Printing our posts

On a blog like this, many of the posts will be long, at least as blog posts go. Not infrequently, the comboxes will be longer still. Many of us find that printing such posts-cum-comboxes for offline reading anywhere is very convenient as well as easier on the eyes. Allow me to suggest a way for our readers to do the same.

For good and obvious reasons, nobody likes printing out Web pages as-is. As an alternative to that, many heavily-trafficked blogs sport little printing utilities accessible by icons at the end of each post. Most of them are serviceable enough and compatible with all major browsers. Unfortunately, and as far as I know, one can only add such utilities to a WordPress blog if the blog is hosted at a server other than WordPress’s. Only then is one offered the version of WordPress software that accommodates adding independent “plug-ins”, such as a printing utility, to the template code. Until circumstances make it prudent for our group to pay a WordPress.com-recommended company to host this blog on one of its servers, no such utility can be installed on this blog. So I have a couple of recommendations to make to people who, like me and others, want to be able to print long posts and comboxes.

Some people use an HP plugin called “Smart Print” that works with either Internet Explorer or Firefox. I have that plugin and use it on those rare occasions when I’m reading blogs with IE. But as far as I know, Smart Print only works if you have an HP printer and don’t use Safari, the Apple browser. If I’m wrong, I’d love to hear it.

What I use is a free Firefox plugin called “Nitro,” which converts Web pages to PDF files one can print. Such files offer a common format that make them easy to share with others. Also, since most people don’t have the rather expensive software necessary to edit such files, the files tend to remain unaltered when shared. That’s a relief to authors of the original content. I know what it’s like to be seriously misquoted even when my actual words are but a click away from the malefactor’s site.

Given that I’m a Catholic geek but not quite a tech geek, I’m prepared to be informed about solutions I don’t already know about. If you have one, please share it. In the meantime, I hope I’ve helped somebody who’s even less of a techie than I.

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