back to article The paperless office? Don’t talk sheet

A report has arrived in my email inbox, claiming to provide information on “the paperless office”. Instinctively, I check the calendar. No, it isn’t 1985. Perhaps I misread the subject line? Nope. There it is: “the paperless office”. Ah bless. I’ve heard people talking about the concept of office work without paper since my …

Anonymous Coward

You missed off the people that have "Please don't print this email" in their signature who have about 20 tree's worth of paper on their desks.

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I always assumed the unwritten subtext to "Please don't print this email unless you really have to" is "because I've already printed it 85 times"

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And that means that on the rare occasions I do choose to print such an email, it now takes up an additional piece of paper because of the footnote telling me not to waste paper.

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Anonymous Coward

Paperless. Ah, I wish

Just an hour ago I had to go pull the files for two different clients to verify transactions, as what the computer was telling me seemed contrary to reason. Sure enough, the previously printed transaction receipts I had directly contradicted the current computer records...so I had to correct the computer data to match.

Paperless? When computer data can be trusted to be both correct and persistent across time, I'd love to.

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Re: Paperless. Ah, I wish

It is coming sooner than you think. Laptops + Reliable large screens in all conference rooms + Hotelling = paperless office. I am living it. The printers on the floor stand idle.

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Re: Paperless. Ah, I wish

We can have paperless offices when we agree on one thing:

Will it be A4 or US Letter?

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Re: Paperless. Ah, I wish

Will it be A4 or US Letter?

I think this guy might have an opinion on that matter!

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And that means that on the rare occasions I do choose to print such an email, it now takes up an additional piece of paper because of the footnote telling me not to waste paper.

Don't feel bad. I have more than offset that by spending a twenty-something year career printing every email I ever received until I first saw that footer and realised that you can read them on the monitor. Who knew?

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Re: Paperless. Ah, I wish

I am living it

Sigh. People have been "living it" for decades. A handful of practitioners does not prove a trend. Anecdotes are weak evidence.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Paperless. Ah, I wish

"Will it be A4 or US Letter?"

So you are asking will it be a globally used international standard, or the local solution of 1 country?

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I'll see your dot matrix

and raise you a daisywheel. When one of those 50lb suckers got into full flight not only were you deafened but everything in a five foot range suddenly started doing impressions of the the Enterprise bridge when under attack, violently jerking from side to side.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

High-speed line printers would have daisywheels and dot-matrices for breakfast (and generate enough output to ensure no office in an entire tower block went paperless).

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

Are those the same as band printers? Things that could throw fanfold up in the air like a fountain.

On another matter, of course smartphones and tablets can print without airprint, you don't even need to be in the same country as the printer.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

Not many people had their own line printers though.

Anyone could buy a daisy wheel. I used one for a while. If it had been only a little louder and more distracting, John Peel would have invited it in for a studio session.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

What do you mean, not many 'had' line printers?

Our firm is still rocking two Tally Genicom line printers that must be easily twenty years old. Printing via an equally ancient ShivaPort Atom to get Parallel to Ethernet.

They are some noisy buggers when they get going..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'll see your dot matrix

ShivaPort Atom! I think there might be some of my code inside that. Except we called it the SpiderPort T250 when I was working on it...

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

I still have boxes of line printer output that I use for lining the larder shelves.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

And don't get me started on that chap in the Forum with his granite, mallet and chisel.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

We used to have a room of high speed printers for what would now be called a server farm. Every once and a while, somebody would "mess up" and send a file full of form feeds to a printer. The printer would send a beautiful arc of paper across the room for the 30 seconds it took to completely empty the box of paper. The parts in those things moved fast enough that it was a serious safety issue to run one with the covers open. Other people were not allowed in the room during repairs or maintenance.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

They also could remove fingertips if the cover interlock was defeated. We had ours in a sound proof cabinet (it wasn't) in a store room.

The really fast ones employed a person full time adding fresh boxes of wide fan fold.

