When you print out a document, the printer is usually fairly close by--if not sitting next to the computer, then perhaps down the hall or in an adjacent room. But it's also possible to print across the Internet to a printer in another location, and a relatively straightforward way to gain this capability (it works over HTTP, so there are no router/firewall issues to deal with) is to use a free utility from Printer Anywhere Inc. called PrinterShare (available for Windows, Mac or Linux).
By routing print jobs (over an encrypted link) through a central server, PrinterShare can output documents to the printer of another system running the PrinterShare software.
Why Print From a Distance?
There are various occasions when remotely printing a document might make more sense than simply sending it electronically, like as an e-mail attachment. One is if you want to maintain a certain level of control over a sensitive document--e-mails can be easily forwarded (often mistakenly) without your knowledge or permission, and sending only a paper copy makes unauthorized/unintended dissemination a lot harder.
Other possible scenarios include if the recipient doesn't have the software to open the file you want to send, an alternative to sending a fax, or if you want to send a document to a somebody that's not too comfortable dealing with e-mail attachments.
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