Khoi Vinh’s idea for a software typewriter is intruiguing, but I can’t see myself wanting to use such an app for writing.
As someone who learned the basics of journalism on a typewriter bought from a market stall for £10, the idea of emulating one in software does not appeal to me. Working on my typewriter was slow and frustrating.
Just because a typewriter doesn’t allow you to go back and edit, and lacks commands like cut, copy and paste, that doesn’t make it a more productive writing environment. I can’t see myself wanting to go through any text I’d written this way, because it would be crammed full of struck-out errors which I’d then have to manually remove before doing anything else with the text.
The other aspect of Khoi’s Blockwriter idea is that it blocks out all other distractions while using the computer, but again I find this bemusing. I’m inclined to agree with the comment by Narayan, who says:
Obviously working practices are a personal thing, but it amazes me that people cripple their working tools when for me, a good work environment and some self-discipline seem to be all that’s necessary to get work done well and efficiently.
Right. If you want to avoid distractions on your computer, the best way to do it is to be disciplined and switch them off. Personally, I’m a fan of the zoom feature built into the OS, which you can switch on at any time, from within any app, just by hitting Option+Command+8. With it you can create a near-as-dammit fullscreen editing experience, effectively “hiding” all those distracting browsers and email clients. But as Narayan said, the best way to deal with them is simply to Quit them, and use a little willpower to get your work completed before starting them up again.