"You and me both, man. That thing is lucky I'm not armed."

Wired published an article last week called “Five Useless Gadgets You Should Throw in the Trash Right Now.” Setting aside the environmentally-unfriendliness of that for a second, I wonder how reasonable it would be for the average person to eschew everything on that list. I’m pretty accepting of technology, but all other things being equal I won’t adopt something — or get rid of it — if doing so constrains me. Their list was:

  1. printers
  2. scanners
  3. built-in optical drives
  4. fax machines
  5. landline phones

There’s only one thing on that list I could entirely live without: fax machines. I don’t own one but I have to occasionally use one for work, but only when there’s no other way. I always put up a fight before resorting to faxing. I rarely use my scanner (usually it’s in an attempt to avoid faxing…I scan and email a signed document) but I wouldn’t even bother to own one unless it was built into my printer. Speaking of which…I don’t use my printer that often (a standard 500-sheet pack of paper will last me a few years) but there are still enough cases where I can’t avoid it, like boarding passes until everyone sorts out the emailed/texted version. Optical drives are something else I barely use…when I got my new computer I installed some software from CD, but only because there’s where I had it. I’m sure I could have downloaded most of it just as easily. In this case it cost me nothing to include a CD writer and would have saved me nothing to take it out, and at least this way I can still make CDs for my dad, so I got one.

The landline phone seems to be the one I can’t get rid of. I suppose this is mainly because I don’t have a mobile. With my Blackberry (which isn’t voice-enabled) I haven’t needed one, and wouldn’t get one just to replace my landline. While I know lots of people who do use a cell instead of a landline, I think Canadian mobile pricing makes it a less attractive option here than elsewhere.

By the way, that title is one of the lines from Office Space, when Samir and Michael want to kill the printer/copier. When I checked imdb to verify I had the line right, I noticed that pretty much every line in the film is listed in the ‘memorable quotes’ section. Here’s my suggestion for how to quantify the ‘cult-ness’ of a movie: (imdb memorable quote page length) ÷ (movie script length).

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