15 Replies Latest reply on Jun 12, 2014 11:23 PM by Daniel Johns

    $0 cost jobs?

    David Marcinkowski Scout

      Hello,

      I sometimes get jobs that come up as $0 cost .... mostly on our wide format printers.  I have not been able to figure out how or why this happens .... here is how we have our cost centers set up for our wide format printers ....

       

      We use Area Costing for our wide format printers .... we charge per square foot and support a variety of papers.   We have the following set up on a typical roll paper Job Cost Method

       

      Name: 2.75 per sqr ft

      Costing Type: Area Costing

      Base Job Cost: $0.00

      Per Square Inch Cost: $0.019

      Default Per Page Cost: $0.00

      Per Page Attribute Cost: None Assigned

      Per Job Attribute Costs: None Assigned

       

      I know we can set a base cost and all that, but it is not necessary for what we are trying to do ..... It seems for some reason the job size is not being calculated properly.... therefore the job is $0.  I think this because in my Alerts on this transaction I get Error Code 29506 .. PageCounter Results created by applying Windows supplied information.  We instruct people to set up a custom page size matching the size of their job.  In case they do not do this, we also create some pre-defined sizes .... like if the printer is at 24 inch wide printer, we will set us 12x24, 24x24, 36x24, 48x24, etc, etc .... this way even if the user does not follow directions, they will most likely choose one of these sizes.

       

      Not sure if this effects anything, but we are mostly a Macintosh environment .. I am unsure if this occurs in a Windows environment..

       

      For the life of me I can not figure out why I see $0 cost jobs in my transaction logs .... it does not always happen, but it does happen ....not sure why.

       

      Is there a way to eliminate this or at least set up a script or something to deny any jobs that are $0?

       

      many thanks

       

      David

       

       

      David Marcinkowski

      Associate Director of Computing Services

      Manhattan Campus

      Pratt Institute

        • Re: $0 cost jobs?
          Scott Olswold Guide

          If you have "zero length print jobs" enabled for the Pharos Print Service (it's in the Registry), you can sometimes get this. Zero length jobs are a Windows Spooler phenomenon that I have yet to successfully pin down to describe, but they happen. Usually out of MS Word and Adobe Acrobat.

          • Re: $0 cost jobs?
            Scott Olswold Guide

            David,

             

            In a serendipitous moment, I was testing something and discovered another reason you may be getting a $0.00 job.

             

            When the wide format device is using a PostScript driver, the page size is not always explicitly defined, but may be buried in a '%%BoundingBox' or '%%CropBox' DSC (Document Structure Conventions; an Adobe PostScript language standard) comment statement (so %%BoundingBox 0 0 612 792  would represent US Letter output). Our PCounter software does not interpret these as page boundaries because they truly are not. Paper size is determined by a PostScript command called SetPageDevice, or can be called out as another DSC comment: %%CustomPageSize but must be defined elsewhere.

             

            If the PostScript file only contains %%BoundingBox or %%CropBox, then we note it as a "Custom" paper size, which will record as a $0.00 job if no default cost is applied.

             

            You may, if you choose, wander down the path of Job Attributes to deny print of jobs that don't fall within defined criteria, but a wide format printer makes that a very arduous task indeed. In terms of scripting, the PrintJob Plug-in, which executes right before the job prints, exposes the PlugIn.JobCost attribute, so it would be a ready task to implement a check to see if Plugin.JobCost = 0 and proceed from there.

             

            -Scott

              • Re: $0 cost jobs?
                David Marcinkowski Scout

                This second response seems more right than the first ... I have seen references to "0 length jobs" in my logs, but Pharos seems to stop them ..... have to double check this .... but very rare and these are ore frequent ... and are more worrying.

                 

                This second explanation makes more sense to me .... I could see this being the case... cause we use post script drivers and still see the known page range file problem in Acrobat that we discussed in the past.

                 

                Im not an expert in Pharos scripting, so I'd like to explore the Page Attributes option, but this raises a issue .... can I define custom page sizes for Phaors to use in the Jobs Attributes? 

                For example, we charge by the square foot, so I would set up custom page sizes list like 24 x12, 24x24, 24x36, 24x48 ... etc .... and try to figure out how to disable custom page settings in the ppd .... then via Job Attributes  select these custom page sizes to be the ones allowed .... is that possible?

                 

                Many thanks


                David

                  • Re: $0 cost jobs?
                    Scott Olswold Guide

                    David

                     

                    PPDs, in general, are pretty flexible, and you can sometimes get it to do exactly what you want it to with minor effort.

                     

                    If you'd like, send me the PPD and I'll take a look at it.

                    • Re: $0 cost jobs?
                      Scott Olswold Guide

                      David,

                       

                      OK, so the Onyx comes with a host of defined paper sizes that I'm going to put in the "Not So Useful" category:

                       

                      Page52/44_x_12

                      Page53/44_x_24

                      Page54/44_x_32

                      Page55/44_x_36

                      Page56/44_x_48

                      Page57/44_x_60

                      Page24/32_x_24

                      Page25/32_x_32

                      Page26/32_x_42

                      Page27/32_x_48

                      Page28/32_x_60

                      Page29/64_x_12

                      Page30/64_x_24

                      Page31/64_x_36

                      Page32/64_x_48

                      Page33/64_x_60

                       

                      and there is a token gesture to Letter, Legal, and Tabloid (Ledger) formats as well. Sigh.

                       

                      Based on your desired defaults, you have a 24" roll fed device. Everything else is based on custom page sizes, and those all end up as %%BoundingBox designations, which is very unhelpful.

