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Printing Remotely: One Solution

(November 2004) posted on Fri Nov 19, 2004

In the trenches print provider discovers time saver

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By Jay Higashi

As with so many small graphic-arts businesses,
I have a project schedule that has
tight deadlines and I often have large swells
in the volume of work to do. Although I'm
not in a position to increase my staff size to
accommodate those increases in volume, I
still need to fulfill the production commitments.
Often, the simple answer is to tackle
some work during my normal off hours"?
typically it's the actual outputting of files
that gets handled in "non-prime-time."

I live 26 miles from work, and have two
very active children in elementary school.
Like many of you, I don't want to shortchange
my children by becoming a workaholic
"?but I still have to get the job done.
So, after a normal workday, I make my long
commute home, have dinner with my family,
and go to soccer practice or dance lessons.
Finally, around 8:30, I get my kids to
bed and try to complete at least one full
conversation with my wife.

Then, however, it's time for round two: I
get in my car, drive back to work and, with
no interruptions, I'm able to send a whole
bunch of files to the printer. I can get so
much done in just a couple of hours! By
about 2 am, I'm home and in bed.

I decided, however, that there had to
be a better way. I don't mind the additional
work, but if only I didn't have to
drive back to the office to accomplish it.

After talking with our tech-support
people at my office, I realized that with
very little effort I could print remotely
from my computer at home. In fact, it
turned out that I had everything I needed
with my existing office computer and
printer. It just never dawned on me that I
could make it all come together so easily.

First, our tech-support people gave me
a VPN (virtual private network)"?a "tunnel"
through the firewall, requiring a password
and VPN address. Next, I needed a static IP
address for my printer and work computer.
On my work computer, which already had
remote-access software installed"?in my
case, Netopia's Timbuktu Pro"?I set up a
remote username and password. My work
computer was now ready.