The Typewriter: Influencing Communications Technology

Without the invention of the typewriter would it have been possible for the computer to bask in its global popularity today? Would you be reading these words if it wasn’t for the invention of the keyboard? When you think about the ease of usage as you type compositions that appear on the screen of your computer monitor, we should never forget the celebrated invention of the typewriter.

Mastering the use of the typewriter comes with the tag team precision of eye, brain and hand coordination. During my tenure in high school, typing classes were taught as an elective. Typewriters were extremely popular at that time, due to a soaring demand in secretarial careers. Accuracy and the number of words typed per minute were primary requirements for secretarial positions.

The evolution of the typewriter dates back to around 1713. An English engineer, Henry Mill was granted the first English typewriter patent in 1714, but never got around to manufacturing it. The first American typewriter patent was granted to William A. Burt, an inventor from Detroit in 1829 who introduced the typographer. Burt’s method was designed for transcribing letters singularly and progressively, one after another on paper.

The first practical typewriter, called the “Sholes & Glidden Type Writer,” was conceived and invented by Christopher Latham Sholes, Samuel Soulé and Carlos Glidden. The Type Writer was marketed by gun manufacturers, E. Remington & Sons. The keyboard arrangement was considered notable enough to be included on Sholes’ patent, granted in 1878. The typewriter worked great for beginners, but for the professional, modifications had to be done. The problem arose when increased typing speed caused a problem with the keys sticking. Hence, this influenced the invention of the QWERTY typewriter by Christopher Latham Sholes. The letters “Q,W,E,R,T” and “Y” beginning with the first row of letters from the left on the keyboard, gave the layout its name. It was also called the “Universal” keyboard.

The transition from the development of the typewriter to the computer keyboard resulted from the introduction of the teletype machine that combined the technology of the typewriter with the mechanics of the telegraph. The first machines only typed capital letters. The home keys (where the typist’s fingers rest) are “ASDF” for the left fingers and “JKL;” for the right fingers.

It is noted that Mark Twain was the first author to submit a “typewritten” manuscript to his publisher. Clearly, through the evolution of writing machines, the typewriter made a major impact on professionals, students and anyone wanting to make a written impression in a tasteful and organized manner. It is evident that the nobility of the legendary typewriter canvasses its way throughout the evolution of writing machine history.

Fiber Optics Technology Is The Future Of Communications

The use of fiber optics in 21st century communication has radically altered the landscape for transmitting data and information from one location to another. By definition, this technology is a means of communicating information using pulses of light that are sent through an optical cable. These light particles become a kind of electromagnetic carrier wave that are configured to carry various types of signals, such as those we use in telephones, the Internet, and cable television.

Early History

Although this approach was first developed and used commercially in the latter part of the 20th century, the concept of applying fiber optics as a method of transmission goes back to the late 19th century. It was the father of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, who invented a device, and he named the Photophone in 1880. This invention would permit sound to be transmitted, or carried, on a beam of light. Though successfully tested, the technology to securely transport a light beam was lacking and, as a result, the practical use of this development was limited.

Development And Modern Applications

Building on Bell’s earlier work, fiber optics came of age in the late 1970s. Advances in micro-fine glass cables, developments of laser applications that could send light beams over long distances, and a growing demand for better quality and faster speeds caused the rapid evolution of this information transmission process and its increasing use in both public and private sectors.

Today, this methodology is well into its fourth generation. Use of newer technologies, such as optical amplification, has resulted in faster speeds of data transmission that once were thought impossible. In 2006, a single line was able to reach a speed of 14 terabytes per second. A terabyte is 1,000,000,000,000 bytes, which by any measure is an immense quantity of information.

Advantages of Fiber Optics Technology

As these products continue to replace the older copper wire systems that were once a mainstay in telecommunications, several distinct advantages have become readily apparent:

– Increased Bandwidth. A single modern fiber can carry as much as three million voice calls and 90,000 cable television stations.

– No Need For Insulation. Since these wires are not electrical conductors, no added insulation is required for their use.

– Improved Quality of Transmission. With minimal signal degradation, even over long distances, the need for additional equipment, such as repeaters, is significantly reduced resulting in lower costs to service providers and, ultimately, the end user consumers.

– Immunity to Electromagnetic Interference. The signals that are carried through these wires are light and not electromagnetic in nature. As a result, interference from external sources is dramatically minimized.

The Future Of Fiber Optics

Advances in this field of data generation continue to be made almost as fast the transmission speeds themselves. In 2013, an efficient rate of 1.05 petabytes/second (a petabyte is equal to 1024 terabytes or one million gigabytes). Some researchers have reached transmission speeds of 99.7 the speed of light, using new cutting-edge cable materials.

As the demand for faster speeds, larger data packets, and more reliable systems continues to grow, these new communication applications will also be enhanced by new scientific developments to meet the needs of the 21st century and beyond.

What Is Communications Technology?

Broadly speaking, the term ‘communications technology’ can refer to any technology that allows its users to communicate with one another. Using this (admittedly loose) definition, two-way radios and mobile phones fall into the category of ‘communications technology’.

The term also refers to computers and computer-related work. Here in the UK, schoolchildren study a subject called ‘ICT’ this stands for ‘Information and Technology’ (although when this rapidly ageing writer was at school, it was known simply as ‘IT’ or, ‘Information Technology’).

As the Internet has become a more and more prevalent part of our society, communications over longer distances have become significantly easier. In fact, these types of communications are easier now than at any other time in Human history. Ergo, it stands to reason that computers should be considered as a prime form of communications technology.

Basic, everyday acts such as checking your emails, updating your Facebook or Twitter feed, answering the phone, or taking Skype calls are all a part of ‘communications technology’ as are the two-way radios used by public transport, security firms and the emergency services.

A person who makes a living by working with ‘comms tech’ is likely involved in the designing, creating, implementing or maintaining of communicational systems. Such systems can include radio networks, mobile phone providers, telephone companies, even television. It is a broad and ever-expanding field, which makes it difficult to ascertain exactly what a person actually does if they list it as their job title.

When somebody tells you that they are a plumber, for example, you get a broad idea of what they do for a living all day. If I tell you that I am a professional copywriter, you at least have some notion as to what that entails. A person who works in the field of ‘comm tech’ could be doing almost anything.

In case you’re wondering, the Internet itself can be considered as a communication technology, given that any person who uploads videos or writes blogs is communicating the very second that those blogs are read or those videos are watched.

Telecom’s is a huge field and, as I think you’ll agree, a pretty important one. Without the ability to communicate with others, either via short distances on your mobile or much longer distances (such as the distance between our office in the UK and your home on the African continent), this world would be a vastly different place.