Yes, of course I carried notebooks and scrap paper. Pens. But that Amstrad and that cute little Psion Organiser did what I wanted technology to do back then. They jumped the "transcribing my notes" stage. They were a shortcut to the "printing out a final typescript" stage. Back then, I would have understood the term "digital storage" to mean a cardboard filing box with a futuristic pattern printed on the outside. I had a Commodore 64 at one point, and the long wait while Elite loaded was all I needed to know about new technology.
Then everybody started babbling on about bandwidth and processor speed. There was a thing called a Pentium Chip. Behind the typewrite on my desk, a huge Apple screen appeared. Somebody from the studio took a picture of me - on a film camera - using scissors and a Pritt Stick to lay out pages in the shadow of my Apple. There would have been a little bottle of Tippex as well, and I would have been working to get my page layouts into the envelope in time for the afternoon bike messenger to the typesetter. There was a training course associated with the Apple. I wasn't allowed to switch it on until I'd done the training course.
I remember all those old typewriters being stored in case the digital revolution didn't take. I remember working on a screen with the objective of producing a print-out. The early days of email: sending between glass-walled offices; meeting the eyes of the person who had just received... There were people who scrawled their emails - no grammar, punctuation, caps lock on or off. I became familiar with a little black bomb symbol. Even Apple computers reach the limits of their tolerance sometimes, or did back then.
Working through all that was an odd and complex challenge. The technology presented its problems in a language that assumed you knew the basics, and/or spoke American, and very little of what they did could be fitted to a pre-tech mindset. I remember the day I worked out that a website's pages weren't pages you turned, like pages in a (printed) book. I wasn't interested enough to devote time to un-baffling myself, though, and I suppose I just got acclimatised to the assumption that when something came up, I wasn't going to have even the basic mindset even to start fixing it. I just wanted to write words (as in: think about planning to get round to writing words, right after I finish reading this book).
A big part of my attitude to early computers was formed when I made the discovery that everything in a document could be lost, if the machine or the programme shut down unexpectedly. Advice to save regularly was always given in the past tense - you should have hit save - because everything about computers was somehow so obvious to everybody else that they didn't think to tell you in advance. That, and the mulish expression that came onto people's faces when they were telling you about all the wonderful things computers could do - and wanting it to be true. Early car enthusiasts probably wore the same expression.
Digression. The man who came whenever I had IT problems, after I'd gone freelance. I remember the odd little pang of jealousy when my computer showed him screens it had never showed me. I remember his story about being on a trawler late at night, spotting a periscope, using Morse Code and a torch to signal I C U to the submarine practising its trawler-stalking. I remember the time I called him up and told him there was smoke coming out of my big old monitor. "You've probably got a software conflict. Shut things down, restart, and let's see what happens." No, I told him. It's actually on fire. Yes, of course I'd shut it down by then, but I wasn't going to miss telling him.
All of which might explain why my reaction to the sudden refusal of my new laptop to let me into the 'edit site' page of this website was: download several other browsers, delete several browsers when they didn't work; buy the domain williamessex.online, start building a website there, write a blog post using my old laptop, dream up Second Website Theory citing Asimov's Foundation trilogy as a precedent, see below, go down and bother the guy behind the counter at the computer store near the cinema (again), write to the Weebly helpdesk.
Melissa E replied. Had I considered clearing my cache?
Thank you, Melissa.
There is now a Second Website, and yeah, the guy behind the counter might have said something about clearing the cache now I come to think about it (from now on, I shall take my problems to the computer store in a calm, rational, receptive, listening, panic-free state of mind), but the main thing is - normal service resumed. Interesting how the mind works. We are (I am) the product(s) of our (my) experience. Not time travellers from a previous world, panicking at the machines.