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Category Archives: Releases
A key feature of PaperCut is the charging model applied to print usage, generally defined on a per page basis. This feature had its ten year birthday last October without much fanfare. When you think about how much PaperCut has changed in the last ten years, it’s fairly amazing that the Charging Model hasn’t been altered. Therefore it is with ten years of experience that we have decided to make an addition to the model in the form of a new “Standard charge type”.
What we have found is that anything past the Simple Charging Model could be a bit confusing at first glance. With the Standard Charging Model, administrators will now be able to set the color and grayscale cost explicitly, as opposed to working with percentages. The new “Standard” charge type will hopefully bridge the gap between “Simple” and the many Advanced Charging Modes available.
In the theme of improving already evolved PaperCut features, we’ve also improved the way Web Print handles PDF documents. Previously Windows administrators would have to install and configure Adobe Reader to run Web Print. Now, PaperCut’s Web Print feature works out of the box with built-in PDF support. Check out the manual for all the gritty details.
Web Print has proven to be a very popular feature, particularly in large education environments. Many system administrators have come to us with interesting stories of how Web Print has been working hard overnight processing 100’s of jobs from students printing in their dorms, all while the sysadmins are fast asleep (but actually wide awake playing Minecraft). With that in mind, we’ve implemented many improvements to the robustness of Web Print.
This week we unwrap PaperCut version 13.1! Following on from 13.0’s massive release, including the headline Print Archiving feature, 13.1 delivers dozens of improvements across the entire product.
Page-level Color Detection is an important part of PaperCut. Counting the color pages is a simple concept to understand, but you may be surprised by the complexity under the hood faced by the PaperCut engineers who bring you this functionality. To count the color pages, PaperCut must read the print spool files and there are many printer languages that must be supported. Prior to release 13.1, PaperCut supported the PCL, PostScript and XPS printer languages (PDLs) for color detection. With release 13.1 we’ve added the Windows EMF (Enhanced MetaFile) print language.
Why EMF? Even if you already have PostScript or PCL capable printers, a driver-level configuration change was necessary to ensure spool files did not render in EMF, which is the Windows default spool file format. To make this change users were referred to the manual. Our goal is that all mainstream features work “out of the box” without complex configuration or making it necessary to consult the manual. As software developers we also don’t like reading manuals!
We’ve found that this driver configuration step is an often forgotten task. Now that we have EMF support there is less need for driver configuration. We feel we are now one step closer to our ultimate goal of having Page Level Color Detection the default option for new printers.
Adding EMF support was a major challenge for our engineer Peter. EMF is an internal, undocumented Windows format. Many hours have been spent wrestling with the Windows API, GDI and font anti-aliasing to ensure accurate color page counts. We’ve tested with many real-world documents as well as contrived samples to verify the feature. We even held an internal competition to see who could “trick the logic”. None could. A sign of a good development team is that the challenging projects like this one are also the fun ones!
Image: cc-by-ca by Siri Hardeland
PaperCut Software welcomes you to 2013 with the release of PaperCut 13.0! We are proud to reveal new features and functionality, and have added one of your most requested features of last year – Print Archiving.
Print Archiving allows approved administrators to review printed jobs interactively in the browser.
This feature is ideal for a variety of scenarios including information security, audit processes and validating refund requests. Many organisations have data retention and distribution policies, whether they be requirements to archive e-mail or restrictions on USB storage devices and cloud services. Printing has traditionally presented an auditing difficulty, and PaperCut’s Print Archiving adds to the auditing tool belt.
One for the Hotshots
One of the hottest features in PaperCut is advanced print scripting, which is being leveraged by more and more power administrators. We have listened to the feedback and added the following:
- Scripts can now be previewed, allowing you to quickly cut and paste example code into your own scripts.
- Common functions that are shared between individual printer scripts can now be stored in, and referenced from, a master include script.
As you know we are passionate about technology and supporting all platforms; whether that be Linux operating systems, Novell clustering solutions or iPads. The same applies to our off-the-glass tracking solution (PaperCut MF) and its support for a diverse range of manufacturers. We are proud to announce our support for additional industry-leading manufacturers:
We would like to thank these vendors for their support in bringing PaperCut solutions to these devices.
