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My journey to Print Deploy and beyond

About 20 years ago I got my first real* job

I was that pimply faced youth (PFY) that did “computers and printers” for a high school. Those  HP 4MP+ printers certainly were a beast. We had many of them and I had it under control.

Then we took delivery of a shiny newfangled colour HP CP4500 and everyone and their dog wanted to use it.

My calendar was full of meetings to install printer drivers for the next few weeks!

Approximately 15 years ago I was working for an ISP

I actually had to print off a BIND DNS zone for a customer and Fax it to them. Don’t ask why, please.

There were no printers installed on my machine. I found the nearest one and searched for its model number on the network and tried to print to it. Someone else received my print job… In Sydney. I live and work in Melbourne.

A little over 10 years ago I was the Network Manager for a large K-12 school

A bona fide sysadmin if you will.

We had a 300-line VB Script, just to deploy print queues, that I had inherited from previous Network Managers. This 300-line monstrosity had every print queue, every driver, every room name and every subnet all carefully laid out in a massive if statement.

It took months to deconstruct and move it into Active Directory’s Group Policy Objects and customise heavily with Item Level Targeting.

Not quite 5 years ago I’d been supporting PaperCut customers for some time now

BYOD and Mobile devices were causing a lot of pain for syadmins. Our support teams knew this, our development teams knew this. Our world-wide support team received feedback that this needed to change.

We listened. We released  PaperCut Mobility Print .

Just over 6 months ago I got involved in a new project. PaperCut Print Deploy

I christened it Print Plonker, knowing full well it wouldn’t get past marketing. Either name should tell you what it does. It gets print queues to users on Windows and macOS.

I’m immensely proud that I’m in a position now where I have contributed to bringing a product to life that would have saved 19-year-old me days, if not weeks, of effort.  Print Queue deployment shouldn’t be hard, shouldn’t be expensive, shouldn’t be a time sink.

We’re not done yet. The JIRA board is full of things we want to do. They’re the kind of things that solve problems. I’m not interested in squeezing customers through upsell opportunities. I want to fix problems.

*My first job was door-to-door sales selling cookbooks and atlases. Don’t hold that against me.

This post first appeared on LinkedIn


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