February 28, 2007

VoIP, EVDO and Project Management

Posted in OSX Software, OSX Technical at 9:02 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

While I have not written much in the past weeks, things have been very busy over here. Aside from the 17 month old puking her guts out for five days, I have managed to find some new toys to play with and spent more time with my Photoshop tutorials.

The biggest toy is the addition of a new Epson 4990 flatbed scanner to aid me in my quest to scan all my dad’s old pictures and restore them to a iPhoto book (or other book). Unlike Windows, the scanner just worked when plugged into the iMac via firewire. It does have USB but in this case, I wanted firewire since a USB hub will slow to the slowest USB device. The scanner comes with ICE software and some decent Epson software but I bought Vuescan for it for the ability to save the scans as RAW output. A interesting sidebar on this topic is that Adobe LIghtroom reads the RAW files but Apple’s Aperture does not. I have Aperture but it’s things like this that keep me from using with any consistency. How can Apple developers not support one of the biggest and most popular scanner packages for the Mac? Where the hell is the logic in that? Idiots..

I have run some test scans through the scanner and it is very impressive to what it can capture. The biggest scans I did came in at 900meg but that was me fiddling with the controls and pressing the envelope on scanning a 3×3 picture 🙂 The scanner is pretty quiet for what it does, a but bulky since it has a separate film scanner in the cover. DId I mention it will scan film up to an 8×10 neg? Slides, no problem, medium format? no problem, color film like C41? no problem, this baby does it all and then some. It has a nice Cylon looking strip across the top that glows blue and tracks the scanner head as it moves so it’s very easy to see where you are in the scanning process. It has a nice well built heft to the unit which is a welcomed change from my HP scanners which felt a bit flimsy.

I also bought the new book called “Scanning Negatives and Slides: Digitizing Your Photographic Archives” and I really like it aside from some publishing faux-pas. I got mine at Amazon at something like 30 percent off so shop around. The ISBN number is 1-933952-01-6. The authors cover scanning in great detail and cover some of the more arcane items and techniques. I have not seen this much solid info in one place and as well presented. It’s very readable and concise with excellent pictures throughout the book. The book itself is very high quality stock with a good coating to give a nice finish to the pages.

I just got the newest ExpressFlash EVDO cards from Sprint and I plan to test them on the MBP once I get the things activated on a #@*@( WIndows machine. Sprint STILL does not officially support OSX unlike Verizon and things like this drive me nuts.

I also just set up my toy-like VoIP phone from Vonage. It’s not Mac specific but it works well with the Airport and my Monowall firewall. The phone is based on 802.11 but only hold five SSIDs. Dumb idea and dumber is the orange screen. Ugh.. nasty ugly looking but then the phone does in fact work and with a good connection, has a quality like a average cell call. Not clear but not too garbled either. Vonage also sends a WAV file when you get a voice mail message and since they stuck with WAV, it plays fine on the Mac. None of the Windows Media Player crap, probably due to the licensing costs, not any feelings toward the Mac. Call anywhere in the US and parts of Europe for twenty bucks a month. Not a bad deal for being able to carry a working phone in the bunkers we call offices here.

I finally broke down and bought my copy of ProjectX after my last beta died. I had hoped from some kind of thank you discount for the beta testers but nothing doing. Full price will do yah just fine. But work paid for it this time so it was a minor detail. I tried almost all of the available PM tools for OSX and this was really the best. I had one company call me to beg me to buy theirs and when I mentioned I was testing ProjectX, they just kind of sighed and hung up on me 🙂 The drag and drop magic is really something to behold for knocking out a quick project map.

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