Jack Baty

A weblog by Jack Baty

Looks like the Speed Graphic has quite a light leak. (Speed Graphic. HP5+ @400 in HC-110 dilution B for 6:00)

Setting up the Pakon scanner again

IMG 0017

Every once in a while I get the urge to shoot color 35mm film and scanning that film is no fun at all. The only thing I’ve ever found that made it painless is the Pakon F-135 Plus.

I recently paved and rebuilt my iMac, meaning I had to recreate my carefully-constructed Parallels/WinXP/Pakon configuration. This turned out to be no small effort. So that I don’t forget, I’ve captured a few random notes here. The short version is that once you have this all running, don’t lose it.

First, I needed a Virtual Machine that would run Windows XP. I decided to try VirtualBox, since it’s free and I wouldn’t need to deal with upgrading Parallels (and the associated cost).

I downloaded the Pakon software and updates from the Pakon Facebook Group. Join the group and check out the Files section. Lots of great information there.

I could not get the Pakon software to see the scanner after about four hours of throwing everything I knew at it. There’s even a pre-built VM available with everything already configured. I just could not get it to recognize the scanner. I must have done something in the wrong order when first connecting the scanner. Eventually I gave up and installed Parallels. That worked on the first try.

After installing Parallels and downloading/unpacking the from the Facebook Group, I did the following1)See also,

  • Run Setup from the fx35install folder inside the Pakon Update folder
  • Run Setup from inside the Pakon Update folder
  • Reboot the VM
  • Plug the Pakon in (USB) and turn it on
  • Wait until Parallels asks if I want to use the new device on Mac or Windows (select Windows)
  • When the New Hardware wizard starts, don’t let it use Windows Update2)There’s no way I’m letting XP touch the internet, but do let it find the drivers itself. This worked for me anyway, and I think is where I may have gone wrong earlier.
  • Reboot again (just in case).
  • Wait about 30 seconds, then launch the PMI app in Windows
  • Say No to the request to upgrade Firmware
  • Click the icon at the top left to get to the “advanced” screen. (I’m not sure what it’s called).
  • Leave the password blank when prompted and click OK

This left me ready to start my first scan. I’d almost forgotten how fast this thing is! A roll of 36 frames scanned at 3000×2000 and cleaned with Digital ICE in about 5 minutes. The colors are always dead on, or at least much better than anything I’ve been able to achieve after many hours of tinkering with every known scanning package. The Pakon scans are as sharp or sharper than those from my V750.

In short, if I’m going to shoot color film, the Pakon is the way to go, whatever it takes.

References   [ + ]

1. See also,
2. There’s no way I’m letting XP touch the internet

JavaScript development is not fun for me anymore – Paul Verbeek-Mast

Paul Verbeek-Mast:

Fast-forward to 2017. I’m slamming my keyboard in frustration as another mysterious error appears in my build script. I don’t know how this works! I also don’t care. Plus, now I have to learn what Redux is, and how Vue is the next best thing that happened since Angular 2.0. How to use styled-components to make JavaScript in React do what CSS can do on it’s own. And whenever I switch projects, something has broken because I don’t understand how Node works. And I should know, because I’ve been a front-end dev for 8 years, and Node is JavaScript, so I should know Node.

There are so many articles expressing frustration with JavaScript in one form or another that it can’t simply be a few lazy, whining developers with an axe to grind. Something seems broken. It’s a sentiment that’s keeping me from digging in, certainly.

Cloud backups

I am no longer backing up my drives using a cloud backup service. Namely, Arq to Backblaze B2.

This seems like a terrible idea, and perhaps it is, but a few things happened recently that have caused me to throw up my hands and quit.

First, I’ve locked myself out of my Backblaze B2 account. This is because I stupidly wiped my iPhone before reconfiguring my two-factor auth entries in Google Authenticator. Doing that without making copies of the 2FA backup codes was unwise. A few emails with support haven’t gotten me very far and I’m tired of trying.

Second, Arq isn’t working properly. Suddenly it claims that I don’t have anything configured to back up. Pretty sure I do. This could be due to running High Sierra but I can’t tell. I also can’t tell what Arq is actually doing. I’ve always just let Arq do its thing but now that I’ve dug in I’m finding it difficult to determine what has been backed up, what hasn’t, and how much time/bandwidth I’m going to need.

Third, and speaking of bandwidth, I’ve exceeded my Xfinity quota for the second month in a row, meaning they’ll start charging me for overages. This is a first and no doubt all of these new backups are contributing.

Frankly, I’m tired of thinking about it. The smart thing to do would be to just install and use Backblaze’s automated backups but for now I’m not sure I need it.

