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Alexander: The last word, for now, on iPad printing

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
  • Star Tribune
  • November 1, 2011 - 4:49 PM

In what I hope will be the final update on iPad printing for a while, there's a new device that promises to enable storing iPad files to a flash drive. The flash drive could then be plugged in to a PC or Mac for conventional printing. It's unclear whether it could be used directly in the USB port of a printer.

Why is this important? This would be the first truly useful USB connection for wired iPad printing. How so? Despite my earlier advice to add a $10 to $20 USB port adapter to an iPad, it turns out that the USB adapters aren't terribly useful. They can connect the iPad to a printer, but the iPad can't talk to the printer. They can connect the iPad to a flash drive, but it's only good for one-way data flow, from flash drive to iPad.

The new "iFlashDrive" would be a two-way street. Introduced in October, the device connects directly to the proprietary Apple plug-in on the iPad, and is said to be able to send data to or receive data from an iPad (once you download a free app from iTunes.) The problem is that it costs $100 to $200, or about what it would cost to buy an iPad-compatible wireless printer.

You can read about it at tinyurl.com/4ybl5wl, but don't buy one yet. If it works, competition will drive prices down.

In the meantime, your iPad printing options are wireless to an iPad-enabled printer (cost: $80 to $400), wireless to any printer via your Mac if you have the $20 Printopia program (see tinyurl.com/3hxt554), or e-mail to a computer that has a printer.

QThe SanDisk microSDHC card in my cellphone no longer works. My phone gave me a message saying there was something wrong with the card. My PC reads the card for an instant, then can't find it. I have audio and picture files on the card I'd like to save. What can I do?

MIKE DVORAK, Farmington

ASince the card doesn't work in either your phone or computer, the card's data storage probably has been corrupted. You can try to rescue the information on the card by using one of the data recovery programs at tinyurl.com/3cpxr4o. Then replace the card.

QI had trouble downloading the Mac program for removing supercookies that can track you online. I went to BetterPrivacy at tinyurl.com/3swjtez, but was confused by seeing other products on the page and no clear download button for getting the program.

DOUG BANCKS, FAIRMONT

AYou're right, it is confusing. Click "download," then choose one of the options under "download locations," either "external mirror 1" or "Softpedia secure download (US)."

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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