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 user 2007-10-10 at 11:59:00 am Views: 36
  • #19135

    A lingering death
    got my first car in 1980 when I was Junior in college. It was an
    orangey-yellow Ford Maverick, a 1972 with about 70k miles on it. It was
    kind of ugly, but that kind of ugliness added to its beauty in an odd
    way. I wasn’t afraid to take things apart, such as my busted old
    lawnmower. It was putting them back together again that messed me up.
    So, when I lifted the hood of my “banana-boat” Ford, the simple
    straight-six engine was distinct — pulleys, distributor, alternator,
    etc. — I could really understand what I was looking at, even if I
    wasn’t totally sure how it all worked. Whenever the car was in for
    service, I would try to peer over the shoulder to watch what the
    mechanics were doing. I didn’t want to make him nervous looking over
    his shoulder. I asked if he would show me the distributor, because I
    never really understood what it was and why it was such a big deal.
    They used a strobe light to check the timing and I thought the whole
    thing was very cool. I felt more comfortable with the whole idea of unde
    the inner workings of the engine. It was the sort of aimless
    exploration and discovery that a layman could do in those years. It was
    in that spirit, that I also began to dig into the fledgling
    microcomputers at the time. (Nowadays, I lift up the hood my car and
    don’t really know what’s what, nor would I even thing of trying to fix
    anything, excepting that maybe that poking around and looking at stuff
    would fix it.)

    I got my first microcomputer in 1982, an Atari
    800 with a real keyboard, a cassette tape backup (no hard drives yet),
    and a Basic coder. It attached to a black and white TV. After I got
    simple stuff going, I wrote a really stupid and clumsy address list
    report. Problem was that without a printer, it did little good except
    suck down a lot of evening and weekend time. I bought a used 150lb
    Centronics 101 printer with its new Centronics parallel port in
    addition to serial. Just getting it out of the car and up the stairs
    was an exercise unto itself. Using the printer and the computer, I was
    successfully able to actually “do” something. My mother’s high school
    class reunion was my first customer (for their mailing list). It helped
    that my mom and her friend were the reunion chairwomen. Anyway, that’s
    where this began. That was when I could actually make my computer do
    stuff, and printing was my interest. I explored the sending and
    receiving of data and manipulated the sequences of Hex code I sent to
    the printer.I monitored the serial port for its Hex responses. I gained
    a deep understanding that it takes to establish communications between
    CPU and printer..

    Fast forward to today. The technology has
    heaped layer upon layer of function onto simple 8-bit byte code which
    runs printers at their most fundamental level. It is the understanding
    of the fundamentals which is commonly not taught, and the programmers,
    engineers, and designers, giving short shrift to “boring” old impact
    printers, seem to assume higher level language and interfaces in their

    It against this backdrop that I present the
    following extremely important analysis. The next release of operating
    system for the iSeries (AS/400), OS/400, will NOT SUPPORT SNA. Very few
    people understand how vast the ramifications will be for printing. IBM
    surely knows that many of the workarounds for printing over TCP/IP
    rely, at their most basic level, on an SNA link from the host. IBM’s
    solution? Advanced Function Printing (AFP) using Intelligent Printer
    Data Stream (IPDS) for FLOW CONTROL over TCP/IP. Unless you happen to
    have seen this coming, you may not have IPDS implemented, and replacing
    all those impact printers (or dealing with Host Print Transform and PCL
    bandwidth and processing overhead) with new devices is going cause
    quite a lot of consternation. The whole concept of the “Black Hole of
    Printing” will become familiar to those who have puzzled at the lost
    jobs, strange outputs and flaky printer performance and network traffic
    they create.

    I have been and will continue to offer solutions to
    these complexities. The effort and cost that so many people will expend
    on understanding the implications and potential solutions to this issue
    will be astounding. I’ll cut through the variables for you and help you
    through the most vexing challenges.

    David T. Mendelson
    Argecy Computer Corporation
    27280 Haggerty Road C21
    Farmington Hills, MI 48331
    248-324-1800 x122
    248-324-1900 fax