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


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