fixed : put printing & scanning shortcuts in the Dock

Question :

Whenever I need to scan (or sometimes even to print) anything, I need to go into System Preferences, then Printers & Scanners, then click Open Scanner…

Isn’t there a one-click solution to do this ?

Answer :

Yes there is.

Back in the days of MacOSX there used to be an option for this called “Desktop Printer” : that would put a shortcut-link of your printer on the Desktop. And you could do the same for your scanner.

Nowadays, for some reason, this option is gone, and no easy alternative is given by macOS… so you will have to create some thing yourself… the easiest way is to put both your Printer’s and your Scanner’s icon in the Dock. To do so, do this :

  • go to Apple menu (Apple-icon top-left in the top menu bar)
  • when the pulldown menu appears, select “System Preferences”
  • in the window that opens, click “Printers & Scanners”
    • if there is no such option, click on the raster-icon (top-center) first and it will appear
  • in the window that opens, click on your scanner (in the list on the left)
    • if your scanner is not yet in the list, add it first by clicking the Plus-icon at the bottom and following the on-screen instructions
  • now your scanner opens in the main part of the screen (on the right)
  • click the “Open scanner” button
  • now, the Scanner-window will open, and the scanner’s icon will appear in the Dock
  • CTRL-click (right mouse button) on the Scanner’s icon in the Dock
  • from the popup-menu, select “Options”, then “Keep in Dock”
  • now, the scanner’s icon will be moved to the left and it will stay in the Dock even after you close the scanner software
  • so, next time you want to scan anything, just click on the scanner’s icon in the Dock to open the scanner software

    That’s it !

Note : creating a direct link icon in the Dock for your printer can be done in the same way

enjoy 😉

fixed : “Scanner reported an error” when starting scanner

Question :

My Canon CanoScan 5600F is scanning great, even after all those years. The only problem I’m encountering with my new Mac is that I get a “Scanner reported an error” message when I try to start it from the shortlink (alias) I have in my Dock.

The exact error message is : “Scanner reported an error Cannot communicate with scanner for these reasons: – Scanner is turned off. – USB cable is disconnected. Please check and try again.” But the USB cable is connected properly and the scanner is turned on, so that can’t be the problem.

What can I do to fix this ?

Answer :

This problem was introduced some years ago, possibly somewhere within the shift from OSX to macOS. It seems to have to to with the start-up sequence of macOS’s build-in scanning software or the scanner going into some sleep mode. The solution is simple, even though it is more of a workaround than an actual fix. So if you run into this problem, do this :

  • turn the scanner off using the ON/OFF-switch on the outside of the scanner (the physical hardware button)
  • then, click the blue OK-button in the “Scanner reported an error” window
  • then, close the “Scanner” window by clicking the red dot button top-left
  • then, open the Scanner software again…
  • now, turn the scanner back on using the ON/OFF-switch on the outside of the scanner (the physical hardware button)
  • now the scanner should load the scan preview automatically (as if you had clicked the Overview-button)
  • just make sure the scan area hasn’t been reset, so…
    • …either uncheck “Use Custom Size” and make sure “size” is “A4” (or anything suitable)
    • …or manually line out the scan area in the preview

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : quickly create GIF from QuickTime or MP4 video

Question :

For my social media I regularly want to create a .gif-animation from small clip out of an .mp4-video file that I have, but I don’t have a lot of video-editing skills or specialised software.

Is there a simple way to do this ?

 

Answer :

There are lots of ways to do this. And no video-editing skills are required to do the most basic, but with some editing you can quickly get better results.

I would recommend buying the $5 GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore and doing the editing in QuickTime (or iMovie).

