motion. One sees "through" the screen rather than seeing "on" the screen. Add multiplayer capacity: in the case of the opaque mode, reading and writing (from the previous keyboard mode), now becomes alternating, with my messages going out, but the others' coming in as in chats, blogs, tweets, and the like, or real-time email. Reading/writing alternate; switch to DVDs on the screen, and the tablet becomes cinema. I could go on extensively, but here I am merely pointing to the high degree of multistability the visual display screen has, which is very different from any of the previous writing technologies. The same applies to multitasking, which is the productive version of multistability. The "station" where the user engages the now-computerized system can today reach around the world, engage in many different activities, and yet remain aware of his or her bodily locatedness as well. As for composing by word processing, by the time I left the dean's office in 1990, 85 percent of the large English faculty composed by word processing, according to a poll I undertook.
It remains the case that bodily skills, acquired, honed, perfected, are called for here as well. I am all too aware that my youngest son far exceeds me in such electronic and computer skills, and it is him that I call for help more often than he would like. But, I have now abandoned doing books in BC (before computers) mode entirely; I find that all my composition today is produced electronically. Indeed, I can no longer type easily at all on a mechanical typewriter—it is simply too frustrating and slow, let alone not allowing me to click a few keys and break off to Google something I need to know.
Enter now the keyboard, reconfigured and embedded in computer programs, word processing to visualizations to the Internet. Once again, if we begin with the tablet analog, we now have the visual display screen. I shall claim that while one may find limited multistability to tablets, there is a much more drastic multistability to the visual display screen. In composition mode, the screen somewhat mimics the paper sheet—it appears opaque (but lighted), flat and two-dimensional, and what is typed appears in real time as per the electronic typewriter. But the screen in this case has multiple capacities—switch to computer game playing: now the screen takes on a quasi-transparency into virtual or "cyberspace," with the objects within the play field, appearing three-dimensional and in dynamic
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