Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Print. Staple. Repeat.

Every semester during the last week of school there is a mad rush on the printers and staplers as all 750 students suddenly have to print up their 20 page papers and take-home exams. And every semester the law school schedule is a week+ longer than the University of Pittsburgh schedule. The result is that the campus computer labs - the ones where students have 900 free pages of printing per semester, and where they do 2-sided printing on superfast printers and have staffers carefully alphabetizing every print job - are either closed or open for a few hours in the middle of the day. Law students with frazzled nerves and time-stamped papers due flock to the law school computer labs to use the law school printers which aren't used to working very hard. Queues build up. Machines overheat. Paper jams. Toner cartridges run out. Paper runs out. Help! Once students manage to print up their papers it's a mad dash to the library staplers, which the circ staff keeps loaded and ready. Sometimes people just fall apart at the staplers. Which one to use? What if I don't staple it right and the staple is askew or raggedy, will the teacher mark me down? Which stapler has the red staples? Library staff offer to do the stapling so the staple will be straight and true. All our staplers have names because we know each one very well. We make signs for the staplers: PUSH DOWN HARD. Students are too rushed to read the signs and push down tentatively. The staples comes halfway out and gets stuck with one prong in the paper, one in the stapler. Oh no!

Stapling is a tiny little engineering feat. Every year at this time, when stapling is at its peak, I get obsessed with finding a really really good stapler, a sturdy and foolproof stapler that will staple even the longest, most footnote-ridden report. Not electric, those things are too scary especially for law students who have been up for 36 hours straight.

There are whole websites devoted to staplers. You can't believe how much a really good stapler can cost. Anyway, my current dream stapler for Barco is the Rapid DUAX® heavy-duty desktop stapler. The manufacturer calls it a Revolution in Stapling. It staples - no joke - from 2 to 170 sheets of 20-lb paper (though there are testimonials saying it has stapled 180 sheets with ease).
Here's what's really cool: "Only one size of DuaX® staple requiredAutomatically sizes staple to thickness of material stapled• Cuts the legs of the DUAX staple for an ultra-flat, clean staple". Wow. Wow. Wow. Apparently it cuts the little extra bits of staple off so that the staple fits the paper thickness perfectly. No more sharp ends sticking through the paper and drawing blood.
There's even a movie demo of the Duax on YouTube. I love it when he staples 170 pages, and he seems very pleased too. A little smug.

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