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Old 10-07-2015, 10:14 AM
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Default Are Microsoft and Apple changing places?

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Now, to be completely honest, I've never liked Apple. Much like Starbucks, I just don't get the hype of paying too much for a mediocre product just because it looks pretty. And maybe contains hallucinogens.

At the same time I've never been anti-Microsoft in the way some people seem to be. Although, I rather don't like Windows 10. Nor have I been anti-Google-snooping as some other people seem to be. I use Office for work, and even if I say so myself, I'm a fairly advanced user. I own a Samsung phone and a Samsung tablet, both running on Android. I used to have a Blackberry phone for work (back when BB was still "cool" ), which is now replaced with an iPhone, which I try to use as little as possible... mostly because I try to keep my business life strictly separate from my personal life, so I really REALLY do not care one bit about the Appstore. I do care that I can't open a pdf.

Anyhow, my tablet's getting old, so I've been thinking of replacing it, and since I'm familiar with the Android system, I was looking at another Samsung or similar thingy... until I saw the Surface Pro 3. Man, a tablet that has the functionality of a full desktop? gimme NOW!. And, apparently, there's a new and improved one coming. holy frickity frak, take my money! Now that's something I didn't think I'd say about a Microsoft product, say, two years ago. Ok, they're quite pricey but you ARE actually buying a full computer.

Quote:
This morning, at Moynihan Station, in midtown Manhattan, the C.E.O. of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, offered a crowd of reporters and fanboys a little nugget of Zen: “As devices come and go, you persist.” Nadella, dressed in dark jeans and a dark T-shirt, was speaking to people who’d been knocked into something of a haze by throbbing AC/DC riffs, by demonstrations designed to evoke sex alongside bezels and pixels, and by the introduction of new Microsoft hardware that the tech press would quickly declare highly satisfactory. Nadella’s proclamation may have sounded like techno-malarkey, but, actually, it signalled a very interesting way that the soft-spoken forty-eight-year-old C.E.O. has changed America’s third-largest company.

Afterward, I wandered up a couple of flights of stairs, through Moynihan Station’s cavernous halls, and sat down with Nadella to ask him what he’d meant by his remark. “The lesson we have learned is that there’s going to be more personal computing in our lives,” he replied. Forms will change, functions will change, devices will change, he explained, and so, “You can’t fall in love with this one thing becoming the hub for all things and for all time to come.”

That philosophy is, in many ways, the opposite of the old Microsoft. The company under Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer was a hyper-competitive, cutthroat organization focussed on getting as many people as possible to run Microsoft software on personal computers. The company was so in love with P.C.s (the hub for all things and for all time to come) that it came late to the Internet and much, much too late to mobile phones. Windows used to run on ninety per cent of computing devices; now, with the rise of Android and Apple phones, it runs on eleven per cent.

Nadella, who took over as C.E.O. in February of 2014, is changing the company both strategically and by personal example. His predecessor, Ballmer, was loud, bombastic, and had the look and air of a man angry that his empire was receding. The company’s internal culture was, at times, poisonous. Nadella is quiet and sincere; he seems to have made the culture much friendlier, and he talks about Microsoft as someone might discuss a cause. When I asked him to tell me how he would convince a young Stanford graduate to work for him, he said, “I want you to choose Microsoft because you get a kick out of building things that others can build on and make things out of.”

Nadella had clearly had a good day, and his event had clearly been something of a success. Before the doors opened, reporters lined up around the block, creating a bit of advance buzz. We entered to a dark room, passing through a hallway filled with images of technology doing what advertisements for technology show being done: sonograms in distant lands, prosthetic hands, a beautiful tattooed woman working on something artistic in a loft somewhere.

In the main auditorium, I sat down and started talking to the man in the seat next to me, who seemed closer to the embodiment of the real Microsoft than the fabulous conductors, graffiti artists, and rock climbers who would soon be appearing on screens and on stage. His name is Mike Gerbasio, and he lives in New Jersey and works as a consultant to construction companies. He’s a self-professed hardware geek who’s active in Microsoft Internet forums and was thrilled to get an invite from the company to come to the event. He uses a Surface tablet and a Microsoft Lumia phone. He used to prefer Google products, but he’s now fully on Microsoft because, he said, it makes his job easier. “All the companies I work with use it. Like it or not, Microsoft Office is still king.” His biggest hope for the event was that the company would introduce a Surface Mini. He’d never been much a fan of Apple. “I didn’t like Steve Jobs too much,” he said. “Who would want to work for a prick?”

The program soon began, building up slowly. We learned how many devices are running Windows Ten (lots!) and then we saw HoloLens, Microsoft’s lauded foray into virtual, or mixed, reality. A man stood onstage and battled robots that were projected as holograms onto the device he wore over his eyes, and then shown on screens to the audience. It looked like either a moment of brilliant innovation or a crazed dude having an hallucination. For three thousand dollars, starting early next year, developers will be able to order a set.

