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Mobile Phone Authoring

Thumb_splintI can only type on my Blackberry for a few minutes before my thumbs start aching.  I can't imagine how painful it would be to type out a 2- or 3-page document on it, which is why I cringed when I read this story over on TechCrunch.  As they confirm in the comments, it's not that half the books read in Japan are on a mobile phone...half of the bestsellers are actually written on one!

Sounds like it's time to invest in medical supply companies that make splints other devices like the one shown with this post...  Ouch.  Seriously, I feel the RSI of typing for 30+ years with ten fingers.  Can you imagine what that would feel like if all that output came from two thumbs?!



It must be noted, however, that writing on a mobile phone in Japanese is much less straining than in English, because it requires less input since the Japanese language doesn't use an alphabet, but a syllabary where every sign represents two sounds (a vowel+a consonant) so for example writing karaoke in Japanese would require only 4 strokes ka ra o ke, but in English 7.

Also these novels are written into small installments, so the authors write only little chunks at a time when they have a few minutes are are commuting. They are posted onto special websites for mobiles where people can post their writings and get read and also receive feedback. Most of the the readers of such writings are teenage girls who otherwise are not very big readers.

Also there is not that much difference between cellphone Japanese and usual Japanese, unlike with English, so cellphone Japanese takes less time to input and is much more legible (because Japanese is mroe suited to the limited keyboards on cellphones)

I think the same thing could happen in the West if azerty keyboards were generalized on phones, otherwise nobody will read SMS langage novels.

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