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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Franco Silver badge

      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"

    3. StephenD

      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.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        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?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. harry1867

        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.

        1. Charles Manning

          Re: Paperless. Ah, I wish

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

          Will it be A4 or US Letter?

          1. Robin

            Re: Paperless. Ah, I wish

            Will it be A4 or US Letter?

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

          2. Anonymous Coward
            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?

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          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.

  2. Efros

    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.

    1. Tromos

      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).

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        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.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          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.

        2. PNGuinn
          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 ....

      2. TheOtherHobbes

        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.

        1. The Quiet One

          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..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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...

      3. Julian Bradfield

        Re: I'll see your dot matrix

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

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          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....

      4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        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.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Neanderthal Man

          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.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          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.)

        4. Michael Wojcik Silver 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.

          Not to mention the damn larks.

      5. dehildum

        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.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      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.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paperless office?

    Only if someone forgot to order stationery or toilet supplies

  5. Paul Kinsler

    nice photo

    on that adobe article's byline :-)

    1. AbelSoul
      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.

  6. sandman

    In an alternative world

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

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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

    1. Dan Wilkie

      Wooooooooossssshhhhhh

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. I ain't Spartacus 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.

          1. Alistair Dabbs

            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.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

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

          2. Loud Speaker

            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)

            1. LaeMing Silver badge
              Black Helicopters

              First rule of going where you shouldn't

              Walk fast and carry a clipboard.

              1. Triggerfish

                Re: First rule of going where you shouldn't

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

          3. PNGuinn
            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.

        2. Death Boffin
          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.

        3. Ali Um Bongo
          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.

          1. Triggerfish

            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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

  8. MR J

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't get me started on paperless airline tickets because it really gets my goat.

      Ryanair - Flight to Fuertaventura, return flight 10 days later. I can print my ticket going out but my return ticket isn't available till I'm in the air on the way out with a nice charge should I not have my printed ticket for the return journey.

      Luckily I found a shop to print it off for me and I had my work laptop so I didn't have to stand in the shop for ages (like the people trying to do the same) waiting for it to download from the website.

      Airlines can stick paperless tickets up their respective <insert expletive> until I can display it on my phone to check in.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Doesn't the Apple Passport support (or is suported by) BA?

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Three years ago there was a court case in Spain and the judge ruled that you couldn't be dinged by Ryanair for not having a printed ticket, at least in Spain. You have to be checked in through otherwise you'll get the check-in charge. I don't know if anything's changed since then.

      3. GregC

        Airlines can stick paperless tickets up their respective <insert expletive> until I can display it on my phone to check in.

        Maybe I've been lucky, but the last few flights I've taken have allowed me to do exactly that - run the relevant airlines app, check in with the app up to a week or so before the flight, download boarding pass - job done. The same process on both BA and sleazyJet.

        1. Oengus Silver badge

          Here in Oz our airlines offer to send the boarding pass to your mobile.

          All well and good.

          When I front up to the terminal gate and present my phone with the QR coded boarding pass they accept it and I go through.

          When I get the the entrance to the plane I present my phone and they ask for the boarding pass. I present my phone and the stewardess says "No your paper boarding pass". I reply "Isn't this it?" (pointing to the phone). Her reply "No. You were supposed to pick up your paper pass at the terminal gate when you presented your phone".

          At this point a person, about 4 in line behind me, comes up and hands me the paper boarding pass.

          How was I supposed to know???

        2. 's water music Silver badge

          check in with the app up to a week or so before the flight, download boarding pass - job done. The same process on both BA and sleazyJet.

          Here's an Easyjet gotcha. Install the app and check in/download e-boarding pass. Arrive at airport and ponce off the free wifi whilst waiting. Install pending Play store app upgrades (including Easyjet app). Bang, app data not retained. No boarding passes any more. No problem, just down-load them again, but no, because the two hour check-in window has closed, you can't download the boarding pass any more. To be fair, the check-in staff dealt with it without much fuss.

      4. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Airlines can stick paperless tickets up their respective

        Ryanair has a smartphone app for check-in, boarding passes, etc. The problem isn't specifically Ryanair, it's whether the risky-dink airports it flies to have enough money to buy a barcode reader.

      5. defiler Silver badge

        Ryanair Boarding Pass

        Top tip (which I've seen performed).

        You could have the airline print your boarding pass, and pay a fee, or you can have them receive and hold a fax for you and have someone in the office print and send it. No fee.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      "I applied for some stuff at the US Embassy a few years ago."

      I'm surprised they could scan A4 paper!

      1. Loud Speaker

        Re: "I applied for some stuff at the US Embassy a few years ago."

        I'm surprised they could scan A4 paper!

        Easy - pretend its US Letter!

  9. Nixinkome

    Number 11

    "...for the (surely victimless) crime of paper-sniffing."

    What's he on about I thought until I remembered the smell of the coffee table books versus the paperbacks; that of old books and newspapers versus new; that of bookshops themselves.

    I transported myself to a not too distant time of augmented reality and information storage and presentation that can last for lifetimes and hoped that smell and the other human senses would also become replayable so I could enjoy living in my box whilst getting artificial nourishment and light. What? Living bodies are still far more advanced than digital systems. B..B..but this way I will be able to do anything that is dreamed for me.

    As advertising finds it's market diminishing whilst our population still increases and some are free to digitally experience living in a Saxon community, just remember that the kindling and wood for the heat giving fire had to be collected. Equally, the office should be free of constraints as mundane as space and desks and paper. Except, where do you put your Sticky notes? To last?

    It's funny how I've taken smell and taste for granted for so long. Has anyone else noticed that cranberry juice tastes cardboardy.

