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NYT on a Paperless World

Pushing Paper Out the Door - New York Times

Is it just me, or is the Times tossing softballs for organizational nerds on purpose? Today's story on the ways people are purging paper from their lives gives lots of ink (digital, of course) to our friend, the Fujitsu ScanSnap, and comes with the kind of grand statements that no trend piece should be without:

[M]any families may be closer to entering a paperless world than they realize. Paper-reducing technologies have crept into homes and offices, perhaps more for efficiency than for environmentalism; few people will dispute the convenience of online bill-paying and airline e-tickets.

Not that I disagree. I like the way Brewster Kahle, who knows a thing or two about digital archiving, puts it: "Paper is no longer the master copy; the digital version is." That isn't too far removed from what Merlin wrote back in October:

When we rely on a paper document as the final, unique destination for information, we create physical and cognitive limitations that seem crazy once you’ve spent a chunk of your life living on Google. No one disputes that.

Those statements by themselves may make some of you index card shufflers sweaty, but the value that all of us have found in paper isn't as the permanent storage medium to which the Times is delivering last rites; rather, it's in that Platonic scratchpad we all need sometimes to shake out a good idea. As Merlin said, "As an intermediary medium between thinking and a final draft, I still just love what you can do with a stack of index cards and a little spare time." Even when used as part of a trusted system, paper works best when its data storage duties have a limited life span.

toydesigner's picture

$300 for a scan-only? Um, how bad are all-in-ones?


Let me chime in here, as someone who has been a "Printer Consolidation" Project Manager for a pretty large financial institution:

You can make employees print less.

It's called not printing what won't actually get picked up anyway.

We removed most employee printers, which often had 18+ private user bins (yes, they were spoiled users) to replace them with all-in-ones w/ no output trays.

Or, being the misplaced IT marketing type that I was, "PIN-secured virtual output trays," as I liked to refer to them as. (Remember: problems are merely solutions without publicists).

In practice, if you have to enter your PIN or scan your employee ID before you print out anything, 50%-75% will be saved.

Why? Because 50-75% of stuff employees print out without a face-end verification is either forgotten + recycled or left lying around, for the employee's "oh yeah, that!" moment to kick-in.

I know this as fact, because the year following my large University's implementation of the "Scan your ID to print" stations, they reported a paper savings of roughly 75%. They expected 50%.

That basically means 75% of what students were sending to the printers were never actually picked up, both before the project and after. The only difference: If it wasn't 'picked-up', it didn't print, and trees were saved.

Sounds silly, until you actually have the hard numbers to quantify the trees. Paper costs money because trees cost money. Save money, save trees.

all that being said, are all-in-ones THAT bad? I can't possibly believe it. $300 for a scan-only?

Can't a decent investment in a duplex all-in-one, together with some software-based solutions, provide a comparable experience?

I can't possibly justify a $300 scan-only offering, when there's all-in-one lasers w/ duplex functionality for the same price.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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