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There are lots of 53-year old executives around here who don't know how to use a computer effectively, and who would rather not have to use it at all. Their world is still filled with desktops (the physical, tangible kind), manila folders, paper documents, and so forth.
My idea is for a well-programmed
set of video cameras to be placed around his office. They monitor all of his actions. All of his pens and pencils will have electronic memory banks and transmitters as well. Everything the executive does is automatically duplicated onto the computer: If he rips off a new sheet of paper, the computer goes, "New... Microsoft Word Document". As he writes, each word is handwriting-recognized and transmitted to computer in real time. If he draws a picture instead, a Paint document is created to match it; then the bitmap is pasted into Word.
If he opens a manila folder, the same folder window is opened on screen. Depending on where he puts it next (drawer, cabinet, or desktop), the computer folder is similarly relocated to the appropriate parent directory.
Every pad of paper and folder simply has to have bar codes on it to identify it. But those can be preprinted at purchase, and needn't be bothersome to the executive.
The wastebasket scans barcodes on whatever file is placed into it (it's shaped like a paper shredder, with a slit, even though it doesn't shred), and that file or folder is deleted moved to the "recycle bin" on the hard disk.
I know, this sounds like a lot of technology that we don't have yet. So I propose an alternative as well: Eye-in-the-sky cameras on the ceiling of the executive's office. Assistants, hired by the executive, peek down at him from above, and constantly update their own computer to match whatever the executive does at any moment.
Extra useful if the executive should lose something: The assistants can easily search the computer for the file and radio the executive where it's located. And when he retires, all his stuff is neatly on computer now, instead of in cartons and cartons of jumbled papers.
Have him (or her) use this. [Cedar Park, Oct 05 2004]
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||Leave the poor guys alone, I say.
||We had a CEO who roamed the halls in his sock feet and rumor had it that he couldn't even check his email, his secretary did it. There's power in ignorance. It's almost a status symbol.
||This is what executive assistants already do, and they are more flexible and convey more status on the owner.
||That's really something we can do with the technology we do have. We already have pens that can detect what we write and from there, handwriting recognition is a snap. As far as the barcode thing, RFID tags would work much better -- they're not optical so they can be read from any orientation, and you could have a very normal-looking trash can with a reader embedded in it, no need for the cumbersome "feed it through the slot" kind of disposal. And they are very cheap -- pennies apeice, even in their infancy. Definitely affordable enough for an executive to buy embedded in all his folders, files, and even individual peices of paper. And they're so thin, he'll never even nedd to know they're there. From there, write some fairly simple software, and you've got a working executive assistant program.