    I'm touched.

    1. Philip Storry

      Re: Number 11

      In the future, old people will reminisce about the smell of a freshly opened iGroin attachment that they were going to use for their iSexy sessions.

      These new direct neuron influence generation helmets* are better, but they lack the physical sensations of the old technology.

      --------

      * Commonly known as the D-NIGH standard of virtual reality. You're welcome.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Number 11

      Post It notes.On the monitor. The office will never be paperless while we need passwords.

    3. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Number 11

      It's true -- the smell of good paper and ink can be intoxicating, as can the feel of it.

      If it is possible for a business card to be sexy, then the sexiest that I ever was handed was from a Levi Strauss company VP. It was a pale blue-gray and was of the most sensually velvety texture. He handed it to me and I just went "Oh... my..." and stood there for a moment, holding it in both hands, rubbing it between thumbs and index fingers. It turns out that they contracted with a paper mill to custom-make their business card stock from 100% cotton bluejean trimmings/waste from the manufacturing process. Sublime!

  10. I Am Spartacus
    Coat

    Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

    I'll get my coat

    1. 2460 Something

      Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

      Don't you know how to use the 3 seashells?

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

        "Don't you know how to use the 3 seashells"

        Eat them without cooking so that all output is fully liquid?

      2. TitterYeNot
        Coat

        Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

        "Don't you know how to use the 3 seashells?"

        Yes, of course we know how this works...

        Arse!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Scheiße!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Bollocks!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Merde!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Bastard!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Cockwomble!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Arschloch!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Fuckwit!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Putain!

        <BEEEEEEEP>

        Cocking Cunting Shitlark Buggering Wankstain!

        <BEEEEEEEP> <BEEEEEEEP> <BEEEEEEEP> <BEEEEEEEP> <BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP>

        Ah, that'll do nicely! See you in 10 minutes...

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

      It CAN be done, including the toilets:

      http://www.dutchdailynews.com/dutch-office-of-the-future-with-a-ban-on-toilet-paper/

      (Also: on his new profile pic Dabbsy looks a bit like he is in a restroom that is paperless, but not supposed to be.)

      1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

        But how do these Dutch manage to roll their own joints if they're paperless. Surely it gets a bit messy...

    3. William Towle
      Coat

      Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

      I remember hearing that paperless office quote in a Professional Development lecture, followed shortly by the revelation that the Japanese had since developed a paperless toilet (in 1980, according to http://paperlesstoilet.com/).

      I turned to the chap beside me and quipped "...well, that turned out to have been a cack-handed argument".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

      You don't need to be ashamed anyway. PEN testing within the police (see note above, depending on your view option), the number of people who put passwords onto stickies and then think they can disguise them amongst other unrelated notes is high. At least a few of them attempt to swap first and last characters.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

        "the number of people who put passwords onto stickies and then think they can disguise them amongst other unrelated notes is high. At least a few of them attempt to swap first and last characters."

        The really clever ones put post-its with fake passwords on the monitor, and put the ones with the real passwords on the underside of their mousepads.

        That's a giveaway these days since they're usually the only ones with a mousepad on their desks.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

      I assume you need your coat as the khazi has run out of Andrex?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

      Geberit make them in Europe. They are superb. One of the disadvantages of staying away from home is the reacquaintance with obsolete bumwiping technology.

      1. Fink-Nottle

        Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

        These include the oscillating spray setting (with the spray arm moving back and forth), the pulsating massage spray and the gentle lady wash. - www.geberit

        I suppose it's a bit like Japanese geisha but I think I'd find it a bit embarrassing, no matter how gentle she was.

    7. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

      Ah bidets are here again.

      1. kmac499

        Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

        "Ah bidets are here again."

        I see what you did there, but who needs a bidet once you've mastered handstands in the shower...?

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

          Dunno about bidets, but lived in countries that use bum guns and you still need some paper unless you want a funny wet patch on your trouser seat.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

            Dunno about bidets, but lived in countries that use bum guns and you still need some paper unless you want a funny wet patch on your trouser seat.

            Yeah, I'd like to see a Dyson Airblade deal with that.

            No, on second thoughts I would not like to see that.

          2. Ali Um Bongo
            Alert

            Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

            *"...you still need some paper unless you want a funny wet patch on your trouser seat..."*

            Maybe waxing would help? If it's like a bristle paintbrush down there, it'll really hold the water.

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: Paperless office - about as likely as the paperless loo.

              "*"...you still need some paper unless you want a funny wet patch on your trouser seat..."*

              Maybe waxing would help? If it's like a bristle paintbrush down there, it'll really hold the water."

              You mean you have totally hydrophobic skin that repels all water, how do you shower?

      2. AbelSoul
        Trollface

        Re: Ah bidets are here again

        The erse is nice and clear again

  11. 2460 Something

    paper paper paper

    Ever since I started in IT some bright-spark manager or admin comes along and says 'were starting a new paperless office project' they waste a few months and finally come to the conclusion in their printed report (that nobody reads) that everything is now paperless enabled. And everyone carries on regardless.

    But there are things we can do to reduce paper usage, I set-up a managed print system with large centralised printers instead of desktop varieties. It has pull queues, for most people, so only prints when you actually go up and log in to collect them. Over the last 12 months there has been 4 million pages printed but not collected. It surmounts to a drop in the ocean. We may get there one day, but I doubt it will be in my lifetime.

    1. paulf Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: paper paper paper

      We need a pull queue like that in our office which is paperless insofar as the vast majority of our paper supply seems to sit as uncollected printouts around the printers. It's not just the waste of paper but also electric and toner.

