Applied phenomenology of pencils

Steve Witham (
Tue, 16 Dec 1997 21:29:26 -0400

Shawn Kendall wrote (in fun, but I still have a little rant in me) about the
dark side of the pencil system.

Although I won't try to deny the rough edges of pencils, I don't think an
accounting of costs and complexities will tell you whether a thing is a
dribble glass. Just as the small number of key clicks to use a "keyboard
shortcut" doesn't make it simple. Simplicity and non-dribbliness are
specific (and as I said, hard to explain) kinds of overall effect. A too-
easy association of realism with objective measurements is part of the
problem here.

For some of us, picking up a pencil can
be like walking into a Japanese rock garden. I would say, if your VCR
or Windows 95 gives you that feeling, don't fight it, but if not, don't
think it's you. I agree that the pencil gets no exemption from that rule.

In fact, I think with the idea of an "anti-dribble-glass" we've started
falling into the ol' trap of wanting one toy to be the antidote to another.
The antidote (or hope for, start of, one) is awareness. As much as I
like the pencil, it's not a savior, and no toy is going to be.


<>Steve Witham
Don't dream it, su to it.