Thursday 28 November 2013

Money Well Spent

I have mentioned before that I believe paper is on the way out. It will take a very long time, but as technology improves, our reading experience on said technology will improve and before you know it, we will indeed live in a paperless office.

Of course, for that to happen we will have to have complete trust in the infallibility and the absolute security or the way information is stored. We are a long way from that happening. Now, we sort of trust digital storage, just so long as we have a hard copy to back it up. In other words, we don’t trust it at all.
I am from the generation that lived before computers and all files were paper files. Not only were they all paper, but they were often mislaid and sometimes would be destroyed in a fire or flood. Now at least, there is a chance that your information is stored somewhere off site and will be retrievable. I have had jobs that involved organizing and stacking boxes of files. I have had jobs that involved taking boxes of paper that were from before a certain date and tossing them in the garbage. That’s right, in the garbage! This was before anyone cared about recycling and all of the garbage was burnt. Crazy times…
Paper is a problem now and will be a bigger problem in the future. By going digital we will be able to save trees, save space in the land fills and have access to far more information instantaneously. It’s true that you won’t be able to get the “old book smell” or the look and smell of a newspaper that has been in the sun for too long. I will miss those smells. Of course the people employed by the pulp and paper industry will lose their livelihood and anyone affiliated with that industry will be just shit out of luck. Sorry!

We took a step closer to that digital age this week. Well, it may have been a few months ago, but I just found out about it last week. It seems that I can access and read the newspaper by using my library card online. Not only can I read my paper, but I can read papers from all over the world so that I can get the take of another country on how Canada is perceived in the world.

We cancelled our paper a few months back because we would only read the headlines, perhaps the entertainment section and of course we would check out the sales. It just wasn’t worth $30 a month for that. I did miss being able to leaf through the paper when I wanted to, and it made for a pretty one sided conversation when my buddy would say “Did you read the paper today?” The other day, there was some production problem with the paper and it wasn’t delivered in the morning as it usually is. When I met my buddy for coffee, I asked him “Did you read the paper today?” I then went on to describe what he had missed.

Using the digital access, I can read the paper on any wifi accessible device as long as I can remember my library card number. The paper comes up just like it looks on paper and you can flip the pages if there isn’t anything that you are interested in on the page. If there is an article I am interested in, I click the mouse and the article fills the screen. Once I have finished reading, I minimize the page and go back to flipping through the paper.

It is a pretty slick system and I hope that all libraries have it or soon will have. I have access to any newspaper I want, all the books I can read and pretty much any DVD or CD that my heart desires, for a yearly fee of $13. Money well spent!

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