      It isn't completely wasted as I grab a pile every so often to use as my scrap paper supply, but that's not really the point.

      1. Ali Um Bongo
        Headmaster

        Re: paper paper paper

        *"...the vast majority of our paper supply seems to sit as uncollected printouts around the printers..."*

        That will be from the people who think the best way to clear a printer problem that's causing jobs not to print, is to stay at their desk and keep sending the job through over and over again until it works—usually because, in the meantime someone else has gone and sorted the printer out— whereupon 57 copies of <whatever it was> will start spewing forth [and probably jam the printer again]

        At a college where I used to work, the students were also a great source of tree decimation:

        The larger the swathe of Wikipedia they printed out as part of their "research" into someone and then pasted into their sketchbooks, the deeper they seemed to think they had "researched" that subject. A lot of the time, when questioned, it was apparent they hadn't even read what they'd printed out. The mere fact of having sent several pages from Wikipedia to printer apparently sufficed as "research".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: paper paper paper

      Biggest problem of trying to go paperless... is to have ruddy printers available! Surely that paper used for the report could've been saved plus the 12 million sheets murdered if common sense was used.

      I worked at a school once as the budding, fresh IT technician who helped installed new photo-copiers that had print-tracking, networking etc etc. So many sheets wasted by teachers who printed multiple copies of the same thing wrong or only picked up one copy of what they wanted. Then there was the finance department who printed off EVERY e-mail/receipt because the finance controller was afraid the accounting plus e-mail systems would go bust one day and they would have to reference to receipts that had very little indexing system applied.

      Conclusion: Teachers and finance teams are at fault for the lack of movement to paperless office.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: paper paper paper

        Leave finance alone. I do (most of) our company accounts, and nothing beats a year's receipts all collected into a big lever arch file. You can hand it to the accountant to randomly audit a few, and make sure you're not mucking things up. And you can find the receipt for the printer that's died under warranty - when heaven knows what's happened to it. And you have some nice records to show the tax man, should you be unlucky enough to get audited.

    3. Darryl

      Re: paper paper paper

      The large centralised printers have another advantage. Because they're not sitting on the desk beside you, it makes you think "Is it worth my time to walk over to the printer, or can I just read this off the screen?"

  12. leon clarke

    Getting there slowly

    Asymptotically slowly.

    Now I've slowly got used to having 2 decent-sized monitors, I print out a lot less stuff. Like approximately none. I guess that a typical office now needs quite a small and cheap printer, and with time it'll get smaller and cheaper.

    When I retire, I assume it'll be lower-spec than my current home printer. But will still exist.

    Now can we kill office desk phones. In a typical office, everyone except the head of HR and the finance guy can't see the point in a desk phone as they just use their mobile for everything.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Getting there slowly

      Killing the desk phones is another one of those political hot potatoes IME.

      You get one guy who is a Lync evangelist and wants to use it for everything, because we all need IM and presence capability, and another who wants to use Cisco or Avaya or whoever the IP phones are provided by, and both are senior enough that we end up with both, neither really getting used properly.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Getting there slowly

      You can't tuck a mobile between your shoulder and cheek, while typing. Modern smartphones are like bars of bloody soap. I wish I could have something ergonomic like my old Motorola RAZR. It's also easier to tap numbers into a real phone keypad, without having to look - and you can transfer incoming calls to other people as well.

      Not that I don't use the mobile as well.

      1. Innocent-Bystander*

        Re: Getting there slowly

        You can't tuck a mobile between your shoulder and cheek, while typing

        Try putting it in an Otterbox. They are the ugliest, most industrial looking caves you could put a phone in but can't argue with the grip. And your phone survives the fall if you still manage to drop it. Which I admittedly do. Repeatedly. Once I get home the kids do it on purpose straight down the hallway. This thing never let me down.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Getting there slowly

          Otterbox - yes. Highly recommended. I have one for my tablet, works great, and personally I like the industrial look. Got it for my new tablet because I killed my last tablet by dropping it. And of course I haven't dropped the new one not once since it's been in the box. You really get a good grip with that.

          Re tucking the phone between shoulder and the cheek (on my face, that is) - I have one of these gadgeds that look like an old telephone receiver. Got it as a gift, saw it as a toy first, but now I'm actually using it, and it just works.

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Getting there slowly

      My personal cellphone is for my personal use. If my employer wishes to provide me with a company cellphone for business reasons that's fine, but I refuse to let my personal phone be used for my employer's cost saving initiative by being such cheap bloody arseholes that they make me use my own phone to answer THEIR calls.

  13. Teiwaz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "spare-bedroom Rosicrucian altar"

    Increasing number of occult references in Mr Dabbs work of late..what with the ref to pagan ceremonies on hills a article or two back...

    Nice!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great name for a band, fashion label, super villain.

    Acoustic Hood.

    Paperless office, almost had one once; till they found the postman was a hoarder.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last thing I printed said 'KEEP CALM and delete the evidence using someone else's login'

    Using somebody else's login, obviously.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Epson LQ 1070+

    That sucker.

    I bought the sturdier steel table with reinforced 3/4" thick slab of hardwood planks screwed on top, that I could find. That table could hold my 180lb weight without wobbling.

    It waltzed with the printer on top of it when going at full tilt. The foam cover was called "dust cover", because it didn't slow the noise a single iota. It would stop wobbling when printing the occasional Windows generated .DOC with declared fonts instead of the draft font left unassigned from the Lotus 123 spreadsheets.

    I still have that table. I still look at the gap between the planks for the bottom-fed paper and crack a smile every now and then, how my deafness to high-pitch noises was averted.

