My wife’s school has generously given all faculty members laptops–and not so generously made it all but impossible to change settings, download software, or–gasp–install a new program. In a move that defies logic, the school has decided that the ONLY place the laptop should print is at school, on school printers. So, teachers cannot install local printer drivers on their laptops. In other words, when they bring the laptop home–another gasp–and try to print on their trusty HP inkjet, they will be prevented from doing so by some kind of stingy admin restrictions.

Kind of defeats the idea of portable computing, right? Plus, the network system the school uses is really buggy–making it hard to access files remotely. At home and want to print out the file you were working on during seventh hour? Good luck.

Fortunately, for the enterprising and slightly deviant home user, there is Dropbox, the remote storage and syncing service. Thanks to a tip from Lifehacker, it’s possible to print remotely, even when you don’t have the ability to install a printer driver. You will need at least one computer with Dropbox installed–maybe the old desktop that is still hooked to your printer–the one that takes 30 minutes to boot.

Then, it’s just a matter of configuring one of the Dropbox folders to print automatically. I used Automator (Mac) to set this up. You can even use Habilis to make it possible to email your document to print right to the Dropbox print folder.

I set this up at home for my wife’s laptop–and so far, it works perfectly. Nice workaround (and very satisfying for the only slightly deviant).