“It Just Works!”

No it doesn’t, Apple. NO. IT. FUCKING. DOESN’T.

I got the bright idea to do some desk cleaning last night, and I ran across three file folders worth of pictures, floor plans, and miscellaneous documents that I wanted to scan. My plan was to do that first thing this morning and then move on to normal my Saturday chores.

So much for those plans.

It has been a day of Apple/Adobe/Canon ROBO-PSYCHOSIS.

I knew that Photoshop had supposedly lost the ability to use a TWAIN scanner driver somewhere between CS6 and the first iteration of CC. (Even with CS6 it required a bit of finagling to get working, but by and large it worked fine.)

I haven’t thought much about it since the arrival of CC, since all the scanning I’ve had to do since that time has been document or line-drawing based. Not exactly rocket science. Apple’s own built-in image capture worked fine for that.

So when I went to scan some magazine photos today, imagine my horror when they came out looking like crap. Apple’s built-in software has no ability to “de-screen,” so everything came out with horrible Moire patterns and no way to get rid of them. FUCK ME SIDEWAYS IN TRAFFIC.

So after doing some Googling, I discovered that there is a fix for even the latest version of Photoshop CC: a TWAIN driver supplied by Adobe themselves! Downloaded, installed where it was supposed to be and…Photoshop immediately crashed when invoking scanning directly from our Canon printer.


Further Googling suggested a clean reinstall of the printer/scanner drivers. But Apple, being Apple, doesn’t provide ANY mechanism for actually removing old printer drivers. (Just making them disappear from the Scanners and Printers preferences list doesn’t actually delete any files, so you’re left having to go digging all over the hard drive to to rip them out.)

Well, apparently I deleted something I shouldn’t have, because even after reinstallation, not only did TWAIN still cause Photoshop to immediately crash—the scanner option itself was only showing up in the printer configuration when it was physically connected to the laptop via USB—not while it was wireless.

I wasted a good three hours this morning trying to fix this and finally said fuck it and wiped the hard drive, knowing full well that this time I couldn’t just grab my Time Machine to do a full restore; the files had already changed on the latest capture. I could restore my profile, but all my applications would have to be manually reloaded and I was now looking at spending the entire day at this desk and not getting much of anything else accomplished.


And you know what? When all was said and done and I finally got everything loaded from scratch—the fucking TWAIN still didn’t work with Photoshop. Oh yeah, it worked with Canon’s own proprietary scanning software—a piece of psychedelic-colored crap that looks like it was designed by a six-year old.

And unfortunately, that is what I’m stuck using if I want to get decent scans from magazine or newspaper photos.

At least the scanning option is once again showing on both the wireless and USB versions of the printer, and I have a “clean” install of everything else on my Mac now. BUT GODDAMNIT ALL TO HELL, Apple. THIS is NOT supposed to be how APPLE works!


Eleventh Hour Reprieve

This past weekend Ben and I were discussing my impending return to unemployment, and I said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Tony (my supervisor) pulled some kind of Hail Mary Pass to keep me around.”

Indeed, a Hail Mary Pass was thrown on Monday. “Would you be interested in staying around a little longer—through the end of August—to help Paul retrieve old equipment from out in the field? You guys could go out in the morning while it’s still cool and then do your regular duties in the afternoon.”

Hell yes, I would—especially considering recruiters weren’t exactly knocking down my door and Ben and I been wondering how our little household would survive on me bringing home the measly $240/week (less than minimum wage!) that AZ unemployment would provide while looking for other work.

This offer was not extended to the other contractor who came on the same time I did, and while everyone concerned has done their level best to keep him blissfully unaware of this eleventh-hour development, the fact he didn’t show up for work today or notify anyone that he wouldn’t be coming in (ostensibly our last day here) tells me he might’ve found out…

It’s Hot Out There

I’d be lying if I said that after only one year I’d fully reacclimated to the Phoenix summertime heat, because I haven’t. It’s damn hot out there.

It doesn’t help that it’s currently about ten degrees F hotter than it was a year ago on this date. Or the year before that. Or the year before that. Or pretty much any time as far back in my lifetime as I want to go.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Mother Earth was tired of our shit and is running a fever, hoping to rid herself of the human virus…


40 years after the first VHS video cassette recorder rolled off the production line, the last known company making the devices is ceasing production. According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei, Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, will give up on the format by the end of the July after 30 years of production.

Declining sales, plus a difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts, prompted Funai Electric to cease production. While the Funai brand might not be well-known in the west, the company sold VCRs under the more familiar Sanyo brand in China and North America.

