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This week I am in San Fransisco and there is much to do and many people to meet. Many of tech companies are headquartered here – it is like coming to the heart of technology innovation. All of these businesses are busy inventing the ‘next big thing’ – whilst trying to protect what they have already created. Recently I wrote for LinkedIn a list of office items that are headed for museums. Ironically of course, ‘once upon a time’ the list below were all new and shiny – and made their inventors a fortune.

Can you predict what will be extinct in the next year? – Five or ten years? I had one friend who suggested that libraries will become extinct – and whilst I have been in the USA I read that San Antonio has launched the first bookless library. Is it possible? I’m in the city that is ‘hell bent’ on picking the next big thing – but I think it is equally important to know when to get out of a technology too.

15 essential business inventions now in museums:
(Thanks Wikipedia for the definitions.)

  1. Telex: The telex network is a switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network, for the purposes of sending text-based messages.
  2. Facsimile: (fax machine) Fax (short for facsimile), sometimes called telecopying, is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material (both text and images), normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device.
  3. Photocopier: A photocopier (also known as a copier or copy machine) is a machine that makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography, a dry process using heat.
  4. Liquid Paper: Liquid Paper is a brand of the Newell Rubbermaid company that sells correction fluid, correction pen and correction tape. Mainly used to correct typewriting in the past, correction products now mostly cover handwriting mistakes.
  5. Carbon Paper: Carbon paper (originally carbonic paper) is paper coated on one side with a layer of a loosely bound dry ink or pigmented coating, usually bound with wax. It is used for making one or more copies simultaneous with the creation of an original document.
  6. Typewriter: A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical device with keys that, when pressed, cause characters to be printed on a medium, usually paper. Typically one character is printed for keypress, and the machine prints the characters by making ink impressions of type elements similar to the sorts used in movable type letterpress printing.
  7. Filing cabinet: A filing cabinet (or sometimes file cabinet in American English) is a piece of office furniture usually used to store paper documents in file folders.
  8. Roneo duplicators: The stencil duplicator or mimeograph machine (often abbreviated to mimeo) is a low-cost printing press that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. The mimeograph process should not be confused with the spirit duplicator process.
  9. Internal Mail envelope: In a large organisation with many employees, there is frequently an internal mail system. The post room sorts the incoming mail and the ‘mailboy‘ takes it around on a trolly to the various pigeon-holes and direct to the desks of important people. They use special envelopes where people cross off the previous name and reuse the envelope.
  10. Address books: An address book is a paper-based, entries can easily end up out of order as the owner inserts details of more individuals or as people move. Many address books use small ring binders that allow adding, removing and shuffling of pages to make room.
  11. Rolodex: A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information (the name is a portmanteau word of rolling and index)
  12. Calendar: A calendar is a physical device (often paper) where you can write upcoming events and appointments – it would hang on the wall of the office.
  13. Desk Diary: In stationery, a diary is a small book containing a main diary section with a space for each day of the year with room for notes, a calendar, and usually various pages at the beginning and end containing various pieces of reference information. Usually large and leather bound – the size of the diary determined your seniority in an organization.
  14. Fountain Pen & Ink cartridges: A fountain pen is a nib pen that, unlike its predecessor the dip pen, contains an internal reservoir of water-based liquid ink. The pen draws ink from the reservoir through a feed to the nib and deposits it on paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action.
  15. Rotary Dial phones (and switch boards): The rotary dial is a device mounted on or in a telephone or switchboard that is designed to send electrical pulses, known as pulse dialing, corresponding to the number dialed.

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