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Nikon Coolscan III LS-30 under 64-bit Windows 7

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End of month

Note that my May 23 entry (below) about Nikon scanners has been updated.

May 26-31? Yes, I'm going to cover 5 days in one Notebook entry, and even then, not say very much, because summer consulting work is really revving up. But I'll share a few tidbits...

Who wants to hire a freshly minted Emory B.A. in biology and English (double major)? Sharon is about to hit the job market (in Athens, Georgia). She would like to use her writing and editing skills in support of something scientific, probably biological (which spans everything from medicine and psychology to agriculture). Drop us a line if you might need her services...

And if you're interested in telescopes, check out this simulator, which shows you how the moon or Saturn looks through various sizes of telescope and at various magnifications. Crucial point: Raising the magnification does not increase the amount of detail in the image. This basic law of optics is often a surprise to new telescope owners.


Seeing a Roman road by satellite

Here's an interesting archeological tidbit that I stumbled on. Look at this satellite view of western Cambridge, England:

View Larger Map

See the streak running diagonally through the farm fields at the middle? You'll probably have to click "View Larger Map," zoom in, and cruise around just a bit...

Click here to see another map confirming that it is the path of a Roman road. It was once the main route to points southwest of Cambridge (which was then a small settlement near Castle Street off the upper right of the map).


Decommissioning Minerva

I've owned this immense tower case since 1996, and it has contained three different motherboards. In each case the computer was called Minerva.

The current motherboard is an ASUS P4PE, somewhat souped-up with a special low-noise CPU cooling fan; there is also carpet inside the case to reduce noise.

And Minerva is getting old. The motherboard is 8 years old and is only a single-core Pentium. Its on-board Ethernet, USB, and video devices have proved unreliable and been superseded by PCI cards.

Yet it still runs, and until Sunday evening, it was our file server. It was my main work computer until November 2009.

We had decided not to repair Minerva any more — its next failure would be its last. This past weekend, we decided not to wait for Minerva to break down. We bought a new computer (described yesterday), named it Pallas, and moved the files and software onto it. The new computer cost only $450, and a failure of Minerva at an inopportune time could have cost a lot more than that.

Minerva is going to be taken apart. I hope to sell the enormous case, and possibly other parts, to someone who has more time to build computers than I do. Some of the other parts will go into building myself a "workshop computer" in a less unwieldy case. The oddest peripheral — the SCSI internal Zip-100 drive — has already been sold.

Rest in peace, Minerva. You've served me well.


Nikon Coolscan III LS-30 under 64-bit Windows 7

[Updated May 29 based on actual experience.]

Those of us who own a Nikon Coolscan III LS-30 slide and film scanner are a bit annoyed that Nikon only supported this excellent machine for a few years after it came out (about 1999-2002). Officially, they didn't even release drivers for Windows XP, much less Vista or Windows 7. But it's a very good scanner, with infrared-assisted dust-and-scratch removal, and you can still get it repaired and maintained by Paul Ferrante, who advertises on eBay.

I've published some notes about how to run the LS-30 under:

But what about 64-bit Vista and Windows 7?

Here's how to move into the 64-bit world.

(1) Get a SCSI card that is supported by the new OS. The Adaptec 19160 and 29260N are the right ones; each of them it has a 50-pin external connector to match the scanner cable. You can download 64-bit drivers from www.adaptec.com. The older 2930 and 2940 SCSI cards don't have drivers for 64-bit Windows, and never will.

(2) Do your scanning with Vuescan (www.hamrick.com), not Nikon Scan.

I tried this, and it works beautifully. Vuescan has its own driver for the LS-30; when installing, say "yes" when asked if you are using an older scanner, and then click "Install this driver anyway" when prompted. The LS-30 will actually show up in Device Manager as an imaging device (which is more than we ever achieved with Nikon's drivers).

I downloaded Vuescan (64-bit, of course), but haven't registered and activated it yet, so right now, although it works beautifully, all the images have advertising on them:

This will clear up, of course, when I buy and activate it.

Vuescan is well worth having; it also helps you get the most out of flatbed scanners. There are also various kluges to make Nikon Scan work under a 64-bit OS, but I'm a bit wary of destabilizing the OS by using drivers that aren't supposed to work. I have also been told that Nikon Scan (without its drivers installed) will work with Vuescan's drivers.

Frenzy? Flurry?

