Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back from Atlanta

My trip to Atlanta was a success. I was able to fix a few problems with the printer driver, and get a really good color profile. I did have a couple of red herrings to contend with, though.

First was the Mystery of the Small Dots. This printer, like most these days, can print with small, medium, and large dots to get a nice smooth image. My output was a bit grainy, and the person I was working with noticed that the small dots on some prints he did a few weeks ago had much smaller dots than those in my output.

So I tried to find why I wasn't using the smallest dots. I made sure the driver was printing different sized dots (it was) and looked all through the printer's command code manual, but I couldn't find anything.

After about two hours of research, another engineer from the printer company came in and said "Oh, yeah. I think that last firmware upgrade changed the size of the smallest dots to try and get rid of banding." D'oh!

Then there was the Layout debacle. This printer is a large flatbed that prints on sheets, and it is nice with these printers to be able to say where on the sheet you want the print to start. I wanted this for myself as much as anyone else, so I gave up my creative writing time and stayed up way to late Tuesday night adding this feature to the driver.

Unfortunately, the printer doesn't actually use the "move down" and "move left" commands, so I had to manually move the start point for each print anyway.

But in the end I had a working driver and a good profile, and I feel I did a good job with the political part of the visit, which was almost as important as the technical.

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