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Old 02-20-2008, 03:22 AM   #31
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Yea, I see AT&T just announced a palm phone with 2.2 inch screen. No matter how good the resolution and it s 320x320 the size is too small.
Yes, AT&T has announced availability of the Palm Centro. For practical purposes, it's Yet Another Treo, but at a much cheaper price ($100 with a 2 year plan.) Theoretically, it's an entry-level device, but it's not clear wht Palm has that would be considered an "upgrade".
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:57 PM   #32
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One of the comments in the article hits on one of the main reasons I promote ebooks--that books never have to go out of print. Antique and vintage collectibles are one thing (and I do have a collection of 100+-year-old books) but there are some books I've wanted to read that are only available from used book dealers for hundreds of dollars. There is no interest to the books from a collectibility standpoint (no interesting binding or illustrations) other than I would like to read it. It would be nice to be able to purchase an electronic copy for a reasonable price.

My main topic of study, the work of Jane Austen, has 200 years of published scholarship as well as less scholarly material behind it. Some of us are slowly digitizing the public domain stuff. Some of it isn't quite public domain yet, but is still of interest; for instance, Elizabeth Jenkins' 1939 biography, which is wonderful but out of print at the moment. It would be nice if such works never had to go out of print. I think that is an area, among others, where ebooks can shine.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:44 PM   #33
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If we can ever choke to death the evil priests of cellulose with their wretched tomes of oppression and let the untold multitudes of electrons tell the stories of our fathers and mothers,

Maybe then our literature will be free and never fear being forgotten or erased.

Perhaps we can embed the physical copies of digital texts with cellular automata. Then literature will truly live.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:23 PM   #34
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Perhaps we can embed the physical copies of digital texts with cellular automata. Then literature will truly live.


I like the cut of your gibberish, Oh Ancient One.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:08 PM   #35
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I think that I ate a hippie once whose conscience got stuck in my gullet. I really want to embrace e-ink and the notion of a 'go anywhere, display everything' device.

From the brief time that I worked in the office culture, was amazed at how much paper, ink, and resources are given over to creating hard co'pies of things. Would love to strangle the flim-flam man who coined the term "paperless office."

If the multitude of office drones, and everyday folks had a device that had wifi, an A4 screen (or tandem screens) that could display in colour and basic animation, very few things would ever need to be printed.
No more ink, no printers, no reams and reams of paper. Would shed a tear for the dissolution of Dunder-Mifflin, but I think that it could be a better world.

Of course, am most likely grossly overstating the properties and possibilities of electro-phoretic displays.

If I'm in my tomb dreaming, this is a rather nice one
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:30 AM   #36
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In every office there are Luddites. I have one co-worker who prints out nearly every e-mail she gets. I said to her once, "You know the point of e-mail is that you are supposed to read it on the computer, right?" and got a dirty look for my trouble. Though since she has worked there her kids have bought her a mobile phone and an iPod, and she thought my Cybook was kind of neat for commuting, so perhaps there is hope.

I see paper disappearing little by little, but the "paperless office" won't happen for another generation. Too many people are intimidated by their computers and cling to paper. It will take the young ones of today, growing up in a One Laptop Per Child world, who will achieve it. *cue stirring music*
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:59 AM   #37
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If the multitude of office drones, and everyday folks had a device that had wifi, an A4 screen (or tandem screens) that could display in colour and basic animation, very few things would ever need to be printed.

<...>

If I'm in my tomb dreaming, this is a rather nice one
Dream on, Cthulu. the stars aren't right.

I'm a computer guy. I have yet to see computerization that reduced paper, and I don't expect to.

Part of the problem is the one Robert Townsend spoke of in "Up the Organization!", when he talked about computerizing. His first advice was to make sure your manual system was clean and accurate, otherwise you would simply be speeding up the mess. Ideally, the systems analysis you do when figuring out how to automate something should show ways you can improve the process by eliminating unnecessary work. This does not always happen.

Another problem is that use of paper is too ingrained in the culture. Consider the folks who print out email to read it. (I heard about one chap who had an administrative assistant print out posts to some mailing lists he was on for him. I got an "ROFL!" comment when I asked if he dictated replies to the AA for posting. Apparently not -- he was "read only".)

Many years ago, I worked for a bank. Midway through my tenure, the bank got a deal on some space in a building, and decided to consolidate an assortment of separate offices under one roof. Mine was one of them. For a month before actual moving day, people were preparing what to move and tossing the rest. They had the wheeled canvas hampers the Post Office uses for Parcel Post mail, and were throwing out several hamper loads a day of paper to go to recycling. The process convinced me any large company should be required to move every five years, just to force people to throw stuff out.

