Sunday, April 28, 2013

Deja Vu

Zebulon, NC

Our chores and prep work on the boat are complete. We're waiting to hear if the haul out can occur Tuesday. If not, we're going to abandon the hope of being there for the haul out and depart on our trip.

Meanwhile, we're staying with Dave and Cathy near Raleigh. I'm also handling some mailings for the Westsail Owner's Association. This morning Libby and I were both involved with the printing, collating, envelope addressing and stuffing chores. It hit me with a deja vu moment. What set me off (as I collated) was the realization that my grandchildren would probably not recognize the word collate or even understand the concept.
collate (kə-lātˈ, kŏlˈātˌ, kōˈlātˌ) 
v. To examine and compare carefully in order to note points of disagreement.
v. To assemble in proper numerical or logical sequence.
v. Printing To examine (gathered sheets) in order to arrange them in proper sequence before binding.
Years ago I worked at PTI, a thriving engineering consulting firm. Firms like that do studies, and to complete the study they write reports. They also write and publish numerous scientific papers. Therefore, a large important part of the operation had to do with paper handling. Typing, proofing, printing, copying, collating, sorting, packaging and shipping paper consumed lots of our resources. We needed one secretary per 4-5 engineers to keep up with the load.

Going further back to the 60s, I recall reports typed by hand, mistakes fixed with an eraser, and copies made by carbon paper or by mimeograph. The quantity of paper work then was similarly high but the quality was much lower.

Even further back I remember working with IBM collating/sorting machines.  IBM became rich and famous making collating machines.  Also, how people of the 60s and 70s saw these machines featured in countless movies and TV shows.  Remember the card with the computer's answer popping out in the hopper of the sorter? Now, the meaning of the word is nearly forgotten.


Today, all that is so unnecessary. Even with the Westsail Owners Association, the vast majority of our members receive their materials online. I suppose that some businesses, such as courts, deal with lots of paper, but most things today are done electronically.  My oh my, how profound and rapid the changes are.  Has there ever been a generation seeing such rapid changes.  After all my ancestors were millers, their grandchildren  understood mills.   Coopers had grandchildren who still understood barrels.  

1 comment:

  1. My parents, father born 2011, mother 2014, lived through more rapid changes than we do. They started life in a rural environment. No cars, no airplanes, no telephones, 6 years of schooling, medical treatment only if imminent death. Most people seldom left their county.
    The only truly remarkable change after 1960 is the computer and devices/procedures associated with it.


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