I refuse to replace my old, ailing printer because I believe it’s a dying technology, like landline phones and fax machines.
Yet just as a home phone is good for emergencies and faxing is often convenient, sometimes you just need to print — forms that require signatures, travel confirmations, etc.
Enter Google Cloud Print: a simple application that lets you print remotely to any Google Print-enabled printer from any computer or mobile electronic device with Internet access.
Finally, I can print without wrestling with my own printer.
Let’s say you’re working from home and finish tomorrow’s office presentation.
If your office printer is set up to receive Google Cloud Print requests, you can send the final project over Wi-Fi directly to the printer and it will be waiting for you when you get to work.
If Grandma is pleading for more photos of the grandkids, have her set you up as an authorized user on her Google Cloud printer and send pictures right to her desk.
Even if she has turned off her printer, the job will wait in the queue until she powers it back on.
Google Cloud Print works on any printer that connects to the Web (it supports both Windows and Mac), even those that have to be connected to a computer.
If you plan to use the application regularly, consider a Google Cloud Print Ready printer (www.google.com/cloudprint/learn/printers.html).
It can connect to the Internet right out of the box over a Wi-Fi network without having to run through a host computer; it registers itself directly with Google Cloud Print service, so it’s always available.
You’ll get the same PC-free functionality from any Wi-Fi-capable printer, but it may require additional drivers.
To enable Google Cloud Print on an existing printer, download Google Chrome (www.google.com/chrome) onto the computer to which it’s connected.
After installing Chrome, click on the browser toolbar’s wrench icon and drill down through the settings tab to Advanced Settings to the Google Cloud Print section.
Sign in using your Google account.
Then, click “finish printer registration” to enable Google Cloud Print.
Once the printer is registered, enable sharing with various parties you’ll allow to print.
Log in to your Google account and navigate to the Google Cloud Print management page.
Click on “printers” and select the printer you’d like to share.
The person you share with will receive an email to confirm registration.
Most mobile devices lack wireless printing capacity. To gain it, simply install an app onto your Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone or tablet and Google Cloud Print.
Users of iOS devices should look for the PrintCentral Pro App ($5.99 for iPhone and iPod Touch, $9.99 for iPad, iTunes Store). Google Mobile lets you create and print emails from any mobile device.
Visit m.google.com/mail from your phone, or download the application from Google Play or iTunes. Google Docs’ mobile version lets you create, share and print Google Docs from your Android or iOS device.
A note about iPhone 5: You’ve likely been inundated with buzz about the newest generation of iPhone, available in stores as of Sept. 21.
It sports a 4-inch screen (up from 3.5 inches) that enables watching widescreen media without the black bars on the top and bottom, while still managing to be thinner and lighter.
A faster processor, improved display and support for 4G LTE network connectivity round out improvements.
Drawbacks are a new docking connector, meaning existing charging cables won’t work, and, of course, having to shell out $199 or more for a new phone.
Andrea Eldridge is CEO of Nerds on Call, a company based in Redding, Calif., that offers on-site computer and home theater set-up and repair. Contact her at www.callnerds.com/andrea.