Monday, September 30, 2013

Smartphone’s and Tablets the End of Printing? Far From It!

You’d think Smartphone’s and tablets would be the end of printing, far from it! Most documents are just easier to read on paper than on a small screen. And in the increasingly expanding BYOD (Bring Your Own device) world, employees and clients with mobile devices will always be wanting to print.

Printer manufacturers are only too happy to help, with hundreds of apps designed to print off your mobile device and onto paper. But, mobile devices weren’t designed for printing, nor were printers designed to talk to anything other than a PC or a Mac. The device and the printers may need to be on the same wireless network, or the printer may need access to the Internet. While some apps offer some ability to customize the job—such as number of prints, or size or type of paper—, iOS and Android devices get the most app options, the printouts might not look exactly like what you expect, because the apps can’t translate all fonts or formatting perfectly.

Platform independent solutions such as Google Cloud Print are available.

Google Cloud Print: Providing you’re using Chrome, Google Cloud Print allows you to print anything via the web
Google Cloud Print makes your existing printers accessible via the Web. The printer needs Internet access through an attached, powered-on computer, “Cloud Ready” printers can connect to the Internet on their own. If you use the Chrome browser, setup is easy: Just visit the Cloud Print page and install the add-on for the browser. Then register your local printers on the Chrome service, which replaces the typical Print dialog with a new one for printing from anywhere. It’s especially useful if you use Google Docs or have an Android device (or both). A new addition lets you extend Google Cloud Print to work with standard Windows apps (like Microsoft Office). It’s not as reliable as printing through the standard Windows printing system, but it’s a credible option in a pinch.

Apple AirPrint: This Apple-provided app is so well-supported it’s worth a look even if your manufacturer offers a printing app on its own. Just about every major and minor printer manufacturer is supported by AirPrint, though you’ll want to make sure the specific model you own is on the list. If it is, and if you use an iOS or MacOS device, give AirPrint a spin: When you’re on the same Wi-Fi network, you’ll be able to print just about anything your device can display.

For a comprehensive list of printing apps available, read this PC World article:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Major printer manufacturers form ‘Mopria’ mobile printing alliance

As the Smartphone and Tablet industry continues to expand and the computing industry has now gone beyond the desktop PC, the technology to print from handheld devices has fallen behind. But, a new alliance of printer manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Samsung, and Xerox, called Mopria, hopes to change all that.

The Alliance announced the formation of Mopria on September 24. It believes it will make printing from devices much easier with newly developed interfaces that give mobile operating systems more simplified printing software and allow apps to draw on that ability.

The Mopria technology will also govern printer technology so print jobs can sent by Wi-Fi Direct wireless networking or by tapping a printer with a phone that supports near-field communications (NFC).

Phil McCoog, technologist with HP's printing business, said "If you are a printer vendor, and if you are solely attached to a PC, where is your future? We are moving from a device that is a PC peripheral to a mobile companion," and added "You need to be able to print or you're going to force people to go back to their PC when they want or need to print."

 Smartphone’s and tablets give the printer industry a chance for a fresh start. Mopria is scrapping a lot of print driver technology that's decades old.

"What we're trying to do is not just make it as good as desktops, but to make it better than desktops," he said.

For example, people using Mopria technology you will no longer have to mess with the arduous task of finding and installing print drivers, Mopria lets a computer talk to a specific printer.

Printer manufacturer’s profits are reliant on selling "consumables" like printer ink cartridges and toner cartridges, so this Mopria alliance is very eager to see the much profitable printing industry doesn’t fall far behind in the mobile technology market.

McCoog doesn't see printing as an endangered business.

The more information is archived digitally, he said, the more gets printed.

"We see it exploding content in the world," he said. "If you increase the content a thousandfold, and if printing drops by 1 percent, that's still an increase overall. We're not seeing the threat of printing going away."

The alliance has not released details on its immediate plans or whether it plans to invite other companies, such as 3D printing companies, into the group. However, they are planning to use Mopria as a brand for spreading its interfaces throughout mobile printing technology.

We might be seeing “Mopria-certified” labels on printers in the future.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Get Creative With Your Printer – Print, Build And Fly Your Own Handmade Kite

There are lots of great ideas that you can print off using your home inkjet or laser printer. All you need is a good printer and suitable printer ink cartridges or toner cartridges and you’re all set.

Here’s another creative project that you can use your home printer for:

Print your own pattern, to make your own kite.

You Will Need:
2 wooden dowels, 90cm (35″) and 120cm (47″) long. The longer dowel is the spine of the kite, the shorter dowel the crosspiece.
Plastic sheeting or recycled garbage bags
Strong tape, such as packing tape or electrical tape
Kite string or fishing line
Tape measure

1. Download the printable kite pattern or print the image below.

2. Measure and locate the middle point on the crosspiece, mark with a pencil. Place the middle point of the crosspiece at right angles on the spine, about 30cm (12″) from one end.

3. Fasten the two dowels together using twine and tape. It is important that they remain at right angles to each other, and the midpoint of the crosspiece is directly on the spine.

4. Run twine from one end of the crosspiece, to the top end of the spine, to the other end of the spine. Fasten at each end using tape. This will help keep the dowels properly at right angles to each other. Lay the frame flat, with the crosspiece facing up.

5. Cover the frame with plastic material. Use tape to secure to the dowels and the twine, with extra reinforcement at the ends.

6. Punch two small holes along the spine for the bridle. It’s a good idea to reinforce these holes with tape.

7. To make the bridle, feed a length of twine through the hole at the top and tie it to the spine. Do the same with the other end of the twine at the other hole. The bridle should be long enough so when you pick up the kite by it, it’s at least 20cm (8″) from the kite’s surface.

8. Attach the kite string to the bridle. By choosing where you attach the string, you control the angle at which the kite flies. This will require some experimenting to find the best spot, but start at a point near the top of the kite.

9. Attach a length of twine (about 120cm/4′) to the bottom end of the spine as a tail. Tie ribbons of left-over plastic at regular intervals to it.

10. Find some wind, and GO FLY A KITE!

Find these instructions and images at