The Death Of Fax Machines?

from the don't-throw-away-your-fax-just-yet dept

The paperless office hasn't quite arrived yet, and fax machines seem to refuse to die. Still, the Universal Business Language (UBL) hopes to change all that with its standardized document format that its proponents say "could take over the world." Um, back to reality, folks, please watch your step. This is basically akin to saying Esperanto will make learning languages obsolete. Sure, if everyone were forced to use it. But without a really compelling reason for everyone to use it (UBL or Esperanto), there's a pretty low chance that universal anything will be adopted when other tried-and-true processes still exist. Though, a standardized language could take over the world (like English, for example), but it usually takes awhile to really achieve world dominance.
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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2004 @ 5:40pm

    Ack! Won't be English...

    There are an awful lot of people in China

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Steve Mueller, 10 Nov 2004 @ 11:22pm

      Re: Ack! Won't be English...

      It already is English. I believe English is the most-spoken language on the planet (although not the largest natively-spoken language). It also is the basis for many areas of commerce.

      For example, what percentage of Japanese or Chinese can speak English? Now compare that to the percentage of native English speakers who can speak Japanese or Chinese.

      Need more proof? Why do you think so many companies outsource technical support to India? Sure, it's cheaper, but it's also because they can speak English.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dorpus, 11 Nov 2004 @ 12:48am

        Re: Ack! Won't be English...

        Although English is treated as the lingua franca of the world, it is not the world's most popular language. Mandarin has an estimated 885 million speakers, followed by Spanish (332 million), then English (322 million).

        It should also be emphasized that the English spoken in countries where English is not the primary language has all sorts of funny pronunciations, grammatical errors, and words picked up from the local language, which often make no sense to native speakers of English. Conversely, ordinary words in English may have special meanings in such dialects, e.g. a "health club", referring to a gym in the USA, refers to a brothel in Japan.


        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Steve Mueller, 11 Nov 2004 @ 8:16am

          Re: Ack! Won't be English...

          Although English is treated as the lingua franca of the world, it is not the world's most popular language. Mandarin has an estimated 885 million speakers, followed by Spanish (332 million), then English (322 million).
          I believe those figures are for native speakers, which is exactly why I said English was not the largest natively-spoken language.

          If you count people who are considered fluent in other languages besides their native one, I believe English is #1.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            dorpus, 11 Nov 2004 @ 9:10am

            Re: Ack! Won't be English...

            According to
            http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm,

            "Thus, if you add the secondary speaker populations to the primary speaker populations, you get the following (and I believe more accurate) list:
            (number of speakers in parentheses)

            1. Mandarin Chinese (1.12 billion)
            2. English (480 million)
            3. Spanish (320 million)
            4. Russian (285 million)
            5. French (265 million)
            6. Hindi/Urdu (250 million)
            7. Arabic (221 million)
            8. Portuguese (188 million)
            9. Bengali (185 million)
            10. Japanese (133 million)
            11. German (109 million)"


            Of course, how you define a "speaker" of English is tricky. Many people who claim to speak English, or even speak it well, can hardly speak it at all.


            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    data64, 11 Nov 2004 @ 8:29am

    A big reason for still using fax

    is when you have to have a physical signature authorizing something. Especially, banks, insurance agencies, etc feel the need to to have a signed form before anything can be done. Not sure how UBL or anything else gets around that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ronn, 11 Nov 2004 @ 10:20pm

    Someone should tell them ...

    ... about PDFs, the Portable Document Format that has become the sort of universal document they're talking about. You can embed text, photos, line art, even your special fonts. It no longer requires Adobe Acrobat to produce these; print-to-PDF is part of the Macintosh OS, which means Windows users will see it in a few years, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 12 Nov 2004 @ 6:05am

    freakn paperists

    at least it's not political I guess...

    (I wave to you from my paperless office)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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