18 Replies Latest reply on Oct 1, 2014 9:32 PM by Rojaa Matlakunta

    Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment

    John Siegel Guide

      I just finished installing Pharos 9.0 here at the University of Colorado, including an upgrade to Mobileprint 2.0. I haven't had a chance to evaluate any of the "bells and whistles" on the web side. I was wondering if anyone running a secure release environment has experimented with any of the Web\Print Center capabilities and which if any, were of benefit, Our users are serviced on the banking side by CBORD so we don't use any of the associated banking capabilities, i.e. adding to account balance. paypal, etc.

       

      Thanks,

       

                   John

        • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
          Willis Dair Tracker

          Our main impetus to upgrade to 9.0 was for the guest printing feature and PayPal funding.  This is handled quite well in the Print Center.  Getting PayPal working took some doing, but once it was working, it has been flawless.

           

          With MobilePrint 2.0 installed, the upload file feature is really handy.  It has saved our bacon with some weird operating systems or if there are issues with people installing the popup client on their computers.

           

          Also, with MobilePrint, the ability to preview and change print options for uploaded or emailed files is a really nice feature.  Since Uniprint is rendering the file and not your computer, you can see how a print job will turn out before printing it.  Basically, you can confirm what you sent will print out the way you want it.

           

          If a student forgets their ID card, they can remotely release print jobs instead of poking their login information at the Omega station.  Same goes for the guest users.

           

          The remote release of print job is handy, but I think there is work to be done on the printer search feature.  It is a little clunky and people are a little confused or frustrated with the search box and search result box.  The search result box only shows 6 printers.  If you have more than 6 printers meeting a search criteria, you cannot see or select any printer beyond the first 6.  You have to narrow your search to less than 6 matching printers.  You also cannot browse all the printers in your system.

           

          When you open Print Center on a mobile phone or mobile device, it's pretty cool.  The mobile version of the web site does not have all the features of the full version, but it is very functional.

           

          The activity history is a nice touch.  Now our clients can see when and what they printed.

           

          Print Center is a 1.0 product and I am excited to see how it will develop.  There are a few quirky things like the printer search, but it is another option and will open new possibilities for people's workflow.

           

          Willis Dair

          Santa Clara University

            • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
              John Siegel Guide

              Hi Willis,

               

                           Thanks for the response. In our environment we have to use secure release, meaning the job must be released at a print release station (in our case an  omega). That means many of the cool new features are of no use because they are direct release. If we used direct release in our environment we would have literally dozens of jobs sitting on the printer.It would be confusing for the customers to sort through, and privacy issues are a concern as well. What we would like to see, and it would most likely be the case for most high volume locations, is the ability to use all of the systems capabilities via the web interface and still allow for secure release at a print release station.

               

              Regards,

               

                            John

              • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                Wayfarer

                Hi Willis,

                 

                First, I would like to thank you for your response.  Also, I would like to let you know, we did some work to improve the Print Center device search and the guest account.  For the guest account, we added a Captcha question during the guest account creation to ensure the guest account is created by human users.  For the device search, we increased the list of search matches before requiring the user to refine their search.

                 

                I didn't launch this patch yet because I am debating to launch it now, or wait couple more weeks and add the Print Center Web customization option which we are working on now.  If there many interested on the current patch without the customization option, I can make it available to everyone, or email a download link for those who are interested if the number is small.

                 

                Best Regards,

                Hany

                  • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                    Willis Dair Tracker

                    Hi Hany,

                     

                    I'm interested in the new Print Center features. It is not a time critical thing, so I can wait if you are going to do a major release.

                     

                    Something that my users have been asking is to somehow have default printers in the Print Center.  I think what they are looking for is something like the Recent Printers feature.  If there was a way to pre-populate the Recent Printers with strategic printers, some of the lab locations would find it really useful.

                     

                    Willis

                      • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                        Rojaa Matlakunta Navigator

                        Hi Willis,

                         

                        I think what they are looking for is something like the Recent Printers feature.

                        Currently printer list populates the recently used printers by the logged-on user. Please refer to Pharos Print Center 1.6 Help | Pharos Community

                         

                        If there was a way to pre-populate the Recent Printers with strategic printers, some of the lab locations would find it really useful.

