Apr 20, 2007
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Audio Tour for New Readers

Friday, April 20, 2007 - 01:04 PM

While I was in England, I got the chance to take an audio tour of the Roman ruins in Bath. It was a great tour, and it got me thinking about how handy an audio tour would be for new readers of Sheldon...a sort of quick walk-through of the site and what's on offer.

So, as an experiment, I put together something along those lines. Check it out, and tell me what you think. If it looks like it works, I'll add it to the "New Here?" section of the site.

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The Fax Machine: Welcome to 1985

Friday, April 20, 2007 - 08:53 AM

A company that frequently orders Sheldon books always places their order by fax machine.

For you youngins out there, that's a "fascimilie" machine. It's a telephone-based reproduction system that was invented in, oh, 1924, and really picked up in popularity in, oh, I don't know, THE 198O'S.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this phone conversation I had with their ordering department, regarding their use of the fax:

ME: Hi. I currently get your book orders by fax, and was wondering if there was any way to migrate that process to e-mail?

THE COMPANY: Ooo...I'm sorry, sir. We can only do it by fax.

ME: You don't have e-mail?

THE COMPANY: No, no...I do. We all do. But we can't physically send out this document by e-mail.

ME: Why? Are the documents produced on a typewriter?

THE COMPANY: I don't follow.

ME: Well, the document is produced on a computer, yes?


ME: Well, e-mail is also handled by a computer. You can just attach the document. Most e-mail systems from the last decade or two can do it.

THE COMPANY: Ooo...I really wish we could, know...

ME: What?

THE COMPANY: We're stuck in 1985, and don't really like to do business in your magical future-world of electronic wizard powers.

OK, that last line didn't happen, but, c'mon, really? A fax machine? That's the best we can do? Are we doing business in Uzbekistan?

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