Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rise of the Machines

I have been stunned by the department copier. Not because of stapling and collating, which is simply how copiers have "always" functioned. Because the administrative assistant typed my email address into the copier, pushed a button, and by the time I was back at my desk across the hall, I had the .pdf of my form waiting in my inbox. The .pdf doesn't make the "foom" sound (and I missed the new-email "ding"), or look as impressive, but I found myself completely amazed nonetheless.

All this stands in complete counterpoint to my much-less-thrilled amazement that the journal publishing company, based in the Netherlands, of all places, requires a full-page document of refusal to pay $700 to have a figure published in color - a document that could not be modified on the computer, and had to be printed out. Perhaps they were aware that my department copier must be able to make new .pdfs in under 10 seconds. They couldn't really have wanted me to pay to snail-mail or fax something from midwest USA to the Netherlands.

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