05 February 2011

ABBYY FineReader doesn't work on Snow Leopard


I have a Fujitsu SnapScan S510M document scanner. It's an awesomely fast and convenient 2-sided scanner with a automatic document feeder. Hit a button and it does everything - it's my favorite peripheral connected to my Mac.

It also came with a great software bundle: Adobe Acrobat 8 for occasionally editing PDF files and ABBYY FineReader for converting scanned documents to text. I've never needed FineReader until today, however when I launched it, I received the error that the document that I'd just scanned with my SnapScan had not been scanned with a SnapScan. Typical for bundled software to only work with images that were scanned on the hardware that they were bundled with, but I'd just used the right hardware.

Turns out to be a bug with the SnapScan drivers and FineReader software. Shame on both vendors for not checking for updates regularly. Go here to download the updates.

FineReader inconveniently doesn't give you the option to install anywhere (I keep most third party apps in a separate folder) but instead installs 3 programs in the folder ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap under Applications: Scan to Excel, Scan to Word and Scan to Searchable PDF. If you installed the previous version of FineReader anywhere else, delete it to avoid confusion after you install this update.

23 August 2010

"iPad XXX cannot be synced. The required file cannot be found."

After upgrading the OS on my iPad, I started getting the above error message during the sync process. I guess Apple can have some obscure, unhelpful error messages as well. Anyway, found a post that resolved the problem for me.

The problem is with the iPod photo cache.

Do the following:
1. Go to home folder in Finder
2. Open Pictures
3. Right click on iPhoto Library and select Show Package Contents
4. Find "iPod photo cache" file and drag to Desktop
5. Close Finder
6. Reopen iTunes and sync your iPad
7. The iPod photo cache rebuilds itself

26 December 2009

Could not publish from iWeb

I received the following error from iWeb when attempting to publish a small change to Mobile Me:

Couldn’t reach the MobileMe configuration server

I tried re-publishing the entire site as well as the small change, with no improvement.

To fix this, I moved ~/Library/Caches to my Desktop and re-published. Fixed, and working so far.

29 November 2009

1Password, Syncing between multiple Macs, and DropBox

I use the Mac program 1Password to keep track of my passwords, software licenses, and other accounts. 1Password has hooks in all Mac browsers to autofill and save passwords and other stuff you might enter into a web page. It's also got an iPhone counterpart that it'll sync with, although syncing this info between my iPhone and Mac is a little clumsy. 1Password keeps this information in an encrypted data file, which can be shared to all your computers through a cloud-based file sharing service.

Versions of 1Password prior to the new v3 used Mobile Me to share the 1Password data file with all your computers. That support ended with v3, claiming that Mobile Me didn't work well enough. On the vendor's recommendation, I am trying the well-reviewed service DropBox, which provides 2GB of free cloud-based storage space and a Mac app.

Migrating from Mobile Me to DropBox

Follow these steps to migrate your 1Password data file from Mobile Me to DropBox.

  • Go to the DropBox website and click Download Dropbox.

    download dropbox.jpg
  • Launch DropBox and set up a new account. When you're done, it will have created a DropBox folder in your home directory. Anything copied there will also be copied to the cloud, and copied to your computers also running DropBox.

  • Quit 1Password if it's running.

  • Drag the 1Password data file from Mobile Me to your desktop.

  • Rename the 1Password data file to 1Password.agilekeychain. The previous version of 1Password kept its data in a folder on Mobile Me named 1Password.agilekeychain\_folder. 1Password no longer supports that filename extension.

    When you see this warning about changing the file extension, click 'Use .agilekeychain'.

  • Launch 1Password and when prompted, open the 1Password.agilekeychain file on your desktop.

  • Move the data file to DropBox from 1Password's Preferences. In 1Password, go to Preferences>General and click Move...

    Move 1Password data file

  • In the Move panel, select your DropBox folder (mine is on my desktop, yours should be under your home folder) and click Move to Selected Folder.

    Move your file

  • The Preferences panel will now show DropBox as the location for your 1Password data file.

