3.4: Online Notes, 2/89 (112)

Sun, 7 May 89 21:07:26 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 4. Sunday, 7 May 1989.

Date: Saturday, 6 May 1989 1353-EST


I regret that the Online Notes this semester has not been sent
out every month.

In the coming weeks, I will be distributing the already written
notes for March, April and May. Please accept my apologies.


A weakiness of the Apple Macintosh from a bias perspective is
printing. True, the Apple LaserWriter is an excellent 300 dpi.
printer, but it's too costly even for a University when you
consider that this printer can only functionally serve perhaps
seven users at any one time without becoming overloaded with
work to do. The IMAGEWRITER LQ does not produce good quality
printing for the price of $1,000 for a single user. The
standard IMAGEWRITE was o.k. four years ago, but not today. It
makes YOU look bad on the page.

Well, we have been investigating alternatives to this situation
starting with Hewlett-Packard, a company which produce two good
and less costly printers, the HPLaserJet Series II and DeskJet.

DESKJET: In a recent Penn Printout from the University of
Pennsylvania Computer Resource Center, Jeff Seaman, our local Tsar of
microcomputer at Penn, praised the DESKJET as a good machine for
the price. He feels, and I agree, that this printer threatens the
hold of dot-matrix printers for most users. The DESKJET produces
good quality printing (300 dpi) when hooked up to a DOS-based
machine ($440. retail). The only disadvantage, I see, to the
DeskJet is that the ink runs if wet.

Jeff's article went on to caution against hooking a DESKJET to an
APPLE MACINTOSH which if it worked well would be a really solid
idea. The problem is that it works, albeit slowly according to HP
(hotline No. 208-323-2551). Two companies produce a software and
hardware link with the DESKJET. These links make the DESKJET
appear to be an IMAGEWRITER LQ. The problem is the speed of
printing: 5-10 minutes per page according to HP, or it is 3
minutes per page according to the Third Party vendors. The Third
Party Vendors are: Orange Micro Company (800-223-8029) and
Phoenix Technology (800-367-5600). Their software/hardware
"solution" costs about $150. By the way, they make available a
print spooler for "deep, deep background printing." I think
they should at that speed, don't you? Well, it really isn't
their fault though. HP should be blamed for their independent
format! HP makes good and reliable printers which are
generally incompatible for market reasons.

The Computer Resource Center and SAS Computer Services tested
WORK-AND-PRINT from Insight Development Corporation. The
DESKJET's speed was just slower than the IMAGEWRITER, and
certainly a lot quieter. It printed about a page every 40
seconds at about 120 cps of Courier typeface. Speed of printing
dropped considerably if one chose to print unsupported fonts.
The speed then was on the order of 8 cps. The quality was
exceptionally good, but did smudge if wetted. The printer
itself was silent.

A new version of the DESKJET, the DESKJET PLUS, will increase the
speed of printing mostly by improving the paper feed. In
addition, this new version will support a wider variety of
enhancement features (in particular, italics) than the current
model. Supposedly the cost of the newer DESKJET PLUS will be
identical with the older DESKJET, about $440.

By the way, HP heard indirectly what we were up to here, and
let us know that they plan to release a version of the DESKJET
is planned for July, 1989.

LASERJET : HP has tested hooking an HPLaserJet Series II to a
Macintosh, and unlike the DESKJET they report that it does work
for an individual machines. The HP hotline Rep. had no idea
if it would work on the AppleTalk network.

Three vendors can provide the necessary hardware cable and

Insight Develop Corp (415-376-9500)
Orange Micro Company (800-223-8029)
Soft Style Inc (808 396-6368)

The Computer Resource Center and SAS Computer Services tested the
HPLaserJet with Work-and-Print. The LaserJet printed slowly off
of a MAC PLUS Printer. Though we would expect better performance
on a MAC SE/30 or MAC II (perhaps 40 percent), the HPLaserJet tied
to a MAC is too slow to function as a network printer, let alone a
printer for an individual user. It took a minute to print each
page of a ten page document. Printing was just a little slower if
the LaserJet had to shift into a fully graphics mode. We have
investigated the other listed products though not tested them.
The Grappler from Orange Micro Company cannot function on the
AppleTalk network, and printing speed is three minutes per page.
Other than that, it works according to the Sales Representation.
Oh well, I guess, the LaserWriter remains the machine of choice
for network users.