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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Posted on by Chris

PaperCut Version 10.5 Released

The new Paper-Less Desktop Widget to track and compare paper usage.It’s been two months since our last release. One of the longest gaps we’ve had between releases for a long while. This is however to be expected as this is our largest release yet! It’s also one of our most innovative, pushing new ideas and concepts. This release contains many big ticket items voted for in the last few rounds of voting:

  • Watermarking and job attribution
  • Document digital signatures
  • Print policy popups
  • Multiple personal accounts
  • New printing impact desktop widget
  • … and much much more.

New & noteworthy in this release:

Watermarking, Job Attribution and Digital Signatures
Adding text such as a user name to the bottom of a page in a print job was one of our most voted for features through 2009 and 2010. We’ve taken this request and added some of our own innovative ideas to create the new watermarking and job attribution feature. It is now possible to add dynamically constructed text to the bottom of each page (e.g. username), set different font sizes, gray-level and position on page.

We’ve also extended the watermark to include support for digital signatures using a cryptographic HMAC based on SHA1 or MD5. Every document may have a unique signature which can be used to verify the origin and author of any print job. We’ve gathered feedback from a number of our larger corporate and government customers to design this feature and are very excited about the new document tracking possibilities it opens. Our view is that print management software should more than just tracking & reporting and we’re working hard to innovate is all areas.

Watermarking is currently listed as an experimental feature and currently only supports PostScript printers. Peter is working on PCL support and this is targeted for a subsequent release.

Print Policy
Print scripting now includes a standard corporate print policy recipe. This allows organizations to implement a print policy where:

  • users are reminded via a popup to print duplex (and must opt-in to print simplex)
  • printing emails is discouraged
  • printing web pages in color is discouraged

Multiple Personal Accounts
Users can now have more than one personal account. At a simple level, this can be used in education environments to separate free print quotas from cash payments, for example, allowing simpler management and reporting. At a more advanced level, multiple personal accounts can be combined with print scripting to allow different departments to manage their own pot of funds and determine on which devices this pot can be used. This feature has been developed in conjunction with Cambridge University in the UK with the aim of satisfying their complex inter-college and inter-department environment.

Multiple Personal Accounts - ideal for higher education

Ad hoc bulk user actions
Ad hoc bulk user actions has been one of the top voted for features for the past few months. Priyanka has done a great job and she’s worked had to get this into this release.

A new environmental impact desktop widget
We’ve worked with Do Something, the non-profit organization supporting the Paper-Less Alliance, to bring this innovative desktop widget to PaperCut (see screenshot above). The aim of this widget is to help organizations reduce paper by arming users with information. Users can also benchmark their use against the organization average. You can download the widget here.

The widget is also used a fund-raiser. Organizations looking at deploying this widget are encouraged to make a donation of $0.99 per user with all proceeds going through to Do Something to help implement paper saving and environmental initiatives.

Re-sending data after connection failure
We’ve added new code to handle exceptional cases such as network connections failing between servers – for example when PaperCut is used over a WAN. If the connection temporarily fails, PaperCut can now be configured to locally record transactions and re-send them across when the connection comes back up. Read more here.

We hope you enjoy the bag full of new features. We love hearing your feedback so if you have any comments or suggestions please do let us know. For the full list of changes see the release history and get your downloads here. We’ll keep you posted about features for the next release on our blog and twitter feeds.

Posted in General, Releases | Tagged | 4 Comments

Five Secret Power Features

Hit the power putton to turn on advanced print management features.

Power Features!

One of my roles at PaperCut is providing technical support by working directly with you to find the specific features required to resolve your print management problems. As each individual site deploys PaperCut to address their unique issues, I receive suggestions for new product features and enhancements. Many of the ideas that are sent to us have been developed into features and are available in PaperCut. In the past year over 100 new features and enhancements have been added in 14 version releases, and we have more on the way with version 10.5! The ever growing list of is chronicled in our Release History, news feeds, blogs and twitter.

