MLS Print Help

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
EVWYSTK-p40
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MLS Print Help

Postby EVWYSTK-p40 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:54 pm

I have recently installed the Desktop 5.5 on the computers in our stake. I am aware of the printing problems associated with MLS, but two computers in our stake have HP 1100 printers. On both of these systems it takes over 5 minutes to print a singe page report. Multiple page reports---who knows. I have tried different drivers but have not come up with anything to make print times reasonably acceptable. Is there anything that can be done short of getting different printers? Other printers are slow, but no different than before the install. ??????????????????????????

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:26 am

If you install the HP LaserJet 4 and point to to the same port as your HP 1100, that may work. Someone else on another forum reported that using the HP 1100 (MS) drivers did the trick.

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:06 pm

Have you tried printing something else from another program? If that takes a long time too then you have a driver problem, but if not then maybe you could get a simple print to file program (PDFCreator, Microsoft Office Document Printer, etc) to print to a PDF, TIFF, JPEG, etc and then you can print out the report from a "faster" program.
- David

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Postby dshep2020 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:56 pm

EVWYSTK wrote:I have recently installed the Desktop 5.5 on the computers in our stake. I am aware of the printing problems associated with MLS, but two computers in our stake have HP 1100 printers. On both of these systems it takes over 5 minutes to print a singe page report. Multiple page reports---who knows. I have tried different drivers but have not come up with anything to make print times reasonably acceptable. Is there anything that can be done short of getting different printers? Other printers are slow, but no different than before the install. ??????????????????????????


Our stake sent out a message about switching to a USB cable vs using a parallel cable. They suggested it would speed things up. Don't know if that is an option for the 1100. We have a 1300 and it did speed it up some. Maybe it was the driver change moving to USB.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:02 pm

thedqs wrote:Have you tried printing something else from another program?


The problem is MLS is printing a full-page graphic. It's not text. The best thing you can do is lower the printing DPI so there's fewer pixels to deal with. I think that's why dropping back to a older printer (Like the HP LJ4) helps. PCL5 seems to do better then PCL6.

USB may help a little, but lower DPI or an older driver seems to make the greatest improvement.

EVWYSTK-p40
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Postby EVWYSTK-p40 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:52 pm

Thanks for the help. The printers work fine outside of MLS. We have tried about 10 different HP drivers with no better results. Because it is always printing in graphics mode, I'm not sure if USB would help that much--might speed up the transfer rate a little. I thinbk I will decrease the print resolution to see how much difference that makes. We are also looking at installing more memory in the printers. The part I don't understand is why there is such a big difference after installing Desktop 5.5. It does state in the install instructions that some functions such as modem transfers and printing may be slower, but 6 minutes for a single page is way beyond slow.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Feb 24, 2007 12:04 am

When you say you used different printer drivers, how did you use them? I'm not 100% sure, but I think MLS just grabs the default one. But I'm not sure if it uses the current default or what was the default when it was launched. In other words, I'm wondering if your test didn't work as planned.

As for "why now". The new desktop effectively changed the whole computer replacing the print drivers. Unfortunately you don't know what the old drivers were since the old drive has been wiped out. Any other machines in your stake you can compare with?

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:24 am

Well try out the PDFCreator idea and print to the PDF and then have the PDF print to the printer, what I am thinking is that it isn't the print drivers, but the MLS program itself that is the slowdown. Even printing on a Parallel Port printer at 600 DPI only take a minute for a 1024x760 image, which I doubt the MLS program is printing such a high resolution anyway. So if Acrobat Reader can print an image 6 times faster then MLS and MLS can print to a file 4x faster then printing to a physical printer then from 5 mins to 1.5 mins for printing to the file. Lets say it takes a min to open Reader and then read prints out in another min so 1.5+1+1 = 3.5 mins for the entire process. Though since there is more user interaction it seems faster, but that is physiology.
- David

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Feb 24, 2007 2:04 pm

thedqs wrote:Even printing on a Parallel Port printer at 600 DPI only take a minute for a 1024x760 image, which I doubt the MLS program is printing such a high resolution anyway.


It's probably not MLS that's rendering the text to image, but something in Java. And I'd guess that it will use all the resolution the printer has. The printer driver that Desktop 5.5 installed was set to 600 dpi. But that wasn't the printer's highest resolution (this was for a HP 1300).

At 600 dpi your 1024x760 "image" is only 1.7 x 1.3". A full page is something like 6,600x5,100. Bump that up to 1200 dpi (as in the case of a 1300) and something somewhere is going to have to compute a 13,200x10,200 image.

It's hard to say which is slower - the computer for having to create it, or the printer to have to digest it. On the other hand, if you lie to the computer and say you've got a stock HP LJ 4 which can only do 300 dpi for full page graphics, and the data becomes a lot smaller.

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Postby thedqs » Sat Feb 24, 2007 2:56 pm

Again it is back to the emperical data, though I would like to hear the results of trying to do the print to a file then send it to the printer. At least from that we would know the slow down, if it was Java trying to print or the printer trying to calculate out the data. :) Just trying to break the large problem into smaller problems to get an understanding of the problem.

But sounds like you have experenced this before. So what if the installing of older drivers and setting them as the default doesn't work, since that seems to be what they are saying. What were some other things that you did to resolve the problem?
- David


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