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:
- built-in optical drives
- fax machines
- 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).