  • On your other computer, install DropBox as above.
  • Launch 1Password and, when prompted, open the 1Password data file in its DropBox folder. Now, all 1Password changes will be kept in sync between computers automatically.

  • Complete these last 2 steps on all your remaining computers.

    You're done! Enjoy having 1Password data quietly kept in sync between your computers.

30 August 2009

Snow Leopard Upgrade Notes

Got a few notes after upgrading to Snow Leopard:

My Apple mini-Bluetooth keyboard was not recognized during the reboot. I hit the sync button on the keyboard a few times with no luck. Mouse was wired, and OK of course, so I clicked through the OK buttons with my mouse until the desktop was visible. I then hit the button again on the keyboard and everything was OK.

I received the following error sometime after the OS had been up and running for a while:
The system extension "/System/Library/Extensions/CNQL4801_ClassicNotSeize.kext" was installed improperly and cannot be used. Please try reinstalling it, or contact the product's vendor for an update.

The extension is an old PowerPC format extension from Canon. Safe to delete.

I had a system message that I had old copies of my iDisk on my computer. I clicked OK to delete them, which caused the document I had docked from my remote iDisk folder to disappear (replaced by a '?'). The document is still on my iDisk so I'm not worried.

Had an alert from Mail that ODMailBundle.mailbundle is incompatible and should be deleted. I don't know what it is either, but I did delete it as instructed without incident.

Not really noticing that my iMac is faster - quite the contrary, window opening and app startup seems much slower than before. Looking forward to a reboot to see if things improve.

I hope everyone's upgrade is going well.

23 August 2009

Extracting Audio from a DVD on a Mac for Free


Simplehelp.com offers an excellent walk-through describing how to rip the audio track from a DVD. In a nutshell, rip the audio with Mac the Ripper and convert its output to MP3 with ffmpegX. Easy to follow instructions - now you need not be in front of your TV to listen to something from a DVD.

10 August 2009

MacBook Battery Management and Calibration


Over time, notebook batteries lose their ability to keep a charge and the battery included with a MacBook is no different. Apple recommends calibrating your battery every couple of months and free software is available to monitor the condition of your battery and determine if it's time to replace it.

Calibrating your battery

Follow these steps to calibrate your battery every couple of months.

  • Plug your notebook in and charge your battery to 100%.
  • Leave your computer plugged in for 2 hours.
  • Disconnect from power and run the computer on battery power. Allow the computer to sleep when it runs out of juice.
  • Turn the computer off and leave it off for 5 hours. Do not plug it in during this time.
  • Reconnect your computer to power and recharge the battery to 100% again.

Monitoring your battery

Senora Graphics makes a great free utility that reports your battery's original and current capacity, current charge and remaining charge cycles. You can download it here. It reports that my relatively newish laptop battery has 85% of its original capacity remaining; my girlfriend's older laptop only has 45% left. She gets a new battery while I get to live with mine.

02 August 2009

Tales Designed to Thrizzle by Michael Kupperman

Cartoonist Michael Kupperman trade 'Tales Designed to Thrizzle' collects the first 4 issues of his comic in hardcover. It seems like you've seen these characters in old engravings and reminiscent of work by others, but of course not exactly. Stories are great and weird. I've been getting into the stories of Albert Einstein and Mark Twain's woman-chasing, crime-busting superhero stories in issue 5. Retro-future robots are also a recurring theme.

Anyway, check this page out from the latest issue. It's not in the book - look for Volume 2 next year - but it's in the same ballpark.

You might also enjoy this battle between classic and pop:


06 July 2009

Harvard Business History Review article

Here's a random quote from a book my father Peter Mellish Reed's article 'Standard Oil in Indonesia, 1898-1928' from his article published in Harvard's Business History Review, coincidentally, my mother's great-great-grand-relatives worked for in the 1800-1920's.

