Wednesday, November 24, 2010

AirPrint Hacktivator

iOS version 4.2.1 provides a new feature for Apple iDevices called AirPrint. It works directly with a series of HP HPQ ePrint printers.

However, it AirPrint was also designed to work with a wide variety of Bonjour shared printers on a LAN. That functionality was included in the beta test versions of iOS 4.2, but was removed before public release. The reason why has not officially been stated by Apple. I discuss some details about the situation below. But first I want to point out THE SOLUTION:

A hack that returned full AirPrint functionality was devised a couple weeks back. Thankfully, one developer put the hack into a simple little freeware application called AirPrint Hacktivator by NetPuting. It works beautifully. The website provides a simple video demonstration. Essentially you must set up printer sharing for any printers you wish to use with AirPrint.

I have been able to set up and use two printers I have connected to my AirPort Extreme N Base Station via a connected USB hub:

1) A Lexmark Z715 using driver version 1.0.5, supplied with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. (The driver is not included with 10.6 Snow Leopard and not supplied by Lexmark).

2) An Epson Stylus C84 using the GutenPrint driver version 5.2.3. (I was unable to get it to work with Epson's own latest driver for the C84).

Both printers were setup for sharing on my MacBook running 10.6.5, hacked with AirPrint Hacktivator. My MacBook has to be running and awake for AirPrint on my iPod Touch 4, running iOS 4.2.1, to see the printers. Apparently, AirPrint accesses the printer drivers installed and setup for sharing on my MacBook. The print job is then sent via Wi-Fi over to the Apple Extreme N Base Station. The print outs are nothing fancy but are perfectly adequate.

Note that the only control you have via AirPrint is which printer to use and how many copies you with to make. That's it. There are no other options at this time. Therefore, it's a quick, no frills way to make a print out from an Apple iDevice.

That AirPrint works via printers connected to an AirPort Extreme Base Station was a surprise to me! No where in Apple's original statements about AirPrint was this functionality stated. I tried it. It worked. I'm extremely pleased.

So why was this great functionality deliberately removed from Mac OS X 10.6.5?

Originally Apple had stated that AirPrint would:
... automatically find printers on local networks and print text, photos and graphics to them wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need to install drivers or download software.
Now Apple only state AirPrint functionality with the afore mentioned HP ePrint printers. My net friend Daniel Eran Dilger wrote about this situation in his AppleInsider article 'Inside AirPrint: Apple's printing system for iOS.' To quote:

A rumored controversy, however, maintains that Apple's soon to be released AirPrint has run into a patent issue, reportedly from App Store developer.

We know that Apple's patents for AirPrint are pending. They were reported in September by AppleInsider in their article 'Apple's ambitious AirPlay, AirPrint plans detailed in patent applications'.

When I find out more about the apparent legal tussle over AirPrint technology, I'll post.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Simple Adobe Flash Problem

Disclaimer Intro: I've never had it in for Adobe. I own a number of their programs and enjoy them. What I have it in for is dishonesty, deceit, bad programming and bad business. Sadly, Adobe have become diligent at all four. Why? Because they're suffering from what I call Marketing-As-Management. Their eye is entirely off the ball. They can no longer manage themselves. They can no longer invent. They can only sell. And as this downward spiral deepens, they become infiltrated with what I call Marketing Morons (as opposed to mavens) who consider the customers to be an annoyance and treat them as such. This is how companies die. And while companies die, they perpetrate crap like this:

Now What?

Once again Adobe have had a tantrum about criticism of Flash. And once again, Adobe have
lied and attempted to bullshit us. Check out this bit of surrealism:

Adobe’s Next Flash Excuse: If You Want To Save Power, Don’t Turn On Your Machine

I posted a few bits of relevant information today over at this MacDailyNews article:

Adobe CTO tries defending the indefensible Flash pig

I'm summarizing my comments here for others to use and consider:

1) Q: "What's the name of that flash blocking plug-in?"

Safari (and works with other browsers) use:

Firefox use:

I'd recommend NoScript at all times in any case. JavaScript (aka ECMAScript) has become the Bubonic Plague of the Internet.

2) Q: "If I use Click2Flash and just never click, does that save as much battery power as not installing Flash at all?"


Just keep in mind that when you do click to run a Flash video, the only way to stop the thing is to close that page in your browser or move on to another URL. If the Flash (playing or not!) remains in a background window or tab, it is STILL running and is STILL eating your CPU and therefore your BATTERY. The more Flash pages you have open, the more Flash is chomping your CPU, therefore your battery.

Close all Flash pages ASAP after you've watched them.

3) The Clear Distinction:

Software that is sitting in the background, not being used, is supposed to be silent and not access the CPU. This is what is called "
Good Programming".

Software that sits in the background, not being used, not playing anything, not actually doing anything, that STILL accesses your CPU and eats up CPU cycles is called CRAPWARE. This is called "
Bad Programming".

Flash is Bad Programming.

And no, it's NOT the fault of the person who wrote the Flash ad or the Flash video or the Flash animation.

It's ADOBE'S FAULT. Only Adobe can fix it. Adobe refuse to fix it. Adobe are insistently Bad Programmers.

It's that simple.

4) "But I still want Flash on my iDevice!"

No you don't.

Note everyone: Flash still runs like a 1-legged cow on Android. Don't let Adobe fool you. If Adobe ever get off their lazy asses and fix Flash so it actually works nicely on hand held devices, then we'll talk. Until then, you don't want Flash on your iDevices. Be glad you don't have it.