Canon CanoScan LiDE 400

I’ve had a Canon CanoScan LiDE 210 for at least 7 years. One of the deciding factors when I bought it was that it used a single USB cable, with no need for a second power cable.

The 210 used a mini-usb cable, which was sometimes difficult to make sure it was inserted in the correct direction. I occasionally had problems with the software driving losing communication during a scan. I switched lengths of cable at various times, with shorter cables seeming to be more consistent, but never truly conclusive.

Recently the scanner stopped moving the scan bar back to the starting location before each scan. First it would leave the scan bar at the finish location, and move to the beginning position when I would start the next scan, but then that functionality stopped and it would only return to the start position when it was first plugged into the USB port. If I tried to scan a second page without unplugging the USB cable, the movement motor would make a nasty grinding sound as it tried to move the scanner further down the page, and would result in a messy black page in the scan results. It was especially frustrating if I was trying to create a multi page PDF.

I read several online reviews, and decided to get another Canon scanner. The reviews recommended saving $20 and getting the less expensive scanner, but from my reading, only the more expensive scanner used the USB C plug, which has the advantage that it can be plugged in either direction.

I found it fascinating how similar the new packaging is to the old packaging. The old box was designed with a carrying handle, while the new box is not. I expect that’s largely due to the predominance of mail order over retail purchase. The dimensions of the new scanner and the box are pretty much the same. The boxes can be stacked 13 high. The temperature range on the old one could go 5° to 35°C while the new one goes from 0° to 40°C. Each scanner lists a maximum 4800 dpi. The 210 reported 10 seconds per page. The 400 reports 8 seconds per page.

The new software is slightly nicer working with the most recent version of windows 10, but still nothing to be too excited about. My biggest issue is that the settings for the Auto button on the scanner will not allow me to specify it will always save a JPG file. I could do that with the old scanner software. Now, to make sure I always get the format I want I much launch the software and initiate the scanning from the PC.

iOS14 Date Time Picker Rant

I upgraded to iOS14 as soon as it was released just because I almost always keep my devices running the most up to date software I can. I don’t care about the widgets or interface customization options that were introduced with iOS14. I think much of that customization is actually what has kept me away from running Android.

The one thing that I really hate that was introduced was the date time picker in iOS14. I’ve included screenshots from my iPhone 11 Pro Max running the new version and my iPhone 7 running the old version.

The old version had the issue that it was not intuitive to be able to pick a minute that didn’t align to five minute increments, but was very easy to select the day, hour, or minute individually and scroll to a reasonable number for the start time, then switch the the end time and do the same. The keyboard was only shown when I was typing the name of the appointment or the location.

The new one uses half of the screen to pick just the day, as well as displaying the keyboard, which does not seem to affect the time. I touch the tiny display with the time, and if I can select the hour, I can scroll my finger up and down over the entire screen to scroll the number. If I miss the number slightly, the screen moves to show my another part of the entry field. Then I have to repeat the same solution with the minute. When I’m trying to hit the hour, I hit the minute, and vice versa.

Because of the size of the calendar entry, I have to scroll the entire screen to find where the end time might be.

This change just feels like change for change sake, and poorly implemented. I wonder if it’s even worse on a smaller screen.

Old Man Yells at Cloud

iOS14.1 was released today, and I’ve already upgraded to it, but don’t see anything I’d consider an improvement to this issue.

GoveeBTTempLogger as a Debian Package

After getting my program to listen and log Bluetooth Low Energy advertisements from Govee thermometers running reliably, I needed to figure out how to make the program automatically start when my Raspberry was rebooted. I was led down two paths to get things working, systemd unit files, and debian package files created with dpkg-deb.

The final file structure I came up with is visible in but still can use some explanation as to what I did.

To create the debian package, I created a file structure under my source repository that mimicked what I wanted to put on the target system.

│       control
│       postinst
│       postrm
│       prerm
│   └───systemd
│       └───system
│               goveebttemplogger.service
│   └───local
│       └───bin
│               goveebttemplogger

I had decided I wanted my executable to be located in /usr/local/bin. It’s the file named goveebttemplogger. I wanted it to write log files into /var/log/goveebttemplogger/ and the easiest way to make sure that directory was created was to put a zero length file in that directory, gvh507x.txt.

The files in the DEBIAN directory are used by the dpkg-deb program when building the distributable package. More on those later.

