Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just Scan It

There is no more infuriating experience than when you desperately need a machine you rely on to work, it doesn't!

Okay, there is one more infuriating experience, when that same machine doesn't work and you discover that your child or animal has destroyed it.

In that moment, when your heart is hammering in your chest, your head is trying to explode and your throat is choked off with blind fury, if you could kill the little devils, you'd live happily ever after.

You can't of course and in truth when they do something later, trying to make up for destroying your world and they are so earnest and genuine you just fall in love with them all over again and you're glad you didn't hang the little swine up by their collective toenails.

So it happens and there's precious little you can do to prevent it and you cant kill them even though they richly deserve it, so what do you do? You replace whatever they destroyed with whatever you can lay your hands on or afford at the moment and pray that they let it alone until at least you've recovered from this last insult to your pride, dignity and possession.

Guess what. My darling little furball did just that a coupla days ago. Yes, the mighty Marlow chewed through the electrical chord on my flatbed scanner and left me with a beautiful scanner which would not work. Sure, I did all of the trouble shooting tricks, it was plugged in, plugged in to an outlet which was not a switched outlet so it did have power and it was happily running other stuff so I knew that the juice was flowing and I had the right USB line and the right software and it had always worked before so after all of that I started tracing the lines looking for a break, or where it had been pulled free from the outlet. I found it, a perfect set of cat fang marks just behind the power plug on the scanner side of the power line.

Why didn't he chew on the USB line? The answer is of course he did, about a week and a half ago and that shut down the scanner too. But I've been at this a while and I have a coupla USB chords in backup so when I found the chewed spot it was a simple matter to unplug the chewed line and plug in a good line and I was back in business.

But not this time. This time he attacked the power line which can't be spliced nor repaired and is almost impossible to find, cause this is an old scanner and there are so many models and makes of scanner that finding just the right identical one is like discovering gold, you are so happy until the prospectors move in and shove you off your claim.

So there I was with an old scanner and a chewed power chord and no way to fix it.

Like so many computer problems they are wonderful while they are working but when they go down they make you want to scream and commit bloody murder.

Now if I were a candidate running for office I could dip into my campaign funds violating two or three dozen Federal laws, committing a serious crime and hopefully getting caught so I could confess publicly, get appearances on Leno and Letterman, write a book and live happily ever after.

But I am not. I have never yearned for public office and would if nominated refuse to serve. So I have no campaign fund to dip into.

And if I had to have a state of the art scanner then I would be in even more trouble cause it would cost several hundred dollars and I would have to replace it with something even newer and more costly but I subscribe to the “Buying a Nikon” school of thought and I don't buy state of the art, I buy used and obsolete and old and discarded...and I sure am glad cause when the darling chewed through my power line he didn't scrap my three thousand dollar scanner.

In fact I bought the scanner from the Salvation Army a coupla years ago, downloaded the drivers and have enjoyed it ever since. No, it wasn't the fastest or the newest nor did I buy Silverlight to run it and it still did everything I wanted.

Now some of you are by this time asking “Why have a stand alone scanner?” Because children it will do things your multitasking full-throttle, golly-gee, whiz-bangs never thought f doing. Try to get a descent scan of an old photograph which has been stored in a Prince Albert can in the bilge tank of a crab trawler for the last twenty years only that boat went down on its last voyage out and even though no lives were lost the entire boat was a loss except for the Prince Albert can which was salvaged by a Japanese fisherman and sent by the U.S Embassy from Tokyo to Portland by air express so that you could have the only existing picture of your great Aunt Grimildah. Most of the new multi-job do-it-all-badly machine have a maximum setting of 300 DPI, but an old beaten up Epson can scan all the way out to 1600 DPI and maybe a bit more and the more DPI you have, the better chance you can get an editing program to clean and brighten that old snapshot.

And there's more but you don't really need to know unless you are looking for a scanner, right?

So I was still sitting there with a dead scanner and no time to go searching the various resale outlets for a newish one when today I went downtown, (Yes,beautiful, downtown Coos Bay, the garden spot of the Pacific coast) and because the Long Sufferin wanted some tomatoes stopped at the Green Spot where they did have tomatoes, two for a single US dollar and just about the size of a softball and red and delicious and the Long Sufferin was mighty pleased I can tell you and then we decided to cut through the Green Spot to get back to the car with our prize tomatoes when out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of an Epson scanner.

I noticed it was just ten dollars a price even I can afford and one that the Long Sufferin will allow me to pay and so I bought it and brought it home without knowing for sure if it would work.

I plugged it in and switched it on and the nice little green power on light came on and I knew that half of the battle was won, so I downloaded the proper software from your friendly neighborhood Epson site and fire it up.

The instant the software was loaded it came to life and ran perfectly, better than the cat snack and even better it ran faster and brighter and has a built in slide scanner and I frantically searched the room for something to scan and came across this picture of our own US Olympic Gold Medal winning Women's beach volley ball ace Misty May. Half of the team of Walsh and May and I stuffed it in the tray and scanned.

You be the judge, I did nothing to it but crop it a bit for the sake of space on the site and no retouch at all and this looks pretty good to me.

My cost? Ten dollars, again. It is costing me five dollars a year to keep a flatbed scanner working. At that price I would be nuts not to have one attached to every computer, no wait, I do have one attached to every computer.

This is what the new cat snack looks like and I have to say that for something picked up off the table at a flea market it looks pretty good. But that's not why I bought it, I bought it to scan and boy does it.

So you don't have a scanner? How come?

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