Ever need to print from your mobile phone? I know I have and the workarounds aren’t always so pretty. Air Print is coming in iOS 4.2, but you need special hardware for that. Print apps are available, but they can be buggy and they definitely cost.
There is a free solution that is as simple and as elegant as it gets. Use Dropbox. I love this tip so much that I shared the original post in Google Reader and I have to write about it here too.
If you aren’t already using Dropbox, stop right now and head over here and sign up for the FREE cloud storage service. You can find out more about why Dropbox is so awesome in my post about it here.
This printing solution will work with any mobile phone, not just my iPhone. Simply install Dropbox and download a utility onto the computer that is connected to your printer. This utility monitors your Dropbox folder for any new print jobs. Get the utility here. Once you unzip the file and open eprint.vbs, the utility creates a sub-folder inside your main Dropbox folder called PrintQueue where mobile print jobs queue up and a second sub-folder called logs where completed jobs are archived. Send the print jobs from your mobile phone, either through the dedicated Dropbox application for your device, or use Habilis (link here) which works with Dropbox via email. Once your file hits Dropbox, it gets slotted into the proper folder and the desktop utility takes over and prints your file.
You can turn off the utility by searching wscript.exe on your computer or pulling it up in Windows Task Manager. As long as you have a program associated with a particular file format loaded on the main computer, you can print associated files via this system.
I can’t wait to get home and check this out.
Hat tip to Amit at Digital Inspiration blog.
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ok, maybe I’m a total dunce, but I don’t understand how this quite enables me to print from my iphone, because:
1.) the DB app on the iphone doesn’t allow me to move files from one place in the dropbox to another (e.g. from my essays folder to the “print queue” folder); and
2.) habilis sends files to a “From Habilis” folder (or subfolder thereof), but not to the “print queue” folder.
I guess it must be possible to move files around in the dropbox from within the dropbox mobile app, but I’ve played around and can’t figure it out. Help, anyone?
Have you actually tried it yet and it failed or are you wondering in the theoretical? I haven’t yet but plan to when I get a moment. Will let you know how it works for me.
Of course I got it to work right after I sent the last Reply
Glad to hear it!
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