Pharos Omega 1.5.5 Revision 6399 (Queens Cliff U5)

What's New in this Release

  1. Switching between copying and printing during a session

    Where both printing and copying services are available, logged on users can now switch between the two in a single session without having to log off and log back on. The new Do Copies button on the printing screen and Release Prints button on the copying screen allow users to switch between the printing and copying screens.

    Switching between services is enabled by selecting "Yes" for the Allow User to Change Station Function property on the Session tab of the Network Terminals context in Pharos Administrator.

  2. Offline copying

    If the connection to the Pharos EDI is lost, users can perform copying through the SmartPAD as normal. While in offline mode, the SmartPAD will accept any logon details, and the user balance field on the copying screen displays "Balance $0.00 (offline)" to indicate that they are in offline mode. Once communications resume, details of all offline copy transactions are forwarded to the Pharos Database.

    Three new properties on the Copier tab of the Network Terminals context control offline copying:

    • Allow Offline Copying - enables or disable the offline copying feature
    • Disable Third Party Charging when Offline - determines whether or not users can charge to Cost Centers while offline
    • Default Offline User - specifies a generic User account to record copying against in cases where an offline user supplies unknown logon details
  3. Support for USB card readers

    An external card reader can be plugged into one of the USB ports on the SmartHub and used instead of the SmartPAD's built-in card swipe. Omega supports Human Interface Device (HID) keyboard emulation USB card readers.

  4. Masking logon IDs

    The new Mask Logon Entry property (available in Pharos Administrator at Pharos Stations > Network Terminals > Logon tab) allows the entry of users' logon IDs to be masked with asterisks in the same way that passwords are. This may be useful if passwords are not used, and logon IDs are sensitive.

  5. Per user copy costing

    The new Get Costings Per User property (available in Pharos Administrator at Pharos Stations > Network Terminals > Copier tab) allows copy costs to be loaded from the EDI every time a user starts a copy session. This allows for discount costing on a per user basis.

  6. Changing passwords in Omega Administrator

    It is now possible to change the administrative password (used when logging on to the configuration menu at the SmartPAD) across multiple devices using Omega Administrator. Highlight the desired Omega device(s) and select Push > Omega Logon Password.

  7. Print job sorting

    Print jobs can now be sorted on the printing screen. Pressing any of the column headers (Document Name, Owner or Date & Time) sorts all print jobs by that property.

  8. Changes to logging options

    Options to enable Omega logging are now located on the new Syslog screen on the configuration menu at the SmartPAD. Options determining what information is logged are still configured at Admin > Logging.

  9. Extending timeout on copying screen

    Pressing any of the More > or Change buttons on the copying screen resets the Job Timeout.

  10. New wait icon

    The SmartPAD displays a small rotating icon while it is processing actions like validating a logon or listing print jobs, where previously status messages were displayed in a small window. The new Popup Status Messages (located under Logging in the configuration menu at the SmartPAD) controls whether the icon or the status messages are displayed.

  11. Print and Copy buttons now themeable

    The appearance of the Print and Copy buttons on the main SmartPAD menu can now be altered as part of a theme.

  12. Changes to Screen Suspend functionality

    Outside of the available hours defined by their Access Time schedules, Omega SmartPADs automatically enter screen suspend mode as soon as the Screensaver Time expires. SmartPADs automatically come out of screen suspend mode at the start of the available hours.

    The maximum value for the Screen Suspend Time property has been increased to 12 hours (up from 1 hour in previous versions).

  13. Changes to card swipe processing Introduced in Queens Cliff update 1

    Omega now treats all control characters in serial proximity card swipes that are less than 20Hex (i.e. <CR>, <LF> etc.) as end of card swipe characters and strips them. This allows Omega to support Impro prox reader OMS-900-1-0-FG-XX Omni Scan 125kHz passive tag readers.

    Omega also now treats ';E?' as a bad card swipe (this string is returned from known mag strip card readers and the SmartPAD internal card reader).

  14. Bug fixes

    This release includes the following bug fixes:

    Fixed in Queens Cliff update 2:

    • Fixes a bug where, in a certain configuration, users could swipe their card and log on outside Access Times.
    • Omega now copes with the syslog IP being set to an invalid address without hanging for several minutes.
    • Fixes a bug where SmartNode upgrade failures were not being logged.
    • SmartNode upgrades will re-try after a failure.

