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Are Kids No Longer Learning Multiplication Tables in School?

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Rcurl
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Dependent on smart phones
Rcurl   2/22/2017 11:53:37 AM
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I hadn't thought about multiplication tables in a while, but I just checked, and as far as I can tell I still know most of them.

As much as I hate to admit it, when I need to do even a simple calculation like Ohm's law, I've gotten in the habit of pulling out my smart phone and opening ElectroDroid.  It makes lot of sense to do that for the more complex formulas, but it has now become habit even for the easy ones.   

You mention GPS (car navigation) in your article- That too has spoiled me. I used to be able to easily plan a route around town from point A to point B, but not now.  Even on a repetitve route like going home from the office I tend to open the GPS because I get alerts of traffic jams and accidents, and advice on how to route around them.

I think we've been lulled into a false sense of security by becoming dependent on these gadgets.  ....and the cost is that we're losing the ability to do these simple tasks by ourselves.

Are kids allowed to use smart phones and other forms of voice recognition while in class? 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Dependent on smart phones
Max The Magnificent   2/22/2017 12:21:15 PM
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@Rcurl: ...I think we've been lulled into a false sense of security by becoming dependent on these gadgets.  ....and the cost is that we're losing the ability to do these simple tasks by ourselves...

I just went to the production bay downstairs -- they have a bunch of 20-something lads down there. One admitted to not being able to read a map at all, one thought that there were 10 planets in the solar system (and this was after he'd taken Pluto away because he remembered it had been demoted to a Dwarf Planet), and one thought there were 23 letters in the English alphabet...

If you'll excuse me, I think I'll go and have a little cry...

drjohnsmith
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do tables make you smart ?
drjohnsmith   2/25/2017 12:30:22 PM
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I once worked with some guys who could in head multiply in hex..  

   But the code the wrote was terrible, VERY quaint, but impossoble for others to work on, 

    does that make them clever and others stupid ?

 

In the UK, we once upon a time had 12 pence in a pound, so may be a reason to learn up to 12 times table,

 

BUT, we used to have 14 pounds in a stone, so may be we shou;d have learnt up to 14 !

BUT , we used to have 16 oz in a pound, so may be we should all have learnt up to hex.

 

UNLESS that was a troy pound which has 12 oz,

 

But then again we had 20 oz in a pint , so may be tables up to 20.

 

Sorry , I'm the generation that was forced to learn tables up to 12 * 12, 

    what a waste of time,

 

What one learns tables to is an arbitury number, Id suggest binary is just fine !

    why should we force a number on to the new generation just "Because we did "

Heck, I learnt how to use log tables, and a slide rule, are we suggesting that thats a great skill to have.

 

Mind you, I lernt calculus, don't know how many times I have used that int he kast 40 years,   Essoecialy when I learnt that in the real world, the number of things that can be solved with calculus is small, numerical methods can and do sove them all,

    bu thats another story.

 

donq_#1
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Re: do tables make you smart ?
donq_#1   2/25/2017 1:31:01 PM
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Since you "lernt calculus", do this one for me. Drill a 2 inch hole perpendicular to the axis of a 2 inch round rod. How much material is removed? Oh, and the kicker is... I'll do in in my head before you even get an approximate answer with your "numerical methods". ......... I'm finished, what answer did you get?

Knowing the correct tool to use, and how to use it, makes a lot of "problems" go completely away. Calculus is one of those tools, as are the multiplication tables.

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: do tables make you smart ?
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 10:08:36 AM
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@drjohnsmith: ...In the UK, we once upon a time had 12 pence in a pound, so may be a reason to learn up to 12 times table...

I remember those days -- I used to love the names of the coins -- "a bob" (or a shilling) meaning a 12-penny piece, and a "tanner" meaning a 6-penny piece, for example -- but it was a real pain having 20 shillings = 240 pennies in a pound.

As I wrote in a small piece here, when we swapped over to the new currency (100 pennies in a pound) in 1971, I remember little old ladies muttering that the new currency was too complicated and would never catch on LOL

Max The Magnificent
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Re: do tables make you smart ?
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 10:12:23 AM
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@drjohnsmith: ...does that make them clever and others stupid?...

I don't think that knowing your 12 times tables makes you smart, per se, but it can be incredibly useful when making your way through life -- some 20 year olds I know can't even take a WAG (wild-ass-guess) at even the simplext calculations without using the calculators on their smartphones. Does this make them stupid and others clever?

