PaperCutters are always about pushing the envelope and are never interested in business as usual. We therefore don’t want to spit out some lame new years resolution as we statistically know that resolution fulfilment steadily drops down through the months of the year.
Life (and software) do not reset every new years (except back in Y2K), so we shouldn’t just start setting goals for goals sake, just because the calendar has changed over. We believe that chance favours the prepared mind and improving further on what we are already doing is critical. We aim for perfection in everything that we do regardless of the timelines, so instead of making a long list of resolutions, we’ve decided to start the year by investing in the future and inviting selected students from John Monash Science School over for a week to learn what we do, and how we do things here at PaperCut, ask questions and provide a fresh perspective to our mindshare.
We’ve had the privilege of hosting Angi, Josh, Reena, and Will to spend time with us and get exposed to PaperCut’s work and culture. These bright young minds aren’t just your regular students who were randomly picked. They are awardees, rigorously selected, and sponsored by PaperCut to join the 2016 SuperComputing Conference in Salt Lake City UT.
The John Monash Science school have carefully screened students through an essay submission asking about concrete action plans on what they will do in case they win. The selection is then followed by interviews to help decide who shall be awarded a trip to the conference.
SuperComputing experience was nonetheless a great experience for the students as they were glad to report that they were absolutely jumping out of their skins while they were in the helm of super servers and cutting edge VR gadgets. And to quote Reena: “I would stay there 24/7 if I could! It’s awesome!”
While their week at PaperCut HQ as a follow up activity cannot match that level of excitement, we certainly hope the activities we arranged for them compensated in their further discovery and learning.
From creating marketing videos, to tinkering with front end website animation code, to analysing customer engagement rates and sales funnel analytics, their curious minds questioned every detail of what they have seen. Their questions have inspired us to revisit our processes and procedures and go back to basics. PaperCut has definitely benefited from having them around, and we sincerely hope that their experience with us has been worthwhile for them.
Beyond showing them agile software development processes and clean code, we hope that they were able to see our constant commitment to building closer relationships with our customers and resellers, as well as our obsession to constantly push the ante of innovation.
We also hope that they’ve thoroughly experienced our “coffee culture”, that our (good) coffee builds constructive conversations around products and services, which in turn produce better software and solutions that help customers.
So here’s to 2017, stronger relationships, awesome software, and fantastic coffee. We love that you are reading this and please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help in any way. You’ll be surprised at how we are eager to connect.
In large organizations with many users printing, it’s easy for costs to get out of hand if unmanaged. While the ability to control printing activity can significantly cut these charges, copying costs can still become a concern.
PaperCut MF on Canon devices now supports controlled access to color features in copying. Color copying on Canon devices with AMS can be restricted by user group to help minimise unnecessary color usage and reduce color printing and copying costs.
Existing and new Canon customers
Requires Access Management System (AMS)
Find out more about PaperCut MF for Canon in the embedded manuals on the Portal or the Canon Tour Page.
Prevent jobs from being released to a printer reporting an error
When a printer is in error, confusion and concern can soon follow; print jobs can get lost and refunds might be needed. The support implications can quickly escalate in a busy environment with the need to deal with frustrated users on top of resolving the printer error.
PaperCut NG / MF gives administrators the ability to choose whether or not they want to allow users to release jobs to printers reporting an error, alleviating user concern and reducing administrators’ reactive work created by a printer in error.
A consistent alert is presented across all web-based Release Stations and Standard Release Stations with PaperCut NG, with PaperCut MF extending this feature to supported MFD Release Stations. This alert provides users with the information they need to be able to choose to either release to an alternative printer in a Find-Me environment, resolve the printer error, or simply come back later.
Benefits for customers
Error awareness – Notifies users of device errors and creates alerts in the PaperCut Admin web interface for SysAdmins.
Reduced reactive work – limits print jobs released to a device in error, reducing the queue of stuck print jobs and possible refunds along with alleviating user confusion.
Consistency – The same error message format is shown on the Release Station, no matter what brand of device.
Configurability – Provides SysAdmins with the control to prevent users from releasing to a supported printer reporting an error. Configurable per device for in-built Print Release at the device, or for all web-based Release Stations and Standard Release Stations.
Customers who use Device Release Stations. See supported platforms below.
Larger Education and Enterprise organizations that are susceptible to busy periods.
Customers who offer printing outside of technical support hours.
View Release Notes for a list of Supported PaperCut MF devices and further details.
Taking our printer in error enhancement one step further
PaperCut MF have introduced a solution to manage print jobs released to Samsung devices reporting a hardware fault error. Not only are users presented with an alert at the Release Station prior to releasing their print job, but with PaperCut 16.4 and Samsung Job Purge, users are provided a way to delete jobs that have already been released to a device that is reporting a hardware fault.
You can now configure the start day or date for your weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly scheduled reporting periods, using a set of new config keys. The Reports > Schedule / Email Reports page displays the date on which the next report will run.
If you think going to a printer to clear a paper jam is painful, imagine having to do endless tests to trigger error statuses on printers. Pulling the tray out, waiting for an error to appear in the UI and then pushing the tray back in again. There’s got to be a better way.
Luckily that the team that manages QA had Constructival on the horizon (PaperCut’s first global hackathon). A chance to tackle any project we wanted to work on, a great chance to develop some automation for the team.
As we’ve grown over the past 12-months, so has the QA team. Five of us got together to plan the project, but as the feasibility investigation went on, more and more people jumped into our team.
We had 13 people going into Constructival including developers, QAs, product owner, and our IT guy. With such a sizable group, we broke the project down into small tasks that could be done in parallel, and allocated them to smaller teams including wood work, circuitry and software.
The teams worked so well, that we actually finished by the end of the first day, leaving time for team bonding over the ping pong table. Day 2 was mostly just refining tasks.
How it works
The tray robot pulls out the tray of the printer when it gets a signal from the test. When the test is complete and done with the verification, the robot pushes the tray back, simple!
For engineers and robotics enthusiasts alike, here’s what happens in the background. The tray robot’s main part is a stepper motor, which is controlled by Python scripts, run by a little Python web service on a Raspberry Pi. This service is called from our Java and Groovy based automation tests.
What’s next, a robotic arm?
The tray robot will be used to test PaperCut Views as a part of our daily automated regression test suite. It will save us a lot of time by eliminating the need to repeat these tests manually over and over again.
In the long term, we are planning to utilize robots in other tests on printers that require manual intervention including pressing buttons and opening doors, one step closer to a robotic arm!
Not only did the team have fun while we were building the robot, we have also extended our knowledge into the automated testing of physical devices. Us QAs can all sleep better at night knowing the evolution of the the dark side of printer testing is automation!
Constructival was a great success. Seeing how engaged and committed everyone in the team was during the 2 days, producing awesome projects beneficial for all involved (and the company). It was an overwhelming feeling only topped by our team being crowned winners of the People’s Choice Award.
The motivation, freedom and ownership to to try out and learn new things, got people together who haven’t worked together before, and given us all new perspectives and ideas for the future. The Force is strong with these ones. 🙂