Why the First Laptop Didn't Catch On

In 1979, designer Bill Moggridge built the first laptop computer. In 1982, it was introduced to the public as the GRiD Compass. It was heavy, and expensive, but the real reason businessmen didn't want it was something most computer users wouldn't guess today. It was the keyboard. 

At that time, 1982, business people, who were in their 40s and 50s, did not have any computer or keyboard in their offices. And it was associated with being part of the secretarial pool or the word processing (remember that industry?) department. And so you'd put this thing in their office and they'd say, "Get that out of here." It was like getting a demotion. They really were uncomfortable with it.

And besides that, they didn't know how to type -that was women's work. It was a sign of the times -my father did not want me to take typing class in high school (in the 1970s), because he was afraid it might lead to secretarial work, and he wanted me to be a scientist. Read the entire story at the Atlantic. Link


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When I was in high school (1956) I had signed up for a course in personal typing but dropped it to take study hall to goof off with my buddies. Exactly my thought, only a secretary would need it. Later on having to pay someone to type my reports in college was the pay-off. I still only two finger hunt and peck on my computer keyboard.
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Ha! They still exist?
Back a zillion years ago, 1977, I got married, and my then wife took a job with the local city council, as a word processor operator. It was, back then, the latest in technology, and the council was so proud of it that they had regular visits and tours of people eager to see the latest in computerised cutting-edge technology. She had taken typing class at school, and tried hard to teach me, but here I am, still pecking away with one finger.
I remember the data storage, the controlled atmosphere room with tapes, coloured lights. very space-age.
And there was indeed a big gender divide. Women typed, men wandered around frowning at machines.
I wish I had learned typing back then. I still miss my old travel-remington typewriter, which, along with me, kept tip-ex in business.
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I still work in a word processing department, believe it or not! It's at a big law firm in the city. WP Dept's are rare and are probably all being outsourced or phased out but they still do exist.
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