Sunday, March 02, 2003

World's favorite writing tool refuses to be erased
NUREMBERG, 2 MARCH 2003-- The world's oldest word-processing and graphics system has no memory and no spell checker. It needs constant maintenance and cannot be upgraded; it could not be more analog and less compatible.

And folks keep using it.

For over four centuries, the classic wooden pencil has defied obsolescence - a feat that generations of laptops and palm devices cannot match. Even in the aftermath of the great technology bust, worldwide output of basic black-lead pencils has continued to grow and now reaches an estimated 15 billion a year.

"Twenty years ago, I really worried about what will happen with the wood-cased pencil," said Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, the chief executive of Faber-Castell, the world's biggest and oldest maker of pencils.

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