The Longest Print Job in History

I was just reminiscing about an incident that happened many years ago, one of the strangest things I ever did with a computer. A friend of mine had a new PC and printer, a cheapo 286PC clone and an HP Laserjet I clone with a 3rd party PostScript ROM addon. It was a total kluge, and was incredibly slow. We finally got ahold of a primitive PostScript program to drive the printer, I think it was Ventura Publisher, I was anxious to take the printer on a couple of laps around the track, to see what it could do. I went over to my friend’s studio, it was Friday afternoon, we had a couple of beers and put the printer through its paces. And oh man, it was slow as a dog. I did a couple of odd effects like a PS pattern fill, and it would take 20 minutes to print. I found some funny patterns in the ROM like random bullet holes, so on a lark, I did a page using that pattern filled inside a highway sign (from a symbol font). It completely hung the printer. It was getting late on Friday afternoon and everyone wanted to go home, my friend said he just left his computer on all the time so we just walked away and the job never did print out.

Only 3 days later did I hear the end of the story. Monday morning, one of the studio workers came in early about 8AM and started brewing coffee. She was all alone in the studio, sitting by the computer when she was startled and spilled her coffee, the printer had dropped my freshly printed page right into her lap. We figured my print job ran from about 5:30PM Friday to 8:30AM Monday, that’s more than 2.5 days to print a single page! And it was just a random postscript pattern inside a simple outline. What was that printer doing all weekend?

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