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Showing posts from February, 2014

Google Cloud Printing using Papercut MF

We have been using Papercut to manage printing for some years and its an excellent piece of software. However, as we have gained more and more ChromeOS devices, there has been a need to have managed Cloud Printing. We have been able to deploy cloud printers, I wrote a document about it here . This method had the limitation that the printing was not billed to a specific user or account. I had to setup Papercut to charge to one shared account. It also did not allow for printing to copiers as they did not talk to Papercut and required an additional layer of authentication that Cloud Print could never support. The solution appear at the end of last year when I noticed that the latest revision of Papercut supported Google Cloud Printing. As the contract for our copiers was up for renewal, we took the opportunity to get copiers that have embedded Papercut on them. This means they talk directly to our Papercut server. So we are now on Papercut MF 14. This has an option to enable cloud pri

Screencastify - if you have not already seen it....

Screencastify is a Chrome extension that allows you to record the content of one tab - so video and either the audio from your mic or the tab. Its particularly useful on a Chromebook as the only other way of recording the screen is to use a Hangout on Air. Hangout's on Air do allow you to record the whole screen - not just the active tab and in my experience give better results. However, you can only do them if you are 18 and this app can be used more easily by students. Videos can be downloaded locally or directly sent to YouTube. I've tried doing them on my Pixel (see video), a Toshiba Chromebook and a Samsung Series 3. The Series 3 produced choppy video and audio unless I dialled the capture resolution right down. The other two Chromebooks and my PC worked fine at any resolution. So it needs a little bit of grunt to work well. If I wanted to screencast on a Series 3, I'd stick to a Hangout on Air. This is the results from my Pixel: Just a bit of an update -

Toshiba Chromebook

I first met the Toshiba Chromebook at BETT 2014. I was quite impressed with it at the time and Toshiba has been kind enough to lend me one to try in school for a while. We are looking at getting more Chromebooks and currently have a mix of Samsung Series 3&5's and HP11's. The Toshiba is one contender for our next batch. It has a few key advantages over our current models: Much faster (this is true of all the newer Intel based machine - C720, HP14's etc) - it feels faster to use than my Windows desktop and just as fast as my Pixel. Good keyboard and trackpad - nicer to type on than small er models. Long battery life - seems round the 7 hour mark to me. Aesthetics - it looks and feels the part. Under the skin, it is very similar to the HP14 - but the users I've shown it too seem to prefer the look and feel of the Toshiba. I did a brief video of it in ITSupport today - may add some more thoughts in the coming weeks.

How to vlan a school when you don't know anything about vlans......

A little over a year ago a network engineer came in to setup a captive webportal for out BYOD WiFi. Now this is nothing to do with BYOD directly, that's just what he was doing. He asked me if I'd like him to check the health of out network. I agreed to this and he plugged in his laptop into our network and fired up an application that I now know was WireShark. About 15 minutes later, he pronounced out network to be 80% dead. This troubled me somewhat and the engineer spent the next hour or so explaining all that was wrong about our network. In brief, we had a 'flat' network - so all devices were on the same IP address range 192.168.x.x. This I leant was bad as when one devices wanted some information from another device, it sent the request to every devices on our network - some 600 odd devices. This is broadcast traffic and 80% of out network traffic was this. The solution looked simple on a piece of paper that he wrote on. Segment the network into several differen