                        I am trying to understand the requirements. Are you looking for searching printers based on their location? if so, then you can update device location under device description field (Administrator > Devices context) - so that Print Center user's are able to search on description too... Please do refer screenshot of device search here.

                         

                        Regards

                        Rojaa

                          • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                            Willis Dair Tracker

                            Rojaa,

                             

                            Thanks for the interest.  When we first introduced Print Center, I heard quite a few people ask if there was a way to put in a default printer, especially on public computers in a lab setting.  The first time a person sees Print Center, the lower right area says "select a printer."  When they click on the "select a printer," a list of printers show up but it is alphabetical and is only the first 6 printers or all the printers on the Pharos system.  In our case it will say 6 of 40 printers.  They get a little confused because they cannot scroll or do anything with the list.  Most people I've talked to initially are not aware that the "select a printer" area is a search area.  They try to select and they can only see the first 6 printers in the alphabetical list of printers.

                             

                            For someone who has used Print Center they will see one of the printers they've used before.  It does not say "select a printer."  When that person clicks on the printer area, they will get a list of Recent Printers instead of the full list of printers and they do not see "6 of 40 printers"

                             

                            So my question was how does the Recent Printers get loaded into Print Center?  Is it associated with a computer browser cookie?  Is it associated with a username? So here is a scenario:  A guest user comes to our library to do research and wants to print.  The guest uses one of our public library computers.  We instruct them on how to get a guest account and how to use Add Funds.  Now when they print in Print Center, they are confused as to what to do.  Is there a way to have a default library printer loaded up in the Recent Printers or even as the printer that shows up when they open Print Center?  That way, they just click on the Print button.  They don't have to know anything about names or locations or printer types for the search criteria.  That is kind of the jist of the question...

                             

                            Thanks-

                             

                            Willis

                              • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                                Rojaa Matlakunta Navigator

                                Hi Willis,

                                 

                                Thanks for your detailed explanation.

                                 

                                The first time a person sees Print Center, the lower right area says "select a printer."  When they click on the "select a printer," a list of printers show up but it is alphabetical and is only the first 6 printers or all the printers on the Pharos system.  In our case it will say 6 of 40 printers.

                                From PPC version 1.6 onwards, we have updated the logic so that it shows first 20 printers in an alphabetical order.

                                 

                                1. First time user:
                                  • When user logons to PPC for the first time,  uploads a document to print and when they click on "select a printer" then system lists first 20 printers in an alphabetical order.
                                2. Once when user prints and logons to Print center:
                                  • Printers list displayed is based on the recently used printers by that logged-on username. They get a different message in printers search as "Start typing to search for a printer" - so the printers listed are based on the text they typed. If they want a full list of printers - they can simply type space - so, in your case they will see "6 of 40 printers".

                                 

                                Is there a way to have a default library printer loaded up in the Recent Printers or even as the printer that shows up when they open Print Center?  That way, they just click on the Print button.

                                This is a new requirement, I will inform to Product Owner.

                                 

                                Regards

                                Rojaa

                          • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                            Steven English Guide

                            Hany Saad,

                             

                            I am interested in testing what you've got so far even if the theme/customizations is not yet complete.  Thanks!

                             

                            Regards,

                            Steven

                        • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                          Willis Dair Tracker

                          John,

                           

                          I think I see your concern.  You don't want to send a job to the printer and have it sit there. In Administrator>System>System Settings>Print Center,  you can uncheck the Display Print Button box and your users will not be able to choose a printer or release a print job from Print Center.

                           

                          You should then be able to use the features in Print Center, but not release any print jobs.  In this mode users can upload files, which is one of the most useful features.  They can

                          change uploaded or emailed files from single to double sided printing (or vise versa), change the number of copies, convert a color document to be B&W. When a person is uploading a file, they cannot change the copies or duplex like a person with a computer and popup client can.  The Print Center is the only way to change an uploaded or emailed file. Other features of Print Center:  They can confirm if a job sent with a popup client is single or double sided before releasing.  They can see their print activity history.

                           

                          We are strictly Secure Release as well.  All of our printers are associated with Omega stations too.

