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Monthly Archives: January 2009

In the “Midst of Things” instead of “Out of Touch”

What sets working at PaperCut apart from run-of-the-mill jobs is the fair balance of hands-on customer care and high-minded technical development that everyone here gets involved in. (Well that and the free gourmet coffee.) In other companies out there these activities are usually separated into separate departments, which more often than not results in some sort of Chinese Wall that makes sure customers’ concerns get preciously little attention in product development.

In “The Power of the Marginal” technology entrepreneur and writer Paul Graham writes about the competitive advantage of companies thus structured: “The needs of customers and the means of satisfying them are all in one head.” In practice that means that at PaperCut, the customer’s question about a printer that seems not to be supported and the resulting update to the software that is being delivered to them by email are not more than a few hours apart. Bigger features may take a few weeks but we don’t usually refuse any functionality that has been demanded by at least 5 or so of our customers. And while other software products will entertain you with messages like “Error 0x800051ef has occurred”, error messages in PaperCut come with a one-click button that will deliver detailed information directly onto the developer’s desk so that the problem can be pinned down on the spot and the answer emailed back to the customer.

This is also why I recommend our customers to subscribe to Upgrade Assurance, where at little additional cost to their license they get a first-row seat in this feedback loop and can focus on their actual work, knowing that their print accounting will be kept up-and-running for years to come.

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Version 9.1 Released

Today we released PaperCut version 9.1. A full list of changes in this release can be found in the release notes for PaperCut NG or PaperCut ChargeBack.

While we’re on the topic of news, make sure you check out the developer blog. Rick, Hendrik and Chris have posted recent updates. Make sure you check this out to see what we’re up to behind the scenes.

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Green is Out

I’ll have to admit I’m a bit of a pop culture junkie. Each December I like to watch some of the year in retrospective television shows that go through the highs, lows and woes of the previous year. As I watched the 2008 wrap-up of the most over-used words in use in the United States I was surprised to hear that ‘green’ made the top 5. At first I thought; that’s too bad, after 15 minutes of fame green is no longer in. Then I thought maybe the green movement has become so widespread that folks are getting overwhelmed with its new prominent position in our lexicon. I really don’t know why green made the list, but I hope it doesn’t foretell a lack of interest or apathy in the future.

I live in Portland, Oregon USA where green has been a hot topic for decades. Portland is a major hub for the timber industry. The people in this area have experienced the downside of ignoring the environment for economic gains. Throughout much of the 20th century clear cutting was the standard logging technique here. In the 80’s as the environmental impact became obvious, public lands were protected from clear cutting. In the following years the timber industry nearly collapsed as enforced protection of the forests worked its way through the economy. The loss was 2 fold – first the environment, then the local economy.

Things are better in Oregon now, the local economy is much less dependent on the timber industry, logging practices are more environmentally friendly, and green is definitely in. When I tell people about my new job at PaperCut and show them our Environmental Impact Gadget I almost always get a ‘cool’ or ‘wow’.

If you would like to try the gadget and you are running Windows Vista, send me an email and I will send you a link to the download. The gadget is a part of our print management software that is used throughout the world to reduce waste by applying print quotas and providing network managers with information that can be used to track printing resources.

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