Crusty1
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What table should we stop at
Crusty1   2/22/2017 12:03:15 PM
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@Max:-)

I took the easy way with my two children learning maths, we let them have a calculator without a display just a keypad.

The whole thing was built like an Owl and had a left red led eye and a right green led eye. They could type in thier sum and then their answer. if it was the right answer the green eye lighted and if wrong the red eye glowed. Surfice to say they learnt thier tables up to 12, Why 12, in a decimal world?

In the pre metric British days we had counting sytems based on 10, 12, 14,16,20,240 and a load more so why did we stop at 12?

When I took my HNC exams ,calculators had only just been allowed, but I still kept with my slide rule as it was and still is faster than a calculator and probably gives the level of accuracy required in most calculations. Yes and I look like a smug old man in that I can use a straight with end flip, a circular and spiral slide rule.

I love people that divide 10.29 by 73 and quote 0.1409589 probably only 2 places is reqired for most accuracy.

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: What table should we stop at
Max The Magnificent   2/22/2017 12:17:08 PM
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@Crusty: I took the easy way with my two children learning maths, we let them have a calculator without a display just a keypad...

They had a keypad? We used to dream about having a keypad (shades of Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch)

 

Crusty1
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Re: What table should we stop at
Crusty1   2/22/2017 12:24:45 PM
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@Max: We used to dream about having a keypad


We was happy if we had napiers bones.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: What table should we stop at
Max The Magnificent   2/22/2017 12:43:31 PM
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@Crusty: We was happy if we had napiers bones.

Luxury! We used to dream about having an abacus with more than one bead!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: What table should we stop at
Max The Magnificent   2/22/2017 12:44:49 PM
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>> We used to dream about having an abacus with more than one bead!

Although it was useful for (very simple) binary calculations LOL

Crusty1
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Re: What table should we stop at
Crusty1   2/22/2017 12:58:47 PM
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you win

Kevin Neilson
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Re: What table should we stop at
Kevin Neilson   2/24/2017 11:52:16 AM
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Max The Magnificent
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Re: What table should we stop at
Max The Magnificent   2/24/2017 11:54:25 AM
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@kevin: http://dilbert.com/strip/1992-09-08

Classic! It always amazes me how there's a Dilbert cartoon that's appropriate for every occasion.

EELoser
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Re: What table should we stop at
EELoser   2/24/2017 12:33:09 PM
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Is there a dilbert cartoon that just bluntly states that Engineers are losers?

If not, there should be.

Then his work would be done and he wouldn't have to come up with cartoons anymore.

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: What table should we stop at
Max The Magnificent   2/24/2017 12:37:49 PM
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@EELoser: Is there a dilbert cartoon that just bluntly states that Engineers are losers?...

I'm sure you've heard the expression "Turn that frown upside down into a smile" -- unfortunatly your postings tend to have the opposite effect.

I understand that you are just trolling for responses -- trying, for some unknown reason, to provoke responses -- but is being a downer really worth your effort?

dt_hayden
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Re: What table should we stop at
dt_hayden   2/24/2017 1:49:43 PM
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Rumor has it that Larry, Scott Adams' brother, did just that.  He sold one cartoon and now works on a crab boat.  Scott has had a much more lucrative caareer.

jimwilliams57
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Re: What table should we stop at
jimwilliams57   2/24/2017 2:07:53 PM
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I still use the word "oh" when reading numbers (usually phone numbers) aloud. It seems to confuse some in the younger generation. At times I wonder if I should suggest that they "call the operator" just to see their response.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: What table should we stop at
Max The Magnificent   2/24/2017 2:10:51 PM
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@Jim: I still use the word "oh" when reading numbers...

I switch back and forth between "Oh" and "Zero" -- sometimes in the same sentence, which confuses the socks off anyone listening :-)

David Ashton
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calculators...
David Ashton   2/22/2017 4:26:11 PM
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The mention of science fiction stories reminded me of one I read in the dim and distant past.  I think by Arthur C Clarke (likely as he's my fave SF Author).  A spaceship is stranded at the outer edges of the solar system, and the guidance system crashes irretrievably.  A guy in the crew whose grandfather used to use an abacus gets the ship's handyman to make up some abacuses (abaci?? :-) and someone who knows a bit about celestial mechanics gets everyone calculating their trip home.

Anyone remember that one?

