(wow, that's a wordy title, isn't it?!)
I've been rolling this post around in my head for a few months now, but yesterday was just one more example of how this lovely technology has made my life very easy.
One of the areas of our study through Ambleside Online is picture study/artist study. The admins of AO choose an artist for each term, and suggest certain prints of special note for students to study. This term's artist is Sandro Botticelli.
I belong to the yahoo group called "AO Art Prints," which is run by a lady who posts pdf files of each chosen print. I receive an email when she posts them. At my convenience, I go to the "files" section of the yahoo group and download the files, which are public domain so there's no tricky copyright stuff happening.
Now, here's where it gets VERY EXCITING. I go to the Fedex/Kinko's website and choose "online services." I pick "print to a FedEx store" and upload the files to them. I pick the kind of paper I want, whether I want it bound (I hang these in our schoolroom, so I keep them loose), and other options. Then I tell them the store where I'd like to pick them up, and when. I enter my educator's code for a discount, pay with my credit card, and get a receipt in my inbox.
So for five to ten minutes' worth of effort on the computer, and about ten dollars, I was able to pick up ten finished high-quality prints on nice paper last night at my local FedEx store.