Friday, November 21, 2008

Rules of the Photocopier

Subtitle: Things they don't teach you in math grad school.
  1. Make copies on colored paper paper of color before making copies on white paper.

  2. When making double-sided copies on colored paper, start with a fresh, never opened ream of colored paper. Start on the photocopier in the main office, not the one by the window. Changes in temperature and humidity cause paper jams. There is a very narrow tolerance band for the moisture content of colored paper to work in a jam-free way. (A previous member of our department's office staff was an artist, and she knew everything about paper and knew how to store the paper so that it would make jam-free copies.)

  3. If the machine is in a jamming mood, taking the completed copies off the finisher can cause a jam. Leave the copies on the finisher.

  4. Do you need to make more copies on colored paper? If the machine hasn't been jamming, repeat the process. If the machine has been jamming, do you need to make copies on white paper? If so, switch to the other copier and make your copies on white paper. Otherwise, just walk away and let the machine cool down. Once it's had a chance to cool down, you can try on colored paper again.

  5. Start early.

Assuming things go well, this morning I will make the last 65 copies that I need to make for the entire semester. The calculus final (version D), blue paper, double-sided, stapled (12 originals). I need them to be ready for the afternoon on Monday, December 8. If I can get the machine to produce seven copies each business day, I should be OK. (Depending on the weather, I may be able to coax the copier by the window to make some copies on blue paper over the weekend -- my key doesn't get me into the main office with the good copier.) If I pull myself together enough to be bathed and dressed in time to get to work right when the main office opens, I should be able to be first on the photocopier and to be able to use it before it heats up and starts jamming.