The recommendations for a good GIF-animation for most social media are (suggested by .gif-database GIPHY) :

  • duration of about 6 seconds (shorter is better)
  • file size close to 8MB (smaller is better)
  • video resolution of 480 pixels (or 720 pixels maximum) on the shortest side (depending on either landscape or portrait view, or square, or any custom size)
  • total number of frames of 100 maximum (less is better)

If you just want to turn part of an existing video into a GIF, do this :

  • get GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore ( the $5 price tag is worth it if you plan on doing this more frequently )
  • first, open the video source in QuickTime.app
  • then, in the top menu bar, click on “Window”
  • then, in the pulldown menu, click on “Movie Inspector”
  • then, check out the number that is at “Encoded FPS” and remember it (you need this later)
  • then close QuickTime.app
  • now, open your source video in GIF Brewery 3
  • then, in the video slider below your video, slide the green slider to match the first frame of your desired GIF
  • and slide the red slider to where you want your GIF to end
    • click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-length is not okay, readjust the green and/or red slider to improve your clip
  • now, in the editing window, click on the Resize-button top left
  • then, in the popup window, make sure “Maintain aspect ratio” is checked
  • then, move the Scale-slider until either Width or Height is 480px (if the clip size is less than 5 seconds, you could also stop the Scale-slider at 720px)
  • now, in the editing window, click the Settings-button top right
  • then, at “Frames Per Second” set the fps to match the “Encoded FPS” of the original video
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-speed is too slow, adjust the Speed-slider to a higher value (anything less than 110%, even 103%, will usually do)
    • if the preview-speed is too fast, adjust the Speed-slider to a lower value (anything over 95% will usually do)
  • then, make sure there’s a checkmark at “Optimize GIF colors”
  • then, adjust the ColorCount-slider to 48
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview looks okay, leave the ColorCount-slider at 48
    • if the preview looks too dark or otherwise odd, adjust the ColorCount-slider to a higher value like 96, 128, 216 or 256, but make sure to set it as low as possible
  • then, click the “Create”-button (at the bottom, slightly right of the middle, with a beer glass in it) to generate the GIF
  • then, click on the Save-button (bottom right)
  • in the popup window, type the name you want your GIF to have, set the location where you want it stored and click the Save-button
  • then, browse the Finder to find the GIF’s icon and ALT-click on it
  • first, select “Get Info” from the popup menu and check if the file size is 10MB or less
    • if the file size is over 10MB, go back to GIF Brewery 3, lower at least one of the values you have set there and create an extra version of your GIF that has a file size of 10MB or less
    • as mentioned before, the main values you can adjust are :
      • Length of the clip
      • Scale / Resize (might make the picture more grainy)
      • Frames Per Second / FPS (might make motions less fluent)
      • Color Count (might make the colors less vibrant)
  • then, ALT-click on the GIF’s icon again and select “Open with” from the popup menu and select your internet browser (probably Safari) to preview the animated GIF
  • If you are happy with the end result, you are ready to post the GIF on your social media
    • if not… redo your editing and try again

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : Password Dragon won’t run in macOS 10.15 or newer

Question :

I’ve been using Password Dragon passwordmanager for years and I’m very satisfied with it. But since I’ve upgraded my Mac to macOS 10.15 Catalina, it won’t run anymore.

I’ve called Apple Support and they’ve told me that it is because it’s a Java-app, not a true macOS-app, an that they’re not supporting that…

I desperately need acces to my passwords in Password Dragon

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

The fact that it’s a Java-based app is not the real problem (as long as you have the latest version on Java installed on your Mac). The real problem is that since macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS has very strict security and privacy settings (compared to any previous version of macOS, OSX or MacOSX).

To get Password Dragon running in macOS 10.15 Catalina or newer, do this :

  • click on the Apple-icon in the top menu bar
  • in the pulldown menu, click on “System Preferences”
  • when the “System Preferences” window opens, make sure you are in the main window (if not, click on the ‘dots-on-a-grid’-button in the top bar)
  • click on the Java-icon
  • in the Java Control Panel window that opens, select the Update-tab
  • then click on the ‘Update Now’-button and put a checkmark at “Check for updates automatically”
  • when you are told that you are running the latest version of Java, go back to the main System Preferences window (by clicking on the ‘dots-on-a-grid’-button in the top bar)
  • in the System Preferences window, click on Security & Privacy (the iron Home icon with the circular dial in it)
  • in the Security & Privacy window, click on the ‘Privacy’tab
  • then, in the list on the left, click on ‘Files and Folders’
  • in the list that appears on the right, scroll down to ‘java’ and make sure there’s a checkmark in the check box at “Documents Folder”
  • now, close the System Preferences window and open the PasswordDragon.app

That’s it !

enjoy 😉