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Posts posted by aersloat

  1. Actually, none of HP's 300 series DesignJets are listed as supported on the Gimp-Print pages. The 300 series does not appear to have any support for Mac OS-- so no HP utilities (ie LaserJet Utility) for the Mac OS would have shipped with the plotter. Maybe someone else knows if the HP utilities for MacOS support this plotter and whether the machine has to be booted into Classic...

    The other issue is that unless hmd3's linksys is a cable/dsl router as well as a switch it is not likely to have a DHCP server embedded-- so the private ip network has to be manually set up with some software support-- or another piece of hardware needs to be purchased.

  2. No one else seems to want to take a stab so I will. Don't go out and buy anything else just yet. We should be able to get this to work.

    First off, I don't have a real strong handle on your network topography. The question I have is whether you are connected to the internet and if so is it through your linksys switch or other ethernet device. Are there any other ethernet/airport devices connected in the office? What model of linksys switch is it?

    We do not have an hp jetdirect 500x server, nor either of the printer/plotters that you have. So, I fall into your category of someone who might be useless-- as it appears that everyone else who has been giving you advice is.

    IP addressing is fairly simple. Essentially you want to create a private IP network. Your linksys switch is (probably) dumb-- it won't distrubute ip addresses for you or anything like that. Tell me the model and I will check it out.

    From the manuals on HP's site for the 500x it looks like the sucker should be configurable through a built-in webserver, if it has a recent firmware. You can get your current config by hitting the test button. It should print a config page to whatever printer/plotter is hooked up to parallel port #1. This should tell you if you have firmware x.07.03 or later (according to their website). The trick to hitting that webserver would be setting up your IP settings in OSX correctly.

    According to HP's site the card should default to (which is a little odd I think). So, check the config page you just printed and see if this is correct. Next, go to your G4 with OSX. Open System Preferences and click on the Network icon. Leave Location set to "Automatic" for the time being. Next, pull down the menu next to "show" so that "Network Port Configurations" is shown.

    Select "Built-in Ethernet" and hit "Duplicate." Rename it to anything you would like. Pull down the Network Port Configuration menu to your new ethernet configuration.

    Under the first tab (TCP/IP) make sure configure is set to "manually"

    Enter the following:

    IP address:

    Subnet Mask:


    You might have to try something else like as router. The default address that HP has is a little messed up since it is not in a designated private ip space (one of which would start 192.168.x.x)

    Once you have done this hit "apply now." Drag the new configuration to the top of the configuration list and make sure that it is checked. You could also uncheck any other configurations. Open network utility from your utilities folder under applications and see if you can ping the jetdirect server at You can also just open the terminal and type "ping -c 5" without the quotations.

    So, if you can hit the jetdirect you should now be able to either configure it from the built in webserver or a telnet session.

    I don't want to get too far ahead of myself here. Try some of that out and let me know how it works.

    As far as what to do if you were starting from scratch... I really think that the investment in a postsript plotter is worth it. Software based postscript emulation is risky. Gimp-print has made things much better since you are not totally reliant on commercial drivers-- but as you know not everything is supported yet.

    Anyway, let me know what firmware version your jetdirect is and if you were able to ping the jetdirect from your G4 and I will try to give you some directions as to how to set up your private ip network.

  3. I didn't know that people were having this problem. I should check the boards more frequently. This problem-- exact same error message-- popped up for us when Jaguar came out. Some of our machines had it and some didn't. We had the problem from most Carbon applications we tried (I can't recall if it was every)-- but no Cocoa applications. We primarily use VW and AppleWorks-- so it was very frustrating. From AW we were able to "Preview" the document and then print. Since Preview.app is a Cocoa application this worked fine. We could do the same from VW but the output was not quite as good as printing directly.

    We tried just about everything as far as troubleshooting goes (including complete wipes and reinstalls and gimp-print) to try to get things to work. After posting on Apple's discussion boards, these boards, and the linuxprinting boards, as well as calling Apple, we finally figured it out on our own.

    One some machines one of our postscript fonts was corrupted. It didn't show up as such in any diagnostic tool. In our case it was AGaramond. Unfortunately we had been keeping our purchased fonts in a single compressed file on our server to make deployment easier when we rebuilt a machine or set up a new one. Turns out that the AGaramond in that Archive was corrupted.

    So, we would wipe a machine, reinstall everything, and then reinstall the fonts and we would still have the problem-- yet the adjacent CAD station would be happily printing/plotting with apparently the same exact setup. Since the font was in (but not embedded in) an eps with our logo it was doubly difficult to diagnose. Many of our machines had not gotten AGaramond from that archive but had had it back from OS9 days.

