Re: Printers Revisited

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Mon May 24 2004 - 14:44:10 CDT

At 12:46 AM -0400 5/24/04, David Mertz wrote:
>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
>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.

To Alan's defense, the HP LJ-6L is a much older printer than the LJ
1300. Special purpose electronics have gotten a lot faster. It
would be helpful to know how long it takes before the printer starts
making any noise, and how long cumulatively until the ballot is
finished printing. These tests should be done on "cold" and "warm"
printers. In the middle of the day, when elderly often vote,
printers can easily become "cold" in between uses. For example, the
farthest away unit will get the least use.

Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Mon May 31 23:18:02 2004

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