To get the program configured to automatically run when the machine boots, and properly stop when it shuts down, I settled on the systemd unit files as the both the easiest and most reliable method. I’ve been around linux long enough to first think of /etc/rc.local manipulation, then script files for various runlevels in the /etc/init.d/ directories, and was amazed at both the power and ease of setting up to use the systemd unit files. The hardest part was figuring out what other services my program must have already started. I knew it was dependent on Bluetooth, but the specific services was a bit of a guess.

# Contents of /etc/systemd/system/goveebttemplogger.service
Description=GoveeBTTempLogger service dbus-org.bluez.service

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/goveebttemplogger -v 0 -l /var/log/goveebttemplogger/


After creating that file in the specified location, I was able to issue the following commands to make systemd start the program.

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable goveebttemplogger.service
sudo systemctl start goveebttemplogger.service

The most unique bit of my unit file is that I specifically want my program to be sent the SIGINT signal to kill it, since I will recognize that and flush the log files before exiting. The ExecStart line is the command line to run my program, which I’m also specifying the log directory as one of the parameters.

I had the systemd unit file and the initial DEBIAN/control file figured out pretty easily. I’d come across this article which helped understanding the control file.

Package: GoveeBTTempLogger
Version: 1.20200725-1
Section: custom
Priority: optional
Architecture: armhf
Essential: no
Installed-Size: 95
Description: Listen and log Govee Thermometer Bluetooth Low Energy Advertisments
Depends: libbluetooth3

What took me a while to figure out was how to get the systemctl commands to be run after the files were put in place by the package manager. There are four script commands, which I’m using three. preinst, postinst, prerm, and postrm. Each of them is a simple script and needs to be marked executable in the file system. They are each run at various stages by the package manager, Pre-Installation, Post-Installation, Pre-Removal, and Post-Removal.

# POSTINST script for goveebttemplogger

echo "\033[36m HI I'M A POSTINST SCRIPT `date +"%s"` \033[39m"
systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl enable goveebttemplogger.service
systemctl start goveebttemplogger.service

exit 0

After installation of my program and the systemd unit file, I reload the systemd database, enable my service, and start my service.

# PRERM script for goveebttemplogger

echo "\033[36m HI I'M A PRERM SCRIPT `date +"%s"` \033[39m"
systemctl stop goveebttemplogger.service
systemctl disable goveebttemplogger.service

exit 0

Before removal of my program, I stop the service and disable the service.

# POSTRM script for goveebttemplogger

echo "\033[36m HI I'M A POSTRM SCRIPT `date +"%s"` \033[39m"
systemctl daemon-reload

exit 0

After removal of my program, I reload the systemd database, to make sure it’s not got my unit file in its database any longer.

When I retrieve a copy of my code with the command git clone I then have a subdirectory below the GoveeBTTempLogger that is also named GoveeBTTempLogger. That deeper directory is the structure that will be created into the package.

GoveeBTTempLogger/usr/local/bin/goveebttemplogger: goveebttemplogger.cpp
        mkdir -p GoveeBTTempLogger/usr/local/bin
        g++ -lbluetooth goveebttemplogger.cpp -o GoveeBTTempLogger/usr/local/bin/goveebttemplogger

deb: GoveeBTTempLogger/usr/local/bin/goveebttemplogger GoveeBTTempLogger/DEBIAN/control GoveeBTTempLogger/etc/systemd/system/goveebttemplogger.service
        mkdir -p GoveeBTTempLogger/var/log/goveebttemplogger
        touch GoveeBTTempLogger/var/log/goveebttemplogger/gvh507x.txt
        chmod a+x GoveeBTTempLogger/DEBIAN/postinst GoveeBTTempLogger/DEBIAN/postrm GoveeBTTempLogger/DEBIAN/prerm
        dpkg-deb --build GoveeBTTempLogger

I made the very simple makefile above to both compile the code and build the debian package with the simple command of make deb. It produces the package ‘goveebttemplogger’ in ‘GoveeBTTempLogger.deb’.

I can then install the package and start it running with the command sudo apt-get install ./GoveeBTTempLogger.deb

I can stop and either remove it or purge it with the command sudo apt-get remove goveebttemplogger or sudo apt-get purge goveebttemplogger.

Windows File Recovery from Microsoft

Last week Microsoft released a new command line tool in the Microsoft Store. It requires running Windows Version 2004.

Last year when I was importing pictures from a camera memory card, the import program crashed. It only managed to import a few of the pictures, but it deleted all of the pictures from the memory card.

Because of my long history understanding how file systems work, I knew that the pictures were likely still on the card, just not in the directory system I couldn’t find a tool at the time to recover the files. I’d put a label on the card and set it aside. As soon as I heard about this program I installed it and tried it out on the memory card.