For better or worse, information printed on paper is taken as more accurate and truthful. (Consider the phrase "right down there in black and white!"). If it's information on a computer printout, it's the sworn-on gospel. That's not changing any time soon.
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Old 02-25-2008, 03:21 AM   #38
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I don't want a mobile phone that's the size of a paper-back book... The perfect device for me would be something the size of the HTC Touch, but with a "roll-out" screen for reading on.
How would you feel about a device the size of a paperback book that had bluetooth? That way you use a bluetooth headset for the talking, the touchscreen/handwriting recognition or whatever for sms/email, and with any luck you can dock the headset into the device when you're not chatting. This would also get around the hassle of not being able to see your phone while your talking as well as most of the EMF worries. It also gives you the infinite notepad and the possibility of decent battery life since half the volume of the device could be battery - or more accurately, you could have a thin battery for day to day use and a fat one the size of the device that clipped underneath for those heavy days. People like me could just drop the fat version in our handbag and use voice dialling for constant gossiping or talking while reading.

I dream of such a device
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Old 02-25-2008, 03:35 AM   #39
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I'm a computer guy. I have yet to see computerization that reduced paper, and I don't expect to.
Some of us do. It's just that we're compensated for by cow-orkers who find shared printers really easy, much easier than handwriting, so they print every stupid thing they see on the screen. Our office just got a decent colour printer so now those people are printing everything in glorious colour!

I still hope that ebooks will make a difference over time. More and more people are getting to the point where they simply can't print out everything they need. Between crackberrys, FYI emails, blogs, online newpapers and ebooks I think once we see usable ebooks/enotepads the sheer volume of material will drown out the print reflex.

Here's hoping!
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:40 AM   #40
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The factor I've seen make the most difference in whether someone prints things is having two monitors. People often need to compare things, so they print a copy they can reference while looking at something else. When they get two monitors, they stop doing that.

The other factor I think would make a huge difference would be pen input. Even people I know who've grown up with computers tend to print things to annotate and correct them. If a monitor could optionally be laid flat on your desk to write on, the need many people have for printouts would be drastically reduced. People also print documents to take to meetings, where they don't have access to their computers. Where I work, a large proportion of people have laptops with docking stations, and I'm starting to see many people bringing these to meetings instead of paper. Conference rooms with projectors are becoming more common, so the contents of one laptop can be shared visually with the whole group, keeping attention on the group activity rather than distracting individuals with whatever catches their eye on their own laptop. But this doesn't solve the multi-person input problem.

When tablets are thinner and lighter and inexpensive enough that everyone has them, I'd expect to see another big drop in paper usage.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:08 AM   #41
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The factor I've seen make the most difference in whether someone prints things is having two monitors. People often need to compare things, so they print a copy they can reference while looking at something else. When they get two monitors, they stop doing that.
Somebody get that guy a widescreen monitor!

I've seen some of all of it in my office-based career(s)... and as someone who spent a number of years showing people how they could take advantage of their computers and networks and do things electronically, for production and quality improvements over paper, I've seen how hard a sell such a seemingly no-brainer idea can be.

Today, I often go to meetings where my co-workers will have each printed out the latest e-mail about the meeting and brought it with them. I put the pertinent info on my PDA and bring that instead, whenever possible, plugged into my hard keyboard and ready to run. And I get plenty of surprised and confused looks.

In many cases, I've discovered that the turning point tends to be the obvious one: Money. When a new system earns the company more profit... when it allows them to the same job at lower cost... when it significantly cuts internal expenses... that's when some bean-counter points his thumb up, the boss says, "I like it. Let's do it," and people are essentially pushed into it.

That's why, even before the upcoming generation goes digital, existing offices will find themselves finally converting when the abacus tells them to. And as paper prices rise, recycling can mean fees per pound, and not recycling can mean corporate fines, that could happen sooner than some of us suspect.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:25 AM   #42
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Some of us do. It's just that we're compensated for by cow-orkers who find shared printers really easy, much easier than handwriting, so they print every stupid thing they see on the screen. Our office just got a decent colour printer so now those people are printing everything in glorious colour!
I don't have a problem with shared printers. And there are times when you really need a hardcopy. I do occasional DTP, for instance, and have learned the hard way that what I see on screen and what I see on the actual printed page aren't always the same. I print paper proof copies for final check before releasing an electronic file to a printer for production.

I'm a moderate in this debate. I seek electronic books as an additional format, and not a replacement for paper.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:08 AM   #43
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I'm a moderate in this debate. I seek electronic books as an additional format, and not a replacement for paper.
Oh, so do I; but I still think there's a lot of needless paper being produced. (And I mean both pbooks and office documents.)

Speaking of printing out e-mails: in the summer of 2003, I was between jobs, and temped for a couple of weeks at a company where exactly that was part of my job, being, I was informed, someone who "knew about e-mail and the Internet and all that sort of thing." Only the secretaries and a couple of other employees had computers, and they were not networked (mine was running Windows ME. Really). Thus, once or twice a day, I was to dial in to the Internet (!) and pick up the firm e-mail, which was maintained as a convenience for clients who were confused by a company that was NOT reachable by e-mail in 2003. I would print out the e-mails--there was one e-mail address for the whole company, which had about 50 employees--distribute them, and then often type up the dictated return e-mails and send them back. I had been laid off from a dot-com that lasted slightly longer than the 2000ish bubble, so I was in major culture shock, needless to say! Lovely people, and they were really nice to me, but I was happy to get back to the 21st century when I was hired for the job I have now.

