How to print things

I have finally finished up writing my guide on how to print things, based on this blog post from January on my other (math) blog. It specifically enumerates the pros and cons of various methods for printing and reading loose-leaf documents (the sort of thing that academics do quite a bit, when they print out a journal article to read).

The main motivation for writing the page is to explain the (to my knowledge, novel) Möbius method for printing and reading double-sided, like this:

I actually now use this in practice. As compared to the usual method of printing double-sided, this has several advantages:

  • One always does the exact same action after finishing every page; there is no need to remember whether you are on an even or an odd page.
  • Any consecutive sequence of n/2 pages are on different sheets of paper, so it is easy to simultaneously refer to multiple pages close together. There is never any need to keep flipping a sheet back and forth to refer to the previous page (as there is with traditional double-sided printing).

But there are even new things to say about traditional double-sided printing, as well. I now know of several different algorithms for reading double-sided, each with its pros and cons; previously I had not even considered that there might be more than one way to do it.


About Brent

Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hendrix College. Functional programmer, mathematician, teacher, pianist, follower of Jesus.
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2 Responses to How to print things

  1. LD says:

    Wonderful! My wife is a connoisseur of this sort of practical algorithm and will really enjoy this.

    I do think that the $O(n)$ vs. $O(\log n)$ search time for an arbitrary page will be a deal-breaker for many, particularly for longer texts. For journal articles, though, this makes a lot of sense.

    • Kavi Gupta says:

      It’s still log n AFAIU because you can easily estimate which side of the paper your page is on and then do the usual search.

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