How Far We've Come, Ctd

That 1982 piece by James Fallows on learning to write on a computer provoked major blogospheric chatter. Here's another classic Atlantic piece on another technological innovation. It's Mark Twain hearing someone talk on the telephone for the first time:

Without answering, I handed the telephone to the applicant, and sat down. Then followed that queerest of all the queer things in this world, a conversation with only one end to it. You hear questions asked; you don't hear the answer. You hear invitations given; you hear no thanks in return. You have listening pauses of dead silence, followed by apparently irrelevant and unjustifiable exclamations of glad surprise, or sorrow, or dismay. You can't make head or tail of the talk, because you never hear anything that the person at the other end of the wire says. Well, I heard the following remarkable series of observations, all from the one tongue, and all shouted, for you can't ever persuade the gentle sex to speak gently into a telephone."