Feeds

Paper computers: Not mere pulp fiction

That’s torn it

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I love it when I read or hear the phrase “Print is dead”. Idiocy is so enthralling. I am fascinated by people who can shamelessly proclaim their own ignorance in public with such determination.

Tomorrows World Elliot light pen 1967

Future tech: Elliot light pen shown on Tomorrow's World in 1967
How many trees could you grow in that time?

Since I last commented on this issue in a column I wrote nearly 13 years ago, things have moved on dramatically in the field of touch and stylus-controlled display interfaces to replace clunky old tech such as physical buttons and fixed imaging. But a bigger challenge to my assertion that the world of ‘print’ actually covers anything from braille embossing to laser etching comes from the “Oh that’s not really print” brigade.

I’ve read similar super-qualified arguments in other fields, such as “golf isn’t really a sport” and “medicine isn’t really science” – the implication being that brain surgery is nothing more than a performance art, a kind of slow-motion miniature knife-throwing act.

The fact is that print is here to stay, whether in 2D or 3D. I can’t help it if some tech-heads are too thick to understand what print is. How the heck do you think they make printed circuits? Duh.

Another cliché I enjoy immensely is the one about print-on-paper being evil because paper manufacture is biologically unsustainable. Apparently, producing traditional ‘dead-tree’ versions of books, magazines and newspapers is an affront to Mother Nature and contributes to deforestation.

Except that Finland, from where practically all wood pulp for the European paper industry is sourced, has laws dictating that three new trees must be planted for every tree felled.

Sure, there are issues of forest management to account for, not least the rate of cutting versus speed of growing. But planting things that take at least 20 years to mature does not strike me as biologically unsustainable as, say, oh I dunno, building more nuclear power plants in order to keep our paper-free electronics recharged, leaving a toxic legacy measured not in decades but centuries.

Electronic waste dump in China

Paper recycling is a bit more manageable than this

If that wasn’t bad enough, as any hippy watching you read an ebook on a train will bleat, an unwanted book is a damn sight easier to recycle than an unwanted plastic circuit board. Not only is our determination to burn up electricity out of control, so is our propensity to stuff the plastic bits of old computer kit into landfill. And by ‘old’, I mean ‘36 months after it came off the assembly line’.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Next page: IT printing

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.