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Students struggle with printers, but a solution is on the horizon

Typing in his code, Caleb Brester ’22 prepares to print off an assignment for class. Printing is run by a server, and sometimes that server has problems receiving the jobs.

Much of the school’s technology was improved in the move to the Sokol Building; however, one major issue has continued: printing.

“I’ve had problems with the printer,” Zach Rapoza ‘21 said. “What I’ve always done is asked Br. Luke to print it off for me or I switched computers, but that’s more of just a stopgap for the problem.”

Students have been complaining about the problem. This is because they often struggle to find a computer that will print, so they end up trying multiple computers. This randomness leads to confusion for those trying to fix the problem.

“The issue is intermittent, making it hard to duplicate, and, if you can’t duplicate it, then troubleshooting is impossible,” director of technology Thomas Rzemyk said.

In a poll of fourteen underclassmen, none had experienced any problems with the printer, but, among the upperclassmen, several have dealt with the issue.

“I think the printer issue started last year, at the very most two years ago,” Tharein Potuhera ‘20 said. “It hasn’t really gotten any better, except for minor variations, like it being really bad at the start of this year and tapering off now.”

One way to remedy this randomness is to provide information. The best thing for a student to do is to send an email to [email protected] with all necessary details, such as computer name, username, time, software, and whether it is a local or cloud file. 

“Feedback and communication are absolutely key,” Rzemyk said. “If you give me a lot of information, I can do better with fixing the problem.”

Even with all the necessary details, Rzemyk still struggles to find a solution. He reached out to the companies that supply the printers.

“I’m working with the companies Equitrac and Konica Minolta. Equitrac does the backend login and price program, supporting the connection,” Rzemyk said. “I email them, ask for help, and they give me a script to run or a modification to the server. Then, it’s waiting until we get results, which I can really only get from students.”

Many students, who use the printers, often complain but never email anyone about the issue. Sometimes, it can feel like nothing is being fixed, but Rzemyk is doing everything he can to try and remedy the issue

A permanent solution is in sight. The printers are on a five year contract, which ends in June 2020. 

“When the contract ends, the plan is to replace all the printers, the server, and Equitrac as the software,” Rzemyk said. “I sent out a request for bids to get new printers and then the highest bidder wins, so we’ll have a more permanent solution by next year.”

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    Steven StorchMay 3, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    The exception is to have a printer system that always works! Network printers seem prone to the kinds of problems that inspire Dilbert cartoons. Somewhere amidst our printer troubles, there’s an opportunity to innovate and move technology to the next step.