Charles Moore's Mailbag

Pismo Screen, WallStreet Keyboard Problems; Amplified Bible and MacSword; Sorry State of Mac OCR; and More

Charles Moore - 2005.12.19 - Tip Jar

Pismo Screen Problem

Charles,

Sorry for bothering you with this - but you seem to be such a good soul, offering advice to all comers . .  . and I need an advice.

After HD upgrade (may be just a coincidence) my Pismo's screen has developed yellowish "shadows". These are mostly along the left edge of the screen (about inch wide), but also to the right of some objects (windows, cursor etc.). Initially this has been an on-off problem (coming and going); unfortunately it became a permanent issue.

I tried to connect the Pismo to the external monitor, and on it the picture was fine. The shadow is present in both OS 9 and X from the moment the screen comes on.

In your experience, which is on the way out: LCD lamp, inverter, cable, or something more serious?

Thank you in advance,

Rudolf

Hi Rudolf,

Since the coincidence you note obtains, it might be worthwhile to open up the machine and check that all ribbon cables are properly seated.

Of course, it might actually be a coincidence.

The list of suspects you cite likely includes the culprit(s), which is good news because they are not logic board issues. The fact that the problem doesn't show up on an external monitor pretty much confirms that it's one of the display components downstream of the logic board.

Diagnosis by substitution is the way to proceed. I would start with the backlight lamp tube.

Charles

Re: WallStreet Keyboard Failure

From Michael Allen

Thank you again [re: WallStreet Keyboard Failure]. What size of ribbon cable do I need for the keyboard replacement? Is there anywhere I could send the old keyboard?

-M

Hi Michael,

If the keyboard is broken, it would not, IMHO, be cost effective to pay to have it repaired if that were possible. However, The PowerBook Guy offers keycap/scissor mechanisms for the PowerBook G3 WallStreet Keyboard (used) for $5.95.

Wegener Media will sell you a whole replacement Wallstreet Keyboard for $24. I expect they will also be able to fix you up with the appropriate ribbon cable.

PowerBook Guy also has replacement keyboards: Keyboard for PowerBook G3 WallStreet (used), $49.95. Keyboard for PowerBook G3 Wallstreet (new), $119.95.

Charles

Amplified Bible for Mac Sword?

From Ted Bragg

My studies thru Paul's work necessitated an Amplified Bible . . . it's the only version of the Bible I can make sense of some of his teaching. Will MacSword (see MacSword 1.2: A Solid Free Bible Program Made Even Better) or the other freeware Bible apps have an AMP module available?

Presently I use biblegateway.com, and it's good for basic searches and straight read-thru....

-T

Hi Ted,

I also have an Amplified New Testament, and it can be indispensable for serious Bible study if you don't read Greek and Hebrew.

As I understand it, the Amplified Bible copyright holders are not inclined to license for free, so prospects for inclusion in free software applications are probably not a strong likelihood.

Charles

Mac Sword Review a Bit Late

Charles:

I just saw your review of MacSword. I just bought QuickVerse, but I would have loved to have seen this review before so I would have the option of keeping my fifty dollars. I will probably download both of the programs that you have links for. If I can find it then I will download Bible Browser for those times when I am using Macintosh instead of Mac OpenStep X.

Thank you for the article and the links.

James Johnson

Hi James,

Glad you liked the review.

The latest version of Bible Browser is called Bible Viewer. It's $10 shareware.

Charles

Link: Bible Viewer

Should I Wait for a 64-bit 'Book?

From James Castleberry

Hi Charles,

I will be heading back to school next fall, so I will be in the market for a new laptop. I have owned my Sony Vaio for almost 5 years and am anxiously awaiting the the new Mactel iBooks and PowerBooks . 

I've been doing research for awhile and have a question. I know that the G5 chip is 64-bit and the Intel Yonah is a 32-bit chip. As a student, I will mainly be using my laptop for school, playing music and videos, and generally Internet browsing. For a computer user like myself, what would the difference be between the 64-bit and 32-bit processors? Should I hold out for Merom late next year or should Yonah be just as good for my needs?

Thanks for the help,
James Castleberry

Hi James,

"For a computer user like myself, what would the difference be between the 64-bit and 32-bit processors?"

In practical terms, for the sort of computing you say you do, the 64-bit vs. 32-bit dichotomy is a non-issue and will remain so for some time to come. IMHO, you're unlikely to be locked out of anything mission critical with a 32-bit processor for the foreseeable future.

I would anticipate that Yonah will be very satisfactory for your needs.

Charles

OS X Version of the One Laptop Per Kid Program

From Alvin

Hi.

I'd like to encourage all authors if you could write an article about Apple and Steve Job's inspiration, which is the education market. I'd like to encourage you to write about (since you are influential to the Mac community) Apple or Steve to decide to give away a version for the One Laptop Per Child Program. It would do better than Linux. Not only would it be humanitarian but it will also penetrate the government of the entire world. OS X also look more fitting to the fun, energy efficient design of the $100 laptop.

