Ivor O’Connor

July 31, 2009

Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 12:37 am

The HP Officejet Pro L7780 All-in-One was getting old. Two thousand scans with it had proven it was marginal at best. So when the ScanSnap S1500 presented itself with glowing reviews I snapped it up. After a months use there is not much to say. It works as described and as expected. It’s probably the best scanner one can buy.
+ It was not difficult to set up.
+ It scans both sides at the same time and removes the blank pages and sides automatically!
+ It is very fast. Like 20 pages a minute. Makes scanning a pleasure and not a chore. Just drop it in and it slide out the bottom instantaneously scanned on both sides!
+ It’s the size of a small shoe box. Very compact when not in use. When in use it folds out nicely.
+ 2011.04.20: It is still functioning 3 years after I purchased it!
– Often the empty pages are not removed because it sees the text on the other side of the page and includes it. (Perhaps if the scan heads were positioned differently on the next model this problem would go away.)
– The software prevents multiple scans to be done without intervention on the PC. Continuously clicking multiple options on the pc before the next document can be scanned is annoying and time consuming.
– Papers aged in the sun scan poorly if at all. The mechanism will grab one side and then pull the page in cattywompus like.
– Papers can get stuck inside. Pressing the scan button does not move them forward. Perhaps the thing can be torn apart but it’s not obvious how.
– 2009.08.06: Does not scan long pages. The IRS sends some of their 941 documentation in 8.5″x22″ format. This gets scanned in most of the way before throwing up and leaving the document stuck.
– 2011.04.20: It still is functioning but is starting to fall apart. The bottom tray that folds out to hold the scanned papers on their exit broke a hinge through just basic wear and tear. You’d think the product would have to fall or something extreme for that to happen but it’s just cheap plastic doing what plastic does.
– 2011.04.20: The glass or plastic on one side of the optical scan mechanism has been somehow damaged somehow leaving a line down the scans sometimes. Maybe the software detects the problem and eliminates the line sometimes and that’s why it’s not consistently there even though I can see the scar on the glass…
– 2011.04.20: Fujitsu is extremely backwards in regards to their software. I had lost the original disk and needed to run the scanner from another M$ machine. I had to go through extreme lengths proving I owned the scanner before they would send me another disk via snail mail!!! Why do they not make the software freely available to all over the internet? It’s not like the software would be useful to anybody but owners of the scanner? Eventually the CD did arrive though and I have now put that copy in a safe place so I never have to deal with Fujitsu again. What a backwards dinosaur policy you would never expect to see in todays world!
– 2011.04.20: The scanner sort of works with Ubuntu. I say sort of because none of the features that make it easy to use are supported. It becomes just another dumb scanner no better than any other scanner you can buy. (Kind of like all hardware does under Linux requiring even avid haters of M$ like myself to keep a couple M$ machines around to handle peripherals…)

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July 25, 2009

Automatic Backup With Rsync And Cron On Ubuntu

Filed under: BACKUP, CRON, mint 14 xfce, rsync, SSH, ubuntu — Tags: , , , , — ioconnor @ 6:28 pm

Keeping a directory automatically backed up somewhere is always useful. Every few months this is needed on one machine or another. Here are the steps:

  1. First set up ssh keys so passwords are no longer needed.
    1. Test things by verifying a ‘ssh user@yourserver.com’ does require a password.
    2. Make some ssh keys on your client and then move the public key to the server
      1. cd ~/.ssh
      2. ls
      3. ssh-keygen -t dsa (Keep the defaults by just pressing enter a few times.)
      4. ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub user@yourserver.com
    3. Test things by verifying a ‘ssh user@yourserver.com’ no longer requires a password.
  2. Determine the directory to be backed up and where it will be backed up and test the command to be used.
    1. time rsync -atvz ~/local-directory-of-your-choosing/ user@youserver.com:remote-directory-of-your-choosing/
    2. log in the server and verify the files are there…
  3. Put the command in cron. Because cron is broken in ubuntu you can’t simply do “crontab -e” anylonger. (How can something so basic be broken?!) Instead follow these instructions:
    1. vi ~/some_file and put in the cron commands
    2. @hourly rsync -atvz ~/local-directory-of-your-choosing/ user@youserver.com:remote-directory-of-your-choosing/
    3. crontab ~/some_file
    4. crontab -l

Now simply test it out…

UPDATED ON 2013-02-02: Used “ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub user@yourserver.com” to reduce 10 or so steps and make things vastly simpler.
UPDATED ON 2013-02-05: I came across this article today and realized I should probably update this to use the “–delete” and “-e ssh” commands. I am already a big user of the delete command but I don’t often use ssh because my backups are local for the most part.

July 16, 2009

Pandora Upgrade

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — ioconnor @ 3:59 pm

Pandora has an upgraded version for $36 a year. It does not turn off due to inactivity. It plays at a higher bitrate. There are no advertisements. It also includes an application that is not dependent on a browser and displays the album cover. Finally there are no 40 hour per month limitations.

I don’t often listen to music. Maybe a few hours per month. And it’s been weeks since I last listened to any music. So I may not be objective. However the upgraded Pandora sound quality sounds much much better. The squeaking of the microphones, echoes off walls, clearing of throats, and huge shifts in dynamic range are inspiring. I don’t remember having heard these details before. Furthermore there may be a new algorithm used for selecting songs in the upgraded version. The last 10 or so songs I’ve heard have all been fantastic and some were unrated. Meaning I have never heard them before. However maybe Pandora’s always been this good and I just forgot.

If anybody is reading this blog I’d highly recommend you buy the upgraded version of Pandora.

Bill Gates & Feynman

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 1:29 pm

Slashdot has an article stating Bill Gates has put up Richard Feynman’s lecture notes. For free.

The catch is you must install some proprietary M$ software to access it. It would be great if somebody would take the information and republish it using open source standards.

Youtube has a few…

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