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Saturday July 24, 2004
02:57 PM

What really happens at the printers

[ #20033 ]

Randal was talking to me about my previous post, so I thought I should let people in on what else goes into the printer's work. There are a lot more steps in the critical path than publishing a digital edition, especially since my job gets to compete for time with all of the other jobs that want to be printed too.

Besides printing the issue, they also have to collate it, fold it, staple it, pack it, then give it to me. In each of these steps, my job has to wait in line with other print jobs to use the big machines that do those things. My job can't move onto the next step until it has enough of a finished project from the previous step to make the scheduling work.

Earlier in the week, TPR got bumped up to the front in the first part of the job because a machine was idle (which I called "extra cycles"). I was fairly excited about that because once that step is done, it can wait lines for the next steps. The closer to the front of those lines it gets, the less likely it misses the final deadline.

I just about knocked out myself to get it to the printers on time so I could get it by OSCON, and anything to makes that more likely makes me happy. This is the first time I've printed a magazine, and sometimes this journal gets the live coverage, which is just about as good as weather forecasting or political polls. :)

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