Where print jobs go

FastTrack takes the gamble out of where your print job goes!

“I Saw Her Standing There” (by the wrong printer)

Not long ago a customer came to us with a bit of a problem, which when we broke it down, kind of reminded me of one of those ‘If Billy had 1 pint of water, a 1Kg bag of marbles of 1/2 inch diameter AND two 45ml cups, how many…’ maths questions from school.

Quite often we find, that the limitation with Automation Studio is not the software itself, but actually our own ability to break down a customer problem and then our creativity to figure out a way to solve it. To cap it all, it’s of critical importance to us that any delivered solution is completely manageable & maintainable by the customer.

Solutions which rely on regular professional service calls? That’s just not how we roll.

Here’s a basic break down of their pesky printer puzzle, with staff & printer numbers (dramatically) scaled down to simplify:

Imagine – one large room for dispatch. The room has two desks and one printer over on the left side, and two desks and another printer way over there on the right side of the room.

Being dispatch, people are working on packing stuff, and therefore, it’s essential that each person has access to the right printer. They also need to print to the other printer, but only if their one is out of service.

Just for fun, let’s call our four dispatchers John, Paul, Ringo and George. John & Paul work on the left side of the room, Ringo and George on the right (and before you write in telling me that it’s unlikely that John and Paul would ever have chosen to work on the same side of the room together – this is just a hypothetical example OK??!!!!).

So both John and Paul need to have the printer down their side of the room (lefts call it Printer-Left) set as default. But additionally, they still need to have Ringo & Georges printer (Printer-Right) mapped in case Printer-Left has a problem.

Likewise George and Ringo need to have Printer-Right set as their default printer, but again, they still need to be able to print to Printer-Left if their printer goes down.

Hopefully you can see the crux of the problem. Now imagine, if you added many more rooms, with many more desks, and a couple of dozen Beetles tribute bands thrown in many of whom decide to ‘swap bands’ – what sort of IT printing nightmare would ensue!!! Relevant Beetles song titles that come to mind are ‘Help!’, ‘I’m Down’ & ‘Misery’.

More importantly, if printers stopped working, or jobs printed off the wrong dispatch printer, that would cause havoc and the result of that would be calls to an already hard pressed IT department, delays and perhaps even a tangible cost to the business. No matter how IT tried with windows printer management, messing about with group policy object assignment, at the end of the day, it was a case of ‘Place your bets Gentleman please!”, because that’s how reliable printing was.

Enter FastTrack Automation Studio, which has been designed to deal with exactly such situations as above – and actually far more complex even. Printers (be they on server shares, or direct to IP Printers) are simply loaded into Automation Studio, and ‘conditions’ are then set as to who gets what. What’s set as default, STAYS as default. See the image below for a typical list of conditions, but more functionality can be scripted if required.

So in ‘The End’, with some clever logic & group creation, Automation Studio was able to solve the entire printing enigma, and once and for all, everyone now was printing to the right (or left!) printer, plus a backup.

It’s therefore true that ‘Money Can’t Buy Me Love’…. but if you were to use a little to buy your company a copy of Automation Studio Enterprise, it can absolutely remove the daily gamble of what & where your default printer is!


Rating: 5 out of 5

"Use this as a replacement for VBScript and PowerShell"

"It's easy to include attractive GUI elements in FastTrack scripts, beyond the basic dialog boxes and text input that VBScript offers ... Another powerful feature is the ability to distribute scripts as Windows Installer (.msi) or standard .exe files. Although interesting in its own right, this ability results in a much more intriguing capability: to repackage -- or wrap -- software installers as .msi files without using snapshots. If you've ever created an .msi installer file from before-and-after system snapshots, for use with a software distribution system such as Group Policy or SCCM, then you know how hit-and-miss the results can be."

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Rating: 8 out of 10

"Faster than the rest"

"We found the FastTrack syntax to be more transparent and easier to learn than Microsoft's PowerShell – the editor in particular provided good support in this regard. the Script Editor offers a large number of options from the command set through to simple output of graphical elements, which cannot be achieved at all with PowerShell or other solutions or only with a significantly greater level of effort."

"Anyone wanting to tackle the many hurdles in everyday admin and especially anyone for whom logon scripts and client automation is a priority will benefit from the variety of functions offered by FastTrack."

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