Re: Printers Revisited

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun May 23 2004 - 23:46:54 CDT

On May 23, 2004, at 8:03 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
> I know that on the HP Laserjet 1300 the ballot is out of the printer 8
> seconds after hitting "print my ballot." It doesn't much matter if
> the ballot is long or short, it still takes about 8 seconds. I think
> it will take longer than 8 seconds on an inkjet.

Alan has mentioned this 8 seconds several times; it always struck me as
somewhat unrealistically quick. I looked through his recent notes, and
he had indicated in one of them that his 1300 was a Postscript-enabled
printer (I don't know if that's an add-on or a standard feature).

As I mentioned several other places, rasterization of postscript (by
Ghostscript) will probably take about as long, or slightly longer than,
the actual printing. I also, elsewhere, mentioned some potentially
advantages of requiring a postscript printer; but doing so is certainly
not currently a consensus position.

Anyway, I decided to do my own timing--on my not-terribly-recent
machine and printer. I.e. it's the HP LJ-6L that I mentioned, and the
computer is a P3 (733Mhz, I think). Printing a ballot takes a total of
28 seconds for me. During the first 15 seconds or so, the computer is
rasterizing the postscript. That is, the "active" light on the printer
doesn't start flashing until about that time (it flashes while it's
receiving data). To a voter, this gives no indication at all that
anything is happening (a message on screen could do so though). Then
another 13 seconds or so to actually print.

The difference between the 6L and the 1300 can easily be 13 vs. 8
seconds. But the initial rasterization is pretty much going to take a
few seconds, unless we require a postscript printer.

Moral: 8 seconds is an very optimistic minimum time, even on a laser.
Pessimize it at more like 30 seconds. Rasterization applies equally to
laser or inkjet.

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Received on Mon May 31 23:18:01 2004

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