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  •                                 NETFUTURE
                Technology and Human Responsibility for the Future
    Issue #21      Copyright 1996 O'Reilly & Associates          June 18, 1996
                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    *** Are LCD displays kinder to the soul? (Bill Meacham)
          CRTs leave me frazzled and flat
    *** The reckless refreshment of writing on a notepad (Erik Ray)
          Will a typewriter be next?
    *** On writing with pencil and paper (Stephen L. Talbott)
          A few little tricks
    *** Computers are used more carelessly than typewriters (Mike Fischbein)
          Some practical advice
    *** Efficiency vs. effectiveness of the Net (Mike Fischbein)
          There's also the problem of error
    *** Automation has undoubtedly boosted productivity (Carl Wittnebert)
          Many jobs are at risk
    *** Metaphors about technology are of little use (Stan Kulikowski)
          Too much data is better than data selected by others
    *** The Net isn't an encyclopedia (Clive Thompson)
          Teachers must learn about the Net by using it themselves
    *** Technology and education: clashing philosophies (Lowell Monke)
          We need to get down to first principles
    *** About this newsletter

    *** Are LCD displays kinder to the soul?
    Response to "Changes" (NF-20)

    From Bill Meacham (73577.2175@CompuServe.COM)

    I have just subscribed to your newsletter and don't know whether you have covered this issue yet, but I have found that there is a marked difference between working with a CRT and working with a flat-panel LCD display such as those found on laptop computers. After a day of working on a computer equipped with a CRT, I am frazzled. I feel "thin" -- that is, I am in touch only with the surface, intellectual part of my mind and not with deeper emotions, subtle feelings or my body (except where it hurts from being contorted). These are symptoms I believe you have been talking about. I get a feeling of being agitated. I used to think this was exciting, but now I realize it is only addictive.

    In contrast, working with a flat-panel display is not at all frazzling. I am calm, in touch with myself, able to access deeper feelings, and not glued to the screen. It is a much more mellow experience. I am able to stop and think instead of frantically pounding out code or words. I can enjoy the fluidity of thought that computing facilitates without the frantic loss of connection.

    I attribute this to two things: The lack of electrons being beamed at me by the CRT's electron gun and the absence of the oscillating magnetic field used by the CRT to aim the electron gun.

    What this tells me is that a major component of what is harmful about computing could be eliminated by using LCD displays instead of CRTs. It's not fast information as such that is the problem but the medium through which it is presented to us