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Rapid Output 1

David Nunez
David Nunez
2 min read
Rapid Output 1

This is an experimental blog post to test what it would be like to free write on my iPhone

Someone told me that composing writing on an iPhone is somehow faster than writing using a normal keyboard. Apparently there is something about the thumb typing that is both physically faster (because of autocomplete) and mentally clarifying (limited context and focus).

Thumb typing does feel like a twenty-first century skill. When I am composing a message in the iPhone, I hear the clicks of my typing as a mesmerizing, hypnotic cadence that pushes me forward along the page. There is a casual nature to this writing that puts it into the same context as a text message. I very rarely put a lot of editing effort into a text message. I think this is because text messages are meant for a receptive audience, but also the form factor of the messaging software is not conducive for a lot of revisions.

If thoughts operate at or faster than the speed of typing, then I would assume that focusing on the mechanics of generating f text using keyboards (virtual or physical) would propel more efficient writing. A natural conclusion would point to modes of typing like stenography as the most efficient documentation modality; does it follow that if stenographers can type faster, they think faster?

Of course stenographers are “merely” transcribing what they are hearing. When I am typing something am I merely transcribing thoughts in my head? This blog post, for example, is a bit of free-writing. I'm attempting to get 500 words down as efficiently as possible. I'm just punching in words without a lot of filtering. I am most certainly thinking faster than my thumbs can move across my iPhone, but am I using the phone’s keyboard to transcribe the voice in my head?

I like the idea of chorded keyboards as a way to capture thoughts while on a walk or otherwise away from a desk. These keyboards operate a lot like a stenography machine where you punch down a small set of keys simultaneously, in a variety of combinations, to render letters. (Stenography is a bit more nuanced; their keyboard combinations yield phonemes and glyphs that are refactored into language post-facto). I imagine an app that would work with a Bluetooth device I carried in my hand to jot notes as I wad taking a walk. Key to this interface would be an audio output piping into my earbuds. It would read back to me what I am typing and perhaps provide prompts. At a bare minimum, it could give me audio feedback as I type to indicate that, yes, I was making progress towards a word count.

I'm finishing this post while sitting on my couch on my iPhone. I will not go back and edit these words. This is an experiment in rapid output for the sake of output. I don't think this post will be of any real value to a reader, but it is demonstrating something to me about momentum.

David Nunez Twitter

Dir of Technology at the MIT Museum • Writing about emerging tech's impact on your life • Speculative insights on the intersection of humanity and technology 🤖


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