Doxie Go SE Scanner

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I’ve been after a hand fed scanner like this for some time. I’ve used a few at work and find them both convenient and better than using a full fledged printer to scan documents. So I decided to take the plunge and get my own. Looking around, most reviews seemed to choose the Doxis. However the price hike isn’t to be scoffed at. It’s quite large. So reading reviews I came to the conclusion it justifies the expense and bought the wireless option.

This piece of kit is wonderful. It’s easily the best hand fed scanner I’ve ever used. It’s just so user friendly and easy to use. I love the idea of scanning whatever without the need for a PC. You just scan away and upload the scans later. A few years ago I scanned hundreds of old photos onto my Mac and then a few months later lost the lot due to me not backing them up and didn’t try again. The scanning exercise took days. I did the same in an hour with the Doxie. At first I thought it wasn’t doing the job because it was so quick. Once you’ve scanned loads of items you can just trust it’s all on the storage card. So I’ve established that I like it. Read on.

First off is the build quality. You can feel it’s good. Metal weighty exterior with functional and well placed buttons. It feels like good quality. Thats an easy thing to say but hard to justify. We’ve all know that feeling we get, when holding something that feels well made. In addition the packaging and guide are equally well done and keeping with the stylish presentation of both the web site, scanner, and documentation. Even the quick guide card included is well presented and stylish. If you go to the web site this style of presentation is kept consistent. It’s a little something that gives you confidence in the product. The downloadable apps are the same, although they could have done with a little more functionality. Example would be more export options or sync to cloud. Minor gripe at most. Like the scanner itself the app gets the job done with no effort.

The wireless method of doing the transfer works well. I’m not sure how convenient it’d be for everyone to use a wireless network link established with the Doxie to do the upload. All I can say is it works for me. It’s also got apps available for Mac, Windows, iOS. Covering all my bases anyway.

One last note that really surprised me is the customer support. I didn’t need any help but the company reached out to me twice to make sure I’m ok. Each time with links and information that could prove helpful. Again it’s a little touch but it matters and adds to the overall impression I get.

So in all I am very surprised by just how good this product is. Both in how it works and it’s support and presentation. I’d definitely say the cost is worth what you get. It’s the best hand fed scanner on the market.

QuickPlan

One aspect on the Mac that has always been a problem is the lack of support for MS Project. There are a few alternatives but they are prohibitively expensive for personal use. QuickPlan is nowhere near as feature rich and capable as MS Projects, but it is cheap, and I find that it meets the majority of my project planning needs. Resource management and project scheduling are all easy to configure and control and visually quite stunning, something MS project struggles with at times. I’ve been using it for about 4 months now and it’s become my planning staple. I often plan out team activities and dump the output to PDF. I find this doesn’t have any problems especially when you consider most business users won’t have MS project licenses and so could see an MS project anyway. Of course you forfeit the ability to save to Sharepoint or Teams but having a PDF for reference is easily good enough. The other advantage is having the QuickPlan app on the App Store. If you’re a heavy Mac user and looking for an excellent Mac project management tool then this is the one to have.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a butterfly that’s been an ugly catepillar for way too long. I’ve tried it a few times over the years but always been disappointed. However, after a long road we finally have a fully featured and adaptable code editor. The ability to edit remote files via SFTP, and/or SSH. Plus the ability to configure the numerous coded syntax checkers and code validation tools plugins is excellent. You’ve the option of leaving it as light or heavy as you wish. I started with just using the basic client without any plugins and still found it light and user friendly. Over time I added plugins as needed and have built up a test solution and validation/verification tool which I doubt I could find as feature rich anywhere else.
Integration with Team Foundation Server and GIT is absolutely a dream come true. So easy and helpful. It’s hard to consider that this was derived from a windows code editing suite. It works and fits so well with C on a Ubuntu Linux server, an apache PHP web server, C# application development, and Bash/Java scripting. It fits with any coding language I’ve tried. Definitely my client of choice.

X doesn’t mark the spot

What’s wrong with me? I seem to be the only one not excited by the new iPhone X.

Sure it’s very impressive technically, but what’s it giving in terms of new user experience. As far as I can gauge nothing. A major feature for a new phone shouldn’t be how you unlock it. Surely it should be how it’s used. It’s exactly the same user experience wih the phone once it’s unlocked as every other iPhone. Ok so there are a few gimmicks such as mapping facial movement onto emoji’s. However this type of thing will only entertain first time tried. It’s nothing for the longterm.