    Once we figured it out the fix was easy. We removed the font family from each affected machine and reinstalled it from the original compressed file we had received from Adobe. That fixed the problem and it has never come up again.

    Part of the problem that Apple faces is that they license the CUPS system-- it is not their product. In our case the same computers had worked fine under 10.1.x. The same font could be printed in 10.2 without problem from a Cocoa application. It seems that CUPS is just less forgiving that the previous printing architecture of certain anomalies or ways that the data is sent to it.

    I can see that there has been a great deal of discussion and troubleshooting on this issue. It may be possible, or even likely, that this error code results from several different problems and we were lucky that it was just a font in our case. But we are absolutely certain that in our case it was a bad font. It could not have been HP drivers (since none were installed). It could not have been saved printer settings (since a wiped computer does not retain those). It also could not have been a VW file that had been worked on it a previous version. BTW, we never install any of the HP, Canon, or Epson printer drivers when we install Jaguar. It wastes space and we only have postscript devices in the office.

    We print/plot to an HP 1055CM, an Apple LW 8500, an Apple LW 12/640 PS, and a Tektronix Phaser 850DX. It made no difference which printer we printed to if it was from an affected machine.

    As far as troubleshooting goes I would recommend methodically replacing fonts. I would start by completely removing any and all postscript or OpenType fonts. Keep in mind that OSX has several places where fonts are normally stored.

    I hope this helps.

  4. There are a few font utilities out there that claim to check or repair damaged fonts


    The best way may be process of elimination. We were plagued with a bad postscript font that would only kill printing when printed from a carbon application-- the cocoa apps seemed to work fine. So, if you previewed the document and then printed it from Preview.app the document would print just fine. From VW or AppleWorks the print job would fail. The error in Print Center and in the CUPS logs mentioned "pictwpstops." Jaguar and the new CUPS printing system seem to be fussier about corrupted fonts.

    It is important to remember that fonts can be found in a bunch of different places in OSX:



    /System Folder/Fonts


    The /System/Library/Fonts should only be for system installed fonts, but it is possible to mistakenly put fonts in there.

    You probably also want to avoid font duplication among folders.

  5. Can you print the VW tabloid through Preview by clicking the preview button in the print dialog and then printing again while in Preview.app (making sure that tabloid is selected in the page setup). That might help to narrow down the culprit.

  6. To answer you question more specifically... HPGL and HPGL/2 (Hewlett Packard Graphics Language) are vector based printer instruction files that date from the days of pen plotters. The /2 was a file format extension for supporting color, if I am not mistaken. Although pen plotters are mostly a thing of the past many of the injet and laser plotters emulate HPGL/2 to be compatible with Autocad. The old Autocad plotter drivers sent HPGL instructions staight to the printers while bypassing any windows/dos drivers.

    HPGL/2 is not particularly well suited for raster graphics and things like shading and fills. In the old days you could generate .plt files with macplot. That is what we used to do with MiniCad+4 and our old CalComp plotter. Those were the days...

    You can read HPGL/2 files with GraphicsConverter if you need to. Don't bother trying to generate them. The plotters at Kinkos just end up ripping the .plt file into some raster format to print it anyway.

    I don't know much about windows and .prn files but it seems that they are binary printer instruction files output by a save to file feature of a standard windows PCL printer driver. There is no way that I am aware of to generate a prn file from OS X. prn files are the ugly, funny-smelling younger brother of postscript files anyway.

    .ps files are of course postscript files. Windows can output .ps files files when using a postscript printer driver. PS files (which are usually an ASCII format) can often be dumped straight to a plotter, if that plotter supports postscript. I believe many high end plotters also support TIFF input directly.

    You may have better luck with your PDFs if you output to postscript and do the ripping to PDF yourself without using Apple's built-in Quartz engine. Adobe Distiller (Classic only) is the gold standard, but you might have some luck with ghostscript or StoneDesign's Pstill engine.

  7. The 1055cm is on a 10/100 cisco switch with everthing else in the office. Our server is an OSX Server 10.2.3 running on a dual 533 digital audio G4. I think that is what you were asking. The 1055 is not shared by the server-- any print job handling/queing is done directly between the client machines and the 1055cm. We are using the 1055cm's built in LPD server to provide connectivity. There are only mac clients accessing the plotter.