I cannot imagine life without being able to do multiplucation in my head...even though I have a calculator on had most of the time (on my phone).  Scary stuff.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: calculators...
Max The Magnificent   2/22/2017 4:36:52 PM
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@David: ...A spaceship is stranded at the outer edges of the solar system, and the guidance system crashes irretrievably.  A guy in the crew whose grandfather used to use an abacus gets the ship's handyman to make up some abacuses...

I think you're talking about "Into the Comet" by Arthur C. Clarke.

David Ashton
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Re: calculators...
David Ashton   2/22/2017 5:14:48 PM
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Thanks Max.  Yep, that's the one.  I see the wikipedia article uses "abaci" as a plural too.

Nice to know I have not comletely lost my marbles......

Max The Magnificent
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Re: calculators...
Max The Magnificent   2/22/2017 5:20:37 PM
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@David: ...I see the wikipedia article uses "abaci" as a plural too...

Both abaci and abacuses are correct.

Howeveer, "comletely" could use a bit of work LOL

David Ashton
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Re: calculators...
David Ashton   2/22/2017 5:24:40 PM
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OK, I have not completely lost my marbles.......   Just partly.......

Actually, it's the fingers that have lost it, not the CPU...

Rcurl
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Re: calculators...
Rcurl   2/23/2017 1:29:40 PM
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About 20 years ago when I visited Japan I went to buy a ticket to ride the Shinkansen (Bullet Train). The ticket agent entered information on a computer terminal but then used an abacus to calculate my fare. Up until then I didn't realize anyone still used an abacus.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: calculators...
Max The Magnificent   2/24/2017 10:13:14 AM
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@Rcurl: ...The ticket agent entered information on a computer terminal but then used an abacus to calculate my fare...

I'd forgotten that, but you've reminded me that on several occasions I saw abaci / abacuses being used in Japan -- also the fact that everyone has their own "chop" with which they stamp documents (I had one of these made for myself while on a trip to China, but I have no idea where it is now [sad face])

RSD2
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Re: calculators...
RSD2   2/25/2017 4:41:27 AM
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Issac Asimov's "A Feeling of Power" takes place in a future where pocket calculators are so handy that people don't even bother to learn basic math skills anymore because the calculator does just fine. So when someone "reverse engineers" math so he can do it with a pencil and paper, it's a revelation.

David Ashton
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Re: calculators...
David Ashton   2/25/2017 5:07:28 AM
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@RSD2 - thanks for that - nice story, it can be found here

Max The Magnificent
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Re: calculators...
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 10:01:46 AM
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@RSD2: Issac Asimov's "A Feeling of Power" takes place in a future where pocket calculators are...

I actually mentioned this in my column.

antiquus
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Times tables alive and well in Arizona
antiquus   2/22/2017 8:51:53 PM
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My wife is the math interventionist in an elementary school, and (with her assistants) works often with almost every student. Multiplication concepts are introduced beginning in 2nd grade and by 6th grade the students must be able to multiply and divide using the standard algorithms.  Shameless plug: I made this machine to replace flash cards a couple years ago.

My wife works closely with the "math coach" who helps individual teachers implement the many different methods of multiplication, division and other mathematical techniques, addressing a major problem to be remedied, which is that many elementary teachers are not well-versed in mathematical methods.  This 2-prong approach is standard throughout the district.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Times tables alive and well in Arizona
Max The Magnificent   2/23/2017 10:00:31 AM
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@antiquus: ...Shameless plug: I made this machine to replace flash cards a couple years ago...

I love your machine -- thsi should be standard equipment in every elementry school classroom!!!

jimwilliams57
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123 ABC
jimwilliams57   2/24/2017 2:15:33 PM
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I hadn't heard about the multiplication tables (except for Junko's article). But I was very bothered to learn that our public school system apparently no longer teaches cursive. As a result, my other grandson (who attends private school) and I will be able to write secret notes to each other using a military grade encryption technique called cursive.

jennray
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No cursive. No multiplication tables.
jennray   2/24/2017 3:53:31 PM
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It's true. I'm in Southern California. Cursive is no longer taught in the classroom and with common core math, there is less of an emphasis on memorizing math facts including multiplication tables. This is supposed to encourage a deeper understanding of the connection between numbers and a more practical approach to how we use them in everyday life. I'm not totally convinced.

David Ashton
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Re: No cursive. No multiplication tables.
David Ashton   2/24/2017 4:42:17 PM
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@Jennray.... "This is supposed to encourage a deeper understanding of the connection between numbers..."

