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Thread: Restricting Printing

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    Question Restricting Printing

    Hi,
    I work in a school and we have large volumes of users and computers. The problem we have is that teachers are printing their class hand-outs/sets on the network printers, which is wasting resourses and costing the school a bit of money. The stupid thing is that the school has some really good repographics facilites, which would make the cost of this type of printing cheap (in comparision). However, as you can imagine, the teachers are lazy and stupid, and can't be bothered to walk all the way over to repographics (but it's not really that far, lol).

    So, the thing I need to ask is this; do any of you know of any way to restrict the number of copies per print job that a user does (in group policy, for example), or any piece of software that will do this job for me?

    I mean I've found a few pieces of really good software that control/monitor printer usage, but they seem to control everything else apart from this one thing, which is obvioulsly quite frustrating becuase we have a program to do all the other stuff, it's just this one function we need. =/

    Thanks for you time,
    Rob

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    I was teaching in a school, and printing class hand-outs/sets on the network printers.
    We had good reprographics facilities, which would have made the cost of printing cheap.

    I hardly used them because reprographics worked at their own pace, and as I had produced the final version usually about 30min before teaching the class, it was unfeasable to go over to reprographics and be told "Yes we can do it for you. We're in the middle of doing a big run of prospectus', so it can be ready for next wednesday afternoon. Maybe."

    Being lazy and stupid, I was obviously doing the wrong thing in spending all my time preparing lessons, teaching, and doing admin. On Tuesdays, I was in from 8am until 9pm, with a break 12.30-1.00, and 3.15-3.20.

    So it is 10min until your lesson with 30 unruly psychopaths, and you've finally got some suitable material sorted that will be fine for their level, having carefully updated and improved it as much as possible. You press "ctrl-P", select "30", and the printer comes up and says "I am sorry, but you cannot print out that much at once."
    Result, either much screams and howls of frustration producing damage to equipment and colleagues alike, or the not so lazy and stupid teachers go "ctrl-p", select "5", and repeat 6 times.



    I suggest that rather than restricting teachers printing, you first find out why they are not using reprographics. I hardly used it at my college of 10000 students, as they couldn't do anything with a quick turnaround or to deadlines imposed by the teaching environment. And 5 minutes before a lesson and needing to print stuff out, it was too far to make the 5 min walk (10min round trip), assuming they would actually be able to print anything immediately.

    If anonymous questioning doesn't reveal responses with similar experiences about reprographics, and if reminding the staff about the existance of reprographics doesn't help things, maybe make the reprographics printers networked?

    This feels like the sort of out-of-touch management issue that is very familiar to me.
    Recently, after hearing many staff bitching about the lack of car parking facilities on site, management decided to raise staff moral by putting some nice planters in. So they removed 3 car parking spaces, and put in 3 big planters made of green ugle metal and currently occupied be a few small ugly bits of heather.
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    The King of Vague Steve B's Avatar
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    At uni, we have an applet that starts on login that controls the number of pages we're allowed to print, we get 15 a day. I'll try and find out the name of the software for you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabula View Post
    I was teaching in a school, and printing class hand-outs/sets on the network printers.
    We had good reprographics facilities, which would have made the cost of printing cheap.

    I hardly used them because reprographics worked at their own pace, and as I had produced the final version usually about 30min before teaching the class, it was unfeasable to go over to reprographics and be told "Yes we can do it for you. We're in the middle of doing a big run of prospectus', so it can be ready for next wednesday afternoon. Maybe."

    Being lazy and stupid, I was obviously doing the wrong thing in spending all my time preparing lessons, teaching, and doing admin. On Tuesdays, I was in from 8am until 9pm, with a break 12.30-1.00, and 3.15-3.20.


    So it is 10min until your lesson with 30 unruly psychopaths, and you've finally got some suitable material sorted that will be fine for their level, having carefully updated and improved it as much as possible. You press "ctrl-P", select "30", and the printer comes up and says "I am sorry, but you cannot print out that much at once."
    Result, either much screams and howls of frustration producing damage to equipment and colleagues alike, or the not so lazy and stupid teachers go "ctrl-p", select "5", and repeat 6 times.



    I suggest that rather than restricting teachers printing, you first find out why they are not using reprographics. I hardly used it at my college of 10000 students, as they couldn't do anything with a quick turnaround or to deadlines imposed by the teaching environment. And 5 minutes before a lesson and needing to print stuff out, it was too far to make the 5 min walk (10min round trip), assuming they would actually be able to print anything immediately.

    If anonymous questioning doesn't reveal responses with similar experiences about reprographics, and if reminding the staff about the existance of reprographics doesn't help things, maybe make the reprographics printers networked?

