Tuesday, April 25, 2006


In a recent post, I complained that, despite a significant amount of effort, I could not get my HP ScanJet 2300c to work with my PowerBook G4. In the comments, a certain fever606 suggested looking at the TWAIN SANE Interface for MacOS X. I downloaded the various component packages and installed them. It's all quite slick, but the bottom line is this: my HP ScanJet 2300c still doesn't work with my PowerBook. For the details, read on.

I downloaded four packages: TWAIN SANE Interface, SANE Preference Pane, SANE backends and libusb. They all unpacked and installed without a hitch. Hoping that it would all Just Work, I fired up Image Capture and tried to scan. Nothing. (Well, nothing except an error dialog which wouldn't dismiss until I killed the process from the Terminal.) So, I started working my way through the FAQ.

Running sane-find-scanner found the scanner. Excellent. Running scanimage > test.pnm did nothing detectable. (Running that with full debugging to a log file generated 11M of output before I killed it, so it was doing something. Scouring that log didn't help me much.) I looked at the (genesys) backend's configuration file using the Preference Pane, but I didn't really know what I was doing.

At this point I stopped. I unplugged the scanner, and plugged it back into the Windows box from where it came. TWAIN SANE didn't make my scanner Just Work. I certainly could have put some more time into it, but then I may as well have spent that time getting it to work on my FreeBSD box. The point, as I have emphasised several times over the months, of buying this PowerBook was to drink the Apple kool-aid. I doubt my HP ScanJet will ever Just Work. I might look into buying a supported scanner.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Best. Dialog. Ever.

Testing out Google Calendar, I decided to upload my work schedule from an iCal export. Google made Safari do this:
Apparently the upload still worked, though.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Thrashing Apple Mail

After running JDiskReport, I discovered an enormous wad of mail waiting in mailing lists I have not read for some time. I like the fact that Apple Mail provides the Activity Viewer window, in which you can track what the application is doing—especially useful when it otherwise looks like it has stalled. Here is the result of trying to delete 10,000 unread mails using IMAP over a pretty slow uplink:
It has been churning away for at least 20 minutes. I'm sure it will get there eventually, but I really wish I had done this server-side using Mutt.


I downloaded JDiskReport after seeing the write-up on Tim Bray's blog, ongoing. While it's not a unique idea (for example, see File System Visualizer), it's a nice implementation. Notice that the hyperlink to JDiskReport there points at a ‘.jnlp’ (Java Network Launching Protocol) file—that is, the application is distributed by Sun's Java Web Start framework. Mac OS X had no trouble with this. Mike Gratton reported that he tried it on one of the 4 billion flavours of Linux, and that it didn't work. So your mileage may vary.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

HP Scanjet 2300c: too old for OS X?

I've had a HP Scanjet 2300c for a few years, and it's a nice enough scanner. (It's not super-fast, but I don't do a lot of scanning.) Today I wanted to connect it to my PowerBook G4 and scan in some documents to send by email. I tried. I failed. It seems the 2300c is not supported natively by OS X. What I very definitely don't want to do is download and install some multi-megabyte, proprietary "scanning and imaging suite" of applications from HP. Assuming one exists. All I want is a driver, or whatever it takes to let me use something simple like OS X's Image Capture application. That's it.

Following a link from Apple's website, I downloaded VueScan from Hamrick Software. It didn't see the Scanjet, but the best bit was being able to test it out using the Mac approach to software installation: download and mount a disk image, drag and drop to install, drag to Trash when it doesn't work. Done. There's no crap scattered about various system directories on my disk and there's no "Registry" to corrupt. I tried VueScan, it didn't work, and now it's gone. (In comparison, I probably have the assorted detritus of dozens of applications scattered about my PC's disk. Applications which mysteriously "couldn't completely uninstall" are the norm in the Windows universe.)

So, it's back to the PC to use HP's monolithic suite of bloatware to do a couple of pages of scanning. That's disappointing, but kind of countered by the fact I got to test out VueScan without pain because Mac OS X does things the Right Way.