Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Power to Fax

Mises Daily: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Last week, this office had to send a fax, and the receiving number was the same for fax and voice lines. Of course that trick never really worked well in the 1980s, and it doesn’t work well today. The fax didn’t get there, and I had to go through the error logs to figure out why, and then try again. That meant hunkering down, again, over a machine with a wired phone sitting on top — a living relic of a bygone era.

By then I had already crumpled up the original — I had forgotten the faxing convention of waiting to make sure it went through — so I had to print out again, and check the number, and punched it in properly. And so on.

You may or may not know the drill. There is a an entire generation coming of age without a clear sense of what a fax machine is or why one should need one at all.

That we now consider the fax to be an annoying anachronism is a testament to the pace of technological development in our time. It took more than 100 years from the first attempts at faxing to the introduction of the domestic fax in the mid-1980s. Twenty years later, we hardly use the thing at all, and we laugh at its old-tech ways.

And yet I recall what a remarkable thing it was circa 1985. It was the great foreshadowing of the digital age. Until that time, documents had to be mailed. Or they could be sent by a private service that delivered overnight at a very high price. Or if the need was to send something across town, you could pay a courier service. These were the only ways to get documents from place to place. This was a situation essentially unchanged from the beginning of time to the second term of the Reagan presidency.

Full article: http://mises.org/dai … 334/The-Power-to-Fax