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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Posted on by Development Team

PaperCut Version 10.4 Released

Right on the back of the release of our new website, we’ve released PaperCut Version 10.4. This release is best described as a maintenance release with a focus on bug fixes, documentation and interface cleanup. All sites are encourage to upgrade. Full changes are listed in the release history, and you can upgrade with a simple install-over-the-top upgrade procedure using the latest downloads:

Download PaperCut NG
Download ChargeBack

The development team are already working on 10.5 which will include some significant new features. The plan is to have this out the door in August. While we have your attention, we’d also recommend taking a look at our blog for more behind the scenes news.

The PaperCut Development Team

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Posted on by jason

The SysAdmin: five parts tech and one part accountant!

CalculatorHello, my name is Jason and I’m the new member of the PaperCut team. In my previous position I was a Systems Administrator (SysAdmin) at a leading high school. It though I’d share my story about PaperCut from my last role.

Part of any SysAdmin job is finding technology that fits a business need and in more recent times, a budget! Far gone are the days of unlimited budgets and unaccountability. There is now pressure on SysAdmins to quantify how a new piece of technology is going improve the bottom line.

One of perhaps the most costly areas of a SysAdmins responsibility is printing: hardware, consumables and time! The impact on a organization when a printer breaks down can often be heard office wide! “WHY is this printer out of paper AGAIN?”

Maybe this printer is being utilised by a department that should have their own printer, or maybe we need an extra couple of paper bins so that it only needs to be refilled in the morning, or perhaps someone is even doing printing outside of business hours. We often just don’t know.

Having been both a SysAdmin and as an Employee, I understand the frustration on both sides. In my past position I decided to investigate some print management software and see what kind of results I could achieve. So off to Google I went and after a bit of research PaperCut NG was the top candidate. I downloaded the trial and installed it to my test environment. It worked. I threw print jobs at it, I threw weird configurations at it. It just worked and I wanted it installed as soon as possible. I could see the immediate benefit.

I spoke to my manager, praising the features of the software and expecting an easy path to purchase. Unfortunately the budget was tight and it would need to be considered and justified. At this point I realized that the information I had did not quantify how this software would improve our bottom line. I needed to present my case to the budget holders!

I went back to PaperCut and discovered the ROI Calculator (Return on Investment). I started putting in some figures: 2,000 students, 250 staff, $0.05 a mono page, $0.20 per color page, checked with Accounts Department again to see how much paper we were using (about 8 reams a day, 4,000 pages). With all of these figures in, the numbers that came back were staggering. What was even more of a stand out was the time it would take for the purchase of the PaperCut software to pay for it self. It was possible that inside of 3 months we would be ahead.

Armed with more information I arranged another meeting. Using the bar graph, dollar values, and environmental impact, I put forward my more polished case. Everyone was sitting there asking “Do we really use this much paper? Do we really spend this much?”. The questions now weren’t about how much it was going to cost. Instead it had created a catalyst whereby the questions were about “Where else can we streamline ? What other software should we be looking at? Are there other faculties that can benefit?”. PaperCut was was now over the line, it was a now a no-brainer for everyone. The only downside is there was now an expectation that I go repeat the savings in other areas!

I’m now proud to be part of the PaperCut team working with a bit of software that I know from first hand experience has a real positive impact.

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Posted on by Chris

Welcome to our new website

For the past month Tom and I have been quietly working away on our new website. It was satisfying to push it live today (Sunday night US time). The new site is quite a change for us. It’s the first time we’ve used an external designer. Here are a few screen-shots showing how our site has evolved over the last ten years:

PaperCut Circa 2000
PaperCut Circa 2000

PaperCut Circa 2004
PaperCut Circa 2004

PaperCut Circa 2009
PaperCut Circa 2009

PaperCut Circa 2010 (Today)
PaperCut Circa 2010 (Today)

Historically all our web design has been done in-house. As a bunch of computer programmers we are very proficient in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, however when it comes to artistic flair we finally conceded that we were hitting our limits. It was time for some outside help! After some searching we found a web designer (Pollenizer) we felt was able extend our own culture and style rather than impose their own.

I see that the Internet has two quite different styles:

1. The “Corporate Look” – conservative sites painted with fancy stock images (often from istockphoto.com). If we were to adopt this style I suppose we’d have some attractively dressed person standing smiling next to a printer 🙂 )

2. The “Web 2.0 Look” – punchy colors, wide open spaces, and a focus on content / message rather than visual gloss – like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

As PaperCut has grown over the years, we’ve expanded from being a solution exclusively for education to one focused on all areas from schools, to SME, to large business. Increasingly PaperCut is presented at management-level in corporate organizations. Despite this “enterprise shift”, we still felt that the Web 2.0 look better fitted with our technical-focused culture. We felt it was important to have a website that reflects who we are and the way we work. We’re quite proud that we’re an engineering driven organization run by young developers and want to make this clear through our website.

The visual design of the new website was done by one of the lead web designers behind Kazaa – in its day one of the Internet’s most popular sites (and one that will undoubtedly also go down in history for notorious reasons!). He’s done lots of work with leading Web 2.0 companies and I think has done a great job for us. We hope you like the new design. We’ve kept with our green theme (in both color and environmental impact aspect), and also put more focus on our name rather than our starting-to-look-dated XP style icon.

At a technical level the site is also a departure from the norm. We’ve decided to cast away the shackles of IE6 (darn Microsoft!) and now target the last web technologies (It still “works” in IE6 but is not visually ideal). We’ve also making extensive use of CSS and JQuery. One of the design goals was to have the home page load as fast as our older site. We’ve come close to this with the help of a few tricks. For example you’ll notice the progressive image loading on the home page – the content renders really quickly, while the glowing tree loads in later in the background (this tree constitutes about half of the page download and is done last and faded in with a JQuery effect). Some other technical highlights include:

  • Designed for larger screens (not many system administrators are running 1024 monitors on their desktop these days!)
  • Leverages CSS font kerning and shadow
  • Enabled GZip server-side compression on selected resources. e.g. compress our CSS and Javascript files. (If this works well we’ll consider enabling on other resource types.)
  • We’ve used cutting-edge CSS styling attributes available in Firefox and Webkit based browsers such as rounded corners on DIV elements (emulated in IE using curvycorners.js)
  • JQuery is downloaded off GoogleAPI’s CDN. Many sites are now using this so these resources are already in people’s local cache.
  • Some Apache .htaccess tweaks to more effectively leverage local browser caching.
  • Renders on the iPad and iPhone!

Hope you all enjoy the behind the scenes story and welcome the new look! I should also mention that the blog/news section which you are reading now is not yet skinned in the new style!

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