Raspberry Pi Zero W Cloud Printer

I have always wished I could print things from anywhere. Last week my wish came true. I received an email from buyapi.ca that Raspberry Pi Zero W’s were back in stock. This little $14 computer was going to be the heart of my remote printing solution.

Here are the steps I followed to set up a Google Cloud Printer using a Raspberry Pi Zero W.

My Setup:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • 32GB Class 10 SD card
  • Raspbian Jessie with PIXEL (full install)
  • SSH and VNC turned on in Pi Settings
    • raspberry icon top left > preferences > raspberry pi configuration
  • Assigned IP address to Pi in router
  • Connected to home network via WiFi
  • Change default pi password in Pi settings (it will be online so it is a good idea to change this)
    • raspberry icon top left > preferences > raspberry pi configuration


  • Update the Pi

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

  • Install printer software

sudo apt-get install cups cups-client "foomatic-db"

  • Add user ‘pi’ to printer users

sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi

  • Configure to print remotely

sudo nano /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

  • Change config to the following

# Only listen for connections from the local machine
# Listen localhost:631
Port 631

< Location / >
# Restrict access to the server…
Order allow,deny
Allow @local
< /Location >

< Location /admin >
# Restrict access to the admin pages…
Order allow,deny
Allow @local
< /Location >

< Location /admin/conf >
AuthType Default
Require user @SYSTEM

# Restrict access to the configuration files…
Order allow,deny
Allow @local
< /Location >

  • Reboot the Pi.
  • Add printer to the system.
    • Use the Chromium browser to set up the printer
    • Go to 192.168.x.x:631
      • click Administration
      • click Add Printer (ignore warning)
      • log in using your pi username and password
      • Look for your printer under ‘Local Printers’
      • Select the printer driver and test to see if it prints
        • Remember that printing is one of the most challenging parts of Linux. I had the best luck with the Foomatic drivers.
      • Add a location and add check box to sharing.
  • Go to Chromium setting and scroll to the bottom and check ‘show advanced settings’
    • click ‘Manage’ under Google Cloud Print
    • login to your Google Account
    • click ‘add classic printer’
    • select your printer
    • once added, click the share button and share to other Google Accounts
    • everyone you shared with will now have this cloud printer to print from.

It took me a little while to tweak things to get my printer to work. After a bit of Googleing it now works like a charm and I can print to my home printer from anywhere.

Good luck and a special thanks to Jason Fitzpatrick who’s blog post helped me fix my printer woes.

3/5 #5posts5days – Google Classroom for Marks

I have been exploring the types of posts I have traditionally posted. On Day 1 of the challenge I shared my thoughts and on Day 2 it was a Podcast. Today is Day 3 of the #5posts5days challenge and I am working on a ‘How To’ to help my colleagues as our School Board migrates to 1:1 Chromebooks for all students.

A few weeks ago I was helping some teachers learn about Google Classroom. I was explaining to them that it was a great tool for assignment management but awful for keeping track of marks. Of course after I said that, I started to demonstrate how you can only download the marks as a .csv file and you would need to import them into Excel or another spreadsheet like Google Sheets.


Of course, just like when you are having computer problems and you ask for help the problem always disappears. Somewhere along the way I missed the memo that you could now export your marks to Google Sheets. Classroom is becoming more of a one stop solution for most classroom needs.


Building a Library Search Kiosk using a Chromebox

Set Up Non-Managed Chromebox to Auto Boot into Kiosk Mode:

  1. Wipe the data on the Chromebox using the following procedure:
    • Turn off the Chromebox.
    • Put a paperclip (or pushpin) into the recovery button hole.
    • Press down the recovery button with a paperclip (or pushpin) while turning on the device.
    • Press Ctrl + D.
    • Press the recovery button with the paperclip again.
    • The device reboots and displays a red exclamation point.
    • Press Ctrl + D.
    • The Chromebox reboots and starts the transition to developer mode. This clears all local data and takes approximately 10 minutes.
  2. After reboot you will see a welcome screen → DO NOT LOGIN
  3. Press Ctrl + Alt + K and enable the Kiosk mode.
    • This key combination works only if no one has ever logged in to this Chromebox.
    • If it does not work, go throught the proceedure in step 1 again.
  4. Login into the Chromebox.
  5. Open a new tab in the Chrome browser and surf to chrome://extensions .
  6. Make sure there is a check in the checkbox next to the Developer Mode. Developer mode allows the Chromebox to do some extra actions.
  7. Click the “Manage kiosk applications” button and enter the ID of the Kiosk App you’d like to enable.
  8. Press the “Add” button. The app will appear above.
  9. Highlight the Kiosk app and click the “Set to auto-launch” button.
  10. Press the “Done” button.
  11. Reboot the Chromebox and when asked (if you’re not asked, wait few minutes and then reboot it), enable app for Kiosk mode.
  12. Now, the app will auto launch each time you reboot.
  13. To Turn off Kiosk Mode, begin by rebooting the Chromebox. While the device is starting up, press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + S to interrupt the process and return to the login screen.


Set Up Kiosk App

  1. The first time you start the app it should open into the app, otherwise press CTRL + A to open the login screen (default is username: Admin and password: <<leave empty>>)
  2. Enter the address of the library search page and hit return.
  3. Check any restrictions you want.
  4. Set the username and password to something of your choosing ← very important
  5. Set to refresh every 15 min of inactivity.
  6. Set to reboot every day at 6 am.
  7. Click save.

You now have a kiosk set up for searching the library catalogue.

Things to Remember:

  • CTRL + ALT + S during a reboot will open the ChromeOS and it will function like a regular chromebox
  • CTRL + A in Kiosk mode will open the setting page for the app

Tip: Favourite Google Drive Keyboard Shortcuts

Image from NOGRAN s.r.o. - http://tvorbaweb-stranok.sk/
Image from NOGRAN s.r.o. – http://tvorbaweb-stranok.sk/

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to get to the built-in functionality of many programs. We are all familiar with ‘Ctrl+c’ for copy and ‘Ctrl+v’ for paste, but when I am using Google Drive there are a some that I can’t live without.

The ‘move’ shortcut will move your file to a new location and the ‘add’ shortcut will allow you to have the same file in multiple locations.

  • After selecting a file hit the ‘z’ key to move the file to another folder.
  • ‘Shift + z’ will allow you to add a file to another folder, letting you have the same file in multiple locations – remember that if you make changes to the file in one location it will also change it in the other.
  • Bonus tip: if you hit ‘z’ first and then use ‘Ctrl’ on Chrome OS and Windows or the ‘Alt’ key on a Mac, you can cycle between move and add.

zkey  shiftz