Friday, August 14, 2009

The 'Quiet Deluxe' in the Digital Age

So, I have been playing with my new toy, the Royal 'Quiet Deluxe'. Although it is hardly quiet when compared, say, with the sound of this digital keyboard, it is certainly most 'Deluxe'.

It has the feel of an old world machine, the kind that the current 'Steampunk' DIY fashionistas like to falsely re-create. Unlike the Steampunker stuff, though, everything on this baby actually works and is there for a reason. All the gears and levers and knobs have a purpose, which I actually remembered when I sat down in front of it for the first time, a sort of muscle memory that like the proverbial riding a bike, is never forgotten.

Also set aside in my memory but not forgotten was the sensation of typing on a manual typewriter. Like a dance, it takes a certain rhythm, cadence, speed. Too fast and the key jam. Too slow and it becomes laborious. But when the thoughts are flowing and the keys are struck in a steady beat, the page leaps to life. Before you know it, I have a completed page rolling up and out of the machine.

Ah, but what to do with that page?

One of the things that I love the digital age is the fact that once words are captured in the computer, I can reuse them in any way I like. To me, words on paper seem trapped; bound in three dimensions so tightly that it requires another effort just to release them. I really don't like transcribing or even re-typing my work. It seems like such a waste of time that I could spend writing new things.

So, my first thought on getting the Quiet Deluxe--other than delight, which is only exceeded (in the form of a gift received) by the BB gun I got when I was seven--was how to overcome the gap between the words I longed to hammer out on the page and the words I longed to shape and reuse. In other words, how to free them from the ink on the page.

A good friend, who is very technically savvy--ok geeky--suggested that I try Optical Character Recognition software. This involves a couple of steps. First, the typed page is scanned, then saved as a file. The OCR software then 'reads' the machine print (type) and 'renders' it as text which you can then save as a file. After that, I can open up the file and post it to my blog or incorporate it in my novel, for example.

This simple process has a simple flaw. The 'rendered' text is not always, shall we say, accurate.

Below is a picture of the scanned page:

And here is how that got 'rendered':

One of the things that has most big ski h|alth@ay| issue.
on by find on late bad Now, it should be said at t hi I tact that 1. Like the pill text and the |@|b*ys or |oxgy|ss who all gotxg to divide the detail tot is, good health ixeuyan||. . Too trouble tea I pay too buck axd git to! too little ix yet a.
Cool did total I ply appyox|it|ly 41000 pay posts Ax tot K@alth insurance, yet skis I want to go to the doctor, I *|ytqtnly haven't high getting anywhere nay that 1*| l ot sappier. And whether the doctors lie it or hot, tour all actually in the nervier lnduetyy. After all, very tow ot this actually bake anything. Just like a wattle, the doctor in their to serve people. The Girf|y|xee is, in the ||stau|aht bisutwgss, we call this people, while th|do|t| a call that's spate the But ski I at poetry I vent to bags in bait toy two hours in ski waiting poor, they another hour in tag exec book all lust to tell in that hi nearly eouldn|t--y|ad, wouldest-- do anything tot in. Of: hi would py|slrtb| belle, but only a Tim and only it I abide by all the bulbs, like not as Inc tot boys.
Speaking ot India Inc, Ajax I want to pick up by py||eyiptiox tot by xtgyaix|s, the young pha|-|eist told of that it had not bill filled, and eokl|n't be till to||oryo| b**a4s* the too- uyax|| bopping wouldn't pay tot py|slytptions rill d Lisa than thirty days apart. Crazy shit.

Only the last line got 'rendered' correctly, literally as well as figuratively.

1 comment:

d2 said...

Ah, good ol' OCR software! I remember it, if not with fondness, then a certain leftover resignation and futility.

I had to scan documents and run Adobe's OCR software on them - many, many of them. And then go through them word by word to correct the mangled text. Sometimes, it was faster just to re-type the blasted things... Talk about the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.