The Fine Print: If you have a current subscription to Premium Upgrade Assurance you may upgrade to version 13 at no additional cost. For our other customers please see our upgrade policy to determine if you are eligible for a free upgrade. One-time upgrades may be purchased via our online order system. Upgrading now will entitle you to all the releases in the 13.x series throughout the year.
Please refer to the relevant release history for full details.
Have you ever printed something confidential then raced to the printer to collect it before someone else does? Secure Print Release is an increasingly important requirement in most organizations. Traditionally this has been accomplished with embedded MFD software, dedicated release stations or specialist hardware.
PaperCut 12.5 introduces a new option for print release that can be used by any organization. It’s quick, easy, cost effective and doesn’t require a hardware investment. This is made possible by the touch screen device almost everyone carries in their pocket – the mobile phone.
With Mobile Print Release you’ll no longer have to worry about others picking up that confidential job. Simply print to a hold/release queue and when you’re at the printer, release the job using PaperCut’s Mobile Print Release app. This new feature will work with any printer, and most modern mobile phones.
Recently we’ve assisted with some very large deployments, some of which have had more printers than we ever expected to see at a single site. One in particular had over 9,000! As a result of these projects we have made a number of “under the hood” performance improvements which sites of all sizes will benefit from! Check out the release history for the nitty gritty tech details.
Windows 8 is now officially released. With 50,000 sites running PaperCut it’s not surprising that we already have a few organizations with rollout plans. PaperCut 12.5 is our first release to leverage new Windows 8 features. The PaperCut User Client software now has notifications that are prominent on the Windows 8 Start Screen (“Metro”).
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).
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.
It wasn’t a strategic decision to release PaperCut 12.3 around the same time as the Higgs Boson particle was confirmed (we hope!), however both share a universal truth; ‘It’s often the little things that count’.
Usually when we write about our releases we only talk about the big features. It’s often the little features we add that end up making a difference to everyday usage. In this post we’ve decided to highlight one of these little features.
PaperCut now has type-ahead autocomplete in various areas of the application. It’s now even easier to quickly find users, say to modify their print quota, by typing their username, full name or ID number.
PaperCut’s mobile printing has been extended to provide support for iPhone. The screens have been optimized for the smaller size and swipe-gesture navigation has been added.
In addition to the existing auto-updating client software deployment, we now have a new option for enterprise customers. There is now a silent installing MSI package which may be deployed using Group Policy. This is ideal for enterprise customers who are already using Active Directory GPOs to manage software deployment or staged rollouts.
Many of you will know about our policy for simultaneous releases and feature parity goal across all supported operating systems. One difference between platforms has been printer error detection (e.g. emailing administrators when a printer goes offline). Due to limitations in operating system APIs on Mac, Linux and Novell, printer errors were often detected only when a job arrived, rather than as soon as the printer went into error/offline. By using SNMP monitoring, we have now improved printer error detection on these platforms to match the proactive behavior on Windows.
Of course there is much more. Check out the release history for PaperCut NG and PaperCut MF for full details. And if you’re interested in some of the antics that have been happening in the PaperCut office over the development period, or want to see the latest geeky t-shirt; have a look at our twitter gallery.
One of the big changes we added to PaperCut previously was the introduction of print policies. The feedback on this feature has been positive, and many trees and color toner cartridges have been saved! Now it’s even better, with two new additions:
- Users now have an option to automatically convert their job to grayscale or duplex
- Users opting to bypass the rules are prompted to provide their justification
As a by-product of this feature, you now have access to more complex user interface dialogs when using Advanced Print Scripting. We have also included a masked text entry which is useful for password prompts. Print policies are an important part of cost reduction; we recommend taking a few moments to explore the new functionality!
Our support team reminded us that licensing is a common issue reported by administrators. Pre-emptive warnings are now a part of your dashboard and will greatly help busy administrators. Warnings include exceeding license limits and support renewal reminders.
The template printer has been enhanced; embarrassingly we missed the colour detection setting for it. Thanks for the customer feedback pointing out our omission. This makes automatic printer provisioning a little easier.
Not to forget the big end of town, we have added some features to improve our support for enterprise printing (for example printing from SAP or JD Edwards). A common problem with printing from these systems is that jobs are logged under a single generic account. We can now often attribute these jobs correctly.