                           

                          Willis Dair

                          Santa Clara University

                            • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                              John Siegel Guide

                              Hi Willis,

                               

                                           Are you having the users logon to my print center using a password? One of the concerns here is security. Since we can restrict activities within the print center, i.e. not allowing direct printing, I can't see that anyone could do much damage by logging on to someone's account if they knew their user logon, but it has been brought up. Since our accounts are created by the script, we don't assign any passwords to the users. I'm wondering if we changed the system setting to allow users to change their password, could they then add one to the account if it doesn't have one. At the same time I don't want to create a whole new category of help desk call entitled, I can't remember my password .

                               

                              ~John

                                • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                                  Willis Dair Tracker

                                  John,

                                   

                                  Yes, they do log into their Print Center account with a password.  Our usernames and passwords for university students and personnel are managed with Novell eDirectory at the moment.  Pharos accounts are created each morning via batchload runs or when they register their new university ID card at the Omega station.   Their Pharos accounts are identical to their eDirectory usernames.  There is a notion to move to Microsoft Active Directory in the future.  In any case, it is an LDAP login using the Pharos LDAP plugin.  This username and password is kind of a single-signon and is used across a number of platforms on campus; email, university portfolio, WiFi, public computers, course management...

                                   

                                  The password for guest users are held in the Pharos database.  This is all done by the Print Center's "I am a guest" procedure.  I had to write a logon script to do password authentication.  If there is an "@" (at-sign) in the username, assume it is a guest user and test the password against the internal Pharos database.  If there is no "@" in the username, assume it is a university account, and call the LDAP plugin to authenticate.

                                   

                                  Yeah, our helpdesk deal with the "I need my password changed" issue quite frequently.  If they forget their password, they can't get into a lot of things; not just printing....  For the guest user accounts, we let the proctor role people and librarians use Pharos Remote to change the guest user passwords if they forget them.

                                   

                                  Willis

                                    • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                                      Steven English Guide

                                      Willis,

                                       

                                      Guset accounts created in MobilePrint are flagged in the database as such.  If you ever find that checking for the @ symbol isn't getting you everything you need (perhaps due to a student appending @domain.edu to their username), you can always check the db column is_guest to confirm.  If desired, I could provide you with a sample code snippet.

                                       

                                      Regards,

                                      Steven

                                      • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                                        John Siegel Guide

                                        Thanks Willis,

                                         

                                                            We didn't have user accounts in the Pharos DB until we started using Mobileprint. CU wants any password in the Pharos DB to be different than what the users use for their university accounts. The reason being we (we being a third party) control Pharos, not CU, and they don't like they idea of us storing any passwords that are part of the users Identikey (system PW used by CU). I believe that's why they don't want to use the email registration process, since it's not controlled by the university. The problem I have is that I can't support 30,000 users by creating passwords and or helping them when they forget it. Since it would only be for accessing the Pharos system, CU would expect us to support the users.

                                         

                                        Regards,

                                         

                                                      John

                                          • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                                            Wayfarer

                                            John,

                                             

                                            Will a "Forget Password" option help your situation? 

                                             

                                            Best Regards,

                                            Hany

                                              • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                                                John Siegel Guide

                                                Hi Hany,

                                                 

                                                              I'm not sure, the first hurdle is getting CU to decide whether or not we can access the AD for authentication, or if we have to come up with some way to give users a unique password for the Pharos user accounts. Ideally we could upload the data on a daily basis from the LDAP, but the problem is there are multiple LDAP's in different server zones, run by different groups on the campus that don't talk to each other, nor work and play well with others. That would also require some changes to the current script, which of course triggers the conversation about who's going to pay for it. Never a dull moment, but of course if it were easy, it wouldn't be any fun !

                                                 

                                                Thanks,

                                                 

                                                             John

                                      • Re: Using 9.0's web capabilities in a secure release environment
                                        John Siegel Guide

                                        Thanks Willis,

                                         

                                                            That's what I wanted to know.

                                         

                                        The plan is to experiment with some of these features and then launch next semester. Usually the biggest challenge is user education, we're considering snacks! 

                                         

                                        Regards,

                                         

                                                    John