Summer busy-ness has hit with full force and I'm behind writing Notebook entries. I need to write some technical ones (one of which is above). We've decommissioned "Minerva," the single-core Pentium I've been using since 2002 (and, with other motherboards, since 1996), which was most recently doing service as a file server.

The new computer, "Pallas," is an ASUS Essentio with a dual-core Athlon. It cost only $450, an amazing price-performance ratio.

This is the third ASUS Essentio that I've bought. I bought a quad-core one for my main work machine in the fall of 2009 and gave Cathy a slightly different one for Christmas 2010.

More news soon!


Good reading

Don't read my blog today; read Sharon's.


What part of "no" do they not understand?


"You keep using that word no. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Melody and I found this "no exclusions" offer at least mildly amusing, especially since on the coupon itself, there are even more exclusions:

We know it's probably not deliberate deception, but it's not clear communication either, or clear thinking. Someone wanted to say "no exclusions" even though there were exclusions.


May 21 is not Doomsday

News media, please stop saying that Christians believe the world will end on May 21. Nobody believes that except Harold Camping's tiny band of maybe forty people. It does not take many people to rent a billboard or drive a van with signs on it. This is not Christianity — it is a tiny sect!


The Fountain Pen of Theseus?

The "Ship of Theseus" is a famous ancient Greek philosophical problem. Reportedly, the Greeks preserved a historic ship by replacing every board as it started to rot. Eventually, none of the original boards was still there. This raised the question of whether it was still the same ship — and if so, what would happen if the original boards could be reassembled into another ship!

Much the same has happened to my 2001 Sheaffer Legacy 2 fountain pen, which recently went in for repair under its lifetime warranty after ten years of hard use.

They replaced the writing unit (= nib and its housing), converter, and barrel. What's left? Only the cap. If they had replaced that, too, would it be the same pen at all?

In any case, I highly recommend Sheaffer's service. I could have thrown away more money buying disposable ballpoints for ten years. And this pen is good for another ten or twenty, easily! I figure I probably got better-than-original parts because they've had this much more time to figure out what is and is not reliable.


Cathy and Nathaniel

Here is the big news item that I said was coming: My daughter Cathy and her long-time boyfriend Nathaniel Barrett are engaged to be married later this summer. We have known this for several days but did not want to announce it publicly until a lot of relatives had been contacted individually. Now you know.

Cathy and Nathaniel have known each other for more than three years and are already running a business together; Cathy is also in law school. The wedding will be in Lexington, Kentucky.

I think Nathaniel is an excellent catch. Of course I think Cathy is a truly excellent catch.

Cathy and Nathaniel, may God bless the journey you have before you.

[A rather dull economics-related blog entry was deleted here so that these two milestones could be reported consecutively.]


A bit less of a blur

Here is a less blurry image of Sharon getting her diploma. This was frame-grabbed from Emory's video, which will be archived on line permanently.


Like a blur

Congratulations to Sharon! She has graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in English and biology.

The Emory Quadrangle cannot accommodate all the people wanting to attend graduation, so Melody and I watched the ceremonies (Emory University and then Emory College of Arts and Sciences) on a giant video screen in a very comfortable auditorium in White Hall. That's where I snapped this picture. I hope to have better pictures soon.

That was part of this very eventful weekend; there's more, which I'll report later. We're back home, and exhausted but happy.


Short notes

Not only have we outlived Osama Bin Laden, we've outlived Mexico City Gourmet, a fine restaurant near Emory University. It will be missed. Fortunately, Saigon Café and Everybody's Pizza are still there.

Word to the wise: When you want to make up a LaTeX style sheet for a journal or a conference, don't make it up from scratch. Take one of Lamport's expertly crafted style sheets and modify it. I was bitten by a naively-built style sheet just now — space between paragraphs was much too stretchable, and the stretching should have been done elsewhere, such as between figures and text, and between section headings and text.

If you've been hearing people like Clark Howard talk about debtor's prisons, here's the back story. As best I can tell, people are occasionally being jailed for ignoring lawsuit judgments that they actually had not been notified of. Judges don't like it. I think the legal system has the means to correct this problem — it just needs the will.

Unintended consequences: A banking regulation limits how long the bank can hold the funds when you deposit a check to your account. Unfortunately, it can take much longer than that to find out that the check is actually no good. Example here.

Corollary: You should never take a job "handling money" for an overseas or distant business, nor accept any offer that involves you receiving a check from far away and immediately sending part of the money somewhere else. The usual scam is that you get bad checks that take a long time to bounce. By then, you've already sent the money on, and you're stuck with a loss.

