Saturday, August 22, 2009

Breakthrough at last

The Japanese state telecom was the pioneer in opening its lines to public fax machines - not surprisingly, considering the advantages that the fax machine offers for transmitting text in a language with as many letters as Japanese, a nightmare to write on a teleprinter. The Japanese were drawing the practical conclusions of what the Chinese emperor had realized almost a century earlier. This was the start of the brief but intense heyday of the fax, which has radically changed our ways of communicating, only to be progressively replaced by direct communication between computers.It is intriguing to speculate about the enormous consequences for business and news services, not to mention homes, that an early breakthrough for Caselli's pantelegraph might have had. With telephone lines already spanning the world, the technology for the fax revolution was in place one hundred years ago. So it is not too far-fetched, after all, to imagine Queen Victoria faxing off her order for Scottish salmon!

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