Printer Technician

Until the early 1980s, hardly anyone had a personal or office computer; the few people who did made "hardcopies" (printouts) with dot-matrix printers. These relatively slow machines made a characteristically horrible screeching noise because they used a grid of tiny metal needles, pressed against an inked ribbon, to form the shapes of letters, numbers, and symbols on the page. They printed each character individually, line by line, at a typical speed of about 80 characters (one line of text) per second, so a page would take about a minute to print. Although that sounds slow compared to modern laser printers, it was a lot faster than most people could bash out letters and reports with an old-style typewriter (the mechanical or electric keyboard-operated printing machines that were used in offices for writing letters before affordable computers made them obsolete). You still occasionally see bills and address labels printed by dot-matrix; you can always tell because the print is relatively crude and made up of very visible dots. In the mid-1980s, as computers became more popular with small businesses, people wanted machines that could produce letters and reports as quickly as dot-matrix printers but with the same kind of print quality they could get from old-fashioned typewriters. The door was open for laser printers!

Fortunately, laser-printing technology was already on the way. The first laser printers had been developed in the late 1960s by Gary Starkweather of Xerox, who based his work on the photocopiers that had made Xerox such a successful corporation. By the mid-1970s, Xerox was producing a commercial laser printer—a modified photocopier with images drawn by a laser—called the Dover, which could knock off about 60 pages a minute (one per second) and sold for the stupendous sum of $300,000. By the late 1970s, big computer companies, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Canon, were competing to develop affordable laser printers, though the machines they came up with were roughly 2–3 times bigger than modern ones—about the same size as very large photocopiers.

Read more: hp certified technician

Two machines were responsible for making laser printers into mass-market items. One was the LaserJet, released by Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 1984 at a relatively affordable $3495. The other, Apple's LaserWriter, originally cost almost twice as much ($6995) when it was launched the following year to accompany the Apple Macintosh computer. Even so, it had a huge impact: the Macintosh was very easy to use and, with relatively inexpensive desktop-publishing software and a laser printer, it meant almost anyone could turn out books, magazines, and anything and everything else you could print onto paper. Xerox might have developed the technology, but it was HP and Apple who sold it to the world!
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