I hate fax machines.
They use way too much paper, they jam all the time, they still use a land line, they are unreliable, and email can do everything they can do. Only better.
Faxing is not the only tech I wish would go the way of the dodo bird (too soon?). I have a list of others I wish we could wave buh-bye to. You may or may not agree with me, but I think we use old pieces we could replace for free or via a low cost alternative.
These alternatives can lead to a more efficient work flow, and in some cases, more data security. We may not have the power to change other people’s behavior, but we can start.
Without further ado, here is my list, and perhaps the Church should lead the charge here…
- Faxing – Switching to a fax software or service is not a viable replacement. To completely eliminate the need for paper, I recommend using Open Office to create PDF’s and emailing documents when possible. Use a scanner to import already existing paper when necessary.
- Land lines – While you are getting rid of your fax machine, you may find it possible to get rid of your landlines altogether. Most telephones can be replaced via a simple VOIP system or cell phones.
- Hard copies of software / Media – This one may be harder to control. Not all software is available for download. I know some who like to keep a hard copy of all software for backup purposes (of course, four years later they are throwing away tons of CD’s). We should reconsider how we use and store software and media. By storing server copies of these items, you reduce the risk items being lost or destroyed.
- Flash drives – These little things used to be a status symbol. Now I have a desk drawer full of them. Instead, encourage the use of Drop Box (for more reasons as to why you should use drop box, click here). Users can access via the client, a web interface, or their iPhone. You can get 50gb of online storage, which can be administered, for $10 / month. Oh, and did I mention? No more lost or defunct flash drives laying around with sensitive data on them.
Things I Wish I Could Change:
While the above list can be altered by making small changes, there are a couple of things in tech I wish we could change, but really have no power over.
- Product keys – Most software companies use a 12-32 character “key” to unlock software. This is cumbersome method is outdated and annoying. The only way around this is to constantly search for open source alternatives to all your software, but in reality, this is not always possible. The best part is when you fat finger one and have to re-enter it, or when you find out it was case sensitive…after you already entered the entire thing.
- Overpriced cell phone data plans – I pay $35 / month for high speed access at home. If I wish to have 3G speeds on my phone, I have to pay $30 / month. Did I mention 3g is about as fast as dial-up?
- Inkjet Printers – You can get a laser printer for less than a hundred bucks. Want a color one? Just $200 and you can print laser quality photos. Why do we still drop $80 on ink cartridges? I think people should join the laser printer revolution! VIVA LAS’AR REVOLUTION! (sorry…)
What tech would you like to see go away? How would you replace it? Are you already phasing out older habits and methods? How are your end users handling it?
Have you gone Office Space on any piece of equipment because it failed you repeatedly?
[Image from Untitled13]