March 2000, Volume 16, Number 3
Fine PrintSave us from the tree-huggers
By Jerry Maizell
Our forebears were Europe’s rebels, castoffs, criminals and scum.
Thank goodness. Had they been the politically correct types who dominate today’s public dialog, we’d still be cowering in the wilderness.
We facilely condemn earlier Americans for decimating the bison herds and sky-darkening flocks of geese. For slaughtering the Indians. For cutting down the forests and polluting the atmosphere.
Terrible as those acts of ignorance and greed may appear to today’s pampered urban hordes, we owe our society to them.
We can nurture our natural heritage without locking up every last wonder.
A more benign aspect of environmentalist hype is the repeated proclamation, over the last decade, of the imminent arrival of the paperless office. Far from a paperless office, computers generate more paper than ever before.
It is possible to conserve paper and yes, save trees, in sensible, practical ways. I believe in reusing paper.
Whenever possible, I print on both sides and use discarded documents for note or scratch paper. But that only goes so far. What we need is a way to print more efficiently, using less paper.
Many websites, for example, do not lend themselves to printing at all, or without using four sheets for text that should fit on one.
FinePrint is a $40 utility that makes it easy to print and archive long documents in a variety of paper-friendly ways. If you do a lot of printing, it can pay for itself in a few weeks.
A sort of universal Windows printer driver, FinePrint captures your printer’s output, providing special formatting, control and data transfer options.
It saves time as well as paper, printing two, four or eight pages on a single sheet. You can print just as you wish, rather than as your application (or a website) wants you to.
For readability, printing four-up is the practical maximum for ordinary documents. For archival purposes printing eight-up is reasonable, but then I’m used to perusing tiny type with a magnifying glass, which I do regularly with the compact edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.
You can create booklets and print double sided on any printer (by reinserting the page), print on your own digitized letterhead and combine print jobs.
Gutters can be added for binding so that the printed output matches the print preview.
FinePrint is extremely easy to use. You can install it as your default printer, so that its setup screen pops up automatically for every print job. Or just select it as the printer when you wish.
Among its many neat bonuses, FinePrint offers a variety of customizable headers, footers and watermarks that can be printed on the 1st or every page. I like “Top Secret” watermarked diagonally across my documents, or the date and time.
My HP5L wouldn’t print watermarks correctly or at all. Selecting “color correction” from FinePrint’s options fixed this.
There’s also a “form factory” module that appears to offer endless ways to personalize and customize forms, which I haven’t explored.
Download a trial version from www.fineprint.com.
Our president pretends to honor the wilderness by preventing us from using those remaining parts of it not already owned by the federal micro-managers.
But then his demonstrated practice of conservation approximates one of the cruder bumper stickers: “Save a tree.
Eat a beaver.”: