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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Posted on by Chris

The Live Demo – a look behind the scenes

This is a short behind the scenes blog post about our new Live Demo. We’ve always striven to minimize the barrier-to-entry to adopting PaperCut. We’ve worked hard since day one (1999) to offer an application that’s easy to install and to evaluate (direct downloads, unlimited feature trials, full support during trial). However there has always been one barrier we’ve been unable to “engineer out” – that is the install itself! To get a full feel of PaperCut you need to invest the time to download and install on your production server, or set up a test system. Not any more!

PaperCut is now available as a live demo, allowing any prospective system administrator to take the core print management features for a test drive. For the non-browser features such as print policy popups (on the workstation), we’ve put together a set of complementing YouTube videos. If you have a few moments, take it for a drive here.

Want to know what’s happening behind the scenes of Live Demo? Here’s a summary of the setup:

  • It’s a standard PaperCut install on Linux backed by MySQL.
  • The server is hosted on a IaaS Linux VM instance at Rackspace.
  • The install is preloaded with sample data generated from randomized US census names and many of the print document names we had fun making up!
  • Videos were captured with the help of Camtasia Studio

The Live Demo project has not only produced benefits for those doing evaluations, but it’s also helped out all our existing customers. We’ve spent quite a bit of time optimizing PaperCut for cloud servers – servers with higher-than-local round trip latencies. Improvements include:

  • More aggressive HTTP caching
  • HTML, CSS and JS gzip compression

These performance gains, among others, have made their way into the latest releases. We have a few sites that now host their PaperCut installs on servers hosted in remote data centers (aka private clouds 🙂 ). These sites will should see some good performance improvements in the administration and user interfaces.

If you have any other ideas on how we can make it even easier to get a feel for PaperCut, please let us know in the comments.

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PaperCut version 12.4 with carrots

Each day when we walk in we see a big single word written on the wall of the office. That word is simply “PaperCut”. It seems to set the tone of our day as we’re always trying to think of new ways to save paper! In version 12.4 we’ve introduced yet again some new ideas.

One of the popular print script recipes is Print Policy Enforcement. This recipe takes the “stick” approach and discourages bad behaviour with popups that appeal to your environmental conscience. We thought it’s time for a “carrot“! In this new release, we’ve added a new recipe to recognize good user behaviour through printing achievements. One of these achievements is shown below, for 10 consecutive days without printing simplex (double-sided only).

New PaperCut Duplex Achievement

New PaperCut Duplex Achievement

This is one of a number of achievements which provide both a popup (as above) and a user achievement record for administrators to review. If you’re looking for a fun way to encourage saving paper, consider enabling this new recipe and combining it with a prize for perhaps the first five achievers. This recipe has been made possible using some new features added to the scripting environment – the ability to store and retrieve data.

In other news, you would have seen the releases from Apple and Microsoft this month; Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and Windows Server 2012, respectively. We’ve decided to be fashionably late to the industry release party, but bring presents for both celebrations with 12.4 officially supporting OS X 10.8, and we’ve also rolled in a few features such as XPS printer language support as part of our ongoing work to leverage new features in Windows Server 2012.

For our technology geeks we’ve got native Windows 64-bit support integrated with our core installer, which will auto-detect the system architecture. As always, we have a plethora of new enhancements, bugfixes and tweaks that you can review in our release history.

Of course there is much more. Check out the release history for PaperCut NG and PaperCut MF for full details.

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