    Fixed in Queens Cliff update 4:

    • The Omega.exe utility was broken in Queens Cliff update 3. It now functions correctly.
    • Fixes bugs relating to broken pipe errors when using SSL: Errors recover gracefully, and the possibility of an error putting Omega into offline mode (allowing users to perform copying for free) has been removed.
    • Fixes a bug in the Learn Copier function, where the "Detect copier disable" test would not complete in certain circumstances.

    Fixed in Queens Cliff update 5:

    • If a Billing plug-in is used and it fails a getUserDetails call, the user account in question would be locked and unable to log on at Omega terminals. This no longer occurs.
    • Fixes a bug where, if the connection timeout to the EDI Server was set to a small time, a communication failure would result in all subsequent communication attempts failing.
  15. Learn Copier function supports Pharos 7.1 Introduced in Queens Cliff update 3

    Prior to this release, the Learn Copier function could not be used with Pharos 7.1. (This function, available on the Station > Copier screen at the SmartPAD, allows you to automatically determine configuration values for a copier and send them to the Pharos Database.) The Learn Copier function now supports Pharos 6.1 - 7.1.

  16. Learn Copier function support for paper sizes Introduced in Queens Cliff update 4

    Prior to this release, the Learn Copier function did not work with Pharos 7.1 when using Letter paper size with Color, nor for any paper size whose names started with letters greater than "Color". The Learn Copier function now works correctly for all paper sizes with Pharos 7.1.

  17. Support for new Magtek card reader Introduced in Queens Cliff update 5

    Omega now supports a new variant of the Magtek swipe card reader built in to the SmartPAD. The new variant is the MagTek P/N 21047008 Rev - C.

Known Issues

  1. Pharos 6.0 Change Control not actioned immediately

    When using Omega terminals with Pharos 6.0, any change to the Pharos system that requires a Change Control will not be implemented at Omega terminals straight away. Instead, configuration changes are actioned when the Omega SmartPAD's screensaver is activated. On high use terminals, this may mean that changes are not actioned until the end of the day.

  2. Downgrading from post-Kingston firmware

    If Omega firmware is downgraded from a version later than 1.2.4 (Kingston) to 1.2.4 or earlier, the device will be left in an inoperable state. In this case, contact Pharos Support for assistance in restoring the device.

  3. Using a Billing Gateway with Omega

    If Omega terminals are being used with a Pharos Billing Gateway, and users do not have accounts in the Pharos system, a script with the following content must be created and attached to the Bank's Logon event:

    PlugIn.Result = true;

    A Billing script is also needed if you wish to use the Blackboard TIA gateway with arrears accounts - contact Pharos Support for details.

  4. Offline jobs recorded with time of forwarding

    When using Omega with Pharos 7.0, offline copy jobs are recorded with the time that they were forwarded to the Pharos Database, rather than the time that the copy was actually made. A Pharos Alert (code 29054) is logged for each offline transaction - this Alert will contain the actual copy time.

  5. Omega requires Pharos certificates for SSL

    The SSL certificates used by Omega are certified to have been generated by Pharos Systems. If your EDI Server is using a certificate generated by another certification authority, then the Omega devices that communicate with it will not work. Contact Pharos for assistance in adding a CA certificate to your Omega devices.

Install Notes

  1. Apply ini_schemas.sql script

    Run the ini_schemas.sql script supplied in the Database directory of this firmware release against the Pharos Database before upgrading firmware. This ensures that all new properties featured in this firmware release will be available in Pharos Administrator. If you are using SQL Server, run this script against the 'pharos' database using SQL Query Analyzer. If your site uses MSDE, run the script by entering the following from a command prompt, where [password] is your SQL administrator password:

    osql -U sa -P [password] -d pharos -i ini_schemas.sql

    It is always a good idea to back up the Pharos Database before applying changes.

  2. Omega requires SQL Server 2000

    While Pharos can be installed on SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 7, Omega installs must use SQL Server 2000 (or MSDE 2000). If SQL Server 7 is used, Omega terminals may be unable to obtain their configuration information from the Pharos Database, and the error "'getutcdate' is not a recognized function name" appears at Omega terminals.

  3. Custom themes no longer supplied by Pharos

    With the addition of user theme customization in the 1.4.4 release (Pencarrow), it is no longer necessary to obtain custom themes from Pharos Systems. All theme modifications are now performed from the Omega Administrator application.

    Note: The new theme format is no longer version specific - it is no longer necessary to ensure that theme versions always match the current firmware version. Omega will ignore any invalid information it encounters in a theme file. Omega Administrator no longer displays the Theme Version property, as this is no longer relevant. Themes in the old .th format (pre-Pencarrow) will not work with Pencarrow and above firmware, however.