In my office, which is the land were all technology goes to die, there are many outdated, obsolete and horrible things that should just be recycled into a fine goo that is then used to feed the new generation of gadgetry as it strives for adulthood. Being somewhat of a giant technophile, it can almost seem like my own personal hell to be forced to work with antiquated equipment that really does belong in a museum and no where else. Sometimes, I can make it through the day surrounded by relics of gadget past by telling myself that there are people out there that pay a decent amount of money to be able to use this level of quaint. It’s like I work in a post-modern Amish office.
Technology that should be ashamed to still exist.
A Mechanical Mouse
I’ve basically been asking for a new mouse for my work computer for the past 5 years. My previous mouse was a horribly monstrosity that was covered in a thin layer of grime and hatred. I spent just about every day begging my boss to just go to walmart (or even Amazon.Com) and spend the TEN FREAKING DOLLARS and by me a new mouse.
I only gave him 2 Requirements:
1) I wanted a corded mouse so I didn’t have to screw with batteries.
2) It had to have a scroll wheel.
It’s my own fault at this point, really. When he did finally hook me up with a new mouse, he followed my specific instructions and made sure that it had those two things. What I didn’t think was even possible, was for him to return with a mouse that still has a mouse ball.
Let this be a lesson to you, just because you think that something is impossible to find, doesn’t mean your boss won’t go out of his way to save $2 and screw you over with it.
An Adding Machine
I can’t say that I absolutely abhor my giant desktop wasting calcumatron. For the most part, it still does what it should do. It adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides. Sure the 7, 0, CE, and +/- keys all stick to the point of being near unusable, but it can still get its job done if you smash your hand into it really, really, REALLY hard. for the most part, I’ve replaced it entirely with the ten keypad on my computer and just figure everything up in a spreadsheet anyway. Still the fact that it sits on my desk and taunts me is beginning to effect my mental state. Why don’t they just give me a regular every day calculator. Do I (or anyone else on the planet) really need my calculator to have an ass printer? Probably not, especially if it has never in the five years I’ve been here had paper in it.
The little swing arm on it is good for holding my cell phone while it charges though.
Yes, our work system runs on Windows 2000. The worst part about that is it’s my job to make sure that we can continue to use the out dated piece of crap despite the fact that it would cost us less than one month’s power bill to upgrade. Every once in a while, when one of the systems has finally given up on its abomination of life and commits computer suicide, I then have to take a perfectly functional, already out of date Windows XP computer and frickin’ downgrade it to Windows 2000. Somewhere there is a little village of computers, and I am the boogey man that the mommy and daddy computers tell their little children computers about.
“You better behave and stop having a 404 error, or else the big bad IT man will come and downgrade you to Windows 2000!”
All of this pain and suffering for no reason other than a fear and resistance to change. It’s almost as if the equipment in my office is a perfect representation for the cultural climate of America… or not.
At least we don’t run on Windows ME.
The Fax Machine
In my mind there is nothing that represents the basic concept of outdated, horrifying, useless, piece of crap quite like a fax machine. Obsolete for longer than it has actually been in effect, the fax machine is like the combination of a scanner and a modem. That is, if by combining the two you somehow created a paper eating monster responsible for more deforestation than the demon-possessed, smog-spewing, anti-tree machine from FernGully.
This torture device scans a horribly quality scan of a piece of paper into a really crappy jpeg then sends it out across the country via an insanely loud dial-up modem. On the other side, a completely different outdated piece of crap will receive the transmission, but will not actually accept the call coming in until it has been dialed in at least three times. You see, fax machines are apparently very busy, and want to make sure that the transmission is a legitimate priority. Once it has picked up the other end of the line, they will proceed to beep at each other for five minutes before they being the exchange. At this point, the machine that is receiving the fax with then spew forth 30-45 pages of crap on the other end so that a person can sort through it and make sure they have the half a page they need.
I was told today, shortly following one of my many tirades about the uselessness of old technology, and threatening the fax machine with a baseball bat if it didn’t send my faxes off to a customer, that it wasn’t the technology that was bad, but the fact that I didn’t know how to use it. My first response was to defend myself. I know a lot about using obsolete technology, probably more than anyone else in my office does. Then I thought about it.
No, I shouldn’t have to know how to use a fax machine. I don’t have to know how to use a telegraph or smoke signals, either.