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The "Paperless Office"...(was: Paying for downloads (was:Re: <OFF-TOPIC>) (fwd)sn)

This is even more off-topic but here goes... :)

From: James Pearce <jamesrp@statenet.com>
> Ok, the assumption that internet delivery will replace cd's is absurd to
> Computer's haven't replaced paper (like everyone still thinks'll happen)
> never will in my opinion (I have a stack of legislative documents here on
> desk that I KNOW won't change).

Absurd NOW, that is.  The concept of the Paperless Office has been a Holy
Grail of sorts to me (and countless others) for quite some time!  It's only
been the last few years when the feasibility of this concept has clarified
for me, though.  And it came about because of (surprise!) an AS/400 gig.

Short Version: I was working at a music publishing company.  Needless to 
there are issues with royalties etc. that are more than just crucial to 
track of, and for this they had hired a pair of accountants in the
beginning, who stayed with the company until the End; that is, they both
died within months of each other and were brothers as well.  Weird, yes, 
true.  Anyhow, I got quite a lot of overtime tending to the AS/400 and its
screaming printer, producing a printout of some 250,000 pages - all of it
sent FedEx to an incredible shipping cost!  When I asked why we couldn't
have just given them a dial-up to access the data, I found several basic

* They believed that the data "could have been altered before getting to 
screen" (as if this is less possible on paper!)

* They wanted physical proof, and for them screen images didn't constitute

* They wanted something in their shaking, aging hands.

* They were technophobic (fairly normal for folks in their 80s who still

After this experience, you know, I was fairly convinced that the following

* The Paperless Office will not be possible until the current crop of
Accountants, Lawyers, and other paper pushers have either died or retired
permanently, and the people THEY trained have died or retired permanently.
And possibly the folks that this last group trained as well!

Well, I thought of it as a bit of an informational milestone, and was
relieved to be done with it when it was through.  Then the accountants 
and in a flurry of movement, the Big Printout was shredded or otherwise
disposed of.  Guess what?  We didn't find this out until another suit came
up, and we asked to get the printout back.  Coda: We had to print all
250,000 pages AGAIN!  This more than "fairly convinced" me that I was 
Right now I and a cohort are pulling data off of the '400 to CD-ROM, in a
queriable form; and the only reason this is possible is because of the Y2K
non-compliance of the unit (on the hardware level!).  Otherwise I'm sure
this bunch would be maintaining status quo forever.

So I figured that the Paperless Office won't be possible for perhaps 100
years - by which time, unless one figures out how to recycle paper
effectively, the trees will have been eliminated from this orb.  Probably
because of some report about the declining population of paper-bearing

Stephen Goodman       * It's the free Loop Of The Week!
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