    I think the printer still works somewhere, after we sold it to a guy that needed to print 5-sheet invoices.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Work for a company with paperless goals...

    ...8 pallets with 1100kg of A4 paper in inventory.

    For 6 months reserve.

  18. Andy A

    It's not me, it's everybody else

    I try to stay "paperless", and read virtually everything on one screen or another. I'm not one of the younger generation. This year I clock up 40 years of working in IT. It's not that I don't know how to print stuff, it's just that I'm too lazy to cart all that heavy paper around.

    I know that if I have to use my inkjet printer I will need to spend a couple of hours cleaning up the ink path to get anything legible. There's a cheap b&w laser somewhere in the garage which would probably be more productive.

    But everyone else I meet seems to insist on hard copy. My employer even likes documents of the print-it-out-and-sign-it-and-fax-it-back variety - hardly good for the forests.

    My genealogy research is in a specialised database and a host of image files. Other people demand a filing cabinet. I transcribe old documents directly into my database while others transcribe onto a rough copy in pencil (no pens allowed in Record Offices) and then transcribe that again later for storage.

    Anyone know why most people are addicted to paper?

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: It's not me, it's everybody else

      > Anyone know why most people are addicted to paper?

      Paper has an awesome user interface (seriously).

      Icon is a blank sheet of paper. ---------------->

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: It's not me, it's everybody else

        Indeed. Plus, by now almost everyone knows that the trees for paper come from tree farms that grow them, not from the wild forests. So, there's less guilt.

        I've also noticed that more people are not using "recycled" paper as a) it's seldom that eye-pleasing bright white and b) there's not much generated in the way of dioxins after the dioxin scares of the last century.

        FTR, I'm about 90% paperless at home compared to say 10-15 years ago. At work... meh... no such luck.

    2. Toltec

      Re: It's not me, it's everybody else

      "But everyone else I meet seems to insist on hard copy. My employer even likes documents of the print-it-out-and-sign-it-and-fax-it-back variety - hardly good for the forests."

      Had one of those the other day, I printed the one page of eleven that had to be signed, took a photo of the signed section, uploaded the photo to my PC and cleaned up the image, pasted the image into the original word doc, then finally printed it as a PDF and emailed it back. Mainly because I couldn't be bothered to work out how to make the company, network connected, scanner send me a copy of a scan though rather than to save the paper.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: It's not me, it's everybody else

        Not only is it an awesome interface. But it's great for drawing giant teddy bears destroying Tokyo...I mean taking notes. Don't think the PM was amused but it does give the hint his meeting was pointless.

    3. Innocent-Bystander*

      Re: It's not me, it's everybody else

      Anyone know why most people are addicted to paper?

      Ain't nothing like the feel of a nice quality pen on heavy bright paper.

      Reading on paper also has a more "substantial" feel to it. Like it triggers your brain that whatever you're reading is more important to commit to memory than everyday Internet claptrap.

      Or maybe I'm just old and hold online content in complete contempt.

      1. x 7

        Re: It's not me, it's everybody else

        "Anyone know why most people are addicted to paper?"

        no, no, no.....people are addicted to whats rolled in the paper

  19. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Just popped back to say

    Dabbsy, thanks for the link to your 1999 Adobe column! Good read! And of course I'll steal some of the examples.

  20. x 7

    I don't understand why your mobile phones can't print.......no problems on my Androids. Easy for anyone who thinks about it

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      It's almost like he was being sarcastic, and you didn't pick up on it, but that can't be the case right?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "It's almost like he was being sarcastic"

        As if the fact that it was Dabsy wasn't a big enough hint.

    2. Luiz Abdala
      Windows

      Mobile Phones???? Try a PS3!

      My Playstation 3 found my Epson Printer over the network at home! I found out that I can print HTML pages and photos straight from my PC right into the printer using the freaking PS3.

      I knew my webcam and my keyboard could work on the PS3 (and the webcam works without the freaking windows driver, no less!) but not the printer over WiFi.

  21. Alistair Dabbs

    Digital signatures

    Reading these comments, I was reminded of an occasion when Adobe asked me to sign a legal agreement which they emailed to me. I duly added my digital signature using Acrobat and emailed it back.

    Without a beat, I received a reply from Adobe to say they were unable to accept digitally signed PDFs and would I please print it out, sign it with a real pen and post the sheets of paper back to them.

    Talk about a lack of faith in your own product... except I think it had more to do with the US legal system still lingering in the 18th century (guns! guns! guns!) than Adobe itself not trusting users to work with digital sigs.

  22. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Contracts etc

    Once upon a time you could start a new contract with a minimum of paperwork and fuss. These days, I'm emailed about 50 pages of contracts, NDAs, declarations and affirmations by the client, the agency, and often some Stasi-like company that does background checks. All these have to be printed, signed (usually on one page out of the 10 I've printed), scanned and emailed back. So I'm left with a thick wad of paper that may be important in some way, and therefore can't be thrown away.

    Sometimes I'm tempted to short-cut the process by editing a scanned signature into a document then exporting it direct to PDF, but I'm haunted by the possibility that I'll be accused of "not really signing".

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Contracts etc

      I love it when people send me PDF contracts to sign. I normally edit it so it doesnt mean what they think it does and then print and send it back. They never notice until things start to go wrong.

  23. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Holmes

    As any fule kno...

    It's impossible to proofread an important document on-screen as the letters rearrange themselves into the final typo-riddled version only upon printing.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: As any fule kno...

      That olsa happens to elReg pasts.

