New global print queue for campus printers

  • New NINJa | The NINJa printing system's new UI.

Updated Aug. 22, 10:31 p.m. As part of the recent modernization wave that began with Housing Flexing its muscles, more changes are a-comin’. Columbia University Information Technology has introduced a new user interface to the NINJa printing system, with a global print queue (explained below), making access to a working printer much easier. Spec reported on the proposed changes in February.

A global print queue allows a printing job sent to one printer to be automatically available on any campus printer. This means that long lines in the Butler computer lab might not look as bad anymore, because you can hop across to Lerner (or Carman, or Broadway... oh, the choices!) to print out that 10-page paper before you sprint to class. At last, the printing system says goodbye to monogamy. The global print queue would also isolate individual students' printing queues, by allowing you to save 20 seconds of your life and log into the printing station instead of selecting your printing job from a long list of UNIs and Print@CU pseudonyms. No more confusing your print job with the other Daenerys Targaryen.

What does this mean for the Spec-owned Print@CU? Spec has met with CUIT about the changes to the NINJa printing system, and CUIT will be working with Spec developers over the next week to update Print@CU so that it can accommodate the new system. Users will have to input their UNIs when they send a job to print, and once that change is made, Print@CU will work just the same.

We have reached out to CUIT and will update when we hear back. For now, prepare to reassess your hate-hate relationship with the Columbia printers this fall.

Update: In an email to Spec, CUIT explained that printing from non-CUIT computers will work similarly under the new system: If students haven't already, they have to configure their computers to print to NINJa printers. Students who configured their computers to the old NINJa system won't have to do that.

Additionally, students who want access to the full array of new NINJa features have to use accounts named after their UNIs. This part is a bit troublesome, because it will mean creating a new account on your computer. Merely renaming your account won't work. (If you're working on an account that is not your UNI, you can still print to a NINJa printer, but you will not have the extra features.)

CUIT also said it will be sending an email to all Morningside students soon. An introduction to the new NINJa system is also posted on the CUIT website. Read the email from CUIT below, and let's all hope this means our long national printing nightmare is over:

For returning students, their computer will not need to be changed at all to achieve basic printing, similar to how the old NINJa system worked.

A new student will need to follow the steps on our website on how to install a NINJa printer station and driver on their machine to print to our system. The steps are very similar to how a new student would have had to add a printer prior to the upgrade.

In order for students to take advantage of the newer features available on the upgraded NINJa system, they will have to create and work from a local user account on their laptop that matches their UNI. For example, if their UNI is crf2195, they will have to add crf2195 as an account on their laptop and work from that account in order to take advantage of the increased security, “internal cloud” printing (the ability to print from any NINJa printer on the new system), and access from within NINJa to up-to-date quota information. Having these features tied to the UNI protects students’ documents in the print queue from other users.

We will be writing to all Morningside students in the next few days, with more detailed instructions on setting up for and using the new service.

Correction: An earlier version of the post said that the students printing to a NINJa printer "have to" create a new account named after their UNI. The post has been corrected to reflect that printing to a NINJa printer is possible without creating a new account. 


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