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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] the myth of the paperless office

Eugene Eric Kim wrote:    (01)

> This notice, "The news about paper," from the BBC News Online, talks about
> a commonly noted phenomenon -- the fact that computers seem to have
> increased, not decreased, the use of paper:
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/sci/tech/newsid_1666000/1666325.stm
> The conclusions of Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper, who just published
> the book, _The Myth of the Paperless Office_, was summarized as follows:
>   "The UK researchers conclude that the main reason paper remains popular
>   is because technology has produced nothing that can match it in terms of
>   usability and familiarity."    (02)

I disagree (only slightly) with assesment. Paper remains popular because
can match it terms of usability and usability. Electronic versions make
easy. But we've all noted that word searches, as opposed to topic searches,
create may false matches. At the same time, it is very difficult to search
file in your system. That's one reason I prefer keeping most everything in
folders -- so I can find it again later, no matter what hare-brained scheme I
when I originally stored. (It must have been hare-brained, because I certainly
can't find it *now*.    (03)

> There are some things about paper upon which technology may not be able to
> improve.  However, there are many areas where digital technology should be
> inherently better than paper.  So why haven't people implemented these
> systems?    (04)

So digital technology has not quite lived up to its inherent promise of
That's one reason that such systems have not replaced paper systems. On the
other hand, their maleability makes them *dynamite* for authoring. I'm not even    (05)

sure that typewriters even *exist* any more. Haven't seen them in a decade or
so.    (06)

So digital systems have all but completely replaced paper as an authoring
mechanism. But I still find it indispensible for reviewing. Reasons:
  a) Portablity
  b) Density
  c) Notability    (07)

A printed document goes with me anywhere, to the beach or the mountains
or anywhere in between. It also has a very high density, so I can see a lot
more information at one time than I can on a screen. If need be, I can spread
out several pages and compare them. Until I have a screen the size of a
whiteboard, there is no hope of duplicating that feat on a computer. Finally,
I can jot down notes in the margins, no matter how the document was originally
authored.    (08)

When digital systems can achieve the same level of portability, information
and graphic density, and notation-ability as paper systems, then they have a
hope of replacing paper for reading, as well as authoring.    (09)

However, I'm not totally sure that would be a good thing. I see the day when
all the world's information is on computers, and that massive solar flare hits
that wipes them out. We could rebuild civilization in 100 years, with the
information in our libraries. But if those were gone, it would take us
millennia.    (010)