Saturday, 24 September 2016

The reason a Laptop Is Not a Computer

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The personal computer unfortunately has lost one of the most essential and useful features of the earliest computers. Let’s say you’re surfing the web. You get something and want to copy both the web address and a few lines for a friend, but you can content only one thing at a time without opening up your clipboard. So you copy the web address (from which you can always get back to the page). Meanwhile you spot another interesting connection to something else for a different friend. But now if you copy even just the web address it will probably overwrite the other web address. So maybe you open another page on your clipboard to get distracted or maybe you just forget and overwrite your first address and by the time you comprehend it you can never find it.
Or maybe you copy something you’d like to keep for a little bit to share with everyone you write to. But if in the meantime you use copy and paste to get something else, it’s gone.

It wouldn’t have to be like that. From the beginning one of the most fundamental laptop or computer operations, y = x, put whatever was in the x register inside y register. A register was like a clipboard, only you had as many as you actually wanted, and you could call them x1, x2,..., or whatever you wanted. CONTENT just means “Clipboard” = “Whatever is Highlighted. ” PASTE means “Next with screen” = “Clipboard. ” Our laptops (and desktop personal computers) ought to have lots of clipboards and lots of COPYs, maybe Copy1, Copy2, Copy3,.... The first interesting matter you Copy1. The next Copy2. The next Copy3. Your laptop would remember all of these books separately. Then later you can Paste1 or Paste2 or Paste3. There would even certainly be a special command PasteAll that would put them all on the screen open in front of you.

In the event you’d just been to say bridge nationals, you could write a few pertinent paragraphs, Copy9, and paste them into lots of correspondence with Paste9. Or should you be working on something that uses a certain special symbol a lot, you could Copy8 it, and just Paste8 it whenever you need it.

Incidentally this feature is available as aliases in my beloved mail application Eudora, which unfortunately doesn’t run under the latest Apple pc operating system.

A laptop’s long-term memory is huge, and it never forgets providing it lives. But a laptop’s short-term memory, in the form of copy-paste, can remember just one single thing at a time. That’s got to change.

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