15 Feb 2011

Yale Resources Today


Change. When I entered Yale as a freshman, back during the Consulate of Plancus, we thought that we were living in the Age of Marvels, occupying the privileged throne at the very summit and pinnacle of human technological civilization, because we could (nearly) all arrive at college armed with brand, spanking new Royal electric portable typewriters.

The image of Nathan Hale skillfully cutting goose quills to suitable points for penning his Yale examinations in Attic Greek did not fail to cross our minds, as we reveled in possession and use of Coerasable Bond typing paper and found ourselves able to compose our assigned essays with crisp and languidly easy electronic keystrokes, not even needing to pound our way through them on then already-old-fashioned manual typewriters.

The jeunesse dorée in those days actually sometimes possessed IBM Selectric typewriters, featuring easily switchable typeballs offering amazing and astonishing font options. The ultimate luxury was represented by the most recent IBM Selectric models which could backspace and remove one’s typos.

I had one acquaintance from so humble a background that he laboriously hand-wrote his first assigned paper, producing a 150-page dialogue between Socrates and the Nihilist in response to an assigned 5-page paper on the Theaetetus.

I believe Yale issues every entering freshman these days with his own Apple notebook PC. (I was reflecting on this just now, and feeling a bit of pity for the Yalies of today who will discover eventually that the real world typically gets by with cheaper PCs, running Windows.)

I am unusually in touch with modern life for someone of my advanced years. I have loads of Yale undergraduate friends (from Yale conservative organizational circles) on Facebook, so I enjoy a privileged access to life in 2011.

I was highly amused to discover that Yale undergraduates today remain keen optimizers, and express their own perfection of life opportunities these days by compensating for the limited social acquaintance representing the inevitable price of overachieving tooledness by employing an Internet service to supply random luncheon connections with equally lonely strangers.

Miserable, isolated (probably premed), and unhappy (and at Yale)? Try YaleLunch.com (in beta).

And, if it is all too much to bear and you need to vent. Or if, alternatively, things are going perfectly swimmingly and you desire to gloat, drop by YALE FML and share your anonymous one-line descriptions of your personal metaphysical state. Your contemporaries will respond with words of wisdom and expressions of heartfelt sympathy along the lines of this posted response. (which, since the database of that beta seems not to be working, I will explain reads: NO ONE GIVES A F*CK.)

Hat tips to Leah Libresco and Tristyn Bloom.

One Feedback on "Yale Resources Today"


I went to the Other School undergrad, and had a Smith Corona with cartridges one could exchange to remove typos….but I also remember how reluctant one was to rewrite papers because even changing a paragraph or page might mean retyping the whole thing. And footnotes….When I had to get my undergrad thesis in, I remember bringing it over to a typist in Allston to type the final version in a couple of days as I was just too brain dead after working up to the deadline. She had a Selectric and better fonts and could make it look better.

A couple of years later I went to grad school at Yale with the same Smith Corona and was wildly envious of a friend who had one of the first Macintoshes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh that meant they could rewrite without having to retype papers !!!
My kid is at Princeton now, far happier than I ever was at Moscow on the Charles, but works too hard. Fortunately she uses an Apple so never has to deal with horrible Windows bugs, crashes, spyware, blue screen of death or the like. She is also VERY glad to have an Apple at school as she works 14 hours a day and if she had a Window PC she would be tempted to play strategy games and RPGSs as she does on vacation and at home…Temptation…

I would never go back to Windows, have been using Apples since 2000. I am forced to use Lotus Notes (yuk) at work and some Windows applications at work, but mostly just use proprietary software, and loathe our organization’s clunker computers.

But, then, I’m not a gamer. All I do with my computer is maintain a couple hundred thousand photos, edit photos, store a library of ebooks, audiobooks, music, and assorted apps on iTunes, keep track of emails, blog, do freelance writing, and research articles. I don’t maintain databases or mailing lists, don’t run a server, don’t run a network.


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