|FingerPrint by Collobos|
|Printopia by eCamm|
Printopia for the Mac has been out for some time and is the better known printing solution. To set it up, simply download one copy on to a Mac computer with a license priced at about $20 per Mac (update its a one-time purchase not yearly as previously thought) and $15 for volume purchases. Once the program is up and running on the same wireless network, that's it. Your iPads/ iPods can now print to any printer that the Mac is able to print to. Opened up, you can customize what printers to give your devices access to and if you pair it up with programs like Dropbox and Evernote, you have a wonderful way to share out files. There are a lot of other exciting features too. One article that describes its features at length can be found here: Printopia Makes Airprint Useful On the iPad.
or go to the Printopia site for the latest updates as features are added to improve its functionality.
This program requires very little effort to be set up by teachers making the file sharing and printing issues less of a headache for IT staff. It does have to run on a Mac and the Mac has to be on. It will need to have printers set up on it for the devices to print to and this software will not work on a PC at this time. For Mac users though, it's a very robust program that works quite well.
To solve the problem for PC users, there is Fingerprint by Collobos.com. Before finding Fingerprint, all I could find for the PC were solutions where I had to install a printing app on every device and a streamer on the PC. Each app had a cost so every device that needed to print from another Apple ID or using the Volume Purchasing with the iPad carts would just add to the cost. Fingerprint works on both Mac and PC and costs only $10 for the one computer. No costly apps have to be installed on the devices themselves. It does not currently state on the site that it requires a yearly renewal either but that could change, of course. It sets up very similar to Printopia in that you simply install the program on a PC or Mac and when its running, your devices will be able to print to almost any printer that the PC or Mac can print to. Just like Printopia, it also can send files to the computer and to a predetermined Dropbox folder connected with the computer. I've used it in workshops where participants bring in their devices with nothing pre-set up to print and they are amazed when they can print, send files to my computer and send files to a shared Dropbox folder that they can access later from a different computer using a Dropbox link. Just like Printopia, the computer or Mac has to be on so choose something that will be on and accessible for other to connect to. If you want to be able to access files later back on the devices, you can share out a Dropbox folder with the Dropbox app on the devices. If you do not have the Dropbox app or an account on your device, you can place files into the Public folder in Dropbox on the computer. Any file in the Public folder automatically will have a shareable link that can be opened in the Safari app on the iPads.
Now that I have a copy of both of these programs (Printopia for work and Fingerprint on my personal laptop), I'm not sure what to do with all of the printing apps I purchased. Hmmmm I wonder if there is a way to gift them out to someone?