Printing: An Ah-Ha Moment

Banning of incandescent lightbulbs
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I have a love/hate relationship with printing.  Ask almost anyone I work with and they will tell you it is one of my “soap box” issues that I don’t hesitate to get up on and preach.  I haven’t given up on getting the message across that the web was not originally designed to be a print medium – it is suppose to be read on a screen not from a piece of paper.  I’m not naive, I know people will continue to print for many reasons.

I admit that I myself print things from time to time.  But it wasn’t until today that the love part of my realtionship with printing actually fully blossomed.  Our network administrator and #1 open source fan showed me a really cool feature on Linux.  When he was done I just sat there with my mouth open.  How had I not known about this before?  My life will never be the same.  Sad part is this would have been absolutely PERFECT to show my class yesterday (I was teaching our staff about our PACs and printing was one of the topics).  Alas, a day late in learning.

On my Ubuntu box he was showing me something to do with CUPS (common Unix printing system) when I asked him why was PDF listed as a printer.  He said “you can print to PDF”.  Huh?  I think I literally scratched my head and looked sideways at him.  Isn’t a PDF a form of a document how can I print to it?  What he meant is this – I can print a web site page as a PDF.

Oh the lightbulb went on, the clouds parted, the angels sang – AH HA!  I did a test.  Fantastic, just click on File – Print – select PDF.  It saves the page as a PDF on your desktop.  All those times I’ve been on a laptop, ordered something from a site, reach the confirmation screen and cant’ print (because at the time we didn’t have a wireless printer at home) are now behind me.  I’ve always just clicked File – Save Page As and wound up with a folder full of things that are required if I wish to view that screen again.  A PDF is sooooo much nicer and easier.  I can choose to NOT print it (just save it on my computer) or if I must I can print it.  Linux is just so cool.

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6 Responses to Printing: An Ah-Ha Moment

  1. Jim Peterson says:

    Yeah, but can you print that PDF from your machine…I can’t! For some reason it makes our Brother HL-4040CN color laser think it’s reading a foreign language! The printer will just sit there with it’s DATA light blinking until you cancel the job on the offending workstation, disconnect the power & ethernet cables, cycle the power switch, and reconnect everything and power up. Of course that clears the buffers and you still haven’t printed the document. Usually I just send the doc to a Windows workstation and have no issues with printing PDFs.

    • mlibrarianus says:

      Yes I can. I was able to print at work to our networked printer in the office (HP Laserjet 4200n) and I was able to print to our wireless printer at home (also an HP but forget the model). Printing and printers are the bane of my existence. Nothing is straight forward or easy with them. Let me check with our printer guru here and see if he has any suggestions.

  2. ileaneb says:

    Hi Beth,

    Good for you! It’s nice to see something so basic getting people excited.

    I don’t use Linux but it seems like everyone that has it enjoys using it. At my job we have software from Canon called eCopy that we can print pdf’s to. We can only do B&W but it’s better than nothing at all.

    Thanks for the fun read!
    @Ileane

  3. Gary Smith says:

    There are free PDF makers these days that you can also install on Windows machines, like PrimoPDF. Also it appears to be baked into Office 07. PDF is also much preferred for sending people documents if all they need to do is read them because this way you’re not assuming they have a program (like Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

  4. I just received my printer. I can’t complain. It’s very easy to setup; print quality, excellent; it’s a little noisy, but not so much as others printers I owned. It works fine on my dual boot Ubuntu 9.10 and Windows XP. Linux recognized the printer just after I connected it.

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