Funai Electric began production of VCRs in 1983 following the unsuccessful launch of its own CVC format in 1980. While CVC had its strengths—its quarter-inch tape made its machines smaller and lighter than VHS machines, which used half-inch tape—VHS and Betamax were strong competitors.


Quote of the Day

A thoughtful, reasoned response to the Republican cray-cray that seems to be spewing from a fire hose lately…

“At the risk of taking Gingrich’s nonsense seriously, just imagine for a moment what translating his proposal into action would mean. The government would round up 3.3 million American Muslims, then “test” them to see “if they believe in Sharia,” a notion about which Gingrich doesn’t have the remotest clue. Sharia is the Arabic word for “law”; there’s no guidebook of official Sharia, and Islamic scholars have a multitude of ideas about how Koranic ideas could or should be translated into civil rules. But even if there were, Gingrich is literally proposing to prosecute thought crimes, as well as jettisoning the First Amendment to throw people in jail for visiting certain web sites. And where is he going to “deport” the Americans whom he decides believe in Sharia to?

Frankly, I think we need to ask just how Newt Gingrich got radicalized, and what caused him to reject the values of the country that gave him so much. Was it some radical cleric who did this to him? Is there a church somewhere in Georgia we need to be monitoring? ~ Paul Waldman, The Washington Post

Go read the whole thing. It’s worth your time.

Some days…

…I feel like so much hate-based gasoline has been poured over this country planet that all it’s going to take is one small match to set the entire thing blaze.

Maybe that is the reason we haven’t been contacted by—or have heard transmissions from—any alien civilizations. Perhaps they all reach the point in their development that humanity currently finds itself, achieving an unprecedented degree of scientific enlightenment and standing at the brink of leaving their planetary cradle, only to have the technology spawned by that enlightenment allow bronze-age prejudices and hatreds—long simmering under the surface—to finally spew forth in all their base ugliness, causing the entire civilization to self-immolate.

I know that in the vastness of the universe, that couldn’t have happened to every civilization, but I’m beginning to think it happens often enough that space-faring civilizations are very rare indeed and all their explorations reveal are the burnt-out husks of once-great societies littering the galaxies.

It Is Like Riding a Bicycle!

Ben and I are hooked on home improvement shows. You name it, we’ve probably watched it at least once. We have dreams of someday buying the place we’re renting from our landlords—as ridiculous as that sounds—and we’ve lived here long enough that we’ve come up with some ideas about what we’d do to the place if we owned it and had a large, untapped bank account.

There don’t appear to be any glaring structural issues other than one long crack that runs through the concrete floor in the den. The bigger issue is the age of the house (built 1948) and all that date implies: knob and tube wiring, asbestos-laden plaster, ancient plumbing lines, and asbestos insulation in the roof are the four that immediately come to mind—all of which would require a complete gutting-to-the-studs to (as Mike Holmes would say)—make it right.

Then there is the physical layout of the house. That is where the fun really starts. We’ve got so many ideas floating around that I knew I had to get them down in architectural form—even if nothing ever comes of it. (It’s important to dream, after all.)

So I fired up AutoCAD and began the task of drawing our little house as it is and how we’d like it to be. Yeah, I’m a little rusty at it, and the latest version of the program does some things quite differently from how I remember it working back in the day, but on the whole I haven’t forgotten nearly as much as I thought I had. Of course I haven’t gotten into the really technical stuff like dimensioning and cross-hatching and whatnot, and I need to wipe some cobwebs from my basic architectural construction knowledge, but I’m sure it will all come back. If not, I still have my AutoCAD “bible” from years ago that got me out of many a “How do I?” jam even then.

And y’know, it feels damn good to be doing something creative. I didn’t realize how much I missed that.

One Year

As of today, we’ve been back in Phoenix exactly one year.

I wish I could say my employment situation has improved since leaving Denver, but as we all know, it hasn’t. I remain optimistic. It usually takes me two or three false starts each time I change cities to get situated somewhere that I like and that lasts for more than a few months, so we’re coming due here pretty quick.

Other than the employment thing, life has been good over this past year. I love the house we’re renting, I love the ease of getting around Phoenix, and though I learned over during the four years we lived in Colorado that I prefer being cold and dry to being hot and dry, I still love being back in warm weather.

And while photos like this…

Photo courtesy Erik Rubright.

…get me feeling a little nostalgic and make me realize how little of the state we actually saw during the time we lived there—all I have to do is think of the cost of living, driving in the snow, getting stuck while driving in the snow, working at DISH, and the appalling insanity of Denver drivers, and I’m cured of any nascent longing instantly.