Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pointless Printing

I see a lot of printing of documents that really aggravates me because it doesn't really make sense, and is therefore, pointless.

If a document is active, changing or dynamic and you print it, I think it is wasteful. Simply version the document, or save the document with a time stamp if you are worried about the snapshot of the progress of the document, or proof of its content at a given time. If its a webpage, then bookmark it for later viewing. If you are worried the web page will go away one day, then same the page, don't print it.

I understand the legal needs to have physical records, but given the nature of how digital information changes, I think its very rare that you should ever print something. If you are printing, its likely an area of process improvement or need for better long term backups and data storage.

It also bothers me to see the paper being used. After printing the document, you'll read it and then file it, and then what? It sits there. There are tons of people consolidating paper information to digital information, i.e. libraries are scanning books, banks are scanning checks, etc. Why do you need paper if they don't?

A recent reason I don't print much of anything these days is I don't want to pay for printer cartridges. It forces me to think of other ways of saving information because I can't immediately print (my personal printer has been out of ink for 6 months).

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