The funny thing is that it recovered several thousand images, going back several years. I ran it in signature mode, looking for jpeg files. In doing that, It’s just looking at all the data blocks on the drive, looking for jpeg files.

This time I used Adobe Lightroom CC to import the images and group them by the embedded EXIF data. Looking at the details, the photos that got deleted by mistake were likely from 10/28/2018. All of the photos attributed to 06/29/2020 are missing exifdata, and are just recorded as the date they were recovered.

This is a good reminder that you probably don’t want to throw away old digital media, even when you think you’ve gotten rid of all incriminating data. mspb(‘9n26s50ln705’, function(badge) { document.getElementById(‘mspb-yfhgln7xadp6’).innerHTML = badge; });

Retrieve Wi-Fi Password in Windows 10

Sometimes I go to a place I’ve been before and my computer remembers the WiFi password while my brain does not. The following Windows PowerShell commands will display most of the remembered passwords.

netsh wlan show profiles

netsh wlan show profiles name=’ProfileToDisplay’ key=clear

The first command displays all of the networks your computer has remembered. It can be rather long if you’ve had your computer for several years and done a reasonable amount of traveling and using WiFi in strange locations.

2019-11-27 (1)

The second command takes the profile name that you retrieved with the first command and displays details of the selected profile. The password is displayed as the Key Content section of the Security settings.

2019-11-27 (2)

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Screen Flicker

My nearly four year old Microsoft Surface Pro 4 recently developed a screen flicker issue. I’m sure it was some driver update that was installed, but I’m not exactly sure when. The observed activity is that a horizontal section at the bottom of the screen about the same size of the mouse cursor flickers with data that is duplicated from the top of the screen. The rest of the screen appears to be bouncing up and down by one scan line, making the text nearly unreadable.

I searched online, and found references to flicker problems with some cases being purely hardware related and requiring replacement by Microsoft. I also found references to the problem only occurring after the screen data had not changed for a few seconds. This static screen problem matched my problem exactly.

I found a workaround by enabling the seconds display in the clock in the task bar. This is done by creating a registry entry. If the following is in a “.reg” file it will set the value to show the seconds on the clock.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


I read that the seconds are not enabled by default because it saves a bit of processing power, which can be important on battery powered devices. For me the difference is minimal and worth not spending more time researching a probable driver issue that may be taken care of automatically in some future windows update.

2019-10-04 (1)2019-10-04

I hope that this helps someone else. The screen flicker/jitter was annoying and I wasn’t able to find the root cause.


Access Windows share from Raspberry Pi

I have a shared directory from my windows server that I’d like to read and write from my Raspberry Pi. I want the share to be automatically available on my Raspberry Pi whenever both the Raspberry and the Windows server are running, but I don’t want the system to spend too much time hung up if the windows server is not available. My easy solution is below.

My Windows servername is Acid. The share I want to connect to is Web. The IP address of the server is

sudo echo Acid>>/etc/hosts
sudo mkdir --parents /media/acid/web
sudo echo username=WindowsUsername >/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo echo password=WindowsPassword >>/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo echo domain=OptionalDomainName >>/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo chmod 0600 /etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo echo //acid/web /media/acid/web/ cifs credentials=/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials,noauto,x-systemd.automount,x-systemd.idle-timeout=1min,_netdev 0 0>>/etc/fstab

That series of commands, with the correct details in the credentials, and the system automounter will automatically attempt to connect whenever there’s an access under /media/acid/web and then disconnect again after it’s been idle for over a minute.

I needed to add Acid to my local hosts file because the name doesn’t resolve from the DNS server the raspberry pi is using.

I put the windows Username/Password and Domain in a file with only read/write permissions to root so that it wasn’t clear text in the fstab file for anyone on the machine to read.

I did all of this on a machine that had been built from the Raspian Buster Lite image from 2019-07-10. I didn’t explicitly install the cifs-utils package. It might be needed on other distributions.

5GHz WiFi on Raspberry Pi 4

In my post about quickly setting up a headless Raspberry I had a simple wpa_supplicant.conf file example. This week I got a Raspberry Pi 4, which according to the documentation supports 5GHz networks and 802.11ac.

I’d been running the command sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep ESSID and only seeing 2.4GHz networks.

