up.

This reminds me of when I helped out with some teacher training in my teens waaaaay back in 1986/87. We were showing some primary school teachers and primary school kids their first computers. Some simple paint programs. Some simple word processors. This is a mouse. Etc.

I remember this one eight or nine year old loving the delete key in the word processor "I can make the mistakes go away" he said.

We left some of the kids messing about with the machines as we talked to the teachers. 30m later that kid came back to drag us over to see this couple of hundred word story that he'd tapped out. The teacher said that, if she hadn't seen it herself, she wouldn't have believed the kid could have produced it. Grammar, spelling, plot, etc. were worlds above his normal standard.

Because he could make the mistakes go away.

The look on that lads face as he took that story away with him (we printed it out for him) still brings tears to the eye of this cynical old bastard.

I've always bit really terrible at poetry. I played with this for 30m.


It is a remarkable idea how far an IDE can go; I wonder if an emacs poetry mode would do the same job.

Anecdotes like yours are one of the main reasons I read HN. Thanks for sharing.

Now back to the subject of the thread, kudos to the author. Every time I try conveying an idea into a poem I get stuck on the sounds of the words; it's rather hard to me to find the right rhymes, especially since English is not my native language and I'm used to read far more than to listen to it.

And back to another side note, I stumbled upon this writing by Joe Davis called Telescopic Text [1] a few years ago, and loved it. He also built a tool [2] to aid writing texts on the same format and, though I never managed to finish a text myself, I found the tool rather amusing too.

[1] http://www.telescopictext.com/

[2] http://www.telescopictext.org/

Anecdotes like yours are one of the main reasons I read HN. Thanks for sharing.

Y'welcome. Have another from the same session of teacher training. It's one I trot out while wearing my UX hat when folk talk about 'intuitive' interfaces.

This was late eighties remember. In the UK too. Mice were not common. Almost everybody we put down in front of one had problems initially. This was often the first time these folk had been in front of a computer - let alone one with a mouse.

In one case I had to take the mouse apart (look here's this ball - it moves against these rollers - they send the x/y changes to the computer, that moves the little arrow on the screen) before the teacher 'got it'.

Intuitive? Ain't no such thing ;-)

If you like this kind of anecdotes, you should read "Mindstorms" by Seymour Papert. It's more about maths than writing, but it's filled with examples showing how the fact that computers allow children to make mistakes, and then fix them, changes deeply the way to teach.

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