God bless,
Alvin

Hi Alvin,

You may be aware that Steve Jobs did offer a version of Mac OS X to the MIT $100 laptop program, but was turned down because it was not considered Open Source enough.

Charles

Sorry State of OCR Software for the Mac

From: Rowland McDonnell

Hi there,

I was interested to read in OCR Software for the Mac [published 2001.11.27 - ed] that

ABBYY FineReader 5 Pro for Mac is an OCR program from Russia with a high level of word accuracy and format retention FineReader - even when converting complex pages and poor quality documents - and claims to be the most Mac-friendly OCR on the market.

The url you supply, http://www.macfinereader.com/, redirects to: http://www.abbyy.com/finereader_ocr/.

I can't see any sign of anything for Macs there at all. I've looked all over. Except in some press releases and whatnot that turn up when you do a site search, it's one of those sites that assumes that all computers run Windoze. I've tried following the link to purchase software, and there's only Windoze software available that I can see - it looks very much as if the Mac version has been discontinued.

Rowland

Hi Rowland,

That article of mine is pretty old, so I'm not surprised that the URLs are stale.

You can download a trial copy of ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac here:

http://www.abbyy.com/download/?param=2270

Charles

Re: ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac

Blimey - well, thanks for tracking that down. I'm not sure I'd want to buy from that firm, given that they seem to be hiding their Mac software.

That much isn't a surprise; what was a surprise was the fact that I couldn't see any reference to Macs at all on the site.

Cheers,
Rowland

Hi Rowland,

It works well. ReadIris is another potential solution.

Charles

Link: ReadIris

Re: OCR software for Mac

From Rowland McDonnell

Hello :-)

"It works well."

Righto.

But, erm, regardless of the quality of Abbyy Finereader, I wouldn't buy it - Abbyy's website doesn't mention Macs at all that I can see, aside from in a few press releases one can find by searching. No Mac version available for purchase, no Mac version available for trial - at least, that's what you find if you just look at their website in the normal way. Spend money on software that the publisher is denying? And since the Mac version is at v5 and the Windoze version is at v8 - well, it looks like they've given up on the Mac side, doesn't it? Seems silly to pay full price for software that's already been dropped by the publisher, doesn't it?

Anyway. Enough of that whining - what's it got to do with you?

Would you mind telling me how you tracked down the link to the Mac trial of Abbyy Finereader? I'm curious - I really cannot find the slightest trace of a link to anything like Mac software on the Abbyy website - for example, this is the 'downloads' page, as accessed from the Mac download link you provided above:

http://download.abbyy.com/content/default.aspx

See? No mention of Macs at all.

(I've looked at the website quite a lot - tried again today - and followed a lot of links looking for it, and even using Search doesn't get me anything Mac-related except a bunch of press releases. The only software I can see available for purchase or download is for Windows - unless I follow the link you provided, so I'm wondering how you found it. A cunning trick I don't know about, perhaps?)

"ReadIris is another potential solution."

Umm. I've tried out ReadIris. I wouldn't call it a potential solution myself. 300dpi scans are the only ones that I can get to 'work' for a low value of 'work', so it seems, and that's nothing like good enough (you can feed it a 1200dpi scan, but it sometimes crashes or complains. If does happen to cooperate and you ask for an RTF/PDF/HTML version, you get a final page that's 16 times too large if you can persuade it to do anything sensible at all). Its RTF output files only work with MS Word. Etc. Lousy manual. Pretty poor OCR accuracy, too. My suspicions were aroused when I spotted the helpful link to the Mac manual on the trial version download page - the link to the v9 manual is not what you need when the software you're downloading is v11.

ReadIris is definitely something I wouldn't spend the asking price on. I actually used the trial version to scan in a letter yesterday - printed in 12pt Helvetica using a 1200dpi laser printer as far as I could tell. It would have been quicker and less stressful to type it up manually rather than scan-and-correct. And they want €502 for this? Listen carefully and you might hear my merry laughter.

At least ReadIris is about the same price for non-USAians as USAians, which is less of a rip-off than one usually gets in the computer field - apologies to the Canadians I've just lumped in with their southern neighbours.

Cheers again,
Rowland.

(pretty disappointed at the state of OCR in the 21st century - I used OCR software in 1990/91 that was better for my needs than ReadIris, but I don't recall what it was, and the Macs belonged to the college, and . . . well, you get the idea)

Hi Rowland,

No mystery or secret about How I got the Abbyy Mac download link. I just Googled "Abbyy Finereader = Mac" and it popped up; first hit. Took me all of ten seconds. ;-)

Thanks for the mini-review of ReadIris for Mac. I've never used it, so it's interesting to hear a hands-on report. As I said, it was a potential solution.

Personally, I find that the copy of ABBYY FineReader 5 Sprint Plus that came bundled with my Epson Perfection 4870 Photo scanner handles my (very modest) OCR needs in OS X. I also still have good old OmniPage Direct 7.0 installed on my ancient LC 520 that is hooked up to an almost as ancient Microtek scanner. Still does a pretty good job, albeit mercilessly slowly with that 25 MHz 68030 chip and 20 MB of RAM.

Charles

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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