Friday, February 16, 2007

Telephone books

One of the paradoxes of the paperless office is that paper consumption goes up. Finishing my book involves a huge amount of paper. Each week I go through at least 5 30 page printouts of the chapter I am working on. Then there are printouts of standards and specifications and papers I am working on. It all adds up.

We get through between one and two reams of paper a month. I might start getting guilty if not for the idiotic actions of Verizon.

It has been four years since Verizon provided telephone service to the house but they still deliver two telephone books at least twice a year. It used to be three sets but last year they realized that we no longer had a third line (a mere five years later).

Or rather they deliver the yellow pages directory. I don't know if they still bother to print the white pages and even if they did it would be pointless since almost everyone went ex-directory before Do-Not-Call put the junk caller filth out of business. One of the reasons I ditched Verizon as soon as I could was that they had the cheek to demand $3.50 per line per month for NOT listing my numbers in the directory. Utter extortion. The yellow pages are equally useless to me: Angies list, Craigslist, Google.

Pile the unasked for telephone directories up and they look like they used enough wood pulp to run my printer for at least a six months. Why should I feel guilty about my waste when Verizon feels it can trash the environment as much as it likes?

Reading the newspaper online rather than in print has a similar effect. Pile up a weeks worth of the Boston Globe (incl. Sunday) and you have enough wood pulp to make two reams of paper, enough to keep me going for a month.

Technology has already reduced my paper consumption dramatically in many areas, but it has increased them in others. I would happily move to using an electronic medium for notes and copyediting but it has to be at least as good as paper.

As good means that electronic media is as portable, no larger than a reporter's pad, no thicker either. Like pen and pencil it must be 'instant on' - no waiting for the machine to boot. The screen resolution must be much better than current systems provide as well - at least 150, preferably 200 dpi. The resolution on the writing instrument must be equally good.

The device must synchronize automatically to my laptop and desktops, have a reasonable battery life and be no more that 0.3" thin.

2 comments: said...

FYI, many Yellow Pages publishers that are affiliated with a Telco are mandated by the telecom regulatory agency to publish a white pages if they are a telephone provider. I think if you talk with these publishers you would find they would be more than happy to drop at least the residential white pages.

to your comments about the print Yellow Pages, US adults referenced them over 15 billion times last year. And that’s just the print versions. 90% of all adults reference them at least once a year, 75% in a typical month, and 50+% on average month. How about on average 1.4X each week? And let’s remember that not everyone has Internet access to reference those websites you are talking about.

There is no other directional media that can provide buyers the information they need when they need it about local businesses than the print Yellow Pages. It is truly the original local search engine….

Ed Kohler said...

Kenc, what are the chances of yellow pages companies being "more than happy" with canceling the print versions of their directories? It seems like it's just a matter of time, so I'm curious where they stand today.