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Anna’s Anachronisms: AA: Petrache Poenaru vs the Apple Pen

Pushing open the heavy wooden door with iron-ring knockers of the church narthex, I bowed my head in greeting to a Priest welcoming people at the entrance of the nave. “Have you seen Mr. Poenaru?” I asked him as I drew closer, keeping my voice soft. “Petrache is sitting in the front row of pews, closest to the sanctuary,” the cloaked man mumbled in response, as he returned my gesture. Smiling in a silent thanks, I gingerly stepped inside and hurried along the wall to the front row. Pardoning myself to the nearest in attendance, I waved at Petrache. His half-bald head glinted in the candlelight as he rose to his feet and followed me out of the church. “You weren’t supposed to wait inside,” I joked as we stepped out into the sunlight. “I was curious as to what was happening within those walls,” Petrache demurred with a grin. His eyes drifted to the iPad hanging off my shoulder by a strap fixed to the case. “What is that?” “This is what I summoned you for. I wanted to show you this: an iPad and an Apple Pen.” “I-Pad?” The Romanian accent lended to the broken pronunciation, I suspect, as he reached out a hand. Slipping the stylus from a holster in the side of the case, I turned both devices on and paired them quickly before handing them over. “What does it do?” “Well, a lot of things, but there’s a specific function I want to show you.” “Which is?” He cocked an eyebrow and slightly tilted his head. I tapped the screen with the end of the Apple Pen and opened up a drawing/quick notes app I had downloaded in advance of our meeting. Then I scrawled a messy signature across the screen. “How did you do that?” Petrache gasped, shaking his head as if he’d just emerged from cold water. “I saw no ink leave the pen.” “It’s not that kind of pen, Petrache,” I explained through a giggle. “It’s a descendent of your invention, an electronic pen. The iPad feels the tip and responds by drawing a line on the screen.” “The screen? Why does this slab change itself?” “That’s a conversation for another day. But this Apple pen can do much more than just lines… it can mimic any brush, pen, eraser, or tool that you can think of on the right program. You can also use certain spots on the pen to change pressure, colour, etc.” He spent a few minutes fiddling and exploring the different functions, awestruck exclamations slipping past his smile every few moments, and the odd question. “How do you erase things? Ink isn’t erasable.” “Well, it’s not real ink. It’s kind of like a mock ink, it’s just lights under the screen really.” Then a few more mumble-filled moments would pass, and his old voice would rasp again. “Where did you find this thing?” “Also a conversation for another day.” After about half an hour, it became apparent to me that he would not grow bored of tinkering with the devices. And I had a train to catch. I asked him what his final thoughts were on these inventions. “In all my years, I’ve never seen something so educational as a teacher― or felt this lucky since Tudor Vladimirescu’s demise!”

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