Now I’m an Apple fan. I use apple products from iphone, iPad, apple watch to laptop. So this isn’t an apple bashing option just for the hell of it. I just feel this is crazy expense for nothing extra. Apple have recently done something similar with the MacBook Pro. They add extra hardware and features and hike the price into the stratosphere without actual improving the experience of using the equipment at all. This is a trend I’m starting to worry about. With the difficulty of coming up with anything truely revolutionary Apple seem to be adding lots of new window dressing without changing what they’re selling in the window. The Apple innovation has hasn’t produced anything truly new for several years now and I think they’re well aware of this and are starting to grasp at ever larger straws.

I’m hoping this is just a short term trend and not the way Apple are going for the future.

Coventry Motor Museum

We recently spent the day in Coventry sight seeing when we spotted the motor museum. Although an impressive building we didn’t really have any expectations about what we were about to experience.

First off it’s free. Sure it’s obviously sponsored by Jaguar but it’s all free to the public. There’s a gift shop and a guide that they’re plugging at the start but even then its not expensive. We bought the guide and souvenir for £5. This is especially good when you start to realise how big the museum is and how modern. It’s on two levels with the route winding and weaving around the attraction. You could get through in 30 minutes but you’d miss much.

The experience is exceptional. I say this because there are many interactive displays and information points using many of the latest forms of communication. Touch screen displays. Large screens setup to look like mirrors, interactive walls, etc.

There are a huge selection of vehicles of all types as you’d expect. The displays are in excellent condition and they regularly clean and recondition the exhibits. They’ve a recondition area that is viewable to the public from behind glass. The presentation of the vehicles is also very good with big vibrant displays and sounds representative of the era.

The journey through the museum is a trip through time from the first vehicles to modern day.

We really enjoyed the museum and I recomend it for anyone.

Alien Covenant

Alien Covenant

Now I’m a fan of the Alien movies. I love the films and I’ve watched them many times. So myself and my wife watched the new film last night. I don’t know about you but I do tend to fall for movie trailers. I watch them and don’t always realise I’m getting the best bits in 30 seconds. The trailers for Alien Covenant do this as much as most movies but I was surprised that enough had been held back to leave a few surprises. What I mean by this is that the story was different than I expected. This is a good thing. The movie is an extension to the film Prometheus but the story starts by moving it in an unexpected direction. Vague I know, but I’m trying not to give any of it away and spoil it for you. However once the stories path is set, it becomes very obvious whats going to happen. From that point on your just traveling on the rails with no deviations or surprises. What saves it is the fact its a pretty good action film so you don’t really mind.

What you ultimately want from a horror is shock, dread, and dare I say it, horror. Alien Covenant does have shock on its side but practically zero horror. That being said so did Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection and they’re ok.

The special effects and sound are as you’d expect. In fact very good, but these are just dressing. What you actually get is an interesting science fiction adventure with some shock in there but by no means a great Alien movie. So this is where we go back to the trailers. I was expecting a true Alien movie much like the first or second. We actually got something on par with Alien 3 before the director’s version. It has Aliens and is an ok movie but will never rank highly for me.



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Desk3

Desk3 Blogging Tool

Desk3 is a rather simple but effective blogging tool. It’s an editor that allows you to create blog posts simply and then upload them to your blog with ease. Yes you can do all this without buying the app but it makes the process smoother and simpler. It’s elegant and effective.

Setup is rather easy. Desk3 is designed for use with wordpress. So setting it up to access your website blog is just providing the login details.

The idea is that you can edit and create blog posts offline and then when your ready upload them with a click. Your current edits are always saved locally and in the iCloud. Change records are kept too so you can always revert to a previous version.

I also like the look and feel of this. No complication or fidly menus. In fact this caused me some initial jitters because it seemed spartan but I soon realised that its all handled behind the scenes without we having to worry about it.

So end result is you only think about content of the blog.

Recommend this for anyone starting a wordpress blog. Of course you’d need to have a mac too but if you do then this is a must.


Welcome

Welcome to my Blog

My blog site is simply a retainer for adding any views/reviews of various things that catch my interest, hence the name Brain Dump. If you’re reading this then thank you. My goal is to simply provide an opinion if you wish it and maybe, sometimes provide helpful info.

Hope you like it or find it helpful.

Steven Emmason