But if I'm in a supermarket and I want to buy three things for $7 I want to know instantly that it'll cost me $21.  And I do. What's more practical than that? As I said above, I don't know what I'd do without this knowledge, I use it all the time.  And if I have to multiply 30 000 by 700 I can straight away come up with 21 000 000 by a similar process.

> "I'm not totally convinced."  I take it then that you're not a teacher?  

BTW...cursive...I think it's called that because if you try to read mine, you curse.... :-)

jennray
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Re: No cursive. No multiplication tables.
jennray   2/24/2017 7:12:29 PM
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@David No, not a teacher, but I do work with educators.

 

I guess there's not as much need for cursive anymore, except for signatures, but even those are going digital. Sounds like your cursive writing may be part of the reason we've moved away from it. :)

Ian Johns
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Re: No cursive. No multiplication tables.
Ian Johns   2/24/2017 11:25:52 PM
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Maybe at the tender age of 70 I'm getting a bit grumpy, but the dumbing down of the three R's is horrifying. Just look at the einternet to see the degradation in the quality of (non-handwritten) writing.

The over-reliance on results of calculators etc always being correct is also worrying. I remember there was once an experiment where a group of people were given calculators to solve a list of problems. What  the people didn't know was that there was a computer between the keyboards & screens of the calculators, & the computer randomly modified the results. Only a small proportion of the group noticed that the results were wrong.

A bit off this topic; I am annoyed by the misunderstanding betwwen resolution & accuracy. Advertisers seem to be the worst. An ad on the tv here in Oz from a superannuation business claims that "expected returns are better that 9.16%". Really! An example of using increased resolution for no purpose (perhaps it creates some sort of impression, but nothing to do with maths).

David Ashton
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Re: No cursive. No multiplication tables.
David Ashton   2/25/2017 5:11:34 AM
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@Ian - and if you're an Australian over the age of 60, odds are you can spell and know what to do with an apostrophe.  Most of the younger ones don't....

Ian Johns
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Re: No cursive. No multiplication tables.
Ian Johns   2/25/2017 7:33:28 AM
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@David - yes; sad but true.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: No cursive. No multiplication tables.
Max The Magnificent   3/1/2017 9:59:52 AM
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@Ian: Maybe at the tender age of 70 I'm getting a bit grumpy,..

Tell me it isn't so (LOL)

Greg504
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Yes to cursive and multiplication tables.
Greg504   3/13/2017 11:15:15 AM
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Both of my kids learned both cursive and multiplication tables (currently 11 and 13).  The multiplcation tables were even done for time.  Had to see how many you could get in one minute.  Maybe we are just advanced here in Indiana. :)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Yes to cursive and multiplication tables.
Max The Magnificent   3/13/2017 11:28:28 AM
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@Greg: ...Maybe we are just advanced here in Indiana. :)

Alternatively, if it is the case that the other states are giving up teaching multiplication tables and cursive, then you've fallen behind the times LOL

kwcclark
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Cursives, foiled again
kwcclark   3/13/2017 12:21:56 PM
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I once saw a letter, written by one of my ancestors, at a time when postage was charged by the sheet.  First it was written normally, then the paper turned 90 degrees and continued, then turned 45 degrees and written corner to corner, then turned another 90 deg, and written corner to corner.  Then the paper was turned over and the pattern repeated. Eight pages for the price of one.  Oh, and it was written  in cursive, in Swedish.  I couldn't read it, but only because jag talar inte Svenska.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Cursives, foiled again
Max The Magnificent   3/13/2017 12:43:21 PM
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@kwcclark: ...First it was written normally, then the paper turned 90 degrees and continued, then turned 45 degrees and written corner to corner, then turned another 90 deg, and written corner to corner...

I would live to see a scan of that. I don't think that the fact you couldn;t read it was that it was in Swedish (although that probably didn't help) -- I just tried creating a small document using this technique and I couldn't read my own handwriting (but there again, my handwriting is so bad that's probably not a fair test)

David Ashton
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Re: Cursives, foiled again
David Ashton   3/13/2017 4:05:07 PM
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You could maybe do this if you used different colors for each "page".  Otherwise I can't see how Anyone could read it...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Cursives, foiled again
Max The Magnificent   3/13/2017 4:09:45 PM
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@David: ...if you used different colors for each "page"...

It would be easier to write a shorter letter LOL

Or write in real small characters

On the other hand... now you've said this... I'm going to have to give it a try (damn you Red Baron!)

David Ashton
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Re: Cursives, foiled again
David Ashton   3/13/2017 4:22:03 PM
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@Max....never let it be said that I let you run out of things to do :-)

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