The Phone Bills in China Must Be Enourmous


June 13th, 2007 at 10:12am

Thank you to the people who reported that the printable versions of the articles and pages on this website were returning “404 Not Found” errors instead of printable versions of articles following my WordPress upgrade on the weekend. I actually noticed it myself when I went to check something on the print layout on the weekend, but it was nice of some readers to report the error as well.

The weekend upgrade broke two things, the permalink structure for the print layout, and the WordPress plugin which produces the print layout.

For those of you who are wondering what I’m going on about, let me take you on a brief potted history of printing on this website. On the original website the layout printed quite nicely, it was a bit of a mess because the sidebar got printed with everything, but on the whole it was reasonable. After moving to WordPress and the Blix theme which this site uses, I noticed that the sidebar would print under the content, so I made a few CSS changes to prevent the sidebar from printing. Generally when people print a page of a website they are interested in the content, not the useless (on paper) links on the sidebar, so this tends to work quite well. The layout is very bland and basic, but it works.

The thing that does bug me about printing web pages though, is that all you get is a title, a date, the page as displayed on your screen, and generally a truncated URL making it impossible to find the page again three months later. On the screen a web page is fine, but on paper it tends to be lacking a bit of information, for example, generally a printed page will show links, but not tell you where they go, and because they tend to inherit the on-screen formatting they aren’t optimised for printing and tend to use more paper than they really need to.

The print layout view solves these issues by formatting the page neatly for your printer, providing the full URL in a font which doesn’t require a magnifying glass, and printing a list of links and the corresponding URLs at the bottom of the article.

The print link can be found between the end of each article and its comments (if there are any), and if you are going to print anything from this site, I would recommend using that function.


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June 2007

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Blix Theme by Sebastian Schmieg and modified for Samuel's Blog by Samuel Gordon-Stewart.
Printing CSS with the help of Martin Pot's guide to Web Page Printability With CSS.
Icons by Kevin Potts.
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