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Archive for June, 2009

Canon MX860 ADF – the last laugh

June 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Not so rosy…

Although the Duplex ADF is great, I’ve just realised that it will turn over each page individually, as it is spit out, for Duplex scanning only. So: if you put in 5 duplex pages in page order 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10;  then it will come out in order 2,1,4,3,6,5,8,7,10,9.

If you want to keep the documents afterwards – not great!

I guess you could put either manually flip them over;  or scan them again to reorder them(!);  but perhaps easiest is just to use MS Office Scanning, which scans in Simplex, but will run through one side, and then the other. So – again – not much smarter than a far simpler printer!

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Canon MX860 – getting a normal scan

June 30, 2009 Leave a comment
Canon MX860 Drive Dialogue

Canon MX860 Drive Dialogue

Following a bit more troubleshooting, I’ve found that opting to use the full drivers will work.
So:
– In your chosen Imaging app, choose to Open Drivers once scanning starts
– Let the driver open – choose Advanced mode
– Choose Document (ADF Duplex) as the document source.

Now – as for the rest of the settings, the defaults seemed to work OK – even though some, like Auto Tone, were defaulted to ON. It seems that just using the driver overrides the autocorrection options that were causing the problem. Note that selecting the paper source as Document (ADF Duplex), seems to be different to doing the same on the printer itself, where that profile also contains the autocorrection.

So – I’m limited to scanning via USB, as before, and I’m not really getting a lot more for my money than I was with my £10 third-hand HP Officejet V40. In fact, with the V40, the straight scan path meant I could scan stapled documents – something I’m not going to try here.

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Canon MX860 – images appear washed out

June 30, 2009 Leave a comment

So, I’m now trying to use my Canon in anger, to scan some documents, and have found something that is actually making me angry.Canon MX860 Image Overcorrection Example

If you scan a colour document, it will perform some kind of optimisation that will wash out normal colours; it seems to apply contrast and brightening in one. I expect this is for archiving/smaller file size/better OCR performance. This didn’t seem so bad, but then it came to scanning some receipts and an MOT document. Anything with faint machine-type, became almost unreadable once scanned.

Some playing around, revealed that it IS capable of scanning with ‘normal’ contrast, but this is actually quite difficult. If I force it into photo mode, then it doesn’t apply the colour correction, and faint type is still visible.

However – that’s easier said than done. For example:
– If scanning to the MP Navigator software, it’ll automatically use the Document mode: even if I tell it to scan colour photo, and turn all correction off
– If scanning direct to memory card, then there are 4 options: Document (Platen), Photo (Platen), Document (ADF Simplex), Document (ADF Duplex). Of these, only Photo (Platen) gives the required results. Of course, that means there’s no ADF option for scanning without washed-out effects
– If scanning using other software (eg. MS Office Scanning), then there are two driver untitledoptions. The native one (Canon MX860 ser_xxxxx) gives the same washed-out appearance as before. The WIA Driver (Canon MX860 WIA, Windows-compatible) DOES keep the detail in the picture. However – THAT driver doesn’t support the ADF, or any other scanner features. Even playing around with MS Office Scanning, the best I can get is to scan one side, then feed the paper back in the other way around, and scan the other. So why pay for the duplex ADF?

I’ve phoned Canon Support – and a UK-based agent answered within 2 minutes, which was really impressive. However – they tell me there’s absolutely no way of changing the default settings on the scanner itself, so I’m restricted to this basic, manual method of scanning.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment below.

Anoto penPresenter – do you want one enough?

June 30, 2009 Leave a comment

In my role, I do a lot of presentations, and a lot of whiteboarding. Sometimes I do webex presentations, where whiteboarding isn’t really an option, and drawing with your mouse isn’t either.

Now – I had seen a few digital pens on the market, but I wanted one that would be wireless, easy to carry, and actually update the screen in real-time. Now it seems that product is finally here. Take a look at this:

So – finally! Looks great. At a simple level, you can print or buy a ‘plain’ sheet of paper, and then draw on it. As you draw, the pen movements are transmitted live to the screen. So you can draw a block diagram, a flow diagram, etc – show and share it in real-time, and then print it off for minutes. Actually, that’s all I really want it for.

The really cool feature, that I probably wouldn’t use, is that you can print off the presentation, and then draw on the printout. The pen automatically works out the page, and position on the page, and the drawing appears on the slide in real-time. Really impressive!

OK – so what are the disadvantages?
1. It’s around £225-300.
2. It’s new – no-one stocks it yet.
3. Only OKI 600dpi Laser printers are certified to work with it. Otherwise, you can try your own printer, as long as:
a. It’s Laser
b. It’s 600dpi – or a multiple (1200,1800,2400)
c. It supports Postscript 3.

So – that’s 4 ‘no’s for my Canon Inkjet then. You can see why they need it though – to print the ultra-fine pattern that the pen uses to detect where it is on the page.

