Tag Archives: Apple

Printing From an iPad (or iPod Touch or iPhone)… Not as smooth as you might think…

Printing from an iPad
Printing from an iPad

I don’t have an iPad (though it would be cool), but my friend Mike asked for some help printing from his iPad to his Wifi printer… I did a little searching and it turns out he’s definitely not the only one having trouble with this. Here’s why…

Full of Promise

iPads, like other iOS devices, were given a nice upgrade by Apple when they included the “AirPrint” feature in iOS 4.2 and it seemed to be promising. Unfortunately that is all it seems to be so far — promising…

Writing checks it can’t cash?

The trouble is that in order for AirPrint to work it’s magic — and by magic I mean helping the iPad et al print from a printer — it needs both an upgraded iOS device and a printer that supports its protocols. At the time that it was released there were all of 8 or 10 printers that supported it! I don’t think it has increased all that much since.

“So what can I/we do?”

Well, there are some options, but they can be expensive and/or frustrating… I’ll list a few of the most common with a few caveats:

  • Buy a Printing App (note: almost every one I’ve seen requires an additional download that you run on a computer attached to the printer to work as a type of pseudo-AirPrint driver. Not all are cross-platform. Also the prices can be very expensive.
  • Jailbreak your iOS device and run some print-helper scripts that make use of Dropbox on your phone and on your computer. (Look, this really isn’t a reasonable option. It may be free, but it’s far from efficient).
  • Jailbreak your iOS device and buy a Printing App (note: this one may still be expensive, but supposedly it does not require installation of any additional software)
  • Do it the old-fashioned way by emailing the files you want to print and opening them from a computer attached to the printer you want to print from. (note: Really? That’s so lame!)
  • Sync the documents to Dropbox on your iOS device then print them from a computer that is also synced with your Dropbox account. (Note: Faster than the option above, but still not exactly efficient or desirable).
  • Go out and buy a printer that is AirPrint compatible. (note: that is assuming you have enough cash left after coughing it up for the iPad)

The Best Option?

Clearly the best and cheapest thing you can do to print from your iPad (or other iOS device) is to do as this image demonstrates:

iPad Printing - Fixed!
iPad Printing - Fixed!

But in all seriousness, the best solution is whatever works best for your own situation.

If you have the money (say $9 or $10 USD) go ahead and buy/download PrintCentral Pro iPad | iPod Touch and iPhone
Then install the helper software (called “WePrint”) on the computer attached to your printer. You can find it here: http://mobile.eurosmartz.com/download.html

Further Reading

If you’re curious, you can read more about the problems with AirPrint and etc. with these links:
Official Apple AirPrint page. Includes list of supported printers.
TruPrint — The jailbreak app I mentioned earlier…
Some Forum talk regarding printing from an iPad
More forum talk, different info.

Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

UPDATE! — Some better info from a good friend of mine — See below!

The following quotes are from my friend Phil. He was able print from his iPod(s) and shares his experience as follows…

This was actually really easy, at least for me.
 
Of course, I jailbroke my idevice and downloaded TruPrint from Cydia, which did not require any additional software. TruPrint is a pretty awesome app, but I think it costs like $10, so if you don’t see yourself printing a whole lot from your idevice, it’s definitely not worth it!
 
The cool thing about TruPrint is that it allows you to print documents like emails, webpages, PDF’s, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and any other app with a “Print” option. When you open TruPrint, you will see “Printer Helper Status”, then below lists Canon App, HP iPrint App, Epson iPrint App, Lexmark App, and Brother iPrint App.
 
When you click on your printer brand, it will then take you to the App Store. All the apps *should* be free (mine was–Canon). For me, the Canon app page listed the printers that is supported, and of course, mine was listed, but I’m not sure about the other ones; I’m sure they are listed though. The downside to using JUST the Canon app is that it will only print pictures. To some people, that would be good enough, but to others, they may want to have the option to print emails, documents, etc.
 
I think it really depends on what you are going to be printing, how often you plan on using it, and convenience. For me, printing an email or document on my computer is good enough; I don’t HAVE to print from my ipod. The opportunity cost to pay $10 for TruPrint is much lower than to simply hopping onto the computer to print a document.
 
On the other hand, I’m sure somebody has already cracked TruPrint (or an app similar) to be free. With that, you get into the moral and ethical debate, but I guess that is the user’s choice.

This is great news for those who don’t mind jailbreaking their iDevice. But if you want to keep yours “jailed” then maybe try downloading the iPrint app related to your printer (Canon, HP, Epson, Lexmark, Brother, etc.) and see how well it works “out of the box”. You may need to install computer-side software to get the printer and your iDevice to interact properly (I believe TruPrint makes use of other methods that are not restricted to Apple’s iPrint and thus bypasses the need to run computer-side softare).

If you have a non-jailbroken phone and this works for you, please let me know.

Finally, a few more quotes from Phil and a link to his website.

Found out another way to print. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. It may not be the most effective way, depending on if it fits on the whole screen.
 
Tested only on iPod Touch 4Gen, you can take a screenshot by pressing the home and power buttons at the same time. The image automatically gets saved to your Camera Roll. Open the free printer app that you download from the App Store (in my case Canon iEPP), then print the picture from there.
 
It will only work if what you need to print fits all on the screen, so any documents that is several pages long will not work unless you resize it to fit one page on one screen, do a screenshot, then do the same with the remainder pages.

Update: you can take screenshots with iPod 2Gen, so the idea should work with most idevices as long as it has iOS 4.2+ for printing.
 
This is probably the best free and legit way you could take, but may not work in every situation. In many situations I can think of, you can usually zoom out enough to make everything fit well on the screen.

Thanks again Phil for the help!

