With all the flashy new stuff announced at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, it's easy to think of your gear as flabby, old and tired.
Well, here's a neat little trick that might not make iPhone 4/ iPad owners feel like you've got a new toy, but it will remind you just how much you've come to love and rely on your portable partners. Here's how to print out online coupons and anything else from your iPhone 4 or iPad. See? Old dogs can learn new tricks!
-- An Intel Mac laptop or desktop with the latest operating system
-- A printer connected to your network
-- An iPhone 4 or an iPad with the latest operating system
-- AirPlay Activator, a free application (donations accepted) for your laptop or desktop
I got everything working in just a couple of minutes (no matter how long this list of steps looks!), and was effortlessly printing from my iPad.
1. Update your Mac and your iPhone/iPad to the latest operating systems.
2. Download and install AirPrint Activator to your computer from here: netputing.com/airprintactivator
3. Launch AirPrint Activator and click the "on" switch
4. Remove your printer from your computer
-- Open System Preferences, then click the Printers & Fax icon
-- On the next window, highlight the printer you want to remove, then click the minus sign in the lower right part of the window, then click "Delete Printer"
-- Now click the plus sign (next to the minus sign) to add the printer back to your computer.
-- Click the box next to "Share this printer on the network."
5. Add your printer back to your computer
6. Leave your Mac on and its lid (if a laptop) open
7. To print a photo from your iPhone/iPad or to print a page of a PDF file you've found online, touch the icon that resembles an arrow protruding from a box. When you tap the word "Print" that appears, you see your printer's name and get a chance to choose a range of pages to print out.
Apple included AirPrint function in its latest update of iOS4 for iPhone and iPad, but it as it is, it works with only a handful of HP printers, including the one I have at home. AirPrint Activator and Printopia ($10; ecamm.com) extend AirPrint to other printers. So now, your iPhone/iPad "sees" your Mac's printer – the one that's connected to your network.
Seems like a small thing, but it can be liberating to print coupons, e-mail and other documents from your portable device. The downside is you need to leave your Mac on (and if it's a laptop, the lid has to remain open).
No, this won't turn your iPad into a Lenovo LePad running Windows 7 and Android Honeycomb. And it won't make your iPhone 4 the Motorola Atrix, a smart phone-PC hybrid. But this can at least stave off a little bit of Consumer Electronics Show envy.
Tell us your favorite trick.
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