Archive for December 2, 2019

Monday, December 2, 2019

VueScan and ScanSnap

Dave Kitabjian:

But the real secret sauce of ScanSnap was the accompanying software that was centered around what you were trying to do rather than making you constantly fiddle with scanning parameters. Finally, a developer was thinking like a customer instead of a scanner! The combination of a simple user interface, intelligent defaults, seamless integration with external apps, and automation of the entire workflow created a user experience that was hard to beat.


Some months ago, Fujitsu sent users of older ScanSnap models email informing them that their ScanSnap software would not be updated to 64-bit and would therefore not run under macOS 10.15 Catalina.


If you want to do simple scanning, you may have a painless experience, writing JPEG or multi-page PDF files to disk, or using some of VueScan’s many sophisticated advanced features. And as such, VueScan may well rescue your aging ScanSnap from the trash heap.

But I ran into a number of issues that you should be aware of.

It seems harder to use and has problems with deskewing, color, streaks, and profiles.

Ron Risley:

Something not mentioned in the article is that Fujitsu states that their new (64-bit) scanning software will absolutely require an always-on internet connection in order to do any scanning. This is concerning on a number of levels. Usability and availability is one issue, but in both my work as a physician and as an IT security consultant, I regularly scan documents that absolutely must not be published. (If you think there’s a functional difference between “sent to the cloud” and “published,” then you haven’t been paying attention.)


I originally licensed VueScan because I owned an expensive flatbed scanner whose manufacturer abandoned the Mac. I feel rescued by VueScan again, and will be buying more licenses for other machines at my office.

A help page says that ScanSnap does work without an Internet connection, so perhaps the connection is only needed for the “active” version of the installer.


Fake AirPods Pro

Juli Clover:

We picked up the $95 i500 Pro TWS Earbuds, a set of AirPods Pro replicas that are remarkably similar in design to Apple’s real AirPods Pro and that even advertise some of the same features, like Apple’s proprietary H1 chip.


Wireless charging works, “Hey Siri” is functional, music playback pauses when an earbud is taken out of the ear, and battery life seems to be similar to real AirPods Pro, but the similarities end there. The i500 Pro TWS has no force sensor and does not support squeeze gestures, and the key AirPods Pro feature - active noise cancellation - is not included.

I wonder how they’re doing this.


Web Notifications CAPTCHA

Arthur Stolyar:

Next level of Web Notifications scam.

- Allow Notifications to confirm that you’re not a robot 🙈

Ricky Mondello:

Abuse like this is why some people get uncomfortable when folks go around saying that adding new, more powerful features to the web platform is some kind of moral imperative. That kind of framing makes it hard to reason about tradeoffs and add features thoughtfully.

This is one that Safari got right, and I have “Allow websites to ask for permission to send notifications” unchecked. (Yes, Apple’s style guide says that “websites” is one word.)


Update (2019-12-12): Thomas Pluck:

Steps for reading articles:

1. Accept cookies
2. Block notifications
3. Deny location to website
4. Decline invitation to subscribe
5. Stop auto-playing video ads/mute sound
6. Dismiss reminder of free articles remaining
7. Shrink drop down banner
8. Click “read more”
9. Give up

Lepow Portable Monitor

Paul Haddad links to this display that’s currently available for only $129.99 ($109.99 at the time of his tweet). It’s a 15.6-inch IPS display that supports 1,920×1,080. That’s a much better resolution than the AOC display I wrote about a few years ago, and it works over HDMI (plus USB power) or USB-C without needing a kernel extension.

It’s great to have extra screen space on the go, and these displays easily fit next to a MacBook Pro in a backpack. On the other hand, for shorter work sessions it would be more convenient to simply have a 17-inch internal display (again).