It is difficult to predict which of the many features will become the most popular, but I would like to share with you my personal list of secret power features. These are feature that are off the beaten track, but are received with great enthusiasm when I explain them to customers. Many of the features are not new, but provide critical functionality for a site once they are discovered and implemented.

  1. PaperCut can stay synchronized with the Office and Department fields in Active Directory or LDAP allowing you to create reports to compare printing within or between offices and departments such as the Department printing – job type summary report.
  2. Administrators can receive automatic email alerts on printer error conditions that contain information including the error type (e.g paper jam, toner low), time that the error was first reported, location and number of jobs in the queue. Here is a link to the manual section that covers System Notifications.
  3. Print Scripting was introduced earlier this year and has had many “Recipes” and “Snippets” added over the last few months. Scripts can be used to provide precise control of print job handling including configuring PaperCut to perform least-cost-routing, print job redirection, and environmental warnings based on Group, job size, time of day and many other criteria. Maybe you wish to remind people to print duplex/double-sided or even stop printing of emails. This level of print management (print policy control) is all possible! From the Admin Console select the Printer tab then select a test printer or the Template Printer. Select the Scripting tab then the “Import Recipe” or “Import Snippet…” button to get a list of pre-built script and segments. There is also a summery of pre-build recipes at the bottom of this page.
  4. Web Print allows unauthenticated laptop computers that do not have drivers for your network printers to upload PDF and Microsoft Office documents to the PaperCut server where they can be printed and tracked to the user’s PaperCut account. This feature has extended the campus print infrastructure to include student laptops in dorms and other wireless access areas. You can even allow students to select the destination printer from a map, floor plan or site plan.
  5. There is a version of PaperCut that is available from resellers and Authorized Solution Centers (approved resellers) that can track off the glass copy, fax and scan images using embedded software that connects the multi-function device to the PaperCut Admin Console for consolidated control and reporting with the network printers. In addition, PaperCut MF can use multi-function devices as Release Stations for network printing in a secure printing or find-me printing configuration. Other hardware devices such as Pay Stations can also be integrated with PaperCut MF.

Feel free to comment with any of your own favorite power features.

Image courtesy of schani on flickr

Posted in General, PaperCut Tips | Tagged | 3 Comments

Posted on by Chris

Quick update on pending 10.5 release

Ticking watch

Just a minute!

We’ve recently had a few people contact us via Twitter and email asking about the 10.5 release. We’re running a little late behind schedule, however this is for good reason. This is likely to be our largest release in terms of features yet. Hence testing and feature finalization is taking a little longer than expected. Some of the highlights in the release include:

The ability to add some text to the bottom of every page printed. This text is configurable in terms of content, font-size and color. Typical uses include:

  • adding student names or student numbers to the bottom of their print jobs
  • writing job metadata in the footer such as print time, printer, document name, etc.
  • add a digital signature (SHA1 or MD5 HMAC) to all pages allowing you to track documents and verify authenticity/originality/source.

Multiple Personal Accounts:
It will now be possible for users to have more than one personal accounts. This feature has been developed in conjunction with Cambridge University in the UK. A typical use would be splitting student cash payments and free print quotas into separate buckets to make refund management easier. However in large organizations such as Cambridge it can be used, in conjunction with print scripting, to allow different departments/groups/colleges to manage their own print credits on their own printers.

Re-sending data after connection failure:
We’ve added new code to handle exceptional cases such as network connections failing between servers. For example say you have PaperCut installed on a business WAN with print servers spread across geographic regions. If the connection temporarily fails between offices, PaperCut can now be configured to locally record transactions and re-send them across when the connection comes back up.

All the three features listed above have been on the top of the vote list for many months. It will be great to have them released. And don’t forget that we’ll always include in many, many minor improvements and bug fixes.

We’re working hard to get the release out next week and will keep you posted on progress via our twitter feed.

Posted in Releases | Tagged | 5 Comments

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