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Today's quote:

Friday, December 11, 2020

This is a sixty-minute educational interlude

Unfortunately, this YouTube recording has far too many commercials.
To read the automatically transcribed text, full of mistakes as it is, click here.


When we think of China today, we think of it as a technological superpower. From Huweai to 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, it almost didn't happen for one single reason: Chinese, with its 70,000-plus characters, couldn't fit on a QWERTY-keyboard.

I've just spent the most interesting sixty minutes of my life lying on the old sofa on the verandah while listening to ABC Radio National's Radiolab with Jad Abumrad (and the 4 o'clock replay of Phillip Adams' Late Night Live, which I missed last night due to other nocturnal activities, is yet to come!) - and you can do the same by clicking on the above YouTube clip.

It's all thanks to a Professor Wang who in 1978 undertook research on a system for decomposing Chinese characters into their constituent parts with minimal ambiguity which ultimately resulted in Wubi, an input method patented in China and internationally. Truly amazing stuff!

The Wubi keyboard

And while you're on a roll, Des, you may also want to learn how today's QWERTY-keyboard came about, why the more logical Dvorak keyboard never took off, and how Detective Adrian Monk's obsessive–compulsive disorder almost lost him his job - click here.

This is no ordinary blog, Des! I'm trying to help you make up for all those wasted years by educating you in the autumn of your life before the last leaf has dropped and autumn has turned into winter!

Googlemap Riverbend


P.S. Want to read more?
"Typewriting Behavior"
"The Economics of QWERTY"
"Quirky QWERTY: the story of the keyboard @ your fingertips"
"The Tyranny of QWERTY"