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April 09, 2010

There's almost an app for that

Well, ol' Stevie didn't come through for me with iPhone 4.0, and I'm still in Limbo when it comes to printing and file syncing for my iPad. Sure, there are some decent printing solutions (PrintCentral, Print n Share, Airsharing), and even an office suite that supports VPN access (as opposed to the severely crippled Apple Pages, which can only access/save files through Mail, iWork.com and USB/iTunes).

But, as of now, there isn't any one app that combines the functionality of both -- which, for efficiency purposes, seems like the only acceptable solution for a heavy user like me. I mean, consider the time lost my doing this:

Open word processor > create document > save document to server > close word processor > open printing app > find file on server > print document

instead of this:

Open word processor > create document > save document to server > print document

I realize that it doesn't seem like much, but wasting 30-60 seconds switching apps and searching for a file every blessed time you want to print could add up pretty quickly. On a busy day, it's not unheard of for me to print 30 docs. That's up to a half an hour wasted -- on a busy day, mind you -- just trying to print. And let's not even talk about the pure, unadulterated rage that would build in my soul as a result of executing this seemingly redundant process over and over and over again.

But while Office2 won't currently qualify an everyday solution, it's certainly a step in the right direction. VPN access means I can edit and save files when I'm working remotely and don't need to print. That's a big step, and allows me to trade a device that's merely nomadic (a traditional laptop) for one that's truly mobile -- and that's great. It really is.

So great, in fact, that it's making me wonder: why, in 2010, do I even need a print-capable office suite? With all the virtual commenting and collaboration tools available, why are we still wasting time and money and trees by printing out every version of every copy doc for every job we work on? In an age where people file taxes and store entire lives' worth of photos online, why can't we do something as simple as route a word document?

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