    This feels like the sort of out-of-touch management issue that is very familiar to me.
    Recently, after hearing many staff bitching about the lack of car parking facilities on site, management decided to raise staff moral by putting some nice planters in. So they removed 3 car parking spaces, and put in 3 big planters made of green ugle metal and currently occupied be a few small ugly bits of heather.
    Ok, let me say first that I do understand, my mum and one of my friends mum, was a teacher and the amount of planning my mum had to do at times was insane. The reasons we are looking to do this is that the man in reprographics is starting to run out of jobs, and one of his main functions is to fulfil the role that the teachers are currently using the network printers for.
    I can say that the reprographics is actually good in this school, I've seen teachers (and other staff) come in ask for say 50 copies of a 5-10 page document, and he said come back in 10 minutes, which they did and he had finished. Ok, so at certain times of the year, sure he will be so busy that he will say something like, "sorry, I'm gonna be another 45 minutes with the prospectus", but he does have numerous machines, and could do the copying on another machine. But if he is just too busy he would suggest finding another way to printing all that one needs.

    Main reason his machines are very fast, and very cost effective, mind you though the cost to buy these machines is obviously a few thousand pounds. These machines are also not networked for the simple reason that everyone would use them, with no regard for how much care and maintenance they need.
    Just as an example, there was a restriction on how many pages everyone could print but the limit was too low, and instead of raising the limit - which may have sorted the problem, I don't know - they got rid of the limit, and now all the students and staff accross the school, waste, paper, and mean, really waste it. Like not caring enough to make sure it only takes one page - if that's all your allowed, for example - then throwing both pages away, and printing it again!

    In short, it would not be practical for us to network the reprographics printers/copiers (plus one or two can't be networked anyway). For me (and the rest of us in the IT department), no offence but it doesn't matter why we have to restrict the teachers/staff printing, the school managment board have noticed that reprographics is not being used to it's potential, and have noticed that not many teachers are using reprographics to save money, or otherwise. As we are in the position that we are not actually employed by this school, we are contracted in from our company. So it not for us to argue whether or not we know we are causing a nuisance to teachers, it the fact we do as we are instructed by are employers, and at times yes your right, they are very out-of-touch. So in short I still need to find a program to sort my problem, thanks for you input though.


    Steve B - thanks, but our current print manager program can do that already.

    redlight - yes, I found that program too, very good though it is, it doesn't do what I need it to. I did contact the developers of the software and they confirmed this, and said in a later email that they will put it in the next version. Though of course, when they are going to release the next version is anyones guess (as they didn't give me a date or expected time ot anything).

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    The King of Vague Steve B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pigabuff View Post
    Steve B - thanks, but our current print manager program can do that already.
    Set it to 0 then they have to use reprographics

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B View Post
    Set it to 0 then they have to use reprographics
    no joke, that did go through our minds at one point =P

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    Hi,

    You know, you might be cheaper employing a graduate CS student to write you a small TSR applet to limit no. of copies...

    Just a thought,

    Akira.

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    Not a bad idea, students are cheap though they can sometimes do shoddy work. One thing I don't get... what's CS?

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    Ooops soz, it's Computer Science

    If you contact a local uni or he college and ask to talk to their work experience dept. and I'm sure they'll be able to hook you up with a promising young coder who I'm sure will be able to develop a small bespoke applet for you.

    The prog would belong to your dept. then and if you kept all of the source code/documentation etc. could be developed further in the future.

    Akira.

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    Ah yes, makes perfect sense

    I shall talk with my boss about it =)

    Thanks

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    IMO if you already have a print manager program (that I assume logs all usage based on users and assigns a cost for jobs) then you don't need to be restricting what staff can print - you need to be recovering the cost to your budget from the various departments. At the moment your computing budget is subsidising all other departmental budgets. I bet a huge amount gets wasted too in reprints due to errors in handouts etc. Your boss needs to make a case to the Head.
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    Treasure Hunter extraordinaire herulach's Avatar
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    Printmangare plus will do it in a far more effective way, i did a wee while in tech support in a school after uni, and we put printmanager plus in, Staff got the equivalent of about 35 pages a day (with exceptions where neccessary, graphics dept for example) Until the head kicked off and demanded everyone unlimited. What actually ended up happening is departments were billed on a per page basis for everything their staff printed, soon stopped it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by herulach View Post
    Printmangare plus will do it in a far more effective way, i did a wee while in tech support in a school after uni, and we put printmanager plus in, Staff got the equivalent of about 35 pages a day (with exceptions where neccessary, graphics dept for example) Until the head kicked off and demanded everyone unlimited. What actually ended up happening is departments were billed on a per page basis for everything their staff printed, soon stopped it.
    Aye, but Ranger Print manager can't do that see, we would have to do that manually =/.... and this other program i've found (PCounter), can do that, as well as the main thing I wanted, now we just have to ask the school if they will accept the cost of this software, main reason they may not is that the current software we usr is like £100 a year maintanence, and the new software is like £195..... yes they can be that annoying over just £100 pounds (which in the whole scheme of things, isn't a lot for a big school).

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