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Printing Update, 9/17/2013
Thank you for your patience. Please keep reporting problems if you encounter them! Others may not be reporting issues and we can only fix problems if we know about them.
- Printing speed for most jobs should be back to normal on both macs and pcs. Large jobs take longer to print. (See large job info below.)
- When jobs are released they should be printing out. Jobs should not be "disappearing" after you release them.
- Jobs should be printing in B&W and color properly. They should also be "charged" to your quota properly.
- If you see an "error" on the PCs when you print, it should not affect your ability to print.
Unresolved issues that we are troubleshooting
- Instead of printing a job, an I/O error is printed instead. If this happens to you please report it as soon as possible. We'll want to know some information about the where, when, and how of your printing so we can figure out what is causing the problem.
- A printer may be "offline" on a student's personal computer. Call the HelpDesk with this error and the folks there can help you resolve it.
Big jobs are slow
Large jobs taken longer to print than short jobs. Unfortunately, you may not know that your print job is large. PDF files are compressed files - sometimes highly compressed. A 10 page document can look small, but when the printer uncompresses it to print it can be hundreds of MB - or even larger. Similarly, a document could be 50 pages long and quite small because it was scanned at a lower resolution. If the job you are printing is taking a long time to print it is a large job. You can wait it out or you can stop the job and break it up into smaller pieces. Large jobs take time to print at the printer as well. If it took a long time to confirm it will also take a long time to print.
Big jobs can be denied
If your job is larger than 200MB uncompressed, it will be denied by the printer (same as last semester). To make sure that your job will print you MUST WAIT until you get the "job confirmation" window (with the job "cost") from PaperCut. If you haven't seen this window, your job has not been sent yet and may be denied for size and deleted from your queue (never showing up at the printer).
Blank and missing pages don't happen in Acrobat Reader
Some browser pdf plug-ins can cause problems with printing in PaperCut: all white pages, all black pages or missing pages. To solve this problem, download your PDFs and print them from Preview or Acrobat Reader.
Quotas and Support
- Quota increases are FREE. There is no change in our quota increase policy from last year. You can still request free increases to your quotaby filling out our google form. The information on this form helps us understand student printing needs better. Your answers do not affect your increase.
- Support is available in multiple places.
Library Service Desks - If you are in a library, grab someone at the nearest desk!
Computing Help Desk - Call, drop by or firstname.lastname@example.org
papercut-support - Email this google group with questions/concerns/problems
- Instructions can be found online, at the printers, at the library desks (small handouts) and in printing labs (small handouts). You can also watch two student how-to videos (scroll down the page). We will also be offering open printing tutorials for folks who'd like them.
Why did we add new printers/software?
Wellesley students printed 1.7 million pages last semester. At the start of the year you print around 30,000 pages per day. The HP printers we had in the labs are not "sized" properly for this kind of printing. The supplies and maintenance kits for these printers were pricey and had to be replaced multiple times a day. Due to the heavy use we were repairing the printers frequently. We really needed printers that were "sized" appropriately for our printing needs. The Multifunction Devices (MFDs) we are using now are built to print at the levels Wellesley prints at. They provide copying, scanning and stapling (helping us avoid the need to continuously replace staplers at our service desks.) We were able to consolidate printing in some areas (instead of using 2 tiny printers we now have 1 big one) and eliminate the extra computer release station - both of which are more environmentally friendly.
Unfortunately, the software we were using to support HP printing in PaperCut last semester would not support the new MFDs so we had to move to a new version. This resulted in students having to reinstall and in a few other problems that we saw at the start of the year. (see below).
What happened at the start of the semester?
We tested printing with the new version of PaperCut and the MFDs extensively over the summer. Unfortunately, there is no way to mimic the volume of printing Wellesley students do before the semester begins. Although we ran PaperCut last semester, because the software/systems are different this was essentially a "new" service this semester. We increased the size of our print servers multiple times to speed up the printing in response to the slowness we were seeing. Old errors (like corrupt pdf files) behave in different ways with the new software (jobs that released, but never printed and new error messages) and we have changed our settings/procedures to resolve them. Large print jobs that would have been denied immediately with our old software must now "spool" to the printer before that denial pops up resulting in more wait time for jobs that will be deleted (jobs "printed" that did not show up on the printer when students logged in).
These issues, compounded with confusion regarding the use of the new printers and old problems like the printing problems from browser pdf plug-ins have made the first two weeks of printing (our heaviest printing period of the semester) a real challenge.
LTS staff have been meeting daily and have been in on-going contact with our vendors to resolve each of the issues we are diagnosing as quickly as possible. Please keep reporting problems if you encounter them. We are committed to resolving any remaining unresolved issues.