  24. Triggerfish

    The removed the post it notes from our office

    Within two days everyone had brought their own in.

    1. Andy A

      Re: The removed the post it notes from our office

      What sort of reverse-logic world are you living in?

      Here, any post-it note pads left lying around disappear within 24 hours. It's been like this wherever I've worked.

      No, it's not me, honest.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: The removed the post it notes from our office

        To clarify our employers removed the post it notes and banned them being ordered for stationery, luckily everyone could restock from home stocks, that had been previously fed by an unlocked stationery cupboard so it all sorta came round.

        No one nicks my post it notes, I used to work in a drawing office. Come near my stationery at your peril, and don't even think of looking at my Rotring pens. :)

        1. AbelSoul
          Thumb Up

          Re: and don't even think of looking at my Rotring pens

          Now those were proper drawing instruments.

          I still have a collection of them from my just-out-of-school draughtsman days.

          Every single one of them has my initials plastered all over it to deter any would be clepto-colleagues.

          1. Ali Um Bongo
            FAIL

            Re: and don't even think of looking at my Rotring pens

            *"...Now those were proper drawing instruments...."*

            Rotring pens are for pansies. Real artists use a dip pen and a bottle of Indian Ink

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Re: and don't even think of looking at my Rotring pens

              Oh, lah-di-dah... - we used to dream about having a dip pen and a bottle of ink! Best we could manage was a twig with some of granddad's nostril hairs tied to it, and don't even get me started on the ink!

              1. Triggerfish

                Re: and don't even think of looking at my Rotring pens

                I used to mix lamp black from the ashes of my forefathers and climb mountains for Eagle feathers, you all have it to easy.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The removed the post it notes from our office

          "don't even think of looking at my Rotring pens"

          On pain of getting one stuck into the back of the hand?

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: The removed the post it notes from our office

            Never stick a pen like that in soeones hand the 0.13 nib can't take it. Use the craft knife you have for pencil sharpening instead.

  25. GlenP Silver badge

    I'm old enough to remember the launch of the ICL Perq in the early eighties, which was accompanied by a lot of "Paperless Office is here" advertising. Think it had a high resolution monochrome portrait screen that they claimed was "as good as reading paper".

    At about the same time we'd just got some DEC LN03 laser printers and some word processing software so started to type our own letters, which we were then obliged to send to the typing pool so they could retype them on their IBM Golfball typewriters before sending them back to us for signing. It was the Civil Service!

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      I remember the Perq - a lovely screen - for the time anyway. I also had the Apple A4 (ish) monitor in front of me with a colour monitor to one side for visualisation. A very nice combination for 25 odd years ago.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "retype them on their IBM Golfball typewriters before sending them back to us for signing."

      I guess that at that time the security services had the footprints of every IBM golfball, but hadn't yet caught up with how laser printers identify their output (or knew that they do). So for internal security reasons using known golfballs would make sense. You didn't think they trusted you, did you?

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      At about the same time we'd just got some DEC LN03 laser printers

      I remember them. Worked great on the DEC paper, but our office went on a 'green' kick and bought boxes of made-from-recycled paper. The LN03s all started to jam within a few weeks, leading to new rollers & a warning from DEC not to use anything but their paper. Always seemed like clever design to me, and a trick that HP obviously missed.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Looks like someone at DEC remembered IBM and their punch cards (for the Hollerith-type sorting machines).

      2. Down not across Silver badge

        Laser printers can be picky about the paper

        I remember them. Worked great on the DEC paper, but our office went on a 'green' kick and bought boxes of made-from-recycled paper. The LN03s all started to jam within a few weeks, leading to new rollers & a warning from DEC not to use anything but their paper. Always seemed like clever design to me, and a trick that HP obviously missed.

        Well, the printer is not going to know what brand paper there is.

        However laser printers can be picky about the paper. Some less smooth paper may have issues with toner affixing properly and it does not all always collect nicely in the waste reservoir. Likewise some paper leave more paper dust behind than others which then affects rollers and paper guides

        Given that I have mostly used old second hand printers at home, I've long ago learnt that trying to skimp on paper does not pay off, but results in pain having to clean the printer, clean the rollers (and eventually get new rollers).

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "started to type our own letters, which we were then obliged to send to the typing pool so they could retype them on their IBM Golfball typewriters before sending them back to us for signing."

      I had the same experience writing witness statements. We called it getting typos inserted. Although given that there were four different types of stationery it would have been difficult to handle in the days of single tray lasers. The "word processor" was the USCD Pascal editor...

  26. Spanners Silver badge
    Facepalm

    College Quote

    "Ladies and gentlemen, by the time (some of) you graduate, the paperless office will have become the norm."

    That was from my induction lecture - in autumn 1979!

    I have and it hasn't...

  27. Potemkine Silver badge
    Pirate

    This column has only one purpose:

    To satisfy the obscene tastes of Mr Dabbs regarding music and to throw online another link to a video clip imported from the 80s with people with strange dead animals on the head trying to make us believe they actually know how to play instruments they jiggle with.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: This column has only one purpose:

      This is the first time I've heard Jaz's hair being referred to as a "dead animal".

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: This column has only one purpose:

      What are you, under forty? Get off of my lawn!

      Mr. Dabbs' taste in music is impeccable.

  28. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    The Paperless Office

    Is one where they have managed to run out of paper for the printers :-)

    1. Joe 37

      Re: The Paperless Office

      Someone I worked with used to work with a financial services company. They had just employed a lad to come in in the middle of the night to refill the printers as the daily 3,500 page report apparently had to be printed. Every freaking single day!

