Yes, this Civil Engineer remembers them well and, has a certain regret that school pupils were ever introduced to the pocket calculator. To use a slide rule well, you needed to acquire a grasp of number patterns which, in addition, helped when trying to understand mathematical concepts. The slide rule was an aid, the calculator is a crutch which breeds dependency.
Now watching adults perform the simplest calculations using a pocket calculator, makes me want to scream…
Amen, PJS! Reading copy backwards–up from the end of the story to the top–is a favorite typo-catching trick of mine, too. I picked it up from a sharp-eyed copy editor when I was a newspaper journalist. Reading the copy aloud is another, because it reveals not only the spelling errors, but awkward sentences, too. That’s why it helps to have someone else to whom you can read your stuff; you not only get to hear whether your copy makes sense, but your listener might have some good constructive criticism.
Pity my poor husband! Now that I’m in solo practice, he’s subjected to a lot of my legal work.
People younger than you and me may scoff, if only because they cannot imagine a time without such gadgets as calculators and cell phones, et al, but I believe there is a loss to our spirit when we come too much to depend upon technology to accomplish those tasks we once performed within our selves.
Analogous to the calculator-inspired decline in appreciation of mathematical concepts, I suspect an e-mail-inspired decline in graceful writing and a cell-phone-inspired decline in polite conversation.
Carpers and grousers desist! I agree: I have maundered on at length – an illustrative redundancy – when a few simple words might have sufficed. Someone fluent in both old-speak and new-speak will translate the foregoing into a text message for you. (And yes, I did mean “our selves” and not “ourselves.”)