Printing, guest networks and automation

I love that routers these days have guest network options that I can turn on and off at any time. The Linksys smart wifi router app makes this super easy, and while the dumbing down of customisation and some rule setting is way annoying, there are some pretty cool features overall.

One thing to note, however, that having a guest network means that users on the guest network can’t access your printer(s). This can be a non-issue for a single print, but for someone who is staying for a few weeks, doing a job hunt and needing to access the printer, this might be a pain. Also they may not have access to the admin rights of their computer, and you might not be able to install printer drivers anyway.

Whatever the reason, I found this nifty workaround, using Hazel, Dropbox and Automator.

First I created a shared folder in my Dropbox called toPrint. This is the folder I’ll share with any folks that come over. You can do this using any of the cloud file share offerings out there, including Box, Skydrive and Google Drive.

Next, I created an Automator task that prints a finder object.

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After that, I tell Hazel to monitor the toPrint folder, and to open the above Automator workflow whenever a file is deposited into that folder, and to delete the file after it is printed.

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Cool… Printing without installing drivers. đŸ™‚

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