      Don't know about you folks but I read extremely quickly and there is just no way I could read that much in any 24 hour period. Let alone every 24 hour period.

  29. LDS Silver badge
    Mushroom

    In that Adobe article you may be right about print and other issue, but you were wholly wrong about Western movies. They were already dead and buried when Eastwood and Leone made them - and those were just more nails on the Westerns coffin.... they were just the prequel of the silly, boastful action movies of today.

    1. CliveS
      Flame

      re Don't talk sheet

      "...but you were wholly wrong about Western movies. They were already dead and buried when Eastwood and Leone made them"

      Let's see, A Fist Full of Dollars was '64 and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly was '66. Since then we've had (to name but a few):

      True Grit (1967)

      McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971)

      The Shootist (1976)

      Pale Rider (1985)

      Dances with Wolves (1990)

      Unforgiven (1992)

      Sweetgrass (2009)

      Django Unchained (2012)

      So I don't think "dead and buried" is particularly accurate...

      Icon for sitting round the campfire eating stew and beans

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re Don't talk sheet

        <quote>Icon for sitting round the campfire eating stew and beans</quote>

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXHkFZ-nG4Y

      2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: re Don't talk sheet

        "Icon for sitting round the campfire eating stew and beans"

        Ironic that you left out Blazing Saddles (1974)

      3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: re Don't talk sheet

        Silverado (1985), a personal favourite, mainly due to it's cast (what's not to like?).

        All genres have a variable popularity, it's a fashion thing, but they rarely ever die. The first movies ever made were Westerns (in the US at last, yes, I know - the Skladanowsky brothers, the Lumière brothers, Méliès, Arthur Melbourne-Cooper, etc.), The Great Train Robbery was shot in 1903 and is a Western. Given the potential of the format, Western movies will always be an option. Also, they can be transposed into other settings - Outland (1981) is arguably High Noon (1952) in space.

  30. Semaj

    Print is Dead

    Hang on, when people say "print is dead" do they actually mean printing in an office context as well? Because if so then that's just silly.

    I always took the phrase to be referring to junk mail and stuff like that. Maybe magazines too (though personally I can't ever see paper newspapers disappearing completely, especially the local ones).

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Print is Dead

      Nope... junk mail/catalogs are definitely alive. My wife and I do a lot of buying online and for some strange reason, we get 50 zillion catalogs all from online sellers as well as our inboxes filling up with them sending spam emails.

      As for magazines... yes, they're still around and come in the mail once a month.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Print is Dead

      "I always took the phrase to be referring to junk mail and stuff like that."

      Apparently Direct TV never got that memo. I have gotten as many as 15(!!) flyers a day from them via snail mail.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Print is Dead

      "Print is dead" is also a famous line from Ghostbusters, which, contra Alistair, came out in the mid 1980s, not the late 1990s. There it referred specifically to books.

      Ah, kids these days. Ignorant of the touchstones of their culture.

  31. WylieCoyoteUK

    The paperless office.

    Apparently the best thing you can do to increase your printing costs is to install a document management system.

    Supposedly promoting paperless working, in general printing actually goes up, because users print out a document and read it, then discard it. This happens multiple times.

    By the way, printing from iPads, Iphones, Android, and even (shudder) Windows phones is pretty simple to set up actually, we do it all the time.

  32. Leeroy Bronze badge

    Fax to email

    Fax to email is probably the biggest saver of paper next to the very expensive equitrac, follow me, secure print, swipe card auth etc.

    Dosent matter how hard you try to get people to use the 'fax' printer they still print the thing out, fax it and shred the original....

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Fax to email

      I've also seen them go the other way.. get a fax, copy it, and toss the fax while filing the copy. Go figure.... <shakes head>

      1. glen waverley
        Big Brother

        Re: Fax to email

        Possible explanation - the old style faxes that were printed on thermal paper tended to fade / go entirely black* over time. So there is probably some ingrained memory among office-folk that a fax can't be filed. If it is then the audit gods will be displeased.

        *depending on yr ambient temperature.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Fax to email

          Yup. NEVER try to laminate thermal paper. Unless you want a fancy place mat or coaster or something.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fax to email

      Fax to email is probably the biggest saver of paper next to the very expensive equitrac,..

      Only last week..

      Person1: Gets email, prints it out, shows it to Person2.

      Person2: 'Oh, can I have an email copy of that for reference..'

      Person1: Goes to the HP 9200c in the Office and inserts printout to email copy to Person2...

      On a daily basis, I get several handfuls of printouts from Person1, usually of emails (some of which I've already been cc'ed in on)..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fax to email

        I lost a bit of an edit of this...early morning feline-walking-across-keyboard-intimating-she-wants-fed intervention caused me to lose it.

        it should have read at the top,

        Fax to email is probably the biggest saver of paper next to the very expensive equitrac,.

        They're fine, but open to abuse as well.

        Only last week..

        (off to feed the moggie...)

  33. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Dick?

    > This was a year before I moved to London, carrying a spotty cloth bag on a stick over my shoulder and accompanied by a cat. They’d said the streets of London were paved with gold but from further inspection I established that they were paved with slabs of composite granite and cement.

    I think you'll find that the streets of London are paved with chewing gum.

  34. Philip Storry

    Killing paper may well happen, but not quickly

    I was working with faxing until 2014 - it's still in some banks. Legally, a fax is a contract no matter where you go in the world, so many trades (in particular Securities) are finalised by fax.

    Many of those faxes were never actually paper though - it was simply a transmission medium.

    People I know are always amused that I was working with faxing in 2014, and even more amused that I know ex-colleagues still working with it in 2016.