Peter Mellish Reed
Standard Oil in Indonesia, 1898-1928
For many years Americans engaged in business abroad at their own risk, unaided in any important way by the backing of their government. When confronted with the forces of national self-interest, they faced frustration. Then the policy of the United States, aware of its economic responsibilities and opportunities and dangers, swung to their support. The new diplomacy was not always adept, but it produced remarkable changes. These are exemplified in the thirty-year history of American efforts to gain an entry to the oilfields of the Netherlands East Indies. The files of the Department of State provide an intimate and unique view both of motivations and the mechanisms of change. (Pages 311-337)

06 June 2009

Public Image Ltd. truly limited edition

The fashion designer Jun Takahashi and his label Undercover collaborated with one of my favorite bands from my youth, Public Image Ltd, to assemble a very limited edition line of clothing. The collection features mostly t-shirts with band photos and their ubiquitous PIL logo, and some snazzy blazers with the PIL logo on the breast pocket. The collection is available for just 2 days - June 5 - 7 - right now at Isetan in Shinjuku.

PIL were known for releasing limited edition versions of their recordings. Their first single was wrapped in a newspaper. The original vinyl and CD versions of Metal Box came in a round tin container stamped with the band logo. The original had 3 12" 45rpm LPs.

Reposted from http://blog.honeyee.com/jtakahashi/

27 April 2009

Folding Bikes Redux - What I Purchased and Why

I recently wrote about my search for a folding bike, what I looked at and liked, and why. I finally made the decision and purchased one but not the ones that I expected.


I recently started a job that I plan to start biking to. I have a ten-year-old Trek hybrid bike that is generally fine to ride on (can handle city streets, is fairly comfortable and relatively cheap @ ~$350-400 1995 dollars) but needs new tubes and tires and is heavy, clunky and too large to easily get in and out of the house, let alone sneak into the PATH train during my reverse-commute. So I knew that my new bicycle had to be a folder.

My criteria for a folding bicycle ended up including the following: light, sturdy, easy to fold, easy to maintain and at least 8 gears. Nice-to-haves were good selection of standard accessories, folds small, more gears, less than 1,000USD. To minimize the carbon cost, I really wanted to buy a bike that was made as locally as possible.

I looked at the Reach, Dahon, Citizen Bike, Strida, Airnimal, Brompton, Swift Folder/Xootr and Bike Friday. All were good but each were either poorly made, felt cheap, uncomfortable, heavy, hard to fold, or were expensive. All except the Bike Friday were made overseas. I almost went with the Bike Friday as I greatly preferred its ride (never did test-ride a Dahon or Airnimal) and it met all my requirements and nice to haves except cost at 1300USD.

A friend recommended the Swift Folder and once I looked into it decided that this was the bike to get. It was well made, engineered simply, light and compact enough, rode well and cost $700 for an 8 gear model. Best of all was that one of the inventors built it down the street from me and it's sold through a network of bicycle refurbishers, so getting repairs and recommendations is easy. Only downside for me - besides the hard-as-granite seat - is that it is not as compact a folder as the Dahon, Bike Friday or Brompton.

You can actually buy the bike from multiple sources: mass produced from Xootr for ~650USD; at Recycle-a-Bicycle for the Peter Reich's Brooklyn-built Swift Folder for ~700USD; or one out of hand-built steel from Human Powered Machines for at least 950USD.

Riding it has been great. I've already been able to bike to a couple of places I would have skipped or taken the train to. I plan to post a little more about my experiences using the bike as the unit itself settles in and as I start dealing with a near-daily commute on it.

14 April 2009

Peter Funch in Composite

Peter Funch is a Dutch photographer living in New York who produces, amongst other works, stunning composite New York street scenes. Many of the scenes are quite tense. According to veryshortlist.com, he places his camera in one place over a period of weeks and composites the resulting images and portraits into a single landscape. One work has a pack of yawners; in another everyone's smoking.

He's also shot a series of car crashes, some of which are pretty brutal.

My favorite is probably the shots of the skies filled with airplanes. Which of course is my nightmare, since I dislike flying so much.

19 March 2009

Clem Snide

Just saw Eef Barzelay perform in a 3-piece labeled Clem Snide. Who cares - it's great to see him play in New York, and he plays here so seldom. Here's the set list from tonight's show.

