Thermal printers have gotten (again) very popular in the last few months; lots of people seem to be quite interested in having relevant info pop up on a little reel of thermal paper instead of in phone alerts or the like. Take a look:
BERG made the Little Printer
, which is sort of unbearably cute. You need a little hub to get your printer connected to the internet.
Adafruit did an ethernet printer project kit
with a slick enclosure, built on arduino with an ethernet shield. Then they built a wireless one built on Raspberry Pi
Sparkfun's done a component pack for a USB-connected thermal printer
Lots of printers. And as objectively silly as it feels to channel various data away from the tailored interfaces I'm used to on my phone or computer, I found myself really wanting one as well. Why not have the weather forecast waiting on a little slip of paper
by the closet door, or build an old-school stock ticker
that reels off prices onto a big heap of paper tape, or have my desk spit out a list of my meetings for the day when I get in in the morning? Sure, it's technically old-school, but something about it just feels so... future
Not that I needed much more of a push at this point, but here it does come into play that building one of these with an electric imp is easier that falling off a log. I mean solder-five-wires easy. I mean no external components. Don't cancel your weekend project in favor of this one. Do this one on saturday morning while you're having your coffee, and have it print encouraging messages for you while you're refinishing the deck or changing your oil or building an arc or what have you. You'll have time.