  • All of my working files are in either Dropbox or iCloud
  • Photos are in iCloud and Google Photos
  • Older files are mostly in DEVONthink, which is synced and in Dropbox

There’s really not much at risk these days. I’ve only removed one step from my backup strategy, and it’s one I think I can do without.

Keepers of the Secrets | Village Voice

James Somers in the Village Voice:

“It’s a real person — the stationery they commissioned, the paper they put into their typewriter.” She described a personal archive as “a deep well of empathy.”

This really makes me want to visit more archives. Fascinating.

Things I installed on a fresh iPhone (SE)

After weeks of flakiness with my iPhone SE, I decided to wipe it and start over. This always seems like a good idea at the time.

Every time I do this, I plan to install only the absolutely necessary non-stock apps. “Absolutely necessary” ends up meaning “apps I want to have” I guess. Here’s the list.

  • Omnifocus
  • Audible
  • Drafts
  • Dropbox
  • Carrot
  • 1Password
  • Watchlist
  • MoviePass
  • YNAB
  • Ulysses
  • Hello Weather
  • Orbi
  • Lyft
  • Halide
  • Nest
  • Bitmoji
  • Scanner Pro
  • Google Photoscan
  • Snapchat
  • Eero
  • Just Press Play
  • Nuzzel
  • Hue
  • Letterboxd
  • Day One
  • Basecamp
  • Signal
  • Light Meter
  • RingCentral
  • Google Photos
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Develop
  • Pedometer++
  • Workflow
  • Overcast
  • Google Authenticator
  • Instagram
  • Huntington
  • Waze
  • Twitter
  • Textexpander
  • DEVONthink

So much for any minimalist aspirations.

Keep It, by Reinvented Software

I’m going to need an Everything Bucket for my Everything Buckets.

The latest “Everything Bucket” is Keep It from Reinvented Software. Keep It is replacing Together, itself a fine tool for collecting things.

I’d settled on DEVONthink in recent years but lately have been looking for a simpler alternative. DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go are a powerful combination. Maybe too powerful. I have many hours into configuring sync between my Macs and iOS devices, and sometimes I feel like I still don’t understand DEVONthink’s sync system at all. Having too many options is not always desirable.

I’ve been running with EagleFiler for the past couple of weeks and it really is great at keeping track of a bunch of “stuff”. It’s especially good with email. I haven’t minded that there’s no EagleFiler for iOS because everything is just kept in folders in Dropbox. Still, having a similar UI on both platforms would be nice.

Keep It looks nice. Like EagleFiler, it keeps my files and folder structure intact, although the library’s folder is in iCloud’s ~/Library/Group Containers/… location. Still, any app with a “Show in Finder” option is good with me.

I’m planning to throw a subset of my “File Cabinet” at Keep It and see how it feels.

Update I don’t think Keep It is for me. While I like how it looks and it feels good, there are a few things I’m not sure I could live with…

  • No quick capture keyboard shortcut
  • No way to see un-filed items
  • No Markdown preview

I’ll keep an eye on it, but for now I’m sticking with my current tools.

Courage –

Marco Arment:

Apple just completely changed the fundamental shape of the most important, most successful, and most recognizable tech product that the world has ever seen.

That’s courage.

From where I’m sitting, “the fundemental shape” is almost exactly the same. It’s at least a bit of a stretch to call it “completely changed.” Count me in the camp that believes the notch is an unwanted but necessary compromise and that Apple is simply not as ashamed of it as many people feel they should be. Developers are going to try camouflaging the notch because they believe (and I agree with them) that it’ll look better, whether Apple wants them to or not.

I don’t know about “courage”. Removing the headphone jack took more courage than this. The notch is nothing more than a visual inconvenience, where the missing jack is actually inconvienient.

Is there any value in people who cannot write JavaScript?

Mandy Michael:

The worst part about pushing the “know everything” mentality is that we end up creating an industry full of professionals suffering from burnout and mental illness. We have people speaking at conferences about wellbeing, imposter syndrome and full stack anxiety, yet despite that, we perpetuate this idea that people have to know everything and be amazing at it.

I’d be fine if the majority of the web was made up of only HTML and CSS but I’m never going to have my way. She’s right that we need to stop devaluing CSS and HTML.

Polaroid OneStep 2

Polaroid (really The Impossible Project)  has a new instant camera: The Polaroid OneStep 2. You bet I pre-ordered one!

Coincidentally, I sent my SX-70 out for repair earlier this week, so I’ll soon be able to shoot instant film with either my original from the 1970s or the brand new one. Film truly is not dead yet.