To Print or Not

Changing office printers’ default font can save a large business, school, or institution thousands of dollars a year, according to a Dutch study.

Because of their different “weights” (thickness of stroke) fonts require different amounts of ink to print. Less ink usage means fewer cartridges needed. Century Gothic, for instance, uses about 30 percent less ink than Arial, according to (as reported by AP). Because color printers draw on expensive color cartridges even when printing in black, you can save even more money by deliberately selecting black only when printing a one color (black) document from a color printer.

Logically enough, fonts with the word narrow or light in their names use less ink to print than those named bold or black. Forts with serifs (little lines at the ends of characters) also tend to be of lighter weight overall and thus less ink those without serifs (sans serif).

Here’s the thing, though: those fonts that use less ink are sometimes wider, meaning less type goes on the page and more paper has to be used, potentially, to print a document. So: good for ink usage and office budgets, bad for forests.

If you really want to save on ink – and paper – just don’t print at all.

Whither Flash?

Adobe added Flash to its design stable a few years back when it laid out a few billion for the Macromedia company. The movie-making product has delivered big time, revolutionizing the web (think YouTube and innumerable sites enhanced with moving graphics, like

But there have always been grumbles about the Adobe powerhouse – chiefly, that it is a power hog and dominates computer CPUs.

Now the volume is turning up, as Apple’s newest hot gizmo, the iPad, will not support the software. Neither does the iPhone. Trouble for Adobe?

There are competitors to Flash. Called the H.264 standard and HTML5 video, these options are turning heads, including those at major content producers like The New York Times and Time Inc. that are choosing it to develop dynamic or moving content for the iPad (reported in Ars Technica, 4/3/10)

Re-encoding Flash videos won’t necessarily be easy or cheap, especially if one has hundreds or thousands of hours of content. The H.264 standard requires a license from MPEG LA to use, but Brightcove and other online video platforms can re-encode content for free.