printing out the web 04.10.2007, 12:01 AM
posted by ben vershbow
That's what Hewlett-Packard is hoping to do. The NYT explains.
HP recently acquired a small online photo-printing company named Tabblo, which has been developing software that will automatically reformat any web page, in any layout, to be easily printable. HP's goal is to use this technology to create a browser plugin, as ubiquitous as Flash and Java, that could become "the printing engine of the web." Let's hope, for the sake of the world's forests, that a decent electronic reader comes out first.
(Thanks, Peter Brantley.)
Gary Frost on April 10, 2007 8:24 PM:
Is printing to paper old-fashioned and obsolete? The only way to answer that is to answer another question. Is the web a manuscript?
Tonight there is three million times more information on the web than has ever been printed in the history of the world. Why is there so much more to read on the screen than there is to read in print? The reason is that so little of the web has been printed. Geez...that sounds insane! But isn't it just possible with a databank magnitudes larger that there isn't one or two good print books in on-line content?
But, why would anyone do that...in essence print out a blog? One reason would be to sell it. You can still sell books. Another reason would be to sell the service of making the books to sell. A third reason would be to attract traffic to the blog.
Another reason to print out a blog is that you can give the print edition away just like you can give away website content. You can give the paper copy to friends, local libraries, computer museums or you can do your own book tour leaving free copies in coffee shops and bus stations. Is called physical distribution. Its post-digital.
And hand held readers are no good as print mimics. That's obvious. We do have a dire need for hand held readers. The cell phone proves that! But until wireless connectivity is ubiquitous it will not happen. E-books, not paper books, are obsolete.
Gary Frost on April 11, 2007 6:58 AM:
Gary, There is no post-digital future.
Well, work with me on this. What I am talking about is a printer with a screen. On that screen you would bring the "print-preview" environment. A menu would provide previews of the web imposed into traditional as well as post modern print formats (including binding options for traditional books, scrapbooks and calendars). A four color engine and custom paper selection would complete the package. And everyone would already know how to use it.
It could be called a "visual printer", much like we had in the old days.
Scott Eblen on April 13, 2007 10:45 AM:
Gary raises an interesting question about whether printing is obsolete. I think it is rapidly decreasing in importance. For many functions (tickets, maps) there are better alternatives to paper. I also think tablet PCs and specialized reader software (such as NYTimes Reader) provide a great reader experience.
I've written a bit more about this here:
I'd be curious to hear other peoples' thoughts on the future of the printer.
Gary Hawkey on April 13, 2007 11:52 PM:
I think the future will be bright for a while to come. Technology like memjet will make net-fed printing so fast and cheap it will be a long time before screens will be able to provide a comprable viewer experience.
Check our www.memjet.com if you haven't seen it, watch the videos.
bowerbird on April 14, 2007 4:06 AM:
cyberspace leverages print-out in a fantastic way.
the downside of paper is it is immensely physical.
every time i move, i'm reminded that a box of books
is heavier than a box of just about anything else...
as with everything existing in a physicality mode,
storage and transportation exert substantial costs.
cyberspace, however, makes it possible to conduct
the transporation via the tubes, meaning that now
production can take place where a book is wanted.
this will extend the utility of print for decades.