Busy: We have big events going on. Stay tuned for more news!


La caída de Al-Qaída

(Pardon me for writing in Spanish; it enabled me to make a pun I couldn't resist.)

There is no reason for the U.S. to release a picture of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, for two reasons: (1) it would be gruesome and inflammatory; (2) there would be no way to prove it's not fake. Indeed, plenty of fake pictures are circulating already. Do not click on links to them — they often lead to computer viruses.

Al-Qaeda may be more thoroughly defeated than we realized. Not only is the leader gone, what we haven't been noticing is that, for a different reason, Al-Qaeda is out of a job. It was going to overthrow Arab dictators and replace them with strict Islamic regimes. But meanwhile, instead of that, the "Arab spring" is going on — Arab dictatorships are being replaced by republics. Al-Qaeda's story was that we (the U.S.) were supporting the dictators. But why would a Muslim who hates Gadhafi join Al-Qaeda to fight the United States, now that we are also fighting Gadhafi?

You see why foreign policy is complicated and subtle, and also why the general public often cannot tell at all, at the time, whether a country's actions are justified.

Disclaimer: Although I'm involved in terrorism research in a completely different way, I have no inside knowledge of the Arab world or Al-Qaeda at all.


The demise of Osama bin Laden

Yesterday [May 1] was a great day for the United States and for civilization as a whole. Our worst enemy is gone.

I will not rejoice at the death of any human being. But I will rejoice at the elimination of an enemy, and celebrate the skill and courage of the troops who took him out, and maintain that the killing was justified because it prevented numerous future killings of innocent people.

In war, the public does not receive complete, accurate information. Now that Osama isn't being hunted, I hope that we'll find out much more about what was going on. My suspicion is that we will find that our actions were more justified than many of us imagined.

We have to remember that Al Qaeda isn't a republic or a country or even an army. It is an organization based on person-to-person loyalty. Accordingly, it's quite possible that removing Osama bin Laden will in fact kill the whole organism, in a way that removing a western leader could never do.

The other thing we have to remember is that the war isn't over yet. This was surely the decisive victory, but the fighting may not have stopped. There has been no sign of retaliatory attacks yet, but we're not out of the woods.

Too many events!

I wonder whether 2008 (as I said earlier) or 2011 will be regarded as the beginning of a new decade. The economic recovery has revved up, and this has been a major year for Middle Eastern regime changes. Just the past few days have been epochal: tornadoes devastated Tuscaloosa (Ala.) and Ringgold (Ga.); Price William got married; John Paul II was beatified; and Osama bin Laden was killed.

Closer to home, the only bank in Valdosta with branches elsewhere, Park Avenue Bank, was seized by regulators and sold to the Bank of the Ozarks (a name that will look really out of place in Valdosta); I scaled up one consulting project and started another; and I've found a new kind of trousers I like.

Avid readers will know that changes in how I dress do not occur every decade, so the last of these may be the biggest news. But let me recommend Van Heusen "Studio" microfiber trousers. Especially if you want to lose weight — because they are sized generously, and you can lose two inches just by switching to this brand!

Getting back to other events, I was going to write about "John Paul II, the evangelical Pope?" but don't have time. Let me refer to my earlier observations. I really think the gap between Catholics and evangelical Protestants has narrowed and that Pope John Paul II is responsible. Look at the section on justification and sanctification in his Catechism. Not quite Protestant, but at least it's in language we can understand, and maybe it will put an end to the way some Protestants quote the Council of Trent to "prove" that Catholics believe strange things.

(The key idea here is terminology. The new Catechism was written with full understanding of how people in other branches of Christendom might understand the words. The Council of Trent, on the other hand, took place at a time when nobody knew what Protestantism was going to develop into, there was no consensus on what its terminology meant, and the Council viewed Protestants as a strange sect that might be about to say or do anything. Thank goodness those days are past.)

Note well that I am not claiming that Catholic and Protestant doctrines are actually the same. Don't panic — I don't need any angry letters or public denunciations!

Now back to public policy, to make two more points. There's a good think piece about the Great Recession in the Wilson Quarterly (on line). (Maybe what was actually abnormal was the Great Stability, from the mid-1980s to 2005.)

And one thing people are forgetting about war (such as the current fight in Libya) is that you can't trust the enemy as a source of information. Once in the 1980s and once this week, Gadhafi has claimed that close family members have been killed in air strikes. Heart-wrenching — but do we believe him?


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