It seems like the next big piece of weblog news is going to be about Six Apart buying a fax machine. Though I guess they’re to be commended for their brave step into legacy technology integration, I’m fairly sure that this isn’t a very important development for the weblog realm. The big news is where it might lead.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the future. Aggregating posts from all the disparate Movable Type installs and distributing them via fax, outputting individual posts to paper, TrackBack via Caller ID, the possibilities are endless.
Our household recently acquired a similar output technology, the HP PSC 750. Though it’s impossible to anticipate where this technology is going to evolve to, it seems like there is a great potential if individual authors are treated as "editors" It might be possible to integrate this print technology in a way that aggregates the most important stories, as chosen by editors, into a news-paper comprised of individual stories that are collated and output into one print edition, perhaps created daily.
The eventual direction that this print-to-weblog integration could reach, if one considers the direction that tools like Tablet PCs and increasingly ubiquitous PDAs are leading us, is a simple system that uses handwriting input for daily entries that are entered on, and stored in, paper-based weblogs. These "diaries" could take the weblog to its next natural progression, a secure, individualized personal record of events and ideas, controlled with an intuitive, organic input system that’s as unique as your own handwriting.
The natural medium for such a diary would be a pocket-sized or portable form factor tablet of writing paper, perhaps bound in a durable cover. Storage for such a portable record could be accomplished by throwing the diary into a desk drawer or simply tucking it under a mattress. Being disconnected from even wireless networks provides a level of physical security that could perhaps only be improved by fastening the written journal with a small padlock.
Congratulations to Six Apart for leading the way to "hand-written diaries" as the future of weblogs. Though the fax machine might seem to be the hapless victim in this acquisition, it’s my hope that the long-term benefits of this deal far outweigh any initial misgivings.