Print Stylesheets Return

One of my website pet peeves is the lack of attention to how a site behaves when printed. All too often, there’s either an assumption that we live in a truly online-only world, or simply a lack of thought about how any given page will look when printed. Consequently, there are a lot of websites that look like crud when printed: navigation links and ads all over the page taking up unnecessary space, content crammed into a narrow column, an extra half page of junk after the actual content ends, etc.

Some sites give a ‘print view’ link that produces a print-optimized version of the page, but I’d be willing to bet that a lot of people never see that — especially given the number of times I’ve had to actively hunt for such a link, and found it shoved off in some corner, not obviously tied to the content at all. Besides, having a specialized page seems like unnecessary overhead on the server when better solutions exist.

To that end — and this is a project that I’ve been meaning to do for a while (I never even got around to it with my last design) — I’ve resurrected the print stylesheet for my site. Admittedly, I have no idea how often people print something they find here (and I would guess that it’s not very often at all), but at least now I know that if they do, they’ll get something useful.

There’s an older, but still relevant, more detailed look at the techniques I use in this post from 2003, but here’s a rundown of the results:

  1. No navigation links below the website title.
  2. No sidebar at all.
  3. No comment entry form.
  4. No Google ads.
  5. The content fills the page, with a wider left-hand margin to allow room for binding.
  6. Rather than coloring links (useless on a printed page), the URLs display after the linked text, using Markdown style formatting.

The only issue I’m having is the same issue I had the first time I set up a print stylesheet: the code that inserts URLs after linked items borks up the clean display of inline images (for an example, try printing this post). I’m (still) stumped on how to exclude images from the link insertion code, though, so for now, I’m just going with what I’ve got.

The New Me

Last week sometime, I was brainstorming with ways to personalize the design of my site a bit while still working within my limited artistic and design sensibilities. On a whim, I emailed Shari, a comic artist whose blog I’ve been reading and whose artwork I enjoy, to see if she might be willing to sketch a version of me that I’d be able to work into the design somehow.

Shari was kind enough to agree, and since I didn’t have a particular image or pose in mind beyond knowing that I wanted to be wearing a Utilikilt, I directed her to my Narcissism set on Flickr and let her go to town.

A day or so later, Shari sent me a first set of preliminary sketches. There were a number of versions of ‘me’ that looked very promising, but down in the middle of the page was a funny little very anime-style version that she’d dubbed the ‘Valiant Camera Warrior’ which I got a big kick out of. When I wrote back to confirm that I liked the direction she was heading with the sketches, I also mentioned how much I enjoyed the Valiant Camera Warrior.

A couple days later she sent me the final artwork…and I was floored! Not only has Shari come up with an incredible comic version of ‘me,’ but she went ahead and inked the Valiant Camera Warrior as a bonus! I’ve worked the artwork into a few different places into the site design now, but under the cut are larger versions of her work.

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Postalicious Excerpts

For some time now I’ve been using the Postalicious WordPress plug-in to automatically create the link posts aggregating stuff that I toss into my delicous account. As I’ve been tweaking and fine-tuning the templates for the new version of the site, though, I (re-)discovered one minor annoyance.

I like to use post excerpts for my archive pages (more detail than simply listing the title, easier to skim through archives using the full body for every post), but Postalicious didn’t have a way to set an excerpt. Each Postalicious post would then end up with an autogenerated excerpt, which tend to trail away in the middle of the first link in the post, leaving something like this:

Links for January 15th through January 16th
Sometime between January 15th and January 16th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
no news is bad news: An expression of the value of local news, especially in Seattle, especially in these uncertain times. Cool Stuff: Olly Moss’s Poster Remakes: 21-year old UK artist Olly Moss is probably best known for his […]

It works, but it’s not pretty.

A couple days ago I dropped a line to Postalicious’ creator, asking it might be possible to add excerpt templates in a future revision. He wrote back to say that he’d work on that when he got a chance…and just one day later, version 2.6 of Postalicous was posted with support for excerpt templates!

Nicely done, and very quick response. I’m impressed! Postalicious is all updated, and from here on out, link posts shouldn’t look so cluttered in my archive pages. Now to see about tweaking the excerpts on all those earlier posts….

Minor Weblog Redesign

A new year is (almost) here, and along with that, it was time for a bit of a refresh to the design. It’s not a huge change — generally speaking, all the bits are in the same basic places — just a little fine-tuned and tweaked.