I also know of someone (who works for a company that is slowly and inexorably marching toward the paperless office) who dictates memos and has his assistant type them up and send them out as PDF attachments to e-mails. Why can't she just type it as an e-mail in his name and skip the middle step? I don't know. He likes memos.

I started out my work history as a temp secretary back in the days when we typed paper memos on IBM Selectrics (and knew we were working for a classy operation if we had the self-correcting models). To change your font, just change your ball! In one of those temp positions, I had to make copies of each memo for employees who sat literally next to each other, plus a file copy, plus two copies to be three-hole punched and put into binders, in case anybody lost their copy of the memo. So yes, as someone who was intimately involved in the production of paper at one time, most modern offices produce considerably less paper these days. But there are older folks who cling to the old ways, even in offices with the latest in technology.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:29 AM   #44
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I also know of someone (who works for a company that is slowly and inexorably marching toward the paperless office) who dictates memos and has his assistant type them up and send them out as PDF attachments to e-mails. Why can't she just type it as an e-mail in his name and skip the middle step? I don't know. He likes memos.
That's a habit that drives me crazy. I get emails from people all the time with a Word document attached that could have just been entered into the text of the email. It's just a couple of extra clicks, right? Those extra clicks (and the time I wait while Word drags itself out of bed, showers, gets dressed, and has its coffee) are the difference between a message I can read in a glance and respond to, and something I'll put off to deal with "until I have time." (Which could be never.)

I have sometimes succumbed to peer pressure in the past and brought a printed email agenda to a meeting, but I hate doing it.

I enjoy paper books, but I do see ebooks as a replacement for most paper books, mostly because of my present storage considerations.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:32 AM   #45
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Oh, so do I; but I still think there's a lot of needless paper being produced. (And I mean both pbooks and office documents.)
I concur. But I've seen rhetoric that parses as "Death to paper!" Frankly, that gives me the pip.

Quote:
Speaking of printing out e-mails: in the summer of 2003, I was between jobs, and temped for a couple of weeks at a company where exactly that was part of my job, being, I was informed, someone who "knew about e-mail and the Internet and all that sort of thing." Only the secretaries and a couple of other employees had computers, and they were not networked (mine was running Windows ME. Really). Thus, once or twice a day, I was to dial in to the Internet (!) and pick up the firm e-mail, which was maintained as a convenience for clients who were confused by a company that was NOT reachable by e-mail in 2003. I would print out the e-mails--there was one e-mail address for the whole company, which had about 50 employees--distribute them, and then often type up the dictated return e-mails and send them back. I had been laid off from a dot-com that lasted slightly longer than the 2000ish bubble, so I was in major culture shock, needless to say! Lovely people, and they were really nice to me, but I was happy to get back to the 21st century when I was hired for the job I have now.
<chuckle>

I saw an article on theRegisterUK, a British IT news site a while back. The owner of a mid-sized British firm had declared "No email!". He had looked at the time folks were spending on email, and declared that that time should be spent on the phone and in person, staying close to the customers, and making sure they stayed customers. My first thought was "How can you run a company without email?" Then, recalling the time I'd spent on email that should never have occurred, and the problems that would have evaporated had people spoken face to face or over the phone to provide clearer knowledge of what was going on and desired as a response, I thought "You know, maybe he's onto something..."

Quote:
I also know of someone (who works for a company that is slowly and inexorably marching toward the paperless office) who dictates memos and has his assistant type them up and send them out as PDF attachments to e-mails. Why can't she just type it as an e-mail in his name and skip the middle step? I don't know. He likes memos.
It hasn't occurred to him that the same text can be part of the mail body rather than a PDF attachment?

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I started out my work history as a temp secretary back in the days when we typed paper memos on IBM Selectrics (and knew we were working for a classy operation if we had the self-correcting models). To change your font, just change your ball! In one of those temp positions, I had to make copies of each memo for employees who sat literally next to each other, plus a file copy, plus two copies to be three-hole punched and put into binders, in case anybody lost their copy of the memo. So yes, as someone who was intimately involved in the production of paper at one time, most modern offices produce considerably less paper these days. But there are older folks who cling to the old ways, even in offices with the latest in technology.
I've encountered folks for whom the issue is status. Think of the old Mandarins with foot long finger nails. They had those as evidence of their status. It made it impossible to do much with their hands, but that was the point: they had servants to do the manual stuff for them.

I've encountered folks who don't have a computer or do their own email -- "I pay people to do that for me!". And I've seen cases of companies jumping on the bandwagon when the CEO does. Kinda hard for a VP to resist when his boss does it.

I worked for a bank years ago, and was deeply amused at a story one of the bank's IT folks told me about a demo he had done of some new technology they were working on for an audience of SVPs and EVPs. After the demo, one of the senior execs lingered behind, and said "You said X in your briefing. Does that mean I can do this?", and sat down at the keyboard and did something quite technical. He wasn't about to demonstrate that knowledge in front of the group, for fear he'd get branded a techie, and no longer considered a possible replacement for the CEO some day.

Still a fair bit of that attitude about.
______
Dennis
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