Print your emails from iPhone/iPad
November 7, 2013
I sometimes want to be able to print emails (or other documents) from my phone or iPad. I don't see any way to connect a printer to the device. I remember hearing somewhere that there's some way to print wirelessly from these devices. Can you help?
First off, we'd like to suggest that unless there's no other option, you refrain from printing emails — that's kind of the point of the handheld device (that is, the email is always with you so you can refer to it on the device).
If, on the other hand, you really do need to print an email or some other document, you may be able to take advantage of one of the iPhone/iPad's great features: AirPrint. (You can find out more about AirPrint here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4356). This built-in feature is available in iPhone 3GS or later, all iPads and the third generation iPod Touch or later.
In each case, you'll need the latest version of the operating system that the device can support. Given the right hardware and software, this feature allows you to print your email or document wirelessly to a handful of supported printers.
You can find the full list on the Web site listed previously. To use AirPrint, look for the Send To icon in an application (generally an arrow of some sort in a toolbar), and select the Printer icon from the list of targets, and then select your Airprint-supported printer.
None of our printers are supported — they're all too old — but that doesn't mean that we can't use AirPrint!
Luckily, even if your printer isn't supported, you can install software on Mac or Windows PCs that acts as an AirPrint server, routing requests to print to one of your installed printers. (Search online for "AirPrint Server" for more details.)
Ken uses a utility on his Macs called Printopia (http://www.ecamm.com/mac/printopia/), but there are several options available; some are free, others charge.
Once you have the AirPrint server software installed, you should be able to print wirelessly to your printers, even if they don't natively support AirPrint. All in all, it's a great feature!
What happened to Microsoft/Instant Messenger?
I've been using Microsoft Messenger for years to chat with my kids online, and now suddenly Microsoft has been telling me (through the Instant Messenger client) that I have to stop using it. What's up? Why are they killing off a feature that I use daily?
It seems that software companies spend a lot of effort in first creating products, seeing what works, and then combining products to streamline their product lines over time.
Google does this constantly, killing off products that seem redundant with other products they have or that just didn't catch on with users (ask anyone who invested any time in Google Wave).
As for Messenger, we, too, have used and relied on it for years. And it's true: Microsoft is killing the software utility called Microsoft Messenger, but it's important to note that they're not killing off the functionality.
Recently, Microsoft purchased Skype, a company known for its Voice Over IP (VOIP) features. Microsoft integrated their messaging service into Skype and released a version that provides all the functionality that you came to know and love with Microsoft Messenger.
Rather than have two independent software clients for messaging, they have deemed it imperative that all users switch to using Skype.
There has been a lot of online buzz about this forced transition, and you can find information about it in this useful article: http://goo.gl/KwKv9V.
Neither Doug nor Ken is particularly happy with the Skype user interface, and neither of us uses it daily. Instead, on the Mac, Ken uses Adium (https://adium.im/), a free messenger client that not only supports Microsoft Messenger but a number of alternate messaging protocols, including Facebook and Google.
There are several other clients available on the Mac, as well, including the popular Trillian (available in the Mac App Store).
On the PC, Doug uses Lync (from Microsoft) as part of his Office 365 subscription. Lync isn't the only game in town, however, as Windows users can also use other IM clients, such as Pidgin (http://www.pidgin.im/) and Trillian (http://www.trillian.im).
Skype is free, and to be honest, provides the best, clearest online calls, computer to computer, that we've ever heard.
It can also make computer-to-landline calls, as well, for a fee (and Ken uses Skype for this with great results).
The Instant Messaging portion of Skype still feels somewhat "raw," but it may be sufficient for your purposes, and there are alternate clients if it's not.
Hear Doug Behl and Ken Getz' tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m. Submit your own technical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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