Alexander: Should an iPad need a wireless printer?

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2011 - 4:49 PM

Patricia McKnight of Tucson, Ariz., and Sue McGowan Lewis of Miami both took issue with my advice last week to an iPad owner, Lawrence Fishman of Miami, who was trying to print documents in the absence of a USB port on the machine. I suggested he buy a USB adapter for $10 to $20, and criticized tablet manufacturers Apple, Samsung and Motorola for not including standard USB ports on their tablets.

McKnight and McGowan Lewis suggested instead that Fishman buy a new printer -- at a cost of $80 to $400 -- that is compatible with the AirPrint wireless printing technology built in to the iPad's iOS 4.2 or later operating systems. They are correct that the wireless solution is technically elegant and convenient, although more expensive than a USB adapter.

The larger point is that consumers who just paid several hundred dollars for a tablet computer shouldn't also have to buy new USB connectors or wireless printers -- they should be able to use the technology they already own. These forced upgrades are good for a computer industry that prospers on new gadget sales, but not for consumers.

QI'm a teacher and use my Macintosh e-mail account (@me.com) for work. With Apple's pending conversion to iCloud technology, will I be able to keep my existing e-mail address?

VALERIE IRWIN, OTTAWA

AiCloud, Apple's online service for storing files such as documents, music and photos, also manages your e-mail by acting as a central repository for e-mail messages, contacts and calendars.

The good news is that you can use iCloud without changing your existing me.com (MobileMe) e-mail address. And you'll be able to shift your existing e-mail, contacts and calendars to iCloud. To make the change-over, go to tinyurl.com/65dx6sl.

QI read your column on removing supercookies that track online activities, but have the impression it applied to Windows machines. I have a Macintosh with the OS X 10.4 operating system. Should I be worried?

JOHN BURKHART,

GREEN VALLEY, ARIZ.

ANo, there's a program you can use to clean supercookies. The programs I listed (FlashCookiesView at tinyurl.com/43c8ljk and Flash Cookie Cleaner at tinyurl.com/3fngf5a) are only for Windows. For Mac, you can use the free BetterPrivacy program if you have OS X 10.0 or later. You also need to use it with the Firefox browser. You can find BetterPrivacy at tinyurl.com/3swjtez, and Firefox 7 for the Mac (requires Mac OS X 10.5) at tinyurl.com/ycn4v7e.

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@ gmail.com, or write to Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Av., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

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