The curse of Desktop Publishing

No one really talks about Desktop Publishing any more - certainly not with capital letters. We just do it.

The youngsters amongst you won't remember the thrill in the mid-to-late 80s of using Aldus Pagemaker. We had a dedicated PC at work with a massive screen (well, it seemed massive - I think it was 20 inch) just for Pagemaker wrangling. It was a whole new world when compared with word processing - you could lay things out, make beautiful documents, just like in a real publication.

Now, of course, it's commonplace, and though there are still DTP packages around, most of us can do all we need with a word processor. There isn't really a separate concept of desktop publishing. We all do fancy layout.

And there, I'd suggest, lies the source of a small but sad development in our culture. When I was little, if you got a certificate, it was something special. You'd put it in an album or on your wall. You'd be proud of it. Now, certificates are so easy to knock up, that you can get one for turning up at school with your shoelaces tied. Or for wiping your nose correctly. They're so easy to make, they've been devalued. They come home crumpled up in schoolbags and half the time we don't even get shown them.

Of course, it could just be that our children are getting older... but my suspicion is that certificates are now too common because they are too easy to make. {END GRUMPY OLD MAN MODE}