Fumbling through a backpack, trying to log on to a computer and then frantically searching for a stapler has become routine for students who opt to print out pages at the last minute. But when there is a printer malfunction, students are often met with an obstacle they can’t overcome.
Though there were an uncommon number of printing problems earlier this month on campus — particularly at printing stations in the Fishbowl in Angell Hall — Information and Technology Services said the problems have since been corrected. ITS officials attribute the printing difficulties to a change in the print server infrastructure that happened before the fall term began.
Margaret Loveless, marketing and communications specialist lead for ITS, wrote in an e-mail interview that there were about 30 reported printer problems on campus between Sept. 7 and 16. These reports often come from roving staff members, who inspect every print site location on campus during the week, or from consulting staff that encounter a printer problem as they work, she said.
Loveless wrote that during that period of time, ITS also received between 25 and 35 complaints from students who were unable to use the printers.
Though reports were gathered across campus, Loveless said that the majority of complaints came from the printing locations in and around the Fishbowl in Angell Hall, which has the highest print volume of campus’s approximately 12 million double-sided annual page output.
The printer malfunctions were caused by an infrastructure change to the print servers that was completed before the beginning of the school year, Loveless wrote. But because the change was implemented across campus and affected all campus printing locations, Loveless added, the initial problems were not unexpected.
“When a highly technical environment is upgraded/updated it is not uncommon to see some bugs or instances where things do not work in their anticipated manner,” Loveless wrote.
As ITS staff worked to find the sources of complaint, they discovered problems with queue monitor displays and the sequence in which jobs were printed, Loveless said. There was also a problem with the multiple pages per sheet setting on the MPrint website.
After changes were made to the coding and infrastructure of the print servers, Loveless wrote that all previous system-wide issues have been fixed.
LSA senior Casey Barnhart said she had problems with the Angell Hall area printers but didn’t do anything about it when the problems occurred.
LSA sophomore Amanjot Sarao also said she had problems printing in the Fishbowl, but the issues did not dissuade her from continuing to print there.
Though the infrastructure transformation initially caused problems, Loveless said in a phone interview that she thinks the change to the new system will be better for the campus overall.
“It really is going to be a greater solution, because we need fewer print servers, which saves a whole lot of energy, which is terrific,” she said. “At the same time, it actually makes infrastructure faster so the printers can respond more quickly.”