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Wiggle that Mouse


2007/11/02

Many years ago I was sitting in the office of the VP of a local newspaper. I was their "Unix" guy primarily, but of course I got into other areas too. Anyway, she was printing something from her Mac, and it was taking forever. Remember, I said this was a while ago - this was System 7 time frame.

So she was fussing about how long it was taking to print.. I told her that if she moved her mouse around, it would print faster.

Of course I was totally pulling her leg. I made up a very plausible story about the Mac having to wait for interrupts from the printer to know that each character was printed. I explained that moving the mouse generated more interrupts than the Mac could handle while printing, so the print driver would stop worrying about interrupts and would just shove the characters out as fast as the printer could print them.

She understood just enough that it sounded right.. and she convinced herself that yes, if she wiggled the mouse about, the print speed increased.

Yes, I know. I'm cruel :-)

A week later, I happened to be in her office again, and she was printing, and talking to me, and moving her mouse around.. and the President walked in. He looked at her with a very puzzled look and asked her why she was moving the mouse so strangely. She started to say "Because Tony said.." and just about then she saw the grin I just could not suppress and she caught on..

She threw me out of her office as the President just about doubled over laughing..

By the way, there was good reason for her to find this plausible. Although this newsgroup post dates from a slightly later time, it reports a situation where moving the mouse speeded things up.. And for printing, no old SCO tech can forget the polling printer driver, which speeded up printing on bad parallel ports by ignoring interrupts: TA 10724 Slow parallel printing:

If the parallel ports are configured correctly and printing is still slow, your parallel port may not be capable of generating interrupts. In this case, you can try setting up polling for your printer port.

...

To speed up printing on your parallel printer, you can alter the way that the hardware and the printer driver communicate. The parallel printer driver can be made to ``poll'' a parallel port so that the driver does not rely on interrupts from the parallel port.

So she did have some reason to believe me..

Video at Youtube



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