Remember the good old days when computers required punch cards to operate and used to fill an entire room? Didn’t think so, and why would you want to – really – when that smartphone in your pocket right now could run circles around the fossilized technological doodads of days past?
It’s easy to take innovation for granted when you work in a fast-paced, high-tech office environment. The tools of yesterday certainly seem silly when compared to the latest shiny modern convenience, and the handy tech gizmos and common office supplies that have changed so much in recent years continue to shift at a rapid pace.
Indeed, in just a few short decades, someone just might laugh at the thought of using email and laser printers. Who needs that when they can beam data directly into their co-workers’ cyborg data chips, right? As we marvel at what craziness the future might hold, let’s take a trip down memory lane to look at those who top the endangered or extinct office supplies and tech list:
Dot Matrix Printers
A recycling enthusiast’s nightmare, those dusty machines that spat out reams of paper with the punched-out dots along two edges are a welcome addition to our extinct list. Sure, you can still find a few of these beasties out in the wild, but the headache of ripping those edges off and disposing of the leftovers is something we don’t miss.
Everyone makes mistakes once and a while, whether it’s a typo, bad grammar slip, or an incorrect figure. White Out was once a major lifesaver in any office environment. These days, in the super convenient world of auto spell-checkers and digital documents, this once magical liquid is more quaint than essential.
With the speed at which your list of professional contacts’ info can change, even keeping digital address books up-to-date can feel like ultra tedious grunt work. Manually scrawling everything out on physical cards that you then have to plug into your Rolodex and organize by hand? Meh, pass.
Ah yes, the squelching squawk and patience sapping wait times of dial-up document transfer. Goodness, what a great thing to NOT have to deal with anymore. Fax Machines were once useful, but have long since become more of a hassle than their worth. It’s so much faster, and less headache causing, to scan a document and send it electronically.
There’s an app for that — more like a zillion apps, including some that will actually turn your spoken words into already typed-up documents. Utter sorcery! The days of old-school tape recorders, and even dedicated digital recorders to some extent, are limited. Everybody is using apps on their smartphone, which can spit out conveniently edited MP3 you can email to someone else to transcribe. The future is awesome.
Beyond the Office Supply Evolution
The workplace has seen many technological advances over the past 25 years, as demonstrated by this list. But office supplies aren’t the only factor in the workplace that’s evolving. Our latest infographic highlights the major technological milestones and how they’ve created paths for today’s IT professional. Interested in how your career got it’s start? View our infographic here.