                       

                      The Onyx PPD puts paper information in 4 places:

                       

                      *OpenUI *PageSize

                      *OpenUI *PageRegion

                      *ImageableArea

                      *PaperDimension

                       

                      The entries for the *OpenUI sections are nearly identical. To make a new page (I'm going to use 24"x36" as an example):

                       

                      Under *OpenUI *PageSize

                       

                      *PageSize 24_x_36: "

                        2 dict dup /PageSize [1728 2592] put dup /ImagingBBox null put

                      setpagedevice"

                      *End

                       

                      The values in brackets ([1728 2592]) are expressed as PostScript Points, where 72 points (abbreviated as 'pt')= 1 inch.

                       

                      Under *OpenUI *PageRegion

                       

                      *PageRegion 24_x_36: "

                        2 dict dup /PageSize [1728 2592] put dup /ImagingBBox null put

                      setpagedevice"

                      *End

                       

                      Under *ImageableArea

                       

                      *ImageableArea 24_x_36: "0.0 0.0 1728.0 2592.0"

                       

                      Under *PaperDimension

                       

                      *PaperDimension 24_x_36: "1728 2592"

                       

                      ...and that's it (for 24x36 paper anyway). You can do the same for the ANSI and ARCH paper sizes. You can find a handy-dandy guide to paper sizes at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size

                       

                      Hope this helps. I tested my 24 x 36 paper size addition against Uniprint and it worked, so I think you'll be on the right path.

                       

                      Regards,

                      Scott

                        • Re: $0 cost jobs?
                          David Marcinkowski Scout

                          Whew!  Sounds like I will be editing many many ppds .....can you supply me with your test ppd .... a working visual will be helpful

                           

                          david

                            • Re: Re: $0 cost jobs?
                              Scott Olswold Guide

                              David,

                               

                              I will...but only because you're with my favorite design school .

                               

                              Here's a sample of what I get when I print as a "held" job. This is in Uniprint 8.2 with the as-released PCounter.exe version.

                               

                               

                              24x36 is ArchD paper. So you'd define a cost for ArchD or simply let your area model do the work (I didn't include the cost of the job in the screen shot; for the test, I'd made it a gross and ugly charge). The PPD is attached to this reply. The 24_x_36 page size is at the top of each section.

                               

                              Scott

                                • Re: Re: $0 cost jobs?
                                  David Marcinkowski Scout

                                  hey Scott .... one more question on this .... you say "Everything else is based on custom page sizes, and those all end up as %%BoundingBox designations"

                                   

                                  Does this mean that custom page sizes will come up as $0?  I have continued to have issues with this ....

                                   

                                  We instruct all who use our print system to make a custom page size .... and provide the general sizes just as a guide.... do I need to change that becasue of this %%BoundingBox designation?

                                   

                                  David

                                    • Re: Re: $0 cost jobs?
                                      Scott Olswold Guide

                                      David,

                                       

                                      I had a remote session with another site yesterday who was having issue with $0.00 jobs making it through. In review of the Pharos logs, I noticed that the PageCounter log was defaulting to Windows information instead of PageCounter information. The preceding error message indicated that PageCounter had exceeded a limit. What I did to resolve was:

                                       

                                      1. Open RegEdit on the server.
                                      2. Go to HKEY_Local_Machine\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\PharosSystems\PageCounting.
                                      3. Change the value of MemoryLimit to 256 (the initial value is 128).
                                      4. Restart the Pharos Systems Secure Release Service (which also restarts the Pharos Systems Print Service).

                                       

                                      The issue at yesterday's site was that most of these large- and grand-format jobs are "huge" when compared to output from Microsoft Word (for example). By increasing the available memory that PageCounter can use, we are able to fully load the spool file into memory and so get a functioning page-counting event.

                                       

                                      Because the site allows for very large printing, they ended up setting this to 512 MB instead of 256, but their print servers all have 8GB RAM on them, and over 5.5GB was free in the middle of the day.

                                       

                                      You can take this for a test drive, just let me know how it works out.

                                       

                                      -Scott

                                        • Re: $0 cost jobs?
                                          David Marcinkowski Scout

                                          I'll try this ...... cause I have seen that message in my logs .... error code 29506 right?  As an Art School .... we also do very large printing mostly   ..... Our Epson 11880 does up to 64 inches wide  ......

                                           

                                           

                                          What is the max on this RAM setting?  My servers have over 40G RAM .... so I'd like to push it ..... hopefully to avoid this issue ...

                                          cause its becoming major for me .....

                                           

                                          David

                                            • Re: $0 cost jobs?
                                              Scott Olswold Guide

                                              David,

                                               

                                              Yup, that thar be the error message.

                                               

                                              There's really no hard and fast rule. It's a 32-bit application, so it will not benefit by getting anything larger than 1.67GB allocation, and you should never need that much anyway. With a 256MB setting, I am able to page-count a 340MB print file.

                                               

                                              -Scott

                                                • Re: Re: $0 cost jobs?
                                                  David Marcinkowski Scout

                                                  Hey everyone,
                                                  I started seeing $0 jobs in my Pharos implementation again ... it occurred to me that we recently did an upgrade to our system and those registry keys mentioned in the previous post ...  to increase the Max Memory for the Page Counter .... may have been erased .... so I went in to restore them, but the registry keys are no longer present? 

                                                   

                                                  Im wondering if they upgrade to 8.3.7184 eliminated these keys or are they located somewhere else .....can I just add this key?

                                                   

                                                  David