- By Tim Carmody
Digital Inspiration’s Amit Agarwal has a clever Dropbox-based solution for printing documents from a smartphone or tablet, whether your printer’s down the hall or thousands of miles away. The idea is so simple, you’ll be amazed you haven’t thought to try it yourself.
Dropbox is a popular utility that allows users to sync and share files on different computers. Native Dropbox applications are available for most smartphone platforms, giving you mobile access to all your files, and many mobile applications are now integrating Dropbox for remote syncing and storage. You can also add files to your Dropbox account via e-mail or the web.
In this solution, use any of those means to get the file you want printed into a shared Dropbox folder — call it “PrintQueue” — that you’ve set up for this purpose. Your print-capable computer uses a script to monitor “PrintQueue,” automatically print its documents and then move them to a different folder. (Agarwal calls this second folder “logs”; I’d call it “Completed Jobs”). If you’re a clever hacker, you could even add scripts to send a remote notification that the print job has been completed.
For Windows, Agarwal has a downloadable VBS script that will set this up for you; as he notes, there are different scripting solutions for Mac OS X or Linux too.
Once you’ve got this rigged, the immediate use case is to send a document wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet to a local printer. And it is kind of magical to stand there and watch the whole process unfold, as in the video above.
But think beyond that. Suddenly, your printer is capable of networking with any computer, anywhere — with any phone, anywhere — that you approve and authorize. This is potentially so much better than hooking up a computer to a wireless router or navigating the virtual bureaucracy of an office printer network. It’s way better than a fax machine.
This could be one future of social networking and file sharing: Instead of big, ad-cluttered feeds that push photos, status updates and Farmville notifications or anonymous networks that chop files into bits and reassemble them, imagine friends and acquaintances broadcasting to each other, wheels within wheels, each with different levels and fields of access. Designating someone a “friend” might not be worth very much in this cockeyed world, but automatic remote access to someone’s printer still means something.
Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/10/cloud-printing-print-remotely-with-smartphone-dropbox/#ixzz13rVzgJ3M