  8. Katie

    I just queried the cad staff and we have not had this problem printing to the 1055cm. Our three primary cad machines all went from 10.1-10.2 with every incremental update installed via software update within a week or so of release. Only the 10.1 installation was a clean install. We updated to v10 of VWA from 9.5.3 as soon as it was shipping. I haven't checked the timeframes-- did v10 come out before 10.2.2? If so then we probably did not work on any of the drawings with 9.5.3 and 10.2.2. We certainly did the 10.2.2 and 10 combination. We use the ppd that ships with osx as opposed to installing anything directly from HP. I believe that one of the machines has the ESP Ghostscript system installed-- but not the Gimp print drivers. The printer is set up over LPR from the Print Center using the Advanced option.

    We did have that problem printing for a while related to a corrupted postscript font-- but since we diagnosed that and replaced the font we have been fine.

    Let me know if I can help any further by supplying further details.

  9. This may or may not be of any help, but there are several other things that you may want to try. We have the the same setup as you (10.2.3 w/ 1055cm) and as far as I know we haven't had any problems.

    1. Repair permissions with Disk Utility. It cures a host of evils.

    2. Can you print the problematic files through Preview-- ie hit Preview in the print dialog and then print from Preview?

    3. Run Print Center Repair. You can find it at http://www.fixamac.net/software/index.html

    4. Look at the CUPS interface to your machine. Go to from there you might be able to see where the print job is stalling-- if Print Center is even handing it off to the CUPS system. You can get some log data by clicking on Manage Printers and then on the printing name in the list.

  10. The error that we get is "pictwpstops - got an error disposing of documents = -43". We get the error with AppleWorks and VectorWorks when printing to either our HP 1055CM or our LaserWriter 8500. Not all documents have the problem. So far it seems that documents with fills or graphics (for AW) generate the error.

  11. You misunderstand. Even though the serial may allow you to install RW, you don't have to. You can uncheck the box in the install dialog. With a VW+A+RW serial number I can install and use _only_ VW if I want to. BUT, I cannot combine that serial with a serial for VW+A, even though I don't have RW installed on the machine. The point being that there is no longer a way to maintain an independant, unused Renderworks license like there used to be. I understand the reasons, I just don't think those reasons are very well thought out.

    I ask you again, if the license says you can only install one serial per machine, why is there a box that allows you to "Add" licenses? That really wasn't a rhetorical question. It would seem to me that NNA is, by design, encouraging the end user to violate the license agreement. Do you think that is good policy? We all know that there are folks out there that fudge on licensing the correct number of seats. That is a shame, especially for a company like NNA, because I think, and have always (since we started with MC4+) thought that you guys provide an good value. And I can appreciate that you need to attempt to foil any piracy. I can appreciate all of that. I just don't think that this change was properly thought through.

    With the ability to netboot and the like within a computer lab, or even a business it is clear to me that there should be more thought into how NNA deals with licenses. My impression from your comments (and no, I have not read the license agreement) is that it would be against the agreement to run VW off of a netbooted client. That doesn't make sense, since your serialization scheme has the ability to prevent an abuse of the seat limit.

    Anyway, like I said, you should kick it up the line for more discussion. It doesn't effect our workflow, we only have 3 CAD machines after all, but it is a pain in the ass. And anything that makes it a pain in the ass to use, maintain, and install VW is not good.

  12. Only in that we don't have Renderworks installed. I guess that we will just have to get our renderworks refunded. Fie on license agreements. They are all written by nasty lawyers. One of the nice things about having network serialization schemes is that you don't have to worry about which license is installed on each machine. So answer me this Katie, if the license says you can only install one license on each machine why does the VW allow you to enter more than one license? As you just said, with the new serialization scheme there is only one number required... I think we both know why.

  13. Katie, et al,

    I already called up and bitched about this but I figure the more avenues the better. We have 5 VWA seats and 1 Renderworks seat. We have never really used Renderworks. In fact the only times we have have been to prep the file for Artlantis export (setting textures, etc.). However, over the years we have kept the one license active. So with the 10 upgrade we wanted to do the same thing-- update 5 seats plus 1 renderworks. No problem. I was installing 10 today and discovered a problem with that scheme. What I would like to do, and always have done, is install VWA10 on my CAD machines and then enter all 5 serial numbers. That way, of course, I don't have to track which number is where when I have to rebuild machines, etc. The problem is that RW is now built into one of my serials. Even if I don't install the RW module VWA10 will not allow me to enter the five serials-- I have to do one and then put the other four on our other CAD machines. I think that your serialization scheme should be smarter than that. I understand the reasoning by NNA, however, all I really want to do is keep the license active. I don't actually want to even install or use it at this point. With the current scheme that is not possible. Anyway, please kick it up the ladder because it is a somewhat annoying change.

