Students and faculty adjust to new card readers, printers

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Sophomore Ariana Mckeithen-Mead didn't understand why the new printers didn't work for her at first. 

"Apparently my name is too long," she said. "It took 10 minutes to figure it out."

Last month, new printers became available on campus, and while there have been positive responses, there have been a few setbacks as well.

"Faculty and staff have been very pleased with the new process and some of the features the printers and copiers offer," said Chief Information Officer Carol Smith.

In addition to some students having to alter their usernames, another minor technical issue cropped up when the printers were first installed during Winter Term — PDF files were counted as color prints. Consequently, students and faculty were charged 30 cents per page instead of the correct 5 cents per page.

"We found a solution to that," Smith said. "If people have issues and find that their quota was overcharged for what they think is that reason, then we can address that and give them back some quota."

Though the technological issue was resolved, some students have had difficulties completing the steps necessary to use the new printers.

"We are still in the process of working with a number of students who have not reset their passwords for their network accounts, married their cards to the print system and gotten the print drivers installed on their laptops," Smith said.

Still, more students have struggled to install drivers onto their laptops. 

"They don't have instructions for Windows Vista on the website," said sophomore Neisha Washington.

Washington went to the Help Desk with problems in her computer's print spooler, which allows computer software to communicate with printer hardware.

Despite the difficulties, students who have printed successfully have had generally positive impressions.

"They work like a charm," said junior Connor Molin. "I haven't had a single problem yet." 

Others find the printers useful in the university's sustainability efforts.

"I feel like it (the new printing system) saves a lot printing money, paper and prevents waste," Washington said.

In addition to installing new printers to sync with ID cards, last semester the university began installing proximity card readers around campus. Currently, several residence halls, the Lilly Center and the Union Building have the readers installed outside doors.

"What we planned to do is the first stage this school year," Smith said. "We don't plan to do any further ones this year." 

The feedback on the project has been positive thus far, although Smith mentioned that some students haven't picked up their newly printed ID cards yet. The university plans to look at budgeting near the end of this year so more readers can be installed.