It occurred to me that I’d seen some people in other countries putting the country detail in their wpa_supplicant.conf file, so I decided to see if it made a difference. Sure enough, after adding the line country=US to my file I was able to see 5GHz networks as well as 2.4GHz networks.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

After a bit of reading on the page, I noticed a section that made this point with the Pi 3B+, but because I’d not used a 3B+, I didn’t realize it supported 5GHz networking as well.
On the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, you will also need to set the country code, so that the 5G networking can choose the correct frequency bands. You can either use the raspi-config application and select the localisation option, or edit the wpa_supplicant.conf file and add the following. (Note you need to replace ‘GB’ with the ISO code of your country. See Wikipedia for a list of country codes.)

Raspberry PiZeroW Camera Module


When you’ve gotten used to Amazon Prime and free shipping, purchasing inexpensive items from other online retailers where the shipping doubles the cost of the item makes it harder to impulse buy items. An item for $5 that costs $7 in shipping often doesn’t get bought. Even a pair of items that cost $16 together that then cost $7 in shipping cause me to delay the purchase.


Because I was purchasing a Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi USB-C Power Supply from Sparkfun, I decided to throw in another Pi ZeroW and case for another $16. I then added the Raspberry Pi Camera module because the case has an optional cover enclosing the camera and I wanted to see how it all worked together. I only wish I’d realized that there was a Noir version, because I’ve always wanted to play with infrared photography.

Having recently streamlined the installation of a Pi Zero, I installed the camera and Pi ZeroW in the case, put the configured micro sd card in place, plugged it into my HDMI monitor just to watch it boot and applied power. I never saw anything on the monitor. The Pi ZeroW only has a single LED, which is generally on, but blinks for micro sd activity. Because I’d closed the case, the LED wasn’t visible, and with no monitor activity I was wondering if I’d gotten a bad board.


I opened the case and powered it on again, this time I knew I was seeing LED activity. I did a quick search of my network for new devices and found the new board was responding on ssh and appeared to be working correctly other than no HDMI output.  I was even able to take a snapshot with the camera using the command:

raspistill -o image.jpg

I decided to test booting the device without the camera installed. That worked fine, and I had HDMI output during the boot process. Now I started to wonder if perhaps the power supply I was using didn’t provide enough power. Perhaps the camera and the HDMI device were mutually exclusive in the amount of power required

A lot of searching on the web resulted in nothing about the power required for the camera affecting the HDMI output. I found that I might be able to reduce the power requirements by 25mA by turning off the HDMI, but that the Pi ZeroW was already the lowest power draw available.

I found the tvservice command and the -s option with the camera installed was resulting in a different result from without the camera installed.

pi@WimPiZeroCamera:~ $ sudo /usr/bin/tvservice -s
state 0x40000 [NTSC 4:3], 720x480 @ 60.00Hz, interlaced
pi@WimPiZeroW:~ $ sudo /usr/bin/tvservice -s
state 0xa [HDMI CEA (16) RGB lim 16:9], 1920x1080 @ 60.00Hz, progressive

At least recognizing that difference was progress. For some reason under Raspian Buster the camera module is causing the HDMI output to be different. I found options in that allow me to force the HDMI output to what I want. I changed /boot/config.txt with the following and now I’ve got both camera and video working properly.

# uncomment to force a specific HDMI mode (this will force [HDMI CEA (16) RGB lim 16:9], 1920x1080 @ 60.00Hz, progressive)

I hope that this helps someone else having problems with both camera and hdmi video output. I don’t know if this was specific to Buster since I never tried it under Jessie or Stretch.

My new favorite WiFi Analysis Program

I recently came across WinFi Lite, and while it claims to be in beta and for professionals only, it’s currently my favorite WiFi analysis program.  The fact that it was in the Microsoft store gives me the idea that it will uninstall cleanly if I decide to get rid of it later.


The default view shows details about both 2.4 and 5 GHz networks nearby. The first picture was what it looked like when I ran it in my local Starbucks on my Microsoft Surface 4 Pro.  The next picture was what it looked like when I ran it in my apartment. In my apartment I was connected to my network via wired ethernet, so the Surface WiFi adapter wasn’t being used for my active connection. At Starbucks, I was connected to the WiFi.

2019-09-11 (1)

While I was at Starbucks, the number of networks it could see was 188. That number is visible in the top right of the image. Just to the left of that number are a set of buttons that allow you to look at 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or All available networks.

My apartment showed only 161 networks by comparison, but that number was bouncing around as it rescanned in both locations. I was surprised that the Starbucks had so many visible networks. There are a lot of details available in this tool, and it’s current price makes it an interesting tool to work with. I used to like inSSIDer, but the developers choice to dumb down the free version led me to drift away from it.