The Derisive Moment :: My overly complicated journey to simplicity.

The Derisive Moment

Printing Sans Printer

July 16th, 2008

Recently, I’ve joined the masses flocking over to a Mac from a PC.  I’ve never looked back.

However, I’m stuck on a PC at work.  This, combined with a lack of a decent printer at home, presents an interesting problem.  How can I print from my Mac laptop onto the printer at work?  Connecting it to the corporate network is verboten.  As are USB flash drives.  Email is right out, as I’ve had plenty of messages blocked by the spam filter.  My solution lies in the Mac’s fantastic PDF integration, with a bit of magic for good measure.

When I browse my news feeds, there are several categories into which I group articles.  Skip, glance, and fully read.  For those articles to fully read, if they’re fairly lengthy, I want to print them out.  I just find it more comfortable to be able to read them on paper.  Either way, my NetNewsWire ends up growing quite a few tabs of unread articles that I want to eventually read.  

My solution-Print them to PDF in a special folder (~/Documents/printqueue/).  I have that folder committed to a subversion repository.  Once I have a few files ready, a simple:

 svn add *
 svn commit

will sync them up to my server.  Similarly, on my work PC, a

 svn update

will suck them down locally.  From there, Windows Explorer lets me select multiple PDF files, right click, and print.  Remove them from subversion, and they disappear on both ends after and update.

It’s far from ideal, and it has it’s flaws-Safari and NNW both use the page title as the default filename.  Windows doesn’t much like it when those filenames contain pipes, quotes, or other unsavory characters.  But still, it lets me print without a printer.