  14. We are having the same problem with one machine. I did an archive and install and that did not help. He can't print from AppleWorks either though-- so whatever problem there is can't be related just to VectorWorks. He has to "Preview" and then print from Preview.app. A pain. We have yet to enter the next round of troubleshooting. If anything comes up I will follow up with another post.

  15. Artlantis isn't bad. I'll admit that we don't do much in the way of rendering--- but their VW plugin offers pretty good integration between the two programs. It will output QuickTime VR, which is nice. They have yet to come out with an OSX version so I am curious as to how much development they are still doing.

    DesignWorkshop is not a bad 3d modeller for architecture. In addition to having its own rendering engine it will output .rad files for the Radiance Synthetic Imaging System from LBL. You can get very high quality out of Radiance. Radiance has also been built for OSX.

  16. No... but as someone with absolutely no experience with this printer at all I would love point out this important snippet from their spec sheet:

    >>PCL 5e, PCL 6, PostScript? Level 2 emulation

    More than just crappy drivers, HP doesn't have a great track record with their Postscript emulation. I would avoid their emulated products. As far as the scanning, etc goes I would be careful. I would not count on their scanning software being all that robust.

  17. There are kinkos just about everywhere. We have used our local kinkos for rush jobs that were too big for our plotter and when our service bureau had a backlog. They did fine. Ours had a large format digital printer that did the trick. Our local kinkos even had a CD with all of their PPDs on it. I was pretty surprised. I think that most of their devices are native postscript and don't require a software RIP like many plotters at service bureaus do.

  18. These kinds of discussions always interest me. We have an HP 1055cm plotter-- it supports up to Arch E size sheets, so that is the example I will use. 10.2 has the HP1055cm driver (or PPD actually) installed by default. For 10.1.x you will want to go out and find an appropriate postscript plotter ppd. HP has relatively new PPDs available for most of their plotters that you can download. You don't actually need the whole "driver" set-- you just need the PPD. You might also find some good PPDs at linuxprinting.org.

    A few notes.

    MacGhostView 2.6 (look on versiontracker.com) will also convert .ps files to pdf. All it does is put a GUI on one of the available ghostscript versions. If you are comfortable with the command line you can skip the shareware thing entirely and just install one of the unix ghostscript packages and enter the commands yourself.

    To install a fake printer under OSX, make sure you have a PPD (postscript printer definition) file available-- for our purposes we want something that supports plotter sized sheets. Better yet, if you know the intended output device there may be a PPD available. You can put the PPD anywhere really. Open print center. "Add printer" and select LPR/LDP or IP Printing, depending on the choices. For an IP or printer's address enter or really anything in a private IP range that isn't already assigned to something. Don't worry about the queue, and for printer model select "other" and navigate to your saved PPD file. Or, if you are in 10.2 go to HP and select one of the models. After that just click add.

    Obviously you would only want to save to file with this printer since you have it sending postscript data out to never never land.

    I don't know of any free driver available for generating HPGL/2 (.plt) files for either OSX or OS9.

    Stone software also has a program called "PStill" that will convert postscript to pdf. Adobe Acrobat Distiller isn't available for OSX.

    [ 09-30-2002, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: aersloat ]

  19. We are also having some frustrating problems with 10.2.1 and 9.5.b2 and plotting to our HP DesignJet 1055cm. Fortunately we only upgraded one of our CAD machines to 10.2.x yet. The problem is that it just won't plot to the HP from VectorWorks. I have been looking around and it seems that there has been a rash of problems with various HP products (and maybe others) and the new CUPS printing systems that 10.2.x incorporates. Specifically I have heard that there are problems with programs that generate their own postscipt output-- which would be VW I assume as well as many adobe products. If I go to the CUPS administration page on that CAD machine <> I can print a test page to the plotter. I can also print a text document out of TextEdit. I wish I had a copy of the error message spit out of Print Center but it will have to wait until I get back to that machine.

    So, if the problems are related it seems that this is not just VectorWorks. One solution that might work is to install the gimp-print system for CUPS as well as the ghostscript based postscript interpreter. There are instructions here: http://gimp-print.sourceforge.net/MacOSX.php3 and here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/espgs.

    Another solution that has partially worked for us is to convert the document into a pdf file and then print from Preview or Acrobat. This has worked for us to a certain degree.

    We are still in the first stages of troubleshooting this problem. When I have more time I will update with more information about workarounds, the specific error messages, and the steps we have taken to date-- and when our upgrade to vw10 arrives I will try that out as well.

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