P.S. My E65 phone could print via the WiFi, but only if your printer perfectly emulated a particular HP Laser family.

I have a nice colour duplex laser, but I print any LARGE documents to mobi/epub format and read on a Kindle or Kobo, more like paper than an LCD / CRT / AMOLED etc.

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Bronze badge

Re: I'll see your dot matrix

"And don't get me started on that chap in the Forum with his granite, mallet and chisel."

Ooh, sound kinky. Butt that not me - need at least Bronze age for chisel. I Paleolithic - *very* Old Skool.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

But the output was beautiful from a daisywheel... especially if you used the single-use-environmental-disaster-cripplingly-expensive film ribbons.

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

"I still have boxes of line printer output that I use for lining the larder shelves."

I actually did a double take on your handle, could have sworn this was a post by Jake....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'll see your dot matrix

Hey, some of us have moved into the 21st Century..

Granite? yes,

mallet and chisel? no, its a 100w laser engraver (unless I get bored.)

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Joke

Re: I'll see your dot matrix

"you don't even need to be in the same country as the printer."

Ah - A cheap effective replacement for Trident.

International Paper World War.

Should do wonders for leaf inflation ....

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Re: I'll see your dot matrix

And don't get me started on that chap in the Forum with his granite, mallet and chisel.

Not to mention the damn larks.

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TRT
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Did you have...

one of those Ferranti typesetters? We did. In its own acoustically sealed, double glazed office. Didn't help the people downstairs though.

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Anonymous Coward

Paperless office?

Only if someone forgot to order stationery or toilet supplies

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nice photo

on that adobe article's byline :-)

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Unhappy

Re: nice photo

Indeed. Had me getting all misty eyed and nostalgic for the days when I was baldy-patch-free and sporting an equally luxuriant barnet.

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In an alternative world

I sit in my paperless office administering my fusion powerplant - using the world's dominant desktop OS, Linux, naturally.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, duh, of course they can’t print to ordinary office printers like proper computers can. Smartphones and tablets are entirely different from computers, aren’t they? For example, handheld devices don’t support the kind of connectivity standards that printers use – such as USB, bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Plenty of products out there allowing just that though, e.g. "FollowMe" for one

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Wooooooooossssshhhhhh

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Anonymous Coward

It will be a cold day in hell before I allow a wifi connection in an office that can connect to printers and the internal network, you can have your internet but I'll be damned if you go any further with your unclean dirty devices. Don't even get me started on all those apps you installed that can and will compromise our security. You can BYOD but can keep your malware infested shit to yourself.

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Anonymous Coward

RE : Woooosh ... Im probably still missing the point sorry :(

RE: AC .... Didn't mean direct to printer, having used followme its done via a central print server, but all the gubbins for connecting from other devices are there.

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Anonymous Coward

I did a PEN test less than 2 years ago for a 'security conscious' systems integrator - with access to highly sensitive information (if the level of security clearances whispered around was any clue - although to be fair the really sensitive stuff lived in another building to which I was not permitted access).

A cleaner (they were all temps on some zero hour shitty contract and always changing), installed a network 'device' for us, running on batteries and with a discrete wifi connection to the outside world and importantly, to the car park where we left a smartens looking car. I had noticed a preponderance of HP net connected printers/copiers, and even been able to play idly with the console while finishing a rather awful cup of coffee while waiting for my guide. Lo and behold, the configuration was not what it could be. We captured almost a weeks worth of documents that went to the big, fast printer - and presented selected highlights as part of our report.

There was some discussion as to whether our cleaner could retain the pittance she was paid for two weeks on top of her already decent salary - in the end she got some good dinners on expenses instead (paperwork would have been horrendous).

And that was just the start. The number of men who will hold open a door for an attractive woman with what looks like a pass of the correct colour round her neck while she 'juggles' a mountain of paperwork, even though her pass has a snowball's chance in hell of opening the door on its own still fails to surprise me. Said individual then has access to half the building and an opportunity to do all sorts, including talking to the hell desk from an official telephone on a temporarily abandoned hot desk over lunchtime.....

