Re: Printers Revisited

From: Karl Auerbach <karl_at_cavebear_dot_com>
Date: Sun May 23 2004 - 19:54:34 CDT

> > Are we to really so quickly discount the ink jet aspects of shorter time
> > to print, availability of color, instant feedback to voters that something
> > is happening, lower cost, easy maintanence, smaller form factor, less
> > heat, less power, and often better print quality and paper handling?

> No, we're not, Karl. I have repeatedly said that trials are needed.

Right, which is why I think that ink jets should not be so automatically
dismissed.

As for the start up time issue - I believe that we are going to have an
issue in which a voter presses "print ballot" and then walks away.

Laser printers take several seconds even without warm-up (your example of
8 seconds is a long time - long enough for a voter to leave). I just ran
a test in which I printed a web page from Windows to Linux/CUPs and then
to an ink-jet that had been sitting idle for a few hours. The printer
started working within 3 seconds. The noise from the printer is an
indication to the voter that something is happening and that he/she isn't
really and truely done yet.

I ran the same test against a Lexmark 312 - because of warm-up time it was
30 seconds before the paper even began to feed. On the second test, with
the printer warmed, it was 8 seconds before the paper feed (and
significant noise) began.

With the lexmark now idling the room lights blink every time it pulses its
fuser heater - that's a drain of a lot of UPS-killing (and sometimes
UPS-igniting, yes I've seen UPS's catch on fire, mainly the huge
refrigerator-sized APC's) amps.

> I don't know that the cost is lower either. All the literature I've ever
> seen pegs cost-per-page to be lower on a laser compared with an inkjet.

That's probably true. However, we're not talking about situations in
which we run the printers efficiently - our goal is a problem free
election.

> > > We plan to have a battery powered mobile voting station too,
> >
> > This is the first time I have heard this. But assuming we have one - this
> > would mean a switchover of procedures and equipment during a confusing
> > time. That sounds like an invitation to disaster. ...
> >
> No. It's a requirement to accommodate people that are unable to come into
> the polling place.

My concerns still apply - Lights out situations are going to cause
mistakes even without an equipment change. Changing to a new voting
machine while the lights are out is going to cause more mistakes. One of
the main reasons why Three Mile Island melted was that there were too many
indicators telling the operators too many unnecessary things. We don't
want to have a system that adds to the burden of dealing with emergencies,
we want a system that reduces them.

It appears that the existing Santa Clara county machines can run for hours
on backup power. We hardly want to do worse. And laser printers pretty
much guarantee that we will do worse.

                --karl--
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:59 2004

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