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Have computer, need printer

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks:

I travel in my motorhome with a computer, but I don't want to carry a printer. Every once in a while, I need to print. What are my options?  

Plenty of RVers travel with a computer. Not so many have a printer. If you just want to browse the Web or read and send e-mail, you don't need a printer. But every once in a while, you do need to print something.
If you have a friend nearby with a printer, just attach your file to an e-mail and ask your friend to print it. If that's not an option, the easiest thing to do is to copy the document to a USB drive, and then take that drive to somewhere you can use a printer.

You might not know what I'm talking about when I say USB drive. They're also called thumb drives, jump drives, flash drives and travel drives. You plug them into one of the USB ports on your computer and they show up as a drive letter in “My Computer.” If you don't have one of these drives, you can buy them just about anywhere. Expect to pay about $10 for 1 gigabyte.

You can save files to these drives; you can copy files to and from the USB drive; and you can delete files from the USB drive. So, if you have a file that needs to be printed, you can copy it to the USB drive and take it somewhere that has a printer. Office supply stores with copy and printing departments know how to deal with these drives. Just take the drive in, tell them the name of the file you want printed, and they'll take care of it.

The only problem left is if your file was created by an uncommon program. If the office supply store doesn't have the right program, they won't be able to print the file. The solution is to convert your file to a .pdf (portable document format) file. You can do that with a free downloadable program at www.cutepdf.com.

— Jim and Chris

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