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This could be in the form of a pseudo-
printer, such as the "Print to PDF"
commonly found on computers, which re-
routes the printing job to whichever
printer would print your document the
fastest or with the highest quality.
First it would have all of the printers on
your network report
their conditions (e.g,
"no blue ink", "low on paper", "10 jobs in
queue"). If you just want the document
printed quickly, it would determine which
printer had the shortest queue or prints
the fastest. If you need a high quality
printing, it would go to a color printer with
the most ink, etc.
After it sends the job to whichever printer,
it could send a note to a secretary to
deliver it, or one could just go and get it
||I can see smart order routing for banks of printers, but I think you can already get that. As to whether it should go to a high or low quality printer, color or B&W, I think that might take too much reasoning for a routing program, especially given how cheap color printing has become.
||Well, whether to print in black and white
or color, etc. would be options by the
user (with some auto-detection, such as
if it's an image in Photoshop). Things
like number of pages and ink usage
would be easy enough to decide on,
||yeah most the decisions you highlight would have to be made by the user, such as speed or quality. Ther e are numerous packages that show print queues and ink level of printers.
||"...given how cheap color printing has become"?
Really... I just read in a newspaper (Daily Mirror) how coloured ink is more expensive than rocket fuel (I think it worked out approximately £2 per ml).
||you're right mike. thats why i've started using rocket fuel in my printer.
||So what are they flying the space shuttle on???
||coloured ink. it makes pretty patterns.
||The software would also need user personality information; eg, for some people 'the crust-bucket next to me' is always a better printer than one which requires getting up to fetch the printout.