Re: Pencil vs. Dribble Glass

Shawn Kendall (
Tue, 16 Dec 1997 17:22:26 -0500 (EST)

On Sat, 13 Dec 1997, Steve Witham wrote:

> Lee:
> >> What's the opposite of a dribble glass? A simple, effective piece
> >> of technology that does its job so well and so naturally that we don't
> >> have to think about it? The ballpoint pen?
> Mike Butler:
> >I'd say the #2 redwood pencil. Or pencil & paper considered as a system.
> I had a wonderful poster on my wall for a couple years.
> But brace yourselves, it came from the U.S. Census Bureau.
> Okay, it said, "The only tool you need," then there was the great
> picture, a toolbox with a pencil--as big as the toolbox--coming out
> of it. Then, "to fill out the census."
> So I cut off the last line.

You're forgeting the hidden costs and wastes as usual.
Like the fact that you have to sharpen the pencil, so you need a sharpener
and a way to dispose of the waste.
Also, the learning curve for using a pencil and paper system is enormous.
Years of schooling.
It's the embeddedness of the 'pencil and paper system' that make it seem
so 'simple and effective'. But it's not.

Seriously though, I haven't owned a pencil since high school.
And my handwriting sucks.



Shawn Kendall
Research Park
University of Central Florida