Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fax Me?

Keeping Up With Business Technology...

Today I assume/presume that most people take things like Federal Express and color printer/scanners/Fax machines pretty much for granted.

That is particularly true for people born after the mid 1980's I guess.

I...on the other hand...if I looked around, could have found some carbon paper in a drawer even a recently as ten years ago.

I have an old typewriter still today.

Yet it amazes me the number of web sites on the Internet--places you can only get to by using a Cable Modem or DSL connection or God forbid a dial up connection with America On Line--which still demand that you provide a FAX number when you fill out one of their web based forms.

I just got off of a session with a web page where I was requesting a "sample" of one of their DIN rail mount Electrical Surge Traps (techno mumbo-jumbo...don't ask) and the page demanded I supply a FAX number.

I have two printers in the building which also have "FAX" functions built in, but other than sending stuff to the stupid Federal government and the idiots over in Nashville spending taxpayer money I haven't used a FAX machine for any real business purpose in probably three years.

FAX is obsolete, as far as I'm concerned, when I can simply scan any given document or even print it in PDF format electronically and then attach it to an E-Mail and be done with the process.

For those readers younger than probably 35 or 40, the FAX machine revolutionized business communications and transactions in it's day...about 1985 or so.

In 1985 a fax machine cost over $1,000 and was the size of a small refrigerator.

The FAX machine, along with Federal Express, in my considered Redneck opinion also permanently screwed up business because with overnight mail and instant transmissions...instead of having two or three weeks to work on a proposal and giving your customer a well considered offering with a decent price, purchasing agents started waiting until Wednesday afternoon to send you a request for proposal and expected to have your answer back in their hands by noon the following Friday (basically 1-1/2 day later.)

In the mean time you either had to type your own words using something called WordSTAR, then print out your words on another ancient device called a "dot matrix" printer, and do calculations using a pre Microsoft Excel program called Lotus 123, and... get my drift.

Still, in the process of lamenting the changes in business over the past 30 years, I still miss some of the quaint ways things worked and the idea of having a "secretary" and her listening to you through your "Dictaphone" instead of having an angry gum chewing lesbian "administrative assistant" who calls in sick every Tuesday after a Monday or Friday holiday.

Don't get me wrong...we had angry lesbians back then(Google Rosie O'Donnell), but you had the right to not have to hire one to sit inside the front door of your office without risking having the AFLCIO and American Civil Liberties Union serving you with court documents.

I'm not quite sure what angry women have to do with FAX machines other than I have little use of either these days, and I have to go now and see if I can fire up a game of Space Invaders or Asteroids or Frogger on my Commadore 64 because I'm too tired to keep writing.

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