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Creatures of Habit in the Screenroom

(April 2008) posted on Tue Apr 01, 2008

Following a rigid routine in your screen-prep department might give a false impression of consistency and organization. Roberts shares some tips to help you ensure accuracy in this important area.

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By Gordon Roberts

Most of us follow the same rigid schedule every morning during the work week. My schedule usually unfolds in this manner. I get up, stumble to the kitchen, wait patiently for the kettle to boil, make some very strong tea (I’m British), turn on the radio to catch the news, check my e-mail, and then head off to take a shower. I turn on the hot water, make an educated guess about how many turns of the cold faucet will produce the right temperature, and I hop in.

Some days I discover that my faucet-turning skills, honed to perfection over a lifetime of showering, deliver the perfect bathing experience, but that’s rare. More often, I find that I am standing in either a freezing torrent that threatens to send me to the hospital with acute hypothermia, or I am scalded within an inch of my life. I make no adjustments, however, since I know that I can spend much of the rest of my morning wrapping myself in heated blankets to bring my core temperature back to normal or smearing medication on the blisters I’ve raised.

My wife, I have observed, has no such problem because she has worked out a system where, with her hand, she tests the temperature of the water and makes calculations based on how hot or cold she thinks the temperature is. If it’s too hot, she increases the amount of cold water until she finds just the right balance and vice versa if it’s too cold.

I would adopt this method, of course, if I weren’t always in a great rush in the morning. If I add the hand-testing method into my daily regimen, I will lose valuable minutes and find myself arriving late for work. If I arrive late for work, then I won’t have time to find my exposure-calculator kit and attach it to the first screen of the day before loading it on the exposure unit. I know that if I don’t do this every morning, then I run the risk of underexposing or overexposing my screens, and I will spend the rest of the day dealing with the resulting problems. Come to think of it, not doing that test would be almost as stupid as climbing into the shower in the morning without first testing the water temperature, wouldn’t it?



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