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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Scanning Sanity

Canon Canoscan N1240UI’ve had a Canon N1240U scanner for several years, and it’s a nice piece of hardware. It’s small, there’s no need for yet another warm power brick, and the quality’s fairly good; the only thing it won’t do is scan non-flat objects (Contact Image Sensors have no depth-of-field).

However, after moving to OS X I was a bit stuck, as Canon hasn’t bothered to produce decent drivers. Different Canon sites offered different versions of software, it wasn’t clear what I needed to install, and when I did try out the latest drivers they didn’t work. Luckily, they do offer a program that uninstalls the crap that’s left running in the background, otherwise I’d have been tempted to look for a baseball bat.

Next I tried VueScan, which worked, but the interface is awkward, I ideally wanted proper integration rather than a standalone application, and I’m always slightly cautious about putting credit card details into a form that mentions nothing about how they’ll be processed/stored. So it was a last resort to bear in mind.

I’d read about SANE offering scanner support to Linux users, and found it packaged up for OS X. Despite some skepticism and reluctance (the packages could be putting anything anywhere), I gave it a go and it worked immediately, showing up under Import in Photoshop. The interface is basic, but does the trick and I haven’t had to touch any of the configuration files.

Canon could simply hire Mattias Ellert to produce a special package for their older scanners, and slip a few quid to SANE driver developers to improve the interface and features. It’d make far more sense than forcing broken, outdated software on their Mac-based customers.


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