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Now print from your tablet

If you have bought an iPad, or any other tablet, chances are that your children have hijacked them to play games or watch movies. But the iPad is not only for fun and games. You can reclaim these devices by downloading the right apps and buying certain accessories to get some real work done.

One key to boosting your productivity is being able to make a presentation and project it on a screen. Second, you should be able to print important emails or documents.

Apple’s devices have a unique feature called AirPrint that allows you to print documents, emails, web pages and photos over a Wi-Fi connection with your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. However, I have been frustrated many times in trying to print something from my iPad only to be told: “No AirPrint Printers Found”.

Having spent a tidy sum on buying the new iPad, I was reluctant to shell out more to get an AirPrint-enabled printer. It was then that I stumbled upon AirPrint Activator. Magically, without any configuration, I was able to print everything from my lowly HP Deskjet D2460 printer.

AirPrint Activator v2.2b5 is a small piece of software that is compatible with Macs running OSX Lion (10.7) and OSX Snow Leopard (10.6). Run AirPrint Activator on your Mac and all printers, including those on a local area network, will be available on your iOS device. The only prerequisite is that both your Mac and your iDevice must be on the same Wi-Fi connection.

There are other solutions out there but they either cost money or require your password to modify the Mac’s system files. AirPrint Activator requires neither (unless you want to donate something). All you have to do is download the file, run it and turn AirPrint on. You will get it from http://netputing.com/airprintactivator/airprint-activator-v2-0/.

Those on Windows should download AirPrint Activator iOS5_v2.6 from this German website, http://iblueray.de/?page_id=209. You can use Google Translate to figure out the installation guide. The key here is to make sure C:\AirPrint\Airprint.exe is not blocked by Windows’ Firewall. You need to include this path in the firewall’s exclusion list along with the ports listed on the site. Make sure you enable Printer Sharing. Another requirement is that you must have the Guest Account enabled or you will get an error message in German.

If you are willing to spend, the best apps for printing is Print Central and Print Share. You can download them from the iTunes Store and they cost around $10. If you want to buy an AirPrint-enabled printer then I would suggest you buy one from the list at http://support.apple.com/kb/ HT4356 .

Please refer to my previous article, Remote Printers at Hand, on how you can print with any Google apps on your tablet or smartphone to any printer of your choice.

If you are using an iPad you should download Keynote. You can make fantastic presentations using this app. To project it on a screen pick up the Apple Digital AV Adapter. You can use the adapter to display the contents of your iPad 2 or later to a compatible TV, projector, or other external display.

Some apps “mirror” by default. The external display will show the same content as the new iPad or iPad 2’s screen. But be careful. Some apps are designed to display different output on the external display. That is why the Apple Digital AV Adapter is useful so that you can use the video-out feature of these apps. When first connecting, it may take up to 20 seconds for the iPad’s display to appear on the external display. The adapter costs around Rs 2,600.

The other useful accessory is the Camera Connection Kit. You can then import photos and videos from a digital camera both ways, through the camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card. iPad supports standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, as well as SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4. You can get photos and videos onto your iPad moments after you take them. The kit costs Rs 1,790.

So now you can put your tablet to more productive use.

Send in your computer-related problems to askdoss@abpmail.com with bits&bytes as the subject line