Monday, 1 September 2008

The end of books

The end of books.

The paperless office.

A new age of digital information.

Remember these terms? I do quite clearly from over 20 years ago. The purported paperless office would revolutionise the way we store and retrieve data.

I bet Rank Xerox shit themselves way back then.

Luckily for the pulp mills, computers proved to be so unreliable everyone used twice as much paper making backup copies of everything they did. Ever heard a room full of dot matrix printers going full blast for 7 hours 21 minutes a day. I did.

I took a job as a trainee with the Federal Government fresh out of school and was exposed to the full range of bleeding edge technology. The Government had a policy of purchasing the very latest advancements. (Even if the new gear only made the job harder.) Helped drive the economy.

So there I was at 16 years of age, photocopying millions of thermal paper faxes onto real paper and shredding the originals. (Had to do each one by hand since thermal paper wouldn’t auto feed. Lifting that heavy lid should have given me arms like Schwarzenegger.) The boredom was only relieved by reading some really personal information amongst this crap.

I got the awesome job after the archives building declared an emergency. They’d discovered the thousands upon thousands of important files they were storing were filled with barely discernable and blank thermal fax paper. Whoops. Who knows what information was lost in the 80’s and early 90’s.

The term ‘no more books’ came up as I was Stumbling around the web and brought this memory out. Got me thinking. Although we’re probably far enough along the reliability curve to make the rhetoric a reality, it’s convincing people to change their ways that will be the challenge. ‘Once bitten a thousand times shy’ in this case.

I’m still waiting for the next technological leap where we can have tiny, (painless), implants in the bottom of our eyelids that project an image or text directly onto the eye. Or, while we’re in dreamland, how about an interface directly into your head that can upload/download data.

I’d also like that to be painless and not in the middle of my forehead. I’m reserving that place for my barcode.

1 comment:

Binxcat1 said...

LOL... I too enjoyed the privilege of creating a data bank back up system while living on Eylandt.. another company who realised the folly of having all their historical data stored, on paper, in one room... imagine if it caught fire they cried!.... so they promptly spent $100K on computer software to digitally record all those precious morsels only to realise that most of the crusty, crumbly old papers wouldn't feed through the scanner... so we had to first photocopy them all... It all got too hard and they wouldn't listen to the people who created the software and I think none of it actually got done in the end! BUT jeez, there were some riveting tales of times gone by amongst it all!