Check out Phil’s website here –> http://pmccomb.net

Jailbreaking iPhone 3G – Getting More Action!

Jailbreak iPhone 3G
Jailbreak iPhone 3G

If you are like me and have an iPhone 3G (or perhaps an older iPhone or iPod Touch 2nd Gen or older) you noticed that Apple will no longer be supporting your device. iOS version 4.3 came and went with no love for us folks with older devices. It is reasonable that Apple stop supporting older devices at some point. They are not the only company to do so and they will not be the last… but that still leaves us with limited options now:

  1. We can fork over some cash and upgrade now (or perhaps switch to a Droid phone or something)
  2. We continue using our old devices and be happy with whatever we can get that’s compatible with 4.2.1 and wait it out until we can afford an upgrade or are forced to buy an upgrade
  3. We can jailbreak our devices and get more options!

I don’t have the money for option #1 and I’m not content with option #2, so I opted for option #3!

To Jailbreak or Not to Jailbreak…

Now maybe you’ve heard of “jailbreaking” before, but weren’t really sure what it is or if it’s safe or whatever… I’ll try to put it as simple as possible: Jailbreaking means freeing your iOS device from the restrictions put on it by Apple. By default, you can only install apps from the App Store provided by Apple. They approve apps for distribution based on their own criteria and they make a percentage of the profits (I believe they make 30%, but I could be wrong and I don’t care to look it up right now). When you jailbreak your iOS device you are setting it free! Jailbreaking opens the door to many opportunities… I’ll list a few neat examples of what you can do with a jailbroken iPhone 3G or 2nd Gen iPod Touch that you couldn’t do before:

  • enable multitasking
  • record video
  • have wallpaper on your springboard (the thingy your app icons appear on)
  • use custom themes on your device
  • hide that annoying Spotlight
  • play NES and SNES games
  • and much much much more!

Still not convinced? Well there is also a way to increase your virtual memory and even overclock your processor so that your device will behave more like a 3rd Gen device… an iPhone 3G working more like a 3GS?! yeah, that would be sweet! (note: I haven’t gotten there yet, but when I do, I’ll tell you about it!).

Is it safe? Yeah, I know that is a question in a lot of people’s minds… But really, is anything safe? Sure there is some added security with the default setup because Apple has total control over what is allowed onto your phone and what isn’t, but there are still other vulnerabilities and risks… if someone really wants to get access to your stuff, they will find a way… As far as the safety of a jailbroken device goes, it really boils down to common sense… If you use some, it will go along ways… Change your root and user passwords, only install apps from trusted repositories, and etc…

Is it Legal? According to the US Court System and DMCA Law: Yes! According to Apple: No. Read here for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_jailbreaking#United_States_legal_issues

On with the show!

At first I tried following this nice guide provided by Lifehacker: The Always Up-To-Date Guide To Jailbreaking Your iOS Device, which recommended using GreenPois0n to jailbreak your 4.2.1 iOS Device, but I tried it 4 or 5 times (on Mac and Windows) and it never worked for me. Apparently I could not get my phone into DFU mode… at least not the way that GreenPois0n wanted… So I decided to go with RedSn0w and it worked like a charm! I found a nice guide here (Mac) and here (Windows).

It was very exciting, but didn’t otherwise seem any different at first… the only noticeable difference at first was the “Cydia” app that was now present… but once I started browsing the repositories, it became very clear just how right of a decision this was!

I will be posting a few things this week about my experience now with my newly jailbroken iPhone. Here are a few things I plan to write about so you can follow along if you are interested:

  • What apps to install first
  • Multitasking
  • How to fix MobileTerminal (I found a way to get it to work!)
  • How to fix Cycorder (Haven’t found a solution yet, but it wont be long)
  • Increasing your Virtual Memory (Sorry, it seems this is no longer possible)
  • Overclocking the CPU (Sorry, it seems this is no longer possible either)

Do you have an iOS device? Have you jailbroken it yet? Why or why not? If you care to share, please comment below. Thanks.

Alex’s Antidote now iPhone Friendly

Alex's Antidote iPhone icon
Alex's Antidote iPhone icon

That’s right folks, my website is now iPhone friendly. (Note: from what I understand it should also work in certain other fancy phones too)

Here’s how it goes:

Step 1 – Open Safari -> Navigate to: alexsantidote.com

find Alex's Antidote in iPhone's Safari Browser
find Alex's Antidote in iPhone's Safari Browser

Step 2 – Check out my fancy mobile theme

New Mobile Theme
New Mobile Theme
Page Menu
Page Menu

Step 3 – Bookmark for future reference

Bookmark Options
Bookmark Options

If you’re really awesome you’ll bookmark it to your Home Screen 😉

Bookmark to iPhone's Home Screen
Bookmark to iPhone's Home Screen

And you’ll see a nice shiny icon that will take you straight to this website when you touch it!

Shiny Bookmark Icon!
Shiny Bookmark Icon!

How’d I do it?

  • Install the WordPress plugin called: WPtouch Mobile Plugin + Theme for WordPress
  • Make a custom icon in GIMP (sudo apt-get install gimp)
    • The icon should be saved in .png format.
    • You will need 2 different sizes: 57 x 57 and 32 x 32
      • Name the 32 x 32 icon something that reflects the name of your blog (I used: Alex`s Antidote)
      • Name the 57 x 57 icon “apple-touch-icon.png” without the quotes.
  • In WordPress Settings you will find a menu called: WPtouch, upload the 32 x 32 icon there (look around, you’ll figure it out), then make necessary adjustments below (lots of settings to play with).
    • Be sure to save!
  • FTP/SSH into your root (and/or wordpress) directory for your blog and copy over the 57 x 57 icon you named “apple-touch-icon.png”
  • Done!

Let me know what you think in the comments (if you have time).