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Clackity-Tap-Tap: The Sound of A City Computing

In a Silver Spring, Md., office, Afghan brothers Zeki, Idris and Haroon Mokhtarzada have created Freewebs, a start-up company that lets people build their own Web sites for free.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

In many ways, we are a region of typists. Have been for some time.

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That thunderous clamor you heard around Washington during World War II was the sound of the secretarial pools employed by the federal government, hammering away at manual typewriters. Before the Xerox machine was invented, these workers were the lifeblood of the growing bureaucracy, typing official correspondence and requisitions in triplicate.

Now, the clatter has given way to the quieter clackity-clack-clack of the Washington office. We write briefs, craft legislation, enter data, rotate computer models, e-mail reports, videoconference and surf YouTube at lunchtime on our indispensable PCs.

In a Silver Spring office, Afghan brothers Zeki, Idris and Haroon Mokhtarzada have taken the raw bits and bytes of cyberspace and typed out Freewebs, a company that lets people build their own Web sites free.

Clackity-clack-clack.

Who would have thought that of all the classes we ever took -- high school English, sophomore calculus, grad school finance -- the one that would pay daily benefits for the rest of our lives would turn out to be 10th-grade typing?

--Frank Ahrens


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