Fax machines, and PDFs, kicking off the deadmedia watch for 2010

fax-smash

The fax machine was obsolete 15 years ago. When someone says “fax it to me,” I always feel like I’m being punk’d. A fax machine is nothing more than a printer, scanner and an obsolete analog mode that work together to waste time, money, paper and electricity. Documents that are faxed usually start out in digital format. So, to send a digital document digitally, it must be converted into a paper format. You insert the document, and the fax machine scans it back into a digital format. It then uses an analog modem from 1993 to convert the digital image into sounds!

LINK: Mike Elgan: 10 obsolete technologies to kill in 2010 – Make the world a better place. Just say no to dumb tech.

When an old media that fade away, sometimes we miss it’s old flavours, it’s eccentricities. Sometimes we don’t. I’m not going to miss fax machines. Frustrating, stupid machines from day one I’d argue. And if there’s (slightly) newer media that fax machines most remind me of it’s gotta be PDF. Damn PDFs are annoying. Take a perfectly good digital document, convert it into a clumsy, uneditable, super-slow to render and a painful to read on a digital screen format just so it can look like a printed page. PDFs are a great way to take all the disadvantages of a printed page (like arbitrary page sizes and header and footer margins between every page of content), almost none of the advantages (like the adequate visible resolution for reading the damn thing) and perpetuating them forever in the digital age. Worst of all, you can’t even take a PDF out back and cathartically beat it down office-space style in the back alley if it’s really getting you down.

Damn you adobe.

photocredits: “analog_chainsaw” on flickr

  • Craig

    Voice Mail.

    It’s everything you hate about .pdfs plus having to dial in to a separate system.

    And enter a password.

    Then remember a phone number if you want to reply.

    Replies are done outside of the voicemail system and don’t track the conversation.

    It has to go.

  • Craig

    Voice Mail.

    It’s everything you hate about .pdfs plus having to dial in to a separate system.

    And enter a password.

    Then remember a phone number if you want to reply.

    Replies are done outside of the voicemail system and don’t track the conversation.

    It has to go.

  • Craig

    Oh, and Google Voice is only available in the States.

  • Craig

    Oh, and Google Voice is only available in the States.

  • http://thomaspurves.com/ Thomas Purves

    @Craig that’s a great one voice mail HAS to go. It’s a cheap scam to drive up voice minutes. Carriers have the perverse incentive to make take as many seconds as possible on a voice channel to check your messages.

    Googlevoice does it so much better by emailing you the machine-generated trascript of the voicemail. Even if the trascription isn’t perfect at least you have an idea of who called and what the call was about, archived, and at a glance.

    but goddamn I wish I could get a canadian googlevoice number.

  • http://thomaspurves.com Thomas Purves

    @Craig that’s a great one voice mail HAS to go. It’s a cheap scam to drive up voice minutes. Carriers have the perverse incentive to make take as many seconds as possible on a voice channel to check your messages.

    Googlevoice does it so much better by emailing you the machine-generated trascript of the voicemail. Even if the trascription isn’t perfect at least you have an idea of who called and what the call was about, archived, and at a glance.

    but goddamn I wish I could get a canadian googlevoice number.

  • nrm604

    Apparently PDFs are responsible for 80% of malware on the internets now

    http://tips.vlaurie.com/2010/02/pdf-files-are-m

    Solution: Use Foxit Reader, and/or turn off JavaScript in your PDF Reader

  • Neil McG

    I have to disagree with the article regarding landline telephones. It's pretty hard to beat magicJack at $20/year for unlimited North America calling (fine, I used to work for them).

    Yes, you get a real phone number, and an RJ45 jack for plugging in a real phone. Their new femtoJack will let you use your cellphone in your house, using your Voip minutes.

    One thing the article forgot…phone books! There is a stack of them in the hallway of my building. What are they for?

  • Neil McG

    Apparently PDFs are responsible for 80% of malware on the internets now

    http://tips.vlaurie.com/2010/02/pdf-files-are-major-carrier-of-malware-in-2009/

    Solution: Use Foxit Reader, and/or turn off JavaScript in your PDF Reader

  • Neil McG

    I have to disagree with the article regarding landline telephones. It's pretty hard to beat magicJack at $20/year for unlimited North America calling (fine, I used to work for them).

    Yes, you get a real phone number, and an RJ45 jack for plugging in a real phone. Their new femtoJack will let you use your cellphone in your house, using your Voip minutes.

    One thing the article forgot…phone books! There is a stack of them in the hallway of my building. What are they for?