Cloud Devices Wish List

I decided to get a color inkjet printer after I grew tired of griping about how much I hate them. The world looks much better in color regardless of how much I gripe about inkjet printers. Printing out grayscale maps and pictures has become tiresome to look at and I felt I might want to give color photo printing a chance as well. I purchased an HP Photosmart Plus B210a. It is interesting to see all the features added since my last inkjet, Canon’s i850.

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...

Image via Wikipedia

The big feature that is heavily advertised is the internet printing. You can send a print job to an email address and it appears on the printer. HP runs the ad with the baby traveling across town to the printer. I will conclude after using this that the printer industry and the cloud application industry are totally missing the boat on what needs to be done but it great to see the industry get started on where it should be in the future.

First, an internet connected printer should be accessible from the cloud. It should be implemented similar to using OpenID type services so you can use your favorite provider, which HP already allows. To print in Google Docs requires that it render the page in a separate screen leaving the end user to select Print from the browser icon and use the application’s printing features. Wrong!  I should be able to register and authorize my HP printer in Google Docs, select File, then Print, and get a print dialogue box that offers printer features and options. I should be able to hit Print and have the printing operation handled by Google Docs, connecting to my web based printer. This would also be a good feature for photo services like Sumo Paint or Google’s Picassa. It would make the process of editing through printing much easier. Cloud connected devices don’t end with printers. Sumo Paint would benefit if the digital camera was a networked device like the printer. The whole workflow could be better integrated into the cloud. Take a picture with my cloud connected digital camera, import it into Sumo Paint for editing, finally printing from the Sumo Paint application.

HP needs to do two more features for me as well. I need to be able to login to my printer page, and send print documents using a browser. Why is this only configured for email? Users should have a browser option as well. Second, HP should have a printer API exposed for cloud based services that enable seemless printing from cloud based applications. Imagine all the cloud services that could use this: imaging, office, education sites, etc. If HP exposes a print API, there would not be a need to make apps run on the printer and the printer would truly join the connected age being able to utilize all the wonderful cloud based application that already exist. I would also like a cloud based driver for the operating system which could send the document using the normal print mechanism. This would enable seamless printing from anywhere I happen to be, without the need to use a clunky email program.

Peripheral devices being cloud enabled will make cloud computing so much better. I look forward to taking snapshots in my digicam someday, and simply turning it on and importing pictures right into Kodak’s Gallery. I can see making a song in a network enabled midi keyboard and grabbing the file from any network connected application.

I wonder if anyone is working on this: Canon, HP, Google Docs? Kodak, you make a lot of hardware and software, are you cooking this up? Who will be first to make the fully connected cloud computing vision? From a business perspective, Kodak likes to make money off prints, so they might not want this feature, or they might make it available for their own products where they can sell you supplies. No matter what, I am waiting at the edge of my seat for the next leap in network connected devices that will make my preferred workflow work for me.

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About David Crumpton

Computer Enthusiast
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