[Transcript of an actual conversation I recently had. See if you can figure out which side is me]
I’ll send it over to you, what’s your fax number?
Fax number. I’ll fax it over to you.
Fax it over… Dude, seriously, just email it.
No. I like to keep a copy.
Keep a copy? What are you using, a fucking typewriter?
I wish. Can’t get ribbons any more. Sigh. So I type it up in the word processor, then print it out. Then I fax it. That way I’ve got a copy for my records.
Nobody says word processor any more. And paper records? Of routine correspondence?
Yes. Of course.
Dude, email does that for you automatically. Email it to me. Print out a copy for yourself, if you need paper.
It’s not the same.
How is it not the same?
It’s just not.
Did you get kicked in the head by a cow? Like when you were in the barn this morning doing the fucking milking?
Yeah, back there in the 18th century where you live, did a cow step on your head? And isn’t all that paper dangerous, you know, with the candles you use for lighting?
Ha ha, seriously, what’s your Fax number?
For the love of free WiFi, folks, It’s 2010.
It’s time to let go of a few things.
It’s time to dump certain technologies into the dust bin of history along with buggy whips and steam powered Babbage engines.
Starting with fax machines.
Seriously, Fax? Fax? Are we kidding here? Great idea…in the 1990’s. Perfect back when The Two Corys needed to exchange script ideas and the addresses of their favorite coke dealers. But nowadays, you what? start out on a computer in digital format, convert it to analog by printing it out, convert it back to digital at stone age resolution, transmit it via POTS at speeds approximating those of an ancient Sumerian carrying cuneiform tablets on the back of a mule, convert it back to analog – and then if you’re really a technology horse you scan it back into a computer using some kind of OCR PDF technology. Here’s an idea, why don’t you copy the document to a stack of 5.25” floppies and send them via Snail Mail? You can listen to your Sinatra albums on 8-track while you wait for an answer.
And speaking of POTS, it’s about time to lose the 1, don’t you think? You know, that damned annoying 1 that you used to have to dial if you wanted to make a long distance phone call from your official Ma Bell black rotary dial phone? “We’re sorry, you must first dial a one before dialing this number” or “We’re sorry, it is not necessary to dial a one before dialing this number.” Arrgh! Make up your fucking mind. What is the deal with this bullshit? I don’t have this crap with my cell phone, it just knows whether it needs a 1 or not. Sometimes I dial a 1, sometimes I don’t and it makes no difference at all. How the hell is it possible that my little cell phone has more brains than the entire corporate infrastructure of AT&T?
I swear if it wasn’t for the fax machine, I’d just get rid of the landline altogether.
In fact I’m about sick and tired of paper. Period.
Take paper receipts. Seriously folks, what in the hell? People are always handing you a receipt, I get one with my coffee purchase in the morning, one with my gas, one with my donut, one with lunch, and the newspaper, and the stuff I buy at the hardware store on the way home. Christ, I’ve got pockets full of these bloody things. I’m probably personally responsible for denuding entire swaths of South American rain forest in order to make the pulp to make the paper for the shear number of goddamned receipts that fill my pockets. And God help me I should lose one, because all the shop related ones need to be sent to the IRS at the end of the year. And they just keep getting longer and longer, don’t they? I got a coffee at Starbucks yesterday (Hey, if I’m going to destroy the rain forest, I might as well get it caramel flavored at $6 a cup, right?) and the receipt was longer than Glenn Beck’s liquor store shopping list. What the hell could possibly be on there? The complete text of War and Peace? Glenn Beck’s liquor store shopping list? I got a coffee, and my receipt was four feet long, probably a good thing I didn’t get a brownie too or Al Gore would have had to take a out hit on me.
And as long as we’re on the subject of paper, checks, I hate checks, no, strike that, I hate check writers. I’ve said it before and got lambasted by certain Random people who shall remain nameless. But, damn, it’s 2010. If we can’t get rid of checks, can we at least have a special line for check writers…with the rest of the Amish and people who still use paper phone books?
Camera film and recording tape are long gone and good riddance, replaced by memory chips. Lots and lots of memory chips. I’ve got a chip for my Nikon, I’ve a different chip for my pocket camera, I’ve yet another chip for my phone, and another one for for my MP3 player and when I count them up I find I’ve got SD and SDHC and miniSD and ProSD and MemorySticks. I’ve got fast chips and slow chips. Hell, I’ve got fish and chips. I’ve got ten different kind of memory chips. It’s 2010, can we please settle on a fucking standard? And don’t get me started on the fifty different kinds of USB cables, I’m still trying to find the right kind to plug my BetaMax into my HD-DVD recorder.
English Units of Measure. Hell even the English don’t use English Units of Measure anymore. Everybody else on the planet has managed to move on into the 21st Century. Not us though, we’re still measuring shit using units based on the number of barleycorns there are in a handbreadth or the number of stoneweight in a keg. For crying out loud, even the dimmest goatherd in those countries where they speak the clickclick language and worship rocks can manage the metric system, what the hell does that say about us? I realize we tried to make the switch way back in the 1970’s and it was an abysmal failure – I remember the whole disastrous thing. But see we were still listening to AM radio back then, which is about one step, technology wise, above smoke signals. Seriously, show of hands, how many of you have listened to AM Radio in the last year? Last ten years? Now that it’s the 21st Century, it’s time to shitcan both English Units of Measure and Amplitude Modulation. Of course, if you do listen to AM Radio, you hear the conspiracy nuts who’ll tell you that making Americans switch to that commie metric system is just one more step towards the New World Order and how posting road signs in metric just makes it easier for the invading socialist armies. I’d like to leave the conspiracy nuts back in the last century while we’re at it.
Tin cans (and yes I know they’re not made out of tin anymore). Cans? We might as well be using clay jars. I get a can of green beans or corn out of the pantry, I’ve got to cut it open with a tool and dump the contents into a microwave safe dish so I can heat it up. Why the hell don’t the beans come in a microwavable container in the first damned place?
How about we get the hell rid of incandescent light bulbs too? It’s ten years into the new millennium and we’re still lighting our wigwams with the burning light of a glowing wire in a glass bulb powered by burning coal. We might as well be using rendered whale fat and a wick.
I could go on, you know I could, but I’ve got to take the dogsled into the trading post and write a check for a new dial-up modem.
What technology do you think should be retired?
(You can fax your comments to me and I’ll send you a receipt)