EDITORIALS

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October 9, 2009

Fine print

With the new unified printing system, the University has taken a definite step forward in delivering convenient printing to students, although a few problems remain.

In past years, campus printing was composed of a patchwork of options. Among departments, dorms, libraries, and NSIT computing clusters, procedures and per-page prices varied, and antiquated printing systems tended to be unreliable. With the new unified printing system, the University has taken a definite step forward in delivering convenient printing to students, although a few problems remain.

The new, Canon-run system standardizes costs, machines, service, and printing procedures among residence halls, computer clusters, and libraries. Students can now send a print order from any computer on the University’s wireless network to machines around campus. Users can also add money to their UCID cards online, as well as through value-adding stations in the libraries. If it’s too early to tell whether the new machines are more reliable than the old ones, their combination of printing, scanning, and copying capabilities certainly makes them more convenient.

But as it stands, unified printing still needs fine-tuning. Card-charging stations, for example, are available at the Regenstein, Crerar, and D’Angelo Law libraries, but not at Harper. The option to charge cards online is less convenient than it sounds: Internet users must add at least $20.00 to their cards at a time, which is a hassle to students simply wanting to print out a two-page response paper. And while making double-sided printing the default setting is a welcome nod to sustainability concerns, the University could go further by pricing single- and double-sided pages differently.

Many aspects of unified printing vastly improve upon the old setup. Now that the ink is dry on the deal with Canon, the University should tweak the system to better serve its users.

The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and two additional Editorial Board members.