Office Dinosaurs

Feb 14 2011 Published by under [Science in Society]

Harry Wallop (what a great name!) of The Telegraph recently published a list of 10 office items heading for extinction. I list them below with my thoughts:

Floppysaurus Rex? (Click for source)

1. Compact Discs - No argument here; even music will leave these coasters behind.

2. Memory sticks- Not so sure. The Mac Airs come with your back-up system software on a cute memory stick. I don't think we can quite reboot and restore a hard drive from the cloud yet.

3. Rolodex- Why haven't these been replaced already?

4. Personal diaries- See #3; I have been electronic-only for years now.

5. Calculator- Most of the time I use one built into my smart phone or iPad; however, every once in awhile a small calculator comes in handy.

6. Desk phone- Still there; the biomedical research and healthcare enterprise does not seem ready to cut all of their wires.

7. The Waste Paper Bin- Replaced by a recycle bin, but the concept lives on. Will people ever quit printing agendas or sending junk mail?

8. Shredders- Moving off-site for the most part. If we could get people to quit printing sensitive material, they might die off.

9. Mobile water coolers- People need water coolers and coffee machines to hang out and get creative in the work environment. The nature of the beast may change, but it will still be around.

10. Desktop hard drives- Something has to hold the operating system in the computer, and I do not see how we can get around it. I also sleep better knowing my data exists in the cloud, on my desktop hard drive, and on my laptop hard drive. Oh, and the desktop hard drive gets backed up to a terabyte pocket drive daily. Overkill? Perhaps; but I think we can all remember data on servers disappearing suddenly.

Of course, I remember the February 1 episode of RadioLab on NPR: Tools Never Die. (Click to listen to the full story). Basically, no technology, no matter how obsolete, cannot be obtained today. Whether hobbyists, Amish, or third-world, everything can still be purchased.

So don't trash your CD player yet. But share your thoughts below - will any of these (or perhaps other) office items be around in 10 years?

7 responses so far

  • Bob O'H says:

    Today I printed something out, and then wanted to cut each sheet in half. I didn't have any scissors in the office, so I decided to use the 30cm ruler and a nice sharp fold trick. I folded the sheets and only then realised I didn't have a ruler.

    *sigh* the things we miss.

    I suspect memory sticks and hard drives will be around, in one form or another. I doubt we'll all be permanently on the cloud, so they'll have a use. I can't see the waste paper bin going, either, except in philosophy departments.

    • WhizBANG! says:

      My office is stocked with scissors, a rotary paper cutter, a 15" metal ruler, and exacto knives. A whole bunch of free memory sticks litter my desk, because it's good to have your stuff on one in case the network connection for your talk isn't functioning.

      I just don't see most of this stuff going away.

    • Peggy says:

      I've been playing with trying to "live in the cloud" and I don't think the technology is quite yet developed to the point I could ditch my hard drive.

      And I can't imagine not having a back up important documents in a physically different location than the original - especially true when "cloud living" means storing documents on someone else's servers.

  • physioprof says:

    I haven't used a floppy disk in years, although I do have piles of them in my fucken office.

    • WhizBANG! says:

      I found one in a drawer the other day with data from one of my spouse's published studies on it. He said to keep it, but I have no idea where the hell we would find a drive to read it on!

  • Bashir says:

    3. I haven't seen one of those since the 80s.

    5. They aren't leaving, just moving to other machines.

    6. I don't see this leaving too soon. Sometimes there needs to be a lab phone.

    9. What, people will stop drinking water?

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