    So I'd say look at where the law has its precedents. Banks, councils and so forth like paper not because it's cheap or simple - it isn't. You have to pay for expensive, annoying humans to handle it.

    And usually they minimise that human requirement, paying for expensive scanning systems to turn them back into digital documents that they can route and process accordingly.

    So I suspect that paper will survive as a transmission method for quite a while, as it's a lowest common denominator and allows for legal mechanisms like recorded delivery.

    However, that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons. Personally, I find proofreading much easier if I change the medium - these days that can mean loading a PDF onto a tablet, but nothing really beats scribbling marks on paper. But will kids who are growing up with tablets want to do this, or will they just rotate their device for a different layout?

    Everyone will have their own reasons. But the fact that some children use little paper outside of school does mean it might yet happen in our lifetime.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Killing paper may well happen, but not quickly

      Until all tablets have a stylus - paper wins out for taking notes and doodling. Plus annotating, editing and of course, proofreading.

      I have a paper file for important stuff at work. Yes I have the datasheets and relevant regulations on the PC, but the important stuff gets printed. Firstly, it's easier to find when you're on the phone, and flipping through pages is easier than scrolling too.

      Secondly I can scribble notes and annotate graphs and such.

      Thirdly I often only want one or two relevant pages of a piece of legislation or standard. So it's easier to just print those out and keep them handy.

      I do find reading on a tablet screen is more comfortable than a desktop, and especially a laptop. But ebooks are still not as nice to read as real books. Although I'd admit eInk screens almost are (if a bit greyish) - I remember borrowing my brother's Sony e-reader and liking it. But you can't write on those either.

      Even though we've got the technology to go paperless, it's still a massive pain in the arse a lot of the time. I'm sure that'll improve slowly. But I'm sure paper will never totally die.

      1. Ali Um Bongo
        IT Angle

        Re: Killing paper may well happen, but not quickly

        *"...Until all tablets have a stylus - paper wins out..."*

        Until all tablets have a stylus AND it feels like using a pencil on paper —not like trying to write on glass, with a biro...

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Killing paper may well happen, but not quickly

        "annotating, editing and of course, proofreading."

        You can't beat 14" wide listing paper with 80 character lines for listing long programs. No the rest of the width isn't wasted. And it's a lot easier to work out what's really happening compared to a piddling little screen (all screens are piddling compared to a 4" thick stack of paper).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Killing paper may well happen, but not quickly

      Interesting. A few years ago (10?) I went for an interview at a company that specialised in Teletype machines. They claimed that faxes weren't not legal because it was possible to add/remove pages, whereas a teletext came out on one piece of paper. Except that they didn't have any machines as such, just PCs!

  35. peter 45

    Ah yes the paperless office

    As espoused by the Management hierarchy and ruthlessly enforced by a total shelf space allowed for each person of no more than two linear feet.

    Totally undermined by the Quality Department who insisted that all issues of documents had to have three signatures, and you had to be able to show them the document with those signatures for audits.

    Further undermined by our clients who used to give us classified documents as part of each project, and the spoilsports would not let us scan them in and destroy the originals.

    And then completely spoiled by the IT department who would only entertain IT requests on a suitably signed paper form, but they did condescend to let us email the scanned in forms..

    Management response was to insist that all documents were to be scanned in (except the client's secure documents)......but the total storage space allowed for each person on the server was 1Gig. It took less than three weeks before frantic messages started eminating from the IT department that we were running out of server space.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Ah yes the paperless office

      Its not too hard to achieve - we use CKeditor onto a simple document control system. Works for about 99% of our requirements, implements ownership,security and accessibility from the start and creates screen shaped documents.

  36. phuzz Silver badge

    People still use printers?

    Well, actually I have to support a bunch so I know they do, but in our office full of IT staff, pretty much only our boss uses the printer, except for printing out a PO, signing it, and scanning it back.

    Along the same lines, a friend of mine has been trying to get her boss to buy some ink for their printer for six months now. Neither of them use it for work, but she has tickets that she needs to print out.

    So yes, the paperless office is here for some of us, just try "breaking" the printer and see how few complaints you get.

  37. John 110

    We went paperless....

    ......for three weeks because our printer (which is supposed to phone home for toner) forgot to restock itself. When the toner cartridge arrived and I fitted it, I was deluged by all the jobs sent but waiting for toner...

    In hindsight, I should have reset the print queue...

  38. wolfetone Silver badge

    Paper, Baby

    And lots of it.

  39. George Brown

    This article is like it was written in 2001. Obviously paper still exists but our IT company of 65 people has one printer and it probably gets used once a week. All incoming paper is scanned and shredded. It's really very easy.

    1. Darryl

      The key in your case (and one earlier) is the part about you working for an IT company. Many of us work in the IT department of a company that does other stuff, and the people in those offices are very attached to their paper. I get people coming in all the time to tell me that the 55ppm copier isn't fast enough.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        To most people (outside of the IT world) a sheet of paper with writing on it seems real, but a glowing screen etc. doesn't.

        For a start, you can see and touch the paper. It doesn't scroll out of sight, or vanish when the power goes off, or sit in invisible 0s and 1s inside a box under the desk.

        BTW note how many people even keep the paper in piles on their desk, rather than putting it in a cabinet. You can't see it in that big metal box either. Putting your important documents into a metal box is like putting socks into the washing machine. You know that some of them will be lost forever.

  40. Camilla Smythe

    I Am A Tree.

    You planted my roots in the memories of my forebears and I breathed the same from the atmosphere. Give it time. One day... You will be afraid. You will be very afraid.

    1. Colin Tree

      Re: I Am A Tree.

