(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
formatting, print less, printing

hp, lexmark

Lexmark Trying To Help Users Print Less When They Print The Web

from the makes-sense dept

Last year, HP announced a special button that could be put on blogs to let users more easily print blog posts, without all the extraneous stuff on the website. At the time, we didn't see the value at all, but plenty of folks responded in the comments that it seemed like a good idea. It wasn't long before the folks at HP contacted us about trying the button out ourselves, so we put it on the page. It gets some use, though not an overwhelming amount. It appears that some people do actually print stuff out -- and they appreciate the simpler version.

Now, it appears that HP printer rival Lexmark is taking that idea much further by making it easier for users to eliminate a bunch of the junk on websites before printing them out -- so you only print out the stuff you really want. Unlike the HP initiative, this doesn't require the companies hosting the content to do anything, it takes care of it on the client side. Given the insane costs of ink, it's no surprise that printer companies have been a bit slow to adopt solutions that get people to use less ink -- but it's good to see them finally starting to recognize that it's probably for the best. Giving your customers reasons to like you, rather than hate you, tends to be a good long-term business strategy.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Steven, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 4:04pm


    Um... Did I miss the memo where stylesheet media="print" doesn't work?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    some old guy, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Stylesheets?

    Whats wrong with it? content providers (Mike Masnick's site here included) often do not put out the effort to create a secondary style sheet targeted for a medium they are not anticipating their users to make use of.

    The media="print" stylesheet is an AWESOME solution. but it requires website designers to do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    surprised, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 4:49pm

    Hello Stupid?

    Print "SELECTION".

    OH what? I should use their button? Oh wait! What's this "print selection" button I have here when I print? Print the text only? Oh dears, I'm too lazy to do that!

    I need a button now!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    dorpass, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Hello Stupid?

    Yes, yes you are.

    You must have missed the oodles of websites that include graphics/ads in the middle of the text that make it harder to select. And it would be good if you commented on what the actual post was. Oh wait, you were busy figuring out how to select crap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Ragaboo, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Hello Stupid?

    Printing "selection" only works about 1/2 the time for me. Other times, the text is garbled or other stuff gets in there. I end up having to copy the selection, paste it into a word-processing program, and then printing THAT. So...yes, but no.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    wasnt me!, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: Hello Stupid?

    idk about you guys, but 1st set printer NOT to print background and then print selection.

    still its a good feature, but making it "web" based instead of client based kind of misses the point.

    why should the site, Printer Co as well as the user all have to "work together" to print a blog?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    LTDLP, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 6:07pm

    Wait for it

    Cue the patent troll law suit in 3 ... 2 ... 1

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    WTB, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 6:33pm

    Cannon Easy Web Print

    Cannon has had a similar feature for several years via their "Easy-Web-Print" tool bar add in. My Cannon PIXMA ip4000 software came with a Browser Tool-Bar Add-In that allows you to print any portion of a web page. You just highlight the section desired and select the Print (or Preview) Selected Content. Works great! I don't know where HP and Lexmark have been. This has been available from Cannon since at least the PIXMA printers came out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    crystalattice (profile), Aug 28th, 2008 @ 7:18pm

    Understandable but stupid

    Opera has a print feature that eliminates a lot of unnecessary stuff. Or at least it used to; I haven't printed web pages in quite some time.

    However, when I'm forced to use IE, I usually just highlight the text and "print selection" or copy/paste into a text document. That way I don't get anything I don't want and I don't have to deal w/ IE's tendency to cut off the edge of the page.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    ideagirl, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 9:42pm

    Is this the biggest issue thay have to deal with?

    ...people need help printing blogs? Wow. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. /sarcasm

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Matt C., Aug 28th, 2008 @ 10:34pm

    An easier way to do it...

    There's an addon for Firefox called Nuke Anything Enhanced which allows you to make extraneous objects and text invisible in your browser window.

    I use it to remove advertisements and such before printing - works like a charm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. Spirit of Truth

    Wow I actually like the button, and the tools it lets you select which posts to print, or not, makes nice PDFs if you have Acrobat installed, too :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. Re: An easier way to do it...

    GOod tool, also another good tool, the one I use is firefox addon called "remove it permanently" works wonderfulliciously

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 29th, 2008 @ 6:32am

    If they really wanted to help people, they'd make their ink cartridges cheaper. Or here's a radical idea; Make a printer with a separate, easily re-fillable cartridges for each color and then sell bulk bottles of ink so that people wouldn't have to pay for an over-priced hunk of plastic every time they wanted more ink.

    LexMark are liars anyway. Their color cartridges claim you can print something like 50+ color sheets, but that's based on printing things like this blog with limited use of color. Start printing photos and you get closer to 25 sheets before one of the colors runs out.

    Not to mention that their software sucks. Want to scan something at a high resolution? Better have plenty of space on C: (30GB+) because there's no way to tell it to use any other drive, no matter how much space they have available on them. Change any scan setting and everything reverts back to the default low-res settings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Ray Trygstad, Aug 29th, 2008 @ 7:05am

    Another great Firefox tool does the same thing:

    Rob Brown's Aardvark: Lets you selectively remove anything from a Web page, and even de-widthify text that only occupies half the width of the printed page. I won't print without it. (http://karmatics.com/aardvark/)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 29th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Don't Assume Benevolence

    Mike, I wouldn't assume that Lexmark or HP are trying to "adopt solutions that get people to use less ink" just because they are eliminating the web page chaff around the content.

    Au contraire, they are trying to get people to use MORE ink, by increasing the value of the printed product to users. Anything they can do to make printing easier, fewer clicks (for the "selected" guy above), and easier to read, will inevitably drive more printing. More printing means more ink.

    No harm in this, of course. If it's good for the consumer, the consumer will adopt it, and everyone wins. That's not charity, it's just good business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    inc, Aug 29th, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    ahh... good ol' notepad

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    oregonnerd, Aug 29th, 2008 @ 3:22pm

    cutting stuff out on print jobs

    Thanks for reminding me. Freeware, works quite well (I've tested it; a hard drive crashed), can be found here: http://www.printgreener.com/ and as soon as I've made this post I'll start downloading it so I can install it again. It's sort of like "strokeit" [no, a Windows program!!], an addictive thing. Seems a bit silly at first, to boot. Perhaps all good programs do. Odd. Microsoft Office started out seeming 'okay' and has steadily gotten sillier...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Roland, Sep 1st, 2008 @ 7:29pm

    falling demand for printers

    Forget printing pictures. Burn them to CD, put the CD in your DVD player, and view them on your TV. So the only reason for printing is for letters and other documents.

    Result: falling demand for printers and ink, and increasing desperation by printer vendors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Linda K. Crtouch, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 6:38pm

    Your no account printer

    This worthless printer will not print AGAIN. Another defective one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    greg, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 1:35am

    Lexmark trying to help

    I'll check if it works on my 13400HC Lexmark. I guess you won't find features like these on other HP or Canon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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