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More ammo in the war on printer ink

06 May

Regular readers are familiar with my intense hatred of the printer ink industry. So far, with the help of the iPad and some fantastic apps – such as SignMyPad – I’ve just about managed to eliminate the need to print anything and thereby avoid the criminally high prices charged by printer ink makers.

I’m always pleased to discover new aids in this struggle. So far, the PDF has been the ultimate weapon – it’s a versatile file format that can be read on almost any device and can be created from just about anywhere: Microsoft Word and Excel, Apple Pages and Numbers, Google Docs, and so on. Apps such as SignMyPad, meanwhile, enable the manipulation and modification of PDFs, which just about takes care of all my needs.

In December, the tree-hugging folks at the World Wildlife Fund added another dimension to PDFs. The one problem with the format is that, although it does discourage the use of paper – and thereby printer ink – it can still be printed out, which negates both benefits. As such, the WWF released a new file format – .wwf – that is essentially a PDF, but with the printing ability blocked out. Here’s a promo video:

The move has been controversial. For one, it’s not technically effective – anyone who actually wants to print a .wwf file has a myriad of workarounds to do so. Secondly, it wasn’t just the printer industry that wasn’t pleased – other factions within the WWF itself weren’t happy either. The file format was apparently developed and released as a worldwide product by WWF Germany without the consent of the larger organization.

A spokesperson for WWF International said the message was misleading. “The message must be revisited to say that WWF is not against using paper, but that we are calling to reduce wasteful consumption of paper,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Nevertheless, the .wwf website is still going strong despite WWF International’s desire to take it down. I’m not an enviro-nut but I’m going to give the new file format a try and see what happens. Anything to spite those printer ink people.

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6 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2011 in printing

 

6 responses to “More ammo in the war on printer ink

  1. Hub

    May 6, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Is that some sort of DRM they use? *sigh*

     
  2. Daniel Friesen

    May 6, 2011 at 3:33 am

    I don’t think spiting the printer ink industry is a good reason for jumping into DRM. Goes right into how on Triangulation Cory Doctorow talked about a user’s computer being told by a 3rd party to say no when it’s in the owner of that computer’s interests for it to say yes.

     
  3. Russell McOrmond

    May 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

    That this organization thinks it is being “green” by promoting DRM demonstrates just how out-of-touch some non-technical people are on DRM. Creating a file format that needs yet more software that isn’t under the control of the owner of technology will drive more otherwise-perfectly-good hardware into landfill. Movements like Open Source which allow computer owners to independently strip down unnecessary features from software to fit on older or otherwise more green (lower powered) hardware is far more green than discouraging people from printing.

    Then again, having out-of-touch wingnuts like this suggesting that DRM is a good thing might be helpful in convincing the new Conservative majority that legal protection for this attack on IT property rights is a form of excessive regulation they should be working against.

    Advice to a Conservative majority on Copyright http://creform.ca/5331

     
    • Hub

      May 6, 2011 at 11:38 am

      They don’t even create the DRM. They just enforce its use. And even then with a poor implementation – which just go on to argument the ridiculousness of the idea. The print or copy/paste restrictions of PDF are an honour based system on the implementation side. It is one line of code in any PDF reader based on xpdf (like what GNOME and KDE use).

       
 
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