Write a Thesis, Kill a Forest

May 11th, 2006 by Potato

You have to learn to stop caring about saving paper when you’re writing a thesis. When you’re proof-reading a 117-page document, it’s nice to do it on paper rather than the screen, and double-spaced at that (if only because the final version must be double-spaced, and changing the spacing sometimes screws up embedded images or other things).

But tonight has just been ridiculous. I’ve burned 3 copies already: 1 came out with weird line spacing errors (so that some lines actually overlapped each other, and the whole thing had the wrong number of total pages). The next copy ran out of toner around page 15. It got into the 100’s before I stopped it and changed the cartridge (fortunately I knew that would happen to me tonight of all nights). With the new cartridge, I tried printing a few test pages (not sure if it would come out streaky at first or what). By entering page 6-10 in the print pages dialog, I ended up getting page vi through 10 (which, thanks to my introductory section going up to x ended up giving me about 16 pages). Those pages came out crooked, too — a very slight misalignment of the stack of paper I fed in that was somehow horribly magnified by the paper feeder. So, giving up on trying to print selected pages with the box in the dialog (since it seems to somehow use both the actual page number in the document, X/117, as well as the header number, i-x, 1-108), I just sent a whole new copy to print… and it just came out with no headers or footers. So now I have to think of whether I can salvage those hundred-some pages by feeding them through again to print the page numbers on the top (and nothing else), and I don’t think I can. In addition to the pain of setting up a document with just page numbers, I’d have to worry about aligning the pages, possibly changing their order… so another copy comes off the presses.

In addition to all this, I have the usual waste of paper associated with a properly formatted thesis: some sections (i.e.: figures) have to be vertically centred on the page, while the rest is aligned to the top like a normal document. Unfortunately, Word doesn’t play very nice about trying to set up seperate sections with different alignments, so we do it the old-fashioned way: after the whole thing has printed, we change the document to be vertically centred, and reprint the 20-odd pages that need it, and replace them in the copy.

As I burn through paper, I find that every pack of paper I bought has a slightly different brightness and opacity (the brightness is usually listed on the pack of paper, the opacity is not, though one would expect 20 lb paper of similar brightness (between 88 and 96) to have similar opacities…

So, it took a few hours and about 400 wasted sheets of paper, but I finally have my 4 hard copies (1 on bond paper) ready to take in to school tomorrow, where hopefully they will be approved without hassle so I can graduate and get them bound.

2 Responses to “Write a Thesis, Kill a Forest”

  1. Ben Says:

    Forests are overrated anyways…

  2. Netbug Says:

    “the usual waste of paper associated with a properly formatted thesis”

    This is a common pasttime for you?