#244: Printerdict

Ever on the look-out for ways to save a) the planet and b) some cash, I started thinking again about my occasional need to print documents on bits of paper. The standard Word tool: ‘view as a really messed up version of a novelette’ clearly doesn’t help much…is splitting them into two-page format really supposed to make reading big documents on the screen easier?

Today’s invention is a tool for lessening the amount of waste paper which people generate.


Every time a document is submitted to a printer, its name will be recorded (or if it has insufficient memory, these data could be stored on a print server).

If you attempt to print more than a specified number of copies of this document, within a particular period, an alert will be issued asking you to refer to the previous printout. I’d be keen to have it say “no more prints of this are allowed” but that is a little redmondite, I guess.

With only a small amount of extra ingenuity, it would be possible to adapt this approach for photocopying, so that a document could be OCR’d, recognised and a similar restriction placed on the number of further copies generated.

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