This is a transcript of a podcast discussing Internet Printing, issues and
challenges related to it.
Speaker Key: PB Phil Brown, DW
PB: Hi, it’s Phil Brown. I’m here with David
Whelan, and today we’re going to talk about Internet printing.
DW: Internet printing is one of those
niche areas that is perfectly suited to a short podcast like this one. It’s not
something that you’re going to do every day, but it’s a nice thing to have in
your toolbox when you’re out and about and trying to get information sorted out
or being more productive.
Internet printing, just to be clear, is not when I print something on one of my
networked printers in the office and then have to run around to various places
to see where it ended up, is it?
DW: No, but it’s the same concept.
Essentially what you’re doing is taking that print job and putting it out
somewhere on the Internet, and I’m assuming you’ll also be somewhere else
outside of your network, so that you’re really using the Internet to send the
print job back to your office. And it may be worth talking about what a print
job is right now so that you get a sense of how that shifts out to the
Internet. When you sit down at your computer in your office and you press the
print button, the information is sent from your computer to a print server
somewhere. In general you’re not printing directly to the printer unless that
printer is actually connected to your computer. So that print job is sent out.
It’s spooled up, in the terminology of the print world, and then it comes out
on the pieces of paper at your printer.
so you take all those concepts with you onto the Internet. When I’m on my
tablet or my phone or laptop, and I’m away from the office, I can press the
print button, have that information sent to a print server somewhere on the
Internet, it will spool up, and then it will be spooled out of my printer,
wherever that printer is.
PB: And it goes to the location you tell
it to go to.
PB: And just to be clear on the process,
as it’s spooling up and essentially just preparing that print job to print, is
that being held by some third party? Is your information being held by a third
DW: Absolutely. And it’s one of the
things you really need to think about when you’re sending that print job. Two
of the better-known Internet printing options are Google Cloud Print, where you
set up a printer through your Google Chrome web browser and then print through the
browser back to your office. You can do this on tablets and on laptops. Another
is to use the printing options from your printer. HP, for example, has HP
ePrint. And so HP, then, is the server, the print server, that you’re sending
the job to. So you really need to know that that document, which may be
confidential information, is being sent to a print server, and while it is on
that print server and being spooled up, it is essentially on a third-party
server out in the Internet. Sometimes it’s called cloud printing, but that’s
not really what it is. It’s really just a print server like the one in your
PB: Right. So do we need to worry about
things like confidentiality?
DW: Probably not. It’s probably the same
challenge you have with email, which is that at some point, as long as the
documents aren’t being stored permanently on those servers, and they’re just
spooled up, it’s pretty much the same as what happens on your printer back in
your office. Once the spooled document is spat out, it is often deleted from
that printer, and so there’s no way to get to it. And so even if it’s on a
third-party server, like an email, there’s no real way to get to it, unless
someone’s really digging, or perhaps it’s been backed up at that moment.
PB: Right. And we briefly alluded to it,
although it is a slightly different animal, but printing on your own network – for
a lot of people using home offices and wireless devices at home, how does that
work with air printing and things like that?
DW: It’s pretty much the same. If you
have an Internet printing option, you can use it if you’re sitting in your
office just as easily as sending it over the Internet. In fact, some of the
concerns you might have about doing that are that if you have a Wi-Fi printer,
a wireless printer where you can send the print job to your printer in your
home office or your home, that printer should probably be secured – well,
should definitely be secured – against other people also being able to print to
it. And that’s one of the options that you’ll find in your wireless printing,
is whether to allow just anybody to print to it, or to allow just people who
have set up a secure connection to it to print to it.
PB: Right. So the Internet printing that
we’re talking about, you’re not actually ending up with a print copy in your
hand on the spot.
DW: No. And one of the interesting things
about Internet printing, and one of the reasons that I think it is worth having
in your toolbox is, I think of it as a productivity tool. If I’m out on the
road or away from my office, and we can use the courtroom or a coffee shop as a
good example, or I may just be sitting with my client and I have my wireless
device open and we are talking about a document or we’ve agreed that a document
is something that we want to investigate or follow up on further, and a
document could be a Word document or it could be pictures, or it could be
whatever, if I can send it back to my office through the printer and have it
sitting there when I get back, it’s one less thing that I don’t have to think
about organizing electronically on my device. And when I get back to the office
or if I have staff waiting back at the office, they can start to triage and
work on that information as soon as it gets into the stack. Or when I get back
to the office, I’ve got essentially a to-do list of printed-off material that’s
waiting for me.
PB: Right. So it’s about efficiencies.
PB: Anything else that we have to say
about Internet printing?
DW: Not really. I think it’s one of those
little nice-to-haves. But you have to set it up in advance. So if you’re
thinking about using Internet printing, go ahead and download the apps,
configure whatever settings you need to, both on your printer, on your print
server, which may be Google or it may be your printing company or your printer
company’s site, and make sure that you’ve tested it out so that when and if you
do need it, it actually works.
PB: Right. And obviously we don’t endorse
any particular products, but there are a lot of big names out there doing it
and there are a lot of smaller companies doing it as well.
DW: For sure.
PB: All right. Thanks. That’s our look at
Internet printing. Thanks, David.
DW: Thanks Phil.