About Argos Accuracy

Abstract

Sepialine Argos print tracking software works by analyzing print data streams as they pass through your print server. On rare occassions, Argos software may log incorrect print job statistics. Most notably, when this happens, print job quantity and dimensions (height and width) values are recorded incorrectly.

Why Does This Happen?

All print jobs arrive at the print server as one of several industry-standard print languages, such as PCL, Postscript, or HPGL/2. Sepialine's server-based print tracking engine works by parsing these languages and extracting statistics. In order to take advantage of specific printer features, manufacturers sometimes extend these industry-standard print languages in proprietary, non-standard ways. These proprietary extensions are only meaningful to a particular kind of hardware device, but they can interfere with the print job statistics and cause print tracking software like Argos to record incorrect values.

Sometimes, these extensions only cause problems in particular environments. For example, a combination of a particular driver release, a particular operating system and service pack may yield different results than a different combination. In many cases, Argos software will function fine for long periods of time, and then this problem will appear suddenly. When this happens, it is usually the result of updating print drivers.

As we become aware of various manufacturer-specific deviations from published standards, we update our print tracking engine to accommodate those deviations.

What Sepialine Will Do

The accuracy and reliability our print tracking software is paramount. When we become aware of a condition where Argos records inaccurate data, we will escalate your support case and endeavor to deliver a fix as fast as we can. We'll attempt to reproduce the behavior in our laboratory, although we may not be able to observe the same behavior that you experience. We may need your help to duplicate and observe the behavior via WebEx. Depending upon the complexity of the problem, delivering a fix may take anywhere from several hours to several days.

As fixes are added to our print tracking engine, we will roll those fixes into subsequent release. Therefore, over time, our product incorporates all known fixes. As you update and upgrade your Argos software, you benefit accordingly.

What Should You Do When This Happens?

When you become aware of a situation in which Argos software is recording incorrectly, we ask you to gather and send us spool files. Contact us for information on how to do this.

What Else Can You Do?

You may wish to experiment with different print drivers. Switching drivers often resolves accuracy issues. For example, if you are using the PCL version of a particular print driver, switching to the Postscript version of the driver may restore accurate tracking.

If a small number of inaccurate entries are preventing you from running reports, you may wish to consider deleting the offending entries. We understand that deleting data isn't a long-term solution to the problem, but deletion may enable you to proceed with billings. To delete entries:

  • Launch Argos Manager, and navigate to the Reports & Data view
  • Click the Allocated tab
  • Click the Pages column twice to sort from highest to smallest page count. This causes the largest - and therefore erroneous - values to display at the top of the Activity grid If page dimensions, instead of page count, is the problem, then click the Height or Width column instead.
  • Use SHIFT+CLICK or CTRL+CLICK to select multiple rows for deletion
  • Click the Delete button on the toolbar

A Final Note

Sepialine strongly suggests adopting a testing procedure for critical software products, including Argos. To this end, before you implement or roll out Argos software, we suggest testing the printers, applications and drivers that you plan to use in production. If problems arise prior to "going live," we will work with you to solve the problem.

The same rigor should be applied whenever a major event occurs on your network, including:

  • Introduction of a new major software application
  • Addition of a new printers
  • Changes or updates to print drivers

Adopting a basic testing policy will identify problems early, so that they do not later prevent critical business operations - such as billing - to occur.

 

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