So… perhaps I could buy a pad of the Anoto paper instead (comments?) – or even find someone with a 600dpi laser, and print off enough to keep me going for a while! As for the price… it’s a luxury, but possibly worthwhile if it really helps.

Alternatives? A simple digitiser tablet for £50; but I don’t have the space to carry one around constantly. Or that corner-mounted virtual whiteboard-on-projector system, which again, required a sensor on the wall, sensors on the pens, and a huge power cable to the wall sensor (hopeless!).

For now, I’ll wait and see…Anoto_digital_pen_silver

Orb App for the iPhone review

June 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve used Orb since v1 on the PC, and love it. I just dump my movies, videos, photos, music on my hard disc as normal, and then they’re available over the web if I so choose.p_129_120_F9F0EA97-AE14-4507-85BA-0A6C42293AE8.jpeg

From the reviews, I was expecting nothing to work. But it does! I run the app, log in (only needed first time), and browse around my media looking for something to play.

The free version only shows you 3 items in any folder. Well, if you want, you could just have a max 3 items in any directory, and then you can watch everything using the free version. £5.99 isn’t worth rearranging your entire hard disc though, and the webcam still needs the paid version.

Once you hit play – then it plays! Now… Orb traditionally uses a web browser, and indeed you can just go to the iPhone Orb site and browse your collection through Safari. The only problem is, the Orb team have turned off transcoding to MP4 or whatever the native iPhone format is. So if your media is stored in iPhone format – you can just use the web client, and don’t need this app. But if you want your PC to transcode the media on the fly, you have to use this app to receive it. Maybe it’s how they raise funds to pay for the encoder on your PC.

Anyway… I tried playing 6 movies, and they all worked. Tried skipping position (which Orb on PC often used to fail on) – that worked. Stutter on one video, but another was fine. Overall, I’m pretty impressed.

Regards comments on quality and stuttering: I think that could be your slow DSL uplink speed. That’s always been the limiter for me, and it always goes via the Internet, even if you’re using it at home.

As for the TV card… Well, mine’s never worked with v2 of Orb server. I think that’s my old, dodgy tv card.

So… If you’re already an Orb user, then this iPhone version seems to work pretty well. If you’re new to Orb… Well, as a whole it can just be flakey, so try the free version, and if you don’t like it, try another product.

Footnote: OK, on my demo for the snapshots, the screen stayed fized after one skip while the audio continued. It’s not perfect… But it’s OK. However, I would note that almost no updates have happened in the past year. I suspect Orb are just scraping along, so perhaps look elsewhere for an app from a new, fresh company, if there is one.

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Syncing iPhone with SyncML – Funambol rocks!

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Ok, so here’s the scenario.

I have two phones. One is my new iPhone. The other is an old SonyEricsson K610i. I’m using the iPhone for data, email, and exchange sync, and the K610i for voice.

So how do I sync the contacts between these, and keep them up to date?

Well… I was hoping to use Yahoo – my mail Webmail account is Yahoo, I use Yahoo Desktop sync for syncing a shared calendar in another account with a second Outlook calendar. But because I need to keep that, I couldn’t also use the app to sync a second account.

So I found Funambol. First, I went to the website and set up an account. By doing this, it sent an SMS to my mobile (the dumb K610i) with all the SyncML settings needed to connect and sync – even username/password. I accepted this, only changing the data account used, and removing the calendar sync.

I installed the iPhone app, and with a single run, it immediately sent my entire address book up to their servers.

Then I hit sync on the K610i, and it immediately downloaded the same 560 contacts!

All looks fine. The K610i has a few entries at the top with “No name”, but that’s because they have a company name, but no Full Name. Something most phones handle, but not this old one.

So – mobile cross-device contact sync in 10 minutes. And if I receive a new contact, I can just hit sync on both. Fantastic!

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Setting up Yahoo Caldav calendr sync with iPhone 3.0

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Since I upgraded to 3.0, I thought I’d try out the new sync feature that Yahoo are said to support.

Well… It didn’t work. I tried repeatedly, but it continued to report that “Verification failed”. A bit of googling and looking around showed many has the same problem.

However – I have now managed to get it set up. Here’s what I found:
– The default settings it gives you if you just type “Yahoo” into the server field, do work
– It works with SSL on
– The crucial point for me, was enabling the Yahoo beta! You’ll need to go to Yahoo Switch and enabled it
– Once you’ve done this, go back to setup on your iPhone, and set up the Caldav sync again. It should now work, pretty much immediately

– If, like me, you accidentally restore your iPhone config to before the sync was set up, you may find that it fails as before when you try to re-set up the aync. If so – then you need to go to Yahoo Calendar on the web, switch it back to the old version (Warning: losing any new content), then re-enable the new version again, and then re-set it up on the iPhone as before. At least, this is what I tried first, and it worked for me.

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