Computer Consultant Clears the Air on Print Quotas

To the Editor:

This semester, Oberlin College’s Center for Information Technology (CIT) introduced a print quota system on the public computers. Everyone has 500 pages a semester and you can get pages added for an extra $20. For a lot of people, keeping the 500 pages in check is no problem as long as one logs out of whatever computer they are using.
But for some of you, logging out was simply not enough. What happened was this: you innocently sat down at one of the stylish Macintoshes on campus, and logged on. Maybe you were going to spell- check your overdue paper or maybe you were going to connect to MacServ and learn to type with the Broderbund program (it’s located in the “Word Processing” folder). In any case, there you are working away, when all of a sudden, you start getting messages telling you that you have a certain number of pages left. Engrossed in your work, you ignore it. But the messages won’t stop. They keep popping up, and you can feel a small part of yourself dying as you watch your print quota get smaller and smaller.
Infuriated, you run to the consultant’s office, or you type an e-mail to the consultant list-serv ( explaining the situation and demanding your pages back. What we tell you is shocking: you, who have always logged out, you who reads eRes documents on the computer to save paper, have lost those pages because the computer keeps old print jobs that never quite made it to the printer. What happens is this: someone goes to the computer and wants to print something. They log in and send the print job to the printer. Then, they decide that they don’t want to print anymore. So, they log out. Then, you come around and log in. The old print jobs start to print with a vengeance, not caring that those jobs don’t belong to you.
So you ask us, what can I do to prevent the slaughter of my print quota? We tell you that all you could do was check the print queues of the computer before you logged in and delete any jobs you found. Or to shut up and just use one of the 10 PCs on campus. Until now.
There were so many people with this problem that we here at CIT got into a heated debate about what to do with the lost pages; do we limit people’s ability to get pages back? Do we tell people to just forget those pages ever existed? Because it is the fault of the software, and not yours, some sexy consultants took matters into their own hands and wrote a script to eliminate print quota death.
It’s called Clear Queues, and it has been installed on iMacs (not on the white 8600 Macs) throughout campus. You can find it under the Apple Menu. The way it works is that rather than logging in with the tree, you log in using ClearQueues. It not only takes you directly to your StuLocker folder, it also clears the print queues on the machines.
So now, you can rest assured that you will have no one but yourself to blame when your print quota is gone. Use Clear Queues. Log out when you’re done. Hug the consultants. “Perform User Maintenance” is a meaningless phrase. Yes, we have a stapler that you can use. His name is Shaft. He loves you, and so do we.

–Maria Diaz
College sophomore
CIT Consultant


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