Bad news: the public was not notified or surveyed before the replacement.

Good news: the replacements are expected to function similarly to their predecessors.

Many students, including those who work at the library, were caught off guard by the unexpected replacement of our printers. Why are they replaced? According to ITS, the replacement of printers is not intended to be an upgrade or to solve complaints from students and faculties. The main reason for this change, according to the Information  Technology Services (ITS), was the expiry of the printer’s five-year maintenance contract. Five years is the standard lifespan for printers and other enterprise-grade electronic devices. In fact, this change should have happened earlier, but the COVID pandemic delayed the work.  Long-term members of our college community might recall similar transitions, ITS says, though not many students have spent more than five years here. The new printers should also theoretically function very similar to the old ones.

Bad news: they cannot scan your documents to Google Drive.

Good news: the new printers can scan your documents to your thumb drive faster and more reliably.

While the printing performance remains largely unchanged, the scanning capabilities have significantly shifted. Gone are the days of scanning documents directly to email or Google Drive. Instead, the new printers favor a more old-fashioned method—scanning directly to a thumb drive. It is faster and more reliable. In the old days, occasionally, you will notice the scan failed to transfer after leaving the printer for several minutes. However, this change presents its own set of challenges, especially for MacBook users. The printers use the older USB-A port, meaning those with newer MacBooks will require an adapter or dual-port thumb drive.

Bad news: the new printers are still slow.

Good news: the new printers are not slower, at least.

It’s a familiar scene: students waiting anxiously as the printer pauses after every few pages, especially during peak times like 10 a.m. This hiccup occurs in both old and new printers. It seems to be an issue related to the printing server—Papercut, the server that collects our files from our computer and delivers them to our printers. The printers are waiting for file transfer when they pause. It is unclear if ITS plans to upgrade the server in the future. So, for now, it’s a good idea to factor in some extra time when planning to print.

Good news: The printer’s interface is not changed.

Bad news: The printer’s internal interface is exposed.

Tapping your ID brings up the known Papercut interface. However, there’s a caveat: upon selecting print release, an internal printer interface emerges. This allows anyone to view the printing queue and, more worryingly, pause all printing jobs. I remember on a Wednesday night, when I tried to use the printer located on the first floor of Stager, I saw about 5 jobs were paused there, the earliest one was at 2pm. Someone accidentally pressed pause, and for everyone who came later, their printing jobs were also paused. They must be confused about what’s happening. 

Though students are generally okay with the new printing system, given these changes, a more informative rollout might have been beneficial. For example, finding where to tap my ID made me very confused on the first day. An explanatory email or guide detailing the dos and don’ts of the new printers would certainly help reduce future hiccups.

Senior Santure Chen is a staff writer. Their email is