Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This looks like a job for ...

Daniel Kinsman.

Dan - your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a programme which analyses the content of the last page of any document sent to a physical printer. If there is less than, say 1% of the printable area used, then your magical programme will ask the user if they want to print that useless last page with the tiny watermark at the bottom.
If the user selects "yes", then a small sound effect will play: a chainsaw felling an old growth tree for office paper.
Better yet, you could set it in advance not to print those pages at all and simply ask afterwards: "Did you really want to print that last page of nothing?"
Yes, we should stop printing everything.
No, people aren't going to.

I set you to your task.


  1. Sadly this would be quite a difficult task. You see, what you want isn't really a program in itself. It is a modification to many existing programs (namely every printer driver in existence).

    I suggest using the extra pages for paper planes instead.

  2. An excellent idea, but like Dan says, probably not possible. I use the extra pages as note paper and for scrawling shopping lists. If the littlies are visiting they get them to draw on.

  3. Sometimes it's possible to click on "cancel printing" at just the right moment.

  4. Where have all the dreamers gone? Can't we just copyright this idea and sing "The Garbage Man Can" while someone else does the leg work and we cash in the royalty cheques?

  5. This is how great inventions are made, a proposition that is quite proposterous and the research conducted to see how it could possibly done leads to an even greater discovery.

    Penicillin rings a bell.

    Or, perhaps you could review your document before you print it..? Or you could make sure you have even numbers of pages i.e your last 1% page is an even number, then print double sided pages..?

    Although I am somewhat impressed that a writer is looking after the environment - wasting paper. Considering the cliche~ of writers with writer's block ripping their paper out of typewriters, screwing them up and throwing them in the corner of the room in a pile. Ahh, those days are gone - I think.

  6. Sadly, yes. Now I just go and rip out a few saplings down the park to get my frustration carbon footprint up.

    Maybe someone could write a MS Word add-on that crumples up your screen shot and plays a movie of the paper shooting across a room into a basketball-ring haloed rubbish bin whenever you delete a large block of rubbish text.

    Dan! Write that one!

  7. Or you could click the print preview button and print current view which is only the page currently on your screen. (you knew that) repeat for each page. Except that last empty one of course. It takes longer.......


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32