      I AM a tree,

      branches everywhere

  41. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Coat

    All correct except for...

    Dot Matrix printers being music to my ears.

    Mine is the one with the certified nerd ID.

    Oh, and you missed an obvious one " It says that two-thirds of office workers can’t print from their smartphones or tablets, even though 100 per cent of them own at least one or the other."

    I read that as two-thirds have either a printer or smart device, so cannot print as they don't have a printer. :P

  42. Squeensnex

    "Print is dead"

    ...“print is dead” first arose in the late 1990s...

    Actually, it was around in the mid 1980's, and I have proof!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3v_ogRaTf4

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: "Print is dead"

      "Print is dead." - Dr. Egon Spengler

  43. BurnT'offering

    We recently had an office "Data Day"

    It was themed around our knowledge management policy which has 3 key pillars:

    - Delete all your email - it's taking up too much space (We each have massive 750Mb Outlook mailboxes)

    - Keep all your email - it's important information (Our Deleted folders auto-empty on quit. We must fill in a paper form to have a deleted email retrieved)

    - Don't print unnecessarily

    The 3rd pillar was emphasised by leaving copies of a multi-page report on all desks (occupied or not) listing all the files in the records management system owned by people who have left. No-one had a clue what we were supposed to do with the report so we all binned it.

    Official advice on what to do with important emails you don't want to keep in Outlook? Drag them to the P: drive, which uses the same storage as Outlook.

    No wonder my brain hurts

  44. el_oscuro
    Go

    My first job...

    ... Involved programing 6502 assembly on an Apple ][e, but was really centred around managing massive amounts of paper.

    We had the mainframe dot-matrix printers which produced paper in sheets per second. People could get injured if one of those bad boys jammed. We had to handle the shredding. We had to take the paper to the shredding facility in a crappy Army dodge pickup truck. The thing was so overloaded that the back would be about 2 inches off the ground and the front was so light you could probably lift it off the ground with one hand. Made handling real interesting.

    We also had a room sized copy machine which always broken down. In order to make copies of all of the computer manuals, I used that copier all the time - and fixed it all the time too. I could break it down and fix it better than most Zerox technicians.

    Then there was The Print Head Maintenance incident. We had just got a fancy new colour ink-jet printer - in 1985. It could print colour on transparencies 10 years before Powerpoint was a gleam in Microsoft's eyes. And we used it. It was extremely complex to setup and maintain, and it had something called "print head maintenance liquid" which cost $35 a quart and you were supposed to use to clean the print heads. I bet my boss $1 that it was plain water, and won the bet by drinking it. Of course, I had a little bit of inside info, as I had splashed some in my eye and it didn't sting or anything.

  45. jake Silver badge

    Every time I read "paperless office" ...

    ... I purchase a few more shares of Georgia-Pacific.

    This practice has done rather well for me these last forty years :-)

  46. Miss Config
    Coat

    Paper And Toilets

    I distinctly remember this argument back in 1990, well before the interweb.

    The question was :

    When will we have the paperless office ?

    and the reporter answered : about the same time we have the paperless toilet.

    ( And I actually found that amusing at the time. )

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      Re: Paper And Toilets

      I did an "Office Automation" subject as an elective in my degree in 1988.

      One of the discussions was around the paperless office. The standing joke, in the text book that we had to download and print ourselves, was that "the paperless office would arrive the day after the paperless toilet".

      1. x 7

        Re: Paper And Toilets

        "the paperless office would arrive the day after the paperless toilet".

        ever been to a Muslim - or for that matter many Indian - company offices? No toilet paper anywhere. But you should see the quality of the crap they write and type on, it looks like recycled faeces

  47. Ali Um Bongo
    Unhappy

    Disappointed...

    To visit the domain linked to in that old Adobe article and find that

    http://dabbsnet.com

    seems to be bereft of content.

    Or is it some really clever visual pun on this whole "blank sheets of paper" subject matter?

    Do tell us "Ali" <snigger!>

  48. D Moss Esq

    Turkey Christmas

    1979 and I'm the computer half of a computer auditor at Deloitte Haskins & Sells. I ask the partner why he's laughing. He's just come back from meeting a client to discuss their plan to move to the paperless office.

  49. Colin Tree

    recycle

    My print paper is her throw away paper that I print on the reverse side.

  50. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Flame

    There's gold in them thar dog turds

    "Come to think of it, not only were they wrong about the gold, they forgot to mention all the dog turds."

    Having just watched the latest Mythbusters episode where they made rocket fuel from dog turds, Dabbsy may be missing a trick here.

  51. jjcoolaus

    A clean desk policy forces it by stealth

    Having a clean desk policy, which is the idea that no paper is to be left on a desk overnight, certainly forces you to think about printing less, and if you really need to print something at all,

    When I go to a meeting I take the laptop now. There is wifi throughout the building that works well, so the only time I print something these days is when other people ask me to, which is also happening less and less.

    My organisation has reduced the number of office printers in recent years, and I can see that happening more as more of us move to hybrid devices and laptops, rather than desktop machines.

    So if you want a paperless office, introduce a clean desk policy under the guise of security of information. It forces everyone to think twice (or 3 times) before they print anything.

  52. PeterM42
    Devil

    Ah! - The "Paperless Office"

    About as likely and useful as the Paperless LOO

  53. John 61

    65 GSM paper may be really thin, but...

    at £73 a box (5 reams of 500 sheets) this is not the future, plus it won't go through heavy duty printers. 80 gsm costs 90% less. When I'm working I can get through 32,000 sheets in one go, not counting the other 10 printers...

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