20090318 Clem Snide Setlist.png

05 February 2009

Lux Interior RIP

For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2009

Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps, passed away this morning due to an existing heart condition at Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California at 4:30 AM PST today. Lux has been an inspiration and influence to millions of artists and fans around the world. He and wife Poison Ivy’s contributions with The Cramps have had an immeasurable impact on modern music.

The Cramps emerged from the original New York punk scene of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, with a singular sound and iconography. Their distinct take on rockabilly and surf along with their midnight movie imagery reminded us all just how exciting, dangerous, vital and sexy rock and roll should be and has spawned entire subcultures. Lux was a fearless frontman who transformed every stage he stepped on into a place of passion, abandon, and true freedom. He is a rare icon who will be missed dearly.

The family requests that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.

What a shame.

28 December 2008

"Creep predominant" with a "loser rising"

My friend Gillian Webber forwarded this to me and I thought it was funny enough to forward on and geeky enough to include here.

Here's the link to the original MySpace post

Tool dork loser schmuck buffoon nerd geek martian retard creep

No matter what anyone says, everyone can be labeled.

Here's a place where you can find out (and help determine) just what those labels are.

* * * *

How it works:
This webpage invites you to rate people according to 10 carefully selected chracteristics. By submitting your rankings, you evaluate the degree to which a person is a combination of a select group of negative traits:

tool, dork, loser, schmuck, buffoon, nerd, geek, martian, retard, creep

For a description of the definitions see the blog on this site:

Traits definitions

Everyone is a major and minor in something too. Thus, Charlie Sheen would be said to be "creep predominant" with a "loser rising".

A person gets a score in each category according to the percent of voters who ascribe that trait to the person. And as a final coup-de-grace, the person is given a total score. So you can see not just where someone falls, but also: how hard. You'll be suprised to find out how accurately this system pins down who someone really is.

* * * *

How to play:
Start looking through the blogs to find a person you would like to characterize. Click on the blog and post a comment with your vote of what traits characterize this person, ranking them in order of importance. (And feel free to add whatever comments you like by way of debate and explanation). We will update the blogs semi-regularly to tally the votes and display the results.

If the person you are looking for has not yet been posted for ranking, post a comment on the main profile page and tell us the name(and provide an appropriate photo if you like) of the person you think is ripe for such judgment. If we agree, we'll post the person as a blog and let the voting begin!

* * * *

A few last thoughts:

This is intended as a good-natured, collaborative game of personality analysis--a sort of Myers-Briggs of your foibles. We arrived at these ten traits by means of a rigorous weeding-out process to arrive at a perfect balance. It only takes a brief exposure to gameplay to realize that there is something magical in the way the interplay of these 10 traits manages to capture the warts-and-all essence of a person.

* * * *

Typically, people with thick skins tend to enjoy rating themselves (or hearing themselves rated) in a self-deprecating and character-building way; provided they are not rated a creep or schmuck, which is pretty hard to swallow.

The game works really well with celebrities -- especially in the quest to find the elusive person who has all 10 traits.

So far, Geraldo Rivera is the only winner in that regard.


For some more background on the game, click here

18 December 2008

NYC MTA vs. Helvetica vs. Arial vs. ClearView

Read the New York Times article about Helvetica in the subway:

This is the movie about Helvetica called, strangely, Helvetica, why it's such a cool font and how it came about. It's available to view on demand on your computer. I love the bit where the designer tears apart advertising style of the 50's and 60's. "Any questions?"

Arial is the version of Helvetica that Microsoft includes with Windows slightly changed to make it "more readable on computer screens" supposedly. More likely it's an almost identical rip of Helvetica but is cheaper for them to include wrt license fees.

ClearView is the new font (intended for highways and the AT&T logo) that provides for fast recognition by designing each character that emphasized negative space and size differences between short and tall letters, in order to improve legibility. It's also intended to be used in upper and lower case, rather than all upper case that signs typically use, also to improve legibility.

Everyone should use ClearView - I have a free rip-off version of it called RoadGeek that I would gladly punt if the price of the commercial version came down from its current 800 bucks. I guess I'm in my small way encouraging free font-alike vendors, so, ah, sorry. I love ClearView!!

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Brooklyn, New York, United States