Technology Source

Ready, get set, print . . .

For many of us, maybe most of us, our favorite computer display is a sheet of paper. We would rather take what is on the screen, print it out and read it. Hard copy weighs less, is more portable and has super sharp resolution.

So we want to print.

If a printer is connected to your desktop computer, printing should be easy. However, most printers are located somewhere on the network, and you need to get to them. How to do this? You should ask your local support person, if they are available.

Most people don't know that you can also print on a remote printer in another department. Of course, you should always get permission when attempting to use another department's printer, but here are a few tips to help get you started.

Printing is one of the few things that is still easier to do on a Mac. Just pull down the Apple Menu, click on Chooser, select a Zone, click on the icon for the type of printer you wish to print on (for example, LaserWriter) and select one from the list of printers to the right, in the Chooser window.

Some printers may have very descriptive names like "Fourth Floor Candler Library," and some may have very cryptic names like "Chewbacca." People who use obscure names don't want just anyone to print on their printers.

Novell and Microsoft
If you have a Windows machine, you will generally have to connect to a server-either a Novell NetWare server or a Windows server (e.g., NT). These servers could be another workstation with a printer attached or even just a very smart printer on the network. Since you actually have to log in, it is only possible to use such printers if you have been authorized to.

If you have Windows 95 or NT on your desktop, double-click the My Computer icon and then double-click to open the Printers folder within. If someone has added them for you, you should then see icons for the printers you can print to. You can right-click one of those printers and make it the default printer. Most programs, such as Microsoft Word, will let you change printers from the panel that pops up when you choose "Print" from the File menu.

See your local support person about adding additional printers or accessing printers.

UNIX systems can print to printers that are actually plugged into the UNIX computer, to printers attached to other UNIX systems or to printers that act like other UNIX systems.

To get an idea of what printers are available on some UNIX systems, look at the file </etc/printcap>. On Dooley, you can get this listing by typing the command <niscat printers.org_dir | more>. This listing has an entry for each printer that is available. The first word of each entry is the printer's UNIX name and typically it is followed by a more lengthy, descriptive name such as "lab01 ... Lab LaserWriter 1."

Mix and Match
With the right software (frequently from a third party) it is possible to print from any of the systems mentioned above to any network printer. The system administrator for the server that you log on to must purchase, install and configure such software and only they can tell you what printers are available then.

From a Windows desktop system, you may be able to utilize specific Apple LaserWriters.

On Dooley, it is possible to print to many of the Apple LaserWriters on campus, including the Cox Hall Lab: "coxllw" (CoxLaser) and "coxrlw" (CoxResume). Print a text file with "enscript -Pcoxllw" or a PostScript file with "lpr -Pcoxllw". There is a charge of 10 cents per page for printouts in the lab and they must be picked up within 30 minutes of printing.

The situation is similar for the mainframe administrative systems.

For printing to specific printers, however, there has to be a cooperative effort between the printer "owner," the manager of the local print sharing environment and the computer user generating the output.

Keep in mind that as technology evolves, ITD is looking for opportunities to simplify printing so that you really can print anything on that printer right next to you.

Ken Guyton is a senior computer support
specialist in Computing Resource Services.

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