interesting demo of early hypertext system FRESS, the "file retrieval and editing system," being used in a (humanities, not creative writing) poetry class in the mid-1970s

(more here which mentions that the system "used a light pen [which] could be 'clicked' using a foot-pedal" and this is totally off topic but I kinda wish that computer evolution had worked out such that foot pedals were as common an input device as, like, keyboards and mice)

@aparrish There's an entire chapter dedicated to this subject in Belinda Barnet's book "Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext". It needs to be better known, she's done an excellent work and I always recommend it to anyone with an interest in these matters.

This is Belinda on Twitter:

This is the book:

@haitch oy, I need to find a library copy of this because $103 is pretty steep for my reading budget ;)

@aparrish Kinesis keyboards have an optional pedal adjunct.

@aparrish I’ve never used their pedals, but Kinesis keyboards have long been my favorite brand of *anything*.

@aparrish We used to poke fun at emacs, saying it really wanted foot pedals for additional modifiers.

@anth i think a footpedal to switch modes in vim would be fantastic. i think i saw a blog post about someone rigging this up at some point actually

@anth @aparrish
If anyone sells those footpedals I will buy them

@aparrish More seriously, though, I assume you’ve seen the input setup in the Mother of All Demos, with the mouse on one side and the mini-keyboard on the other. I know some folks who work similar to that, but with a trackpad in place of the mini-keyboard.

@aparrish Xerox PARC developed foot controls at the same time they developed the mouse. They called the foot controls "moles" and they weren't as popular for multiple reasons (kicked out of a useable position, for instance)

@aparrish I once bought a dictaphone from Olympus certain I would one day be dictating the stories that were pouring out of me, interviews and I don't know what, by using the peripheral I saw on their website. I never had the cash for it, it broke and I moved on, but I haven't replaced with Audible what I imagined that would free up my hands to do for transcription etc., and most journalists must feel the same. -- it went in the direction of voice recognition, but that would not have worked.

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