/ Ipad on wife's 40th birthday-help with wireless HDD + printer

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Jimbo W on 30 Mar 2013
Hi Everyone,
Some technical advice being sought here. My wife would like an Ipad for her birthday, and I think we could just about afford the Ipad mini. She wants something to browse the web, watch films, email, skype, read e-books, make notes, which is small and easily portable. Part of this "birthday present" also involves me getting rid of my self built PC, which she currently uses at home, but hates (she doesn't like wires, and computers that make noise). So the issue is this.. ..we use Sky broadband, which works well, and have the sky router. Getting rid of the PC means that we won't have anything at home to connect our old printer too. Also we'll need some storage, especially for photos. So the questions are:
1) Can I set up a printer and hard drive to a router: if so how and what products can you recommend to do this. Would I be able to do this to my sky router, or would I need something to attach to that, if so what?
2) Will I be able to print from ipad okay
3) Will I be able to access and write to the hard drive from the ipad

Any other recommendations, for permament photo back-up solutions etc

Thanks so much in advance for any help or ideas you can suggest. Thanks.
Dominion - on 30 Mar 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Is the printer a USB one?

What I'd probably do is get myself a Raspberry Pi - with a debian linux based distro on it - an external (powered) USB hub, and a USB wireless dongle, and tinker with the system so that you can connect the RP to the wifi, use CUPS to advertise the printer, and connect various USB HDDs to the other ports on the USB hub. And get a UPS as well, to keep it all powered up.

Not sure how an iPad talks to network shares, but I imagine it can do so. It would be completely crap if it couldn't, but I don't know what method it uses...

andy - on 30 Mar 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: You can certainly print to pretty much any networked printer with an iPad - but I think you might struggle more with storage other than something cloudy - although there is an iPad external HD set up that I've read about.
andy - on 30 Mar 2013
The Lemming - on 30 Mar 2013
In reply to andy:
> but I think you might struggle more with storage other than something cloudy -

Don't get sucked into the hype of cloud storage. Why pay somebody a monthly fee to store your information when you can create your own personal cloud from home, and have access from anywhere in the world with no monthly fees?

A simple NAS storage device will fit the bill. You can even get them what will allow a printer to connect to them as well. I have not done this but I have read about it. :-)

personally, I would not ditch the PC. Tablet PC's are fine but they have their limits which you will discover very quickly. My plan was to ditch the laptop once I got a tablet but I am so glad that I kept my laptop.

If you want to keep your electricity bills down and the noise levels down then, as Dominion says, get a Raspberry Pie but remember, they are tricky little buggers to set up. My Raspberry Pie is set up to play all my music, movies and TV shows onto my telly. Not bad for 28. :-)
captain paranoia - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Dominion:

> Not sure how an iPad talks to network shares, but I imagine it can do so.

You'd think an iPad might have native support for a NAS, wouldn't you? Well, the iPad 2 doesn't seem to; one genius told me you simply couldn't do it, so I googled and found some options, most popular of which seemed to be the FileBrowser app. I've yet to progress this, having become rather disenchanted with the crippled nature of the iPad.

It may be that later models are more sensible.
Dominion - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to captain paranoia:

Yep, I had a feeling that I'd seen somewhere that iPads are somewhat "crippled"

But I also found this topic on the iPadforums site

http://www.ipadforums.net/network-attached-storage-nas/

and it seems you can do stuff, if you buy the right NAS, and pay for an app from the right people...

eg

http://www.ipadforums.net/network-attached-storage-nas/74006-personal-cloud-storage.html

suggests a Western Digital solution, but you need a real computer to do all the setup in the first place, of course...
SCC Changed - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: if you are hoping to store photos on the iPad, be prepared for a lot of frustration! Just google "storing photos on iPad" to get an idea of the hassle! I don't know whether the samsung tablets are any better for this.

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