  • I’ve switched the theme to a mostly-stock installation of Carrington, with just a few tweaks here and there to suit my tastes.
  • Tweets are now a little more visually separated from each other and from longer posts, and are now linked back to the original entry on Twitter.
  • I’ve been adding tags to my entries for a little while, but they’re just now starting to be exposed via the new sidebar. Most entries don’t have tags, but I’m slowly adding them as I go back to work with older posts…that’s going to be a long, slow process that I’m not devoting a whole lot of time to. New posts will be tagged as they appear.
  • Google Adsense banners have been tweaked so that they’ll now appear underneath the first two non-Tweet posts on the main page. I’ve been trying to have some variation on that for a while (keeps them visible, but not super intrusive), but it’s been buggy. I think I’ve finally got it working properly.

And that about covers it.

This Weblog is ESTP

According to Typealyzer, which analyzes the content of a weblog and places it within the Myers-Briggs personality matrix, this weblog classifies as ESTP (Extroverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving), “The Doers.”

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

For the record, the last time I took an online version of the MBTI, I tested as ISFP (Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving). The Star Trek version of the MBTI also pegged me as ISFP, which apparently correlates with DS9’s Bareil or VOY’s Doctor.

(via Metafilter)

Happy Halloween!


A silly, simple one-day-only design change to celebrate Halloween. Have fun today, and watch out for ghoulies, ghosties, and things that go bump in the night!

Website Tweaks

One of the projects I’d like to tackle over the summer is redesigning my weblog. I’ve been using this design for a couple years now, and I’ve been thinking that I’m about ready for a change to something a bit cleaner and sparse.

However, as the major project over the next few weeks here at home needs to be packing things up and preparing for a move, I’ve settled for doing a bit of minor tweaking here and there to streamline things where I can.

To that end, here’s a quick rundown of the changes I’ve implemented:

  • Upgraded to the most current version of WordPress. Admittedly, a behind-the-scenes change that won’t really make a difference to visitors, but it was time.

  • The About page has been cleaned up a bit, removing the incomplete bulleted list of other places on the ‘net to find me with a simple in-paragraph listing that’s far more complete. I belong to far too many different networking websites.

  • Rather than listing my tweets in a sidebar box, Twitter Tools and AsideShop will now be displaying them inline with weblog posts using their own lightweight display style. In order to keep my RSS feeds from getting too cluttered up, Advanced Category Excluder prevents tweets from showing up in syndication feeds.

  • iWPhone has been installed so that iPhone/iPod Touch users will automatically get an optimized, lightweight layout.

  • LiveJournal Crossposter has been upgraded, which should (I hope) fix the odd problem I was having with crossposts not appearing in LJ Friends pages. It’s also configured not to crosspost tweets, as they’re already crossposted by

  • Postalicious will be automatically posting my bookmarks daily around midnight, as long as there are five or more unposted and ready to go, otherwise it will wait until the next day. This allowed me to drop the (huge) ‘eclinkticism’ box out of the sidebar.

  • In another behind-the-scenes change, the WPhone Admin Plugin gives me an iPhone/iPod Touch optimized administration interface, in case I ever need to do any posting or tweaking while on the go.

Eight Point Three

Blog Directory - Blogged I have no idea how I ended up on their radar, but I’ve just been rated an 8.3 on, some form of directory and rating site for weblogs.

eclecticism at BloggedOur editors recently reviewed your blog and have given it an 8.3 score out of (10) in the Personal Blogs category of

This is quite an achievement!

We evaluated your blog based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style.

After carefully reviewing each of these criteria, your site was given its 8.3 score.

Well, nifty. Works for me! Guess this means I better actually keep doing something with this place, huh? ;)

Schedule? What Schedule?

Two more days without posting. It’s official — trying to enforce a daily posting routine just didn’t work for me this year. Perhaps it will later on, when things aren’t quite as busy as they are now. Still, I gave it a good shot, and I still want to keep up a more regular post rate than once every week or two.

It may not actually happen, of course…but I’ll give it a shot. :)

Filler Post

This post was intentionally left blank.

If this were a real post, I’d actually say something with some actual content, rather than simply throwing a few random words up here to continue with the (mostly) one-a-day theme.

Regular service will resume once my brain kicks in and produces something of more worth.