2011 — 17 March: Thursday

I presume those who believe in saints1 are hailing the chap who rid Ireland of snakes and leprechauns. (I may have got part of that wrong.)

It's 10:08 and again looking dull and grey out there. Breakfast and another cuppa, Mrs Landingham? Yes, indeed.

For reasons far beyond my limited ability to comprehend, the final 64-bit IE9 web browser on the Win7 BlackBeast cannot be set as my default browser. Now what's the thinking there? On with Firefox 4.0 (though I hadn't really planned on changing in any case). Chrome, meanwhile, has pushed on through the "10" barrier, and Opera is at "11.01" and coyly reports itself to be running on Windows NT 6.1. Cheeky!

Returning from a...

... minor-league technology expotition to the local Halfords, Comet, and then further afield to the End of the Hedge, I'm greeted on my return — thanks, BBC — by the "news" that

the possibility of recriticality is not zero

I remain unimpressed by the "experts" who are not on-site, and recall at least one definition of "expert" as "drip under pressure". I'm not much more impressed by guvmint spokepeople who take the George W Bush approach to the pronunciation of "nuclear", too. I shall munch the rest of my chicken salad to the music on Radio 3 rather than the "news" on Radio 4. It's 13:35 and remains somewhat grey out there.

Meanwhile, dear Mama's census form has just arrived here, plus a batch of financial year end stuff I suppose I need to examine. What a fun-packed retirement hobby this is turning out (not) to be.

The last time I...

... had a Canon flatbed scanner (a 300dpi greyscale SCSI unit with my Acorn RISC OS machines) was also the last time I had OCR capability that I actually used though, I admit, the capability came via a separate Acorn application that had to be trained to recognise a variety of fonts. Since I had three extremely capable DTP applications on the Acorn that was my chosen platform for word-smithing and any associated document scanning.

Noting the Microsoft writing on the wall — not to mention the outrageous price of hardware in the Acorn universe that was down at the commodity price level in the Microsoft world — I bought an Epson colour scanner (a quite bulky 1660 Perfection Photo) when I got my first Windows PC (a little Shuttle Pentium running XP) in late 2002. And I upgraded in February 2007 to an Epson V350 Perfection Photo because Christa quite fancied my older scanner and I quite liked the idea of something smaller, quieter, and a bit faster. The original Epson had OCR software associated with it, but (as I discovered when I briefly hooked it up to my latest 64-bit Win7 BlackBeast) there were issues both with the hardware and this bundled software. The newer Epson, although able to play nicely with BlackBeast after upgrading its drivers to 64-bit, never had any OCR capability at any point.

I've been feeling a mild "need" for OCR recently, so I've been biding my time until I found what I wanted. The fact that I also managed to damage the coating on the glass plate of the newer Epson with a smudge that has resisted everything up to (but not quite including) hydrofluoric acid was another mild motivation. So, as of today, say hello to my Canon CanoScan 5600F. This month's three dollops from Mr ERNIE (#3 arrived today) go a long way to easing the pain. Of course, it's a whole new user interface to get used to, but results are looking fine so far. I've refreshed all its drivers and applications, though the bundled photo editing software (which I had no intention of using) has a "compatibility issue" with Win7. Now there's a surprise.


They don't sell scanners, do they? I have it in mind to refresh my little dominatrix (I bought her on the red letter day I passed my driving test). They are due a new delivery on Sunday of the model I have my acquisitive eye on. They had only the display model and didn't seem too keen on selling it to me. I resisted all blandishments to buy alternative models both there and elsewhere.

Being as paranoid...

... as the next chap, I note that the Firefox 4 Release Candidate fails to get along with the "Rapport" software that I use to guard my online bank access. It's still fine on Chrome, however, and so there's an error report on its way to them. Meanwhile, it's now 18:08 and I'm feeling a bit peckish. [Pause] Before I'd finished my meal, Mr Rapport had replied asserting that they will once again support Firefox when Release 4 is finalised. Meanwhile, one of my readers has it in mind to get the same scanner, though for a pile of slides. I think the Nikon I borrowed would do a better job.

I was sent this link to an amazing recent piece of IBM puffery by a NY-based technology writer for "Fortune" whose photo suggests she's not really old enough to recall Lou Gerstner's unillustrious predecessor, "Big John" Akers. The voluminous comments it's attracted — if turned into another article — would paint an entirely different picture of IBM, particularly in the UK.



1  I don't; not even my sainted aunt.