Blow technical hacks, a smile and a little (OK in her case a lot) of tech knowhow can go a long way towards breeching security.

We never did get a look at the 'secure' building, not high enough security clearances I was told. But they did pay well.

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***Yoda Mode On*** In AC the stupidity is strong it is. Cannot un-stupid can I ***Yoda mode off***

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Gold badge

the number of men who will hold open a door for an attractive woman with what looks like a pass of the correct colour round her neck while she 'juggles' a mountain of paperwork, even though her pass has a snowball's chance in hell of opening the door

My friend had to meet a client in one of the secure defence bits of Marconi back in the day. Having been there before, he couldn't be arsed to waste the half an hour that security took. Not being an attractive young lady doesn't help him though...

So he removed his suit jacket and took his lunchbox from the back of his van and lo-and-behold the lunchbox was as good as a pass to get back into the building. So long as you look like you belong.

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Headmaster

Wrong Trousers

"Blow technical hacks, a smile and a little (OK in her case a lot) of tech knowhow can go a long way towards breeching security."

You have a breach in your breeches. That's just pants.

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Re: so long as you look like you belong

So you are suggesting that, on arrival at security, I remove my jacket and take out my lunchbox? I will try this next week at the House of Commons.

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Trollface

Re: I did a PEN test less than 2 years ago...

I thought I was reading a post by Jake there until I got to the bit about the femme fatale. The real Jake would have got into drag, at that point.

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That should suffice to get you in - maybe not into the House of Commons proper, but certainly into one of the after-hours parties.

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Bronze badge

I used to work for Marconi too.

The trick was that employees wore jeans and t-shirt. Anyone wearing a suit was considered an intruder, unless accompanied by someone in Jeans and T-shirt.

(No female employees at our location - and microwaving of sandwiches in mil-spec waveguides strictly forbidden - if management present)

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Black Helicopters

First rule of going where you shouldn't

Walk fast and carry a clipboard.

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Go

Marconi

Ah, yes - Marconi.

"Secure" department. Electrically locked doors onto a stairwell, with a keypad to operate the lock.

Keypad code changed regularly for "security".

Visitor from another site (with legitimate reasons to get in, but only I knew that...)

Code doesn't work. Choices:

1. Go back to my own site and find someone who knows the new code. (Good luck with that.)

2. Hammer like **** on the door to a long unoccupied corridor in the vain hope someone hears or cares.

3. Hang around in the stairwell looking as suspicious as possible for a few minutes until someone I've never seen before comes up and operates the keypad.

4. Follow 'em in when the door opens.

5. BINGO.

6. Forget to ask for the new code.

7. Rinse and repeat.

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Silver badge

Re: I did a PEN test less than 2 years ago...

And not only that but all the gaurds would have fallen in love, leading to hilarious japes.

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Re: First rule of going where you shouldn't

Sometimes network cable and a tool box as well. Also works if just avoiding work.

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I applied for some stuff at the US Embassy a few years ago. They have gone "paperless"...

They managed that by forcing me to print everything out and bring it in!... I probably used about 100 pages (most had full color, as color coded paper, err, scans? are how they sort things).

What was funny was that they couldn't use the documents I brought in for everything. So after scanning them they printed them out, I took them to another window who then scanned them and they told me to discard the paperwork.

Most wasteful thing ever.

Airline Tickets have gone paperless too... I find that about half the time I need to "print" my paperless ticket, and then you find out that the other airports don't support the type of paper you use so it has to be printed again. One year I had a single ticket printed about 5 times. For paperless travel. It was funny because when you finally go to get on the plane they don't take it off of you because they are now paperless!...

I liken it to the fact that my Asda has the odd 80-90% sale on things that are big, bulky, and expensive to dispose of. They call it a "Sale", I call it moving the trash to the customers home where they don't need to deal with it.

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