Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why'd You Have To Go And Make Things So Complicated?

The excitement of my new iPad keyboard has led me to do what I've never done before: extend a blog beyond the first breathless and hopeful post.

I just started my plan to completely "iPad myself" last week but knew that I wouldn't be able to quit my PC cold turkey. Therefore I decided to keep track of when I had to go to the PC to accomplish certain tasks. I tried to keep to the rule that if I could do it on the iPad I would. Moreover, if something about the iPad was keeping me from getting work done, I would look for a solution before caving in to the PC.

That worked for the first thirty minutes or so.

The problem that confronted me is the one that might prove to be my most difficult to surmount. I couldn't print from my iPad. (Environmental disclaimer: As a general rule, all of my class stuff is electronic. The bulk of what I print is my daily lesson plans--two pieces of paper. I've tried to find a good electonic replacement, but so far no luck.)

This is not to say that the iPad doesn't print. It has this feature called "airprint" which sounds like a wonderful way to get things onto paper. "Airprinting" conjures up images of iCherubs floating among the clouds, lazily scooping up an electronic document from the tablet and languidly dropping it into the printer. Effortlessly and almost magically the printer would then take this stuff of air and make it tangible.

And that is how I imagine it all works.

Unfortunately, I have to imagine this scenario, since I have no Mac at home, no Mac compatible printer at home, and the network at school is based on PC stuff.

The workaround is mundane and tedious; I must boot up my HP Tablet PC (a great machine, but as it whirs slowly to life it's just mocked by the always on-ness of the iPad), email the document from Pages (exported as Word) to myself, open the email on my PC and print. This is not the end of the world, but it is enough of an annoyance to make me pause in the experiement. Moreover, it gets me to turn on the PC in the first place, which then makes the machine all the more tempting when I hit another iPad roadblock.

Not surprisingly I have found several apps that claim to fix the problem, but I'm not sure they will work with our school network. And I'm basically too cheap to shell out the three bucks to see. (Which reminds me, is anyone going to figure out a way to let people demo apps for 24 hours?) If anyone else has solved the printing problem, I'd love to hear about it.

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