I can remember when computers, e-mail, and then the Internet were all predicted to make us paperless. Throw out your printers and reams of paper. Forests, rejoice. But, alas, it didn’t work out that way. I don’t know about you, but in our office, paper usage only seems to have increased. I know I’m a big culprit. I just can’t get used to reading on screen. It doesn’t have the same impact. And filed e-mails don’t ever seem to be as easy to find as their hard-copy brethren. Even news I read on the Internet is generally printed out if it’s more than a paragraph or two.
But while our paper-filled office may be in the majority, the paperless office does exist. Read our story on some paperless warehouses — where the only piece of paper is the packing slip — and see technology being used as it’s meant to be.
Next on the technology horizon is Wi-Fi. As you’ll see in our article, lots of companies are betting on the fact that everyone wants the freedom to go wireless. But although there are always the early adopters who have every tech toy out there, as a society, we are slow to catch on. Take TiVo and other digital video recorders, for example. We are one of the most sedentary societies in the world, and our TV time rates among the highest. Yet, according to a story in The New York Times (which I printed from the online version), only a million households own a DVR, which has left the industry scratching its head. Why wouldn’t a product that feeds right into our lifestyle be wanted by everyone? Which brings us back to the wireless world. Will people pay to use their laptop anywhere? In a society that values the ability to work anywhere at anytime, you would think yes. But only time will tell. Stay tuned.
Another story in this issue has little to do with technology but lots to do with the way we live. I hope that everyone will read about the destruction going on in the world’s oceans. World-renowned photographer Norbert Wu talks with us — as well as shows us through his photographs — about what he’s seen happening beneath the surface. As an avid scuba diver, I have a vested interest in seeing marine life flourish. But the health of our oceans is about more than just pretty fish to look at. It affects our weather, our atmosphere, and our day-to-day lives. So take a minute to read about what’s going on, and what we can all do to help.
And take time to read the other great stories we bring you every two weeks in this paper-filled, low-tech magazine. Despite the constant need to be on the move, it’s important to relax a little. You know that the minute the plane lands and that seat-belt light goes out, you’ll be off and running. What better place to slow down and perhaps learn about something you didn’t know than in the quiet comfort of a plane? Enjoy.
SHERRI GULCZYNSKI BURNS