Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 07, 2016, 12:18:05 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget  (Read 5914 times)

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« on: December 19, 2012, 07:57:03 PM »

NANY 2013 Entry Information

Application Full Name PRNter Widget
Application Short Name pWidget.exe
Version v1.0.0.85
Short Description Printer Update Utility
Supported OSes Win2000 and up
Web Page This be it
Download Link  
System Requirements
  • A Computer
  • A Printer
Version History
  • v1.0.0.85
Author Stoic Joker


Description
PRNter Widget was written to assist our tech with updating printer details after a repair in the field. Frequently a laser printer will need to have a component replaced that causes it to lose it's serial number, page count, or firmware revision. This often results in the tech needing administrative right on a client's network so that an update file can be sent to the printer. PRNter Widget eliminates the need for Admin rights by passing the new serial, page count, or firmware directly to the printer via the installed driver. Plain text files and (save print job) .PRN files can also be sent to a printer using this utility.

Being that I'm currently on vacation, much of the testing was handled by one of the other techs in our IT department. The tech in question (an aspiring game programmer) actually conjured up the original POC bits for this project. This is why he is also listed in the About box as Nippitz.

Features
Send .PRN, Plain Text, or Firmware files to a printer.
Update a PCL Compliant Laser Printer's serial number, page count (total or color), or Display Text (more fun that useful)

Planned Features
Currently Undecided.

Screenshots
PRNter Widget.jpg

Usage
Installation
Unzip, run, it's totally portable.

Using the Application
This utility was written to work with any PCL Compliant Laser Printer. The update commands will not work with an ink printer. The result of sending a file (of any kind) to an ink printer has not been tested.

Uninstallation
Delete it.

Tips
Start by experimenting with updating the Display text first (assuming you printer has a display). It's the easiest and safest way of finding out if your printer is PCL compliant. Most printers have a 16 character max buffer size for the display text (mine currently says: Bull Shit!).

Known Issues
While much of the code was reused from other reliable sources ... This particular utility has not been extensively tested.

I have successfully updated the firmware on an HP LaserJet 2300dn that I swiped from the office for testing purposes with pWidget (it lived).

« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 08:09:48 PM by Stoic Joker »

cranioscopical

  • Friend of the Site
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,367
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 08:46:03 PM »
This happily puts text onto the display of my HP 2420.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 09:22:37 AM »
This happily puts text onto the display of my HP 2420.

Hay good choice, the 2420 is a great printer. I work for an HP ASP (Authorized Service Provider) so I get to see most of their stuff as it's used/survives IRL. There's a few I wouldn't touch with a 10' pole ... But most are quite good. That one is excellent.

pWidget was written primarily around HP devices, but should work equally well with any non host based PCL Laser printer (Lexmark, Xerox, Brother, Canon, etc). PCL (Printer Command/Control Language) based drivers are pretty much the standard in the industry for laser printers. The only variance it how fully it is supported on any given device (e.g. not all printers accept all commands).

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2012, 06:16:17 PM »
tumbleweed-on-the-bonneville-salt.jpgNANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
Guess this one's a flop.

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,408
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 06:56:23 PM »
Not a flop just a smaller audience of potential users :)

techidave

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,012
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 07:07:38 PM »
I agree with Mouser.  just a smaller audience.  If I did alot of repairs on printers, I would be interested.  Your other printer utility was great and I still use it.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 07:45:18 PM »
Not a flop just a smaller audience of potential users :)

I know - That's kinda what I meant - It's an excruciatingly specialized/narrow focus utility.  :)

Ath

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,780
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 03:29:27 AM »
If I did alot of repairs on printers, I would be interested.
+1 :up:

But our tech staff ain't gonna like it if I use this tool on our networked printers ;D

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: NANY 2013: Release - PRNter Widget
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 08:48:17 AM »
If I did alot of repairs on printers, I would be interested.
+1 :up:

But our tech staff ain't gonna like it if I use this tool on our networked printers ;D

Yes, but like any tool it depends on what you do with it. Honestly I'm not really sure how common/popular (stored print job) .PRN files are. But if one had a complex-ish print job with lots of requirements that had to be configured frequently. Then doing it once and printing it to a reusable Print job file would be a handy and acceptable (e.g. no flaming admin heads) usage of the program. Granted outside of testing done on/for pWidget I've never done it before ...(*Shrug*)... But Google seems to imply that it is a popular practice.

Actually the primary purpose for pWidget was to interact with/make adjustments to locally attached (USB/Parallel port) printers. Which is why it uses the installed driver to access the device. So pWidget will work on any (laser) printer either locally attached or network accessible if there is a (PCL) driver installed for it. This was/is Page Countster's weakness as it can only access networked printers via their IP. Now parallel printers can be accessed via LPTx to send a script ... But USB (Unilaterally pSychotic Bus) leave everyone stranded with a "virtual port" that can only be directly access by virtually nothing. So this brilliant technology now requires that:

  • The tech to track down someone from IT (which can take up to an hour because IT people tend to be busy, and hate printers).
  • Administrative rights to create a (temporary) printer share on the workstation (highly frowned upon by IT folks on large networks).
  • Someone to remember how to capture a printer port so it behaves like a LPTx hard port.
  • Someone to properly unwind said configuration after the fact so errors and eyebrows don't get raised going forward.

This can be an agonizing amount of time for what should be a 2 second operation. We've actually had techs need to reschedule a second visit on many occasions just to resolve these type of issues.