Adam's Mile High Blog
where we sleep when we should be writing
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

After a interesting discussion last night I decided that I wanted to do some writing on this.

Someone posted a interesting question earlier. "Will we ever see a paperless society?" The initial thought is why keep paper around? The tree huggers would love us net-heads for keeping the forests intact and we would all spend a heck of a lot less on toner! Let's look at this in a few different ways though. Think for a moment all the ways that we use paper in a day.

Now unless we can come up with some magical thing to help us out in the bathroom I don't think that we will get away from the use there. Although there have been some crazier inventions so I guess you never can tell.

I don't know how many of you still write checks but this practice is quickly going to go the way of the do do bird. Banks are finding that it is much more cost efficent to process transactions via checkcard. I know some diehard people that still break out their checkbook wherever they go but how much easier is it for you, the store, and the bank to swipe that little piece of plastic. There are some places that don't even accept checks anymore because they don't want to deal with the hassle or the cost. We have boxes of unused checks sitting around the house because most everything is done either electronically or via plastic.

The newspaper, ahhh, we all see the old classic picture of dad wandering out to get the newspaper in his slippers with his morning cup of coffee. Well I know what my dad does in the morning, he sits down and checks his news aggregator in Radio. Here's my question to all of you. Think about the things that you read in the newspaper that can't be found on the net by logging onto to your local news media's website or subscribing to a mailing list? When the newspapers call me, my question to them is why should I pay you to deliver to my house when I can log onto your website and read for free?

Founded in August 1998, netLibrary is located in Boulder, Colorado. As the world's premier provider of electronic books (eBooks), netLibrary helps academic, public, corporate and special libraries create a richer, more productive learning environment for their patrons. By combining the time-honored traditions of the library system with electronic publishing, netLibrary offers an easy-to-use information and retrieval system for accessing the full text of reference, scholarly, and professional books. netLibrary is a division of OCLC Online Computer Library Center, a nonprofit organization that provides computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing and preservation service to libraries worldwide.

Taken from the netlibrary website. These guys are about a hour north of me. I think that currently the shift from real books to e-books is going to be a hard one for some people to swallow. I know that I would have no problem sitting down with some coffee and reading a book online but for some of the older generation there is no way. Watch for there to be a shift in the way that people procure their books in the next 5 years. For more info on this visit The Shifted Librarian.

Magazines are an interesting medium. One must wonder if one of the big draws to magazines is the esthetics involved. I know that personally one of the only reasons that I hit the newstands on a monthly basis to purchase my surfer magazine was because of the free poster inside. We used to get the MacAddict in the mail but every once in awhile we would get a second copy on the newstand for the free cd inside. It will be interesting to see what kind of shift we as a society due to either phase out or keep the magazine stands intact.

I did some looking (not much) to try and find some numbers to track the amount of us mail that has been sent over the past several years to look at what kind of shift that we are seeing there. The public doesn't like to send regular mail anymore. E-mail is so much easier and quicker. However, the post office will NOT go out of business there will always be things that we need to send through the mail.

As for regular office documents, we have already made a huge shift in that area. We are emailing stuff back and forth rather then printing it out and setting it on someone's desk somewhere. It just makes more sense and makes for a better work enviroment. There are laws in place that say that scanned documents are as good as originals, I can't find the reference because it's 330am and I don't feel like looking, get over it. A digital signature is just as good as the real thing. Go to Best Buy and pay with your cc. You don't sign a piece of paper, you sign a screen. You can digitally sign any document online as well.

So will we shift to a paperless society? Who knows? I know that time will tell. As my children grow up they are going to be in a much more digital world then I was.

3:33:22 AM    thoughts  []

© 2003 Adam Swansen
Last Update: 1/29/2003; 12:04:32 PM

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