As usual full details are in the release notes:
Behind the scenes, we’ve had some inter-office cultural exchange. Nate from our US support team visited Australia to learn about drop bears, and the Australians were taught about the idiosyncrasies of American tipping culture. To balance things up, we’ll ask Ross from the UK office to explain, in his own words, the offside rule in soccer.
The army of Australian ninja developers here at PaperCut have been silently and stealthy working away to create Rel 12.1 specially for you.
There’s a plethora of new features so without further ado…
- Priyanka has finished off the Executive Summary report with a couple of nice graphs.
- Priyanka also developed a job deletion notification feature. When using hold/release queues users can be notified, either via the desktop client or email, before (or when) their held job is deleted. More information in the manual here.
- You can now add one or more custom URLs to a user’s PaperCut web page. For instance you can add a link to your intranet portal or you can just add simple links to a printer policy or help document on the local network. To set it up, please see here.
- A swag load of new printer improvements — refer to the release notes for details, but highlights include: support for Epson’s new range of printers using ESC/P-R; enhancements and fixes for forced attributes feature released in PaperCut 12; and various improvements to colour and page count detection.
- For users of our off the glass tracking solutions (PaperCut MF) we are releasing support for Samsung XOA and Toshiba SDK2 devices plus updates for Kyocera-Mita HyPAS embedded, Lexmark LeSF and Sharp OSA devices.
- Lot of minor features and fixes far too numerous to enumerate here, again please refer to the release notes.
As well as hacking on software, we’ve also had an addition to the team. Jason’s wife gave birth to their first child a few days ago — congratulations to the proud parents, and we have two more babies due later in the year. Must be all the coffee we drink!
If you have a current subscription to our premium upgrade assurance plan you may upgrade to version 12.1 at no additional cost. For our other customers please see our upgrade policy to determine if you are eligible for a free upgrade. Once-off upgrades may be purchased via our online order system. Upgrading now will entitle you to all the releases in the 12.x series throughout the year.
It’s January and that means a major new release. PaperCut 12.0 adds a popular (as voted by our customers in vote for a feature) new twist: automatic conversion to duplex and grayscale. Previously PaperCut could only disallow all single sided (simplex) and color printing jobs on a printer, but now jobs can be automatically converted to duplex and/or grayscale. For instance always force students to print duplex or use conditional scripting to automatically convert all Outlook email messages to grayscale. This has been a significant investment of effort by PaperCut Software developers and we are really pleased to release it to our customers.
Other notable new “doodads” include:
- a new report, Executive Summary. This gives, in a single page, an overview of some useful metrics about printers, users and their jobs
a new refresh to many of our icons and end user web interface so that we look less retro
- custom dashboard widget. Allows an administrator to add a link to an external application for easy access from the administration dashboard
- some new scripts
- new and improved language translations
and many other features and fixes too numerous to mention here. Please refer to the release history for full details.
If you have a current subscription to our premium upgrade assurance plan you may upgrade to version 12 at no additional cost. For our other customers please see our upgrade policy to determine if you are eligible for a free upgrade. Once-off upgrades may be purchased via our online order system. Upgrading now will entitle you to all the releases in the 12.x series throughout the year.
Our customers have been clamouring for iPad Printing support over the last year as iPads become a staple in many educational and business environments. Our customers have demanded more than just support for iPad printing though, they need the same functionality as desktop users including print authentication, account selection and viewing of print job status. PaperCut version 11.6 delivers this functionality via the iPad app (screen shots). Originally this feature set was planned for version 12, but due to demand we have brought it forward as a preview for early adopters – it was one of the most requested features for 2011. Expect further innovation and refinements in the mobile printing space heading into 2012. (Note: The iPad App does not require you to have printers that support AirPrint).
Behind the scenes, PaperCut has added another member to its support team. Those of you who have called or e-mailed in over the last six weeks may have had their issue looked into by Ian, who is based in our Melbourne office. Amazingly Ian is the first member of the team to pass the recruitment process who does not consume coffee. The team is working hard on this issue, and is confident by version 12 we will have rectified this buggy behaviour.
Testing this release has made the older team members jealous as we wished we’d had iPads in school when we were younger.
The full list of changes in version 11.6 can be found on the release history pages: