Thursday
Jan292009

Scanner: Canoscan LIDE 50 & How VueScan rode to the rescue

For some years I've had this scanner and it's worked reasonably fine on a sequence of Macs.  The driver install process has always been a bit finicky, but I usually managed to get the plug-in for it working in Photoshop.  

No more.

As Maria explains the Canoscan driver does not work with Intel Macs, UNLESS you do a work-around of forcing Photoshop to run in Rosetta (PowerPC emulation) mode.  Not wanting to bother with that hassle (and wondering how long Rosetta will be around) I've given up and am trying out some 3rd party scanner software called VueScan.

I did first have to install the CanoScan driver.  Based on VueScan's recommendation I downloaded the driver for the LIDE35 (apparently identical innards as my LIDE 50), version 7.7.2.0X 12/07/2007 from www.usa.canon.com.  (The driver listed for the LIDE 50 on this site looks older.)  If I ever need to uninstall, there is an uninstaller listed on the web site as well.  I did have to restart, ugh.

Thus far VueScan is working great and I'm planning to purchase it in a few minutes.  Update:  I have purchased VueScan, but it is slightly finicky, having already crashed on me twice.  Also, following an aborted scan I could get nothing to work.  The clue was in the lower right corner it was claiming it was scanning "8400x0" pixels.  The fix was the menu item: "File : Default Options" and just starting over.  But, on the whole, VueScan is doing what I want without too much hassle.

(Note to self:  To re-find my serial number for registration purposes, search in Mail for "VueScan" and look for an email with an attached PDF.)

Update 2009-02-12:  My wife has a Canon LIDE 60 that, to outward appearances, looks the same as my LIDE 50.  We downloaded the latest Canon driver last night and it worked fine with Photoshop.  No Rosetta silliness etc..  Who knows why Canon decides to update some drivers and not others?

Thursday
Jan292009

ScreenRecycler

I really like having two 23" screens on my desk at work.

I love having my MacBook Pro be my one-and-only main computer, avoiding syncing problems etc..  (I have a couple of headless Mac Pro's for heavy duty processing.)

BUT, the MacBook Pro can only run a single external monitor and using the internal screen and an external 23" just isn't the same as two 23" side-by-side.

So, I use ScreenRecycler.  ScreenRecycler is installed on my MacBook Pro.  JollysFastVNC (from the same good folks) is running on a Mac Mini that sits in my office attached to my second 23" monitor.  Once in my office I plug-in the primary 23" monitor to my MBP and wake it up (with the lid closed to keep it from using the internal screen).  Then turn the power on to the 2nd screen and launch ScreenRecycler and voila: the MBP is running both screens.  The second screen has a little bit of latency because it's being run through a VNC, but nothing too dramatic for what I typically have open on it.  The MBP does seem to be happier if you remember to quit ScreenRecycler before putting it to sleep.

This may sound a little complicated for getting a second screen, but it's really not.

Thursday
Jan292009

StuffIt Expander

Some people still distribute *.sit files, so you'll want StuffIt Expander:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/stuffitexpander.html

Thursday
Jan292009

Adobe Creative Suite

Yes, it's often overkill for what I need, but it works great and, most importantly, my wife knows how to make Illustrator and Photoshop dance so I can always rely on her to answer my questions like "How do I make those two things align?".

(Install from disks.)

Wednesday
Jan282009

QLFits: Quick Look FITS header utility

One of the nice things in the latest Mac OS that I don't use enough is Quick Look.  Select a file in the finder and type the space bar and you'll see a preview of the file.  It saves a little time and effort compared with opening the file and works on many many file types.

Well, some cool astronomer has written a utility to extend Quick Look to FITS files.  I tried it a few days ago and it works as promised.  My only request is that it also work on gzip'd fits files.  Cédric (the developer) says adding that feature shouldn't be a problem and will come in the near future.

Installation is easy.  Here's the link:

http://www.softtenebraslux.com/Home.html

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