Useless Skills, Part 2: Making Pretty Squiggly Lines

In my last post, I said that using the ‘pen’ is stupid. Because its an obsolete device used to make squiggly lines on thin slices of dead trees. And also because there is a better technology available – called the keyboard. There is another aspect of ‘writing’ that no longer needed – the handwriting – or specifically, a good handwriting.

Hello Handwriting

Beautiful Squiggles

Just to be clear, writing is the method of making squiggly lines using pens. The lines should not only be squiggly – but also be squiggly in a very specific ways. Many teachers insist that your squiggly lines must be good looking. They call it having a ‘good handwriting’. I have tried to explain that ‘looking good’ is very subjective and will differ from person to person – but they will have none of it.

Due to this friction between the teachers and myself, I had, what they would emphatically claim to be a bad handwriting. Even un-biased third-party judges called it a ‘horrible, un-understandable chaos’. But it was not all bad – as a matter of fact, my handwriting won an award. My handwriting got the 2nd best encryption award from the Indian navy. I thought they were being unfair – I obviously deserved the first price. But they proved that their ruling was correct. My handwriting could be decrypted by only just one person – the original author – namely, myself. The handwriting which won the best encryption prize could not be read by anymore.

The Future of the Pen – or Lack Thereof

Nowadays, good handwriting is meaningless – all that matters is your choice of font. The pressure with which you hit a key, the angle of the pressure, the hand posture of typing – they all mean nothing. As long as the character appears on the screen, you have the same handwriting as the best writer on earth. Its not how you write that matters – its what you write. Now, if only someone could make the teachers understand this simple fact.

Even though the pen is obsolete, it still has its uses. For me, that is signing checks. And other documents. And empty pieces of paper to make sure my sign looks cool. But mostly checks.

I have tried to convice banks that physical squiggly-line method of signing is unsafe. That a much better method of doing it is signing it using private keys with 4096 bit, munition grade keys generated using the DSA/Elgamal algorithm. But as of yet, I have no progress in that front. But I will keep up the fight. One day, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day – I will be able to stand up and say, “the keyboard is mightier than the sword”.

Comments

  1. Carb0n says:

    You’ve been watching too much American movies, dear Binny. AFAIK, its “cheque” and not “check”.

    Hey.. why not just have a 4096 bit signing key, we’ll get a SHA1 of it, just to make sure it isn’t tampered by someone trying to impersonate us. Maybe we’ll tattoo that SHA1 to our left forearm. The possibilities are endless! :-D

    JK, of course!

  2. dinu says:

    I seldom use pen and paper .. but whenever I find a good writing pad, notebook, pen etc.. I can’t stop myself .. I just one yesterday :D I love that stuff.. and I miss writing ..

  3. Ruchi says:

    Well i love writing in both the forms. E-writing and Pen/Pencil Writing.

  4. Linta says:

    Dear Binny,
    I am an Indian student at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh. I am taking a class about blogs and have created one called “Our Luminous World”. The focus of my blog is about: Light Pollution. I found your blog and it is just great. I plan on adding a link to your blog.
    If you have a few minutes, you can check out my blog at: http://whisperofthewind.wordpress.com/. If you would like, I would really appreciate it if you can give me your feed backs.

    Thanks for reading.
    Sincerely,

    Linta

  5. damsel says:

    gee one thing i am really, really really good at, is writing beautifully. eyes of all beholders regardless of caste, creed ,religion, gender, mood, find my handwriting a beauty. trust a blogger to take all the glory away. sheesh.

  6. [...] that the Barcamp Kerala has come and gone, I can resume my Useless Skills series. Let us start a skill I truly detest – the ability to spell correctly. I honestly see no benefit to [...]

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