The company then introduced an update to its fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band, a curvy device that fits over your wrist and will, among other things, tell you your VO2 max. As a Microsoft employee explained how it’s helping her train for an ultramarathon, Gerbasio leaned over and told me, “I barely leave the couch, but I’ve got one.”

The company then introduced its new Lumia phone line, the most promising remnant of Microsoft’s disastrous acquisition of the Finnish device-maker Nokia, a stink-bomb deal that Ballmer pushed through right before retiring. The phone’s coolest feature is the ability to use it as an actual Windows computer, by tethering it to an external monitor and keyboard. Or, as the presenter said, breathlessly, “These are fully transparent PNGs that I just brought in from a thumb drive powered by my phone into PowerPoint that looks like a desktop, cuz I can be productive like a boss wherever. It’s kind of cool. It’s kind of cool.” The audience cheered wildly. “I’m glad you’re excited,” he said. Later, Nadella pointed out that this function will be particularly useful in the developing world, where many people have phones but not desktops.

Next came the product line that everyone had been waiting for: the Surface. The company’s tablet has been a slightly incongruous success. When it débuted, in 2012, it was lampooned. And the category was lampooned, too: Apple’s iPad had been a huge success in the wake of its launch, in 2010, but sales gradually levelled off and then declined. The Surface seemed like a confusing version of a device that had no future. “It’s not very useful on your lap, unless you like to struggle,” one review read. But then, with the Surface Pro III, released in May of 2014, the product started getting good reviews. Surface sales so far this year are more than double last year’s sales. Just a month ago, Apple paid Microsoft a high compliment by seeming to have copied the device with its new iPad Pro. So how could the company follow this success, the charismatic m.c. of this part of the program, Panos Panay, asked. “What do you do? Do you double down? Do you bring the thunder? Or do you reinvent the category again? I’ll tell you what we chose.”

If you’re choosing between thunder and reinvention, you pick the latter, obviously. But then, we heard the wild guitar picking of Angus Young. Microsoft had apparently decided to bring the thunder, or, at least, to improve the device’s RAM and add a new stylus (which, the company noted, has an eraser, unlike the Apple Pencil). The Surface Pro 4 has the thinnest glass ever shipped on a tablet, Panay declared, and the best pen and touch experience anyone with a tablet has ever felt.

But, of course, as with all Apple-style events, there was a twist. In the line out front, there had been rumblings that Microsoft would introduce its first-ever laptop. And then, there it was: Panay strode back on stage with the Microsoft Surface Book, a rather low-key name for a high-profile product. Here was the reinvention, and it seemed fine at first: faster, smoother, lighter than its competitors. “It will immerse you like nothing has even immersed you before,” Panay declared. I asked Gerbasio whether he’d buy one, and he said, “No, I like my Surface.”

Then Panay produced his biggest surprise: the top half twisted off, becoming a tablet in addition to a laptop screen. It was either a beautiful way to reimagine a laptop—a triumph of both hardware and software engineering—or something likely to confuse the hell out of most people. In the room, the audience was wowed. Gerbasio told me he wanted to buy the thing. Afterward, reviewers were equally enthusiastic. “Wow. Microsoft finally did it,” wrote Engadget. Microsoft, it seems, is becoming a bit more like the old Apple, even as Apple becomes more like the old Microsoft.

Much of the energy in the hardware business has been directed toward phones in recent years. But Microsoft’s strategy is sort of the opposite. The company will never catch up to Apple or to Google’s Android, where phones are concerned, at least in the developed world. So now it’s trying to make all the other devices—namely tablets and laptops—exciting again. You probably won’t buy your next laptop from Microsoft, but the company hopes to have demonstrated to other laptop manufacturers, particularly ones that preload Windows, how to make their devices exciting again. “Here’s my main point that I filter by,” Nadella told me. “Does the world need something like it and does it need it from Microsoft?” With the new laptop, he said, Microsoft was willing to take the risk of spending wildly on R. & D. to show that laptops could be exciting again—perhaps as exciting as phones.

After the event, I wrote to Gerbasio to ask him if he was, in fact, going to buy anything. He told me that he’d pre-ordered the Surface Pro 4, but was thinking of maybe switching to the laptop. Either way, he said, he was happy with Nadella and the new Microsoft. For the first time, he thinks, the company genuinely cares what he, a normal consumer, actually wants.
Meanwhile, Apple's presenting the same thing they already have with very minor improvements and a large price increase. This makes me sad.
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Last edited by yks 6nnetu hing; 10-07-2015 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:47 AM
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How exactly are they changing places? Just in terms of new device markets?

I really like the simplicity of OSX, and that is why I fell in love with it when I switched around 2006. But I have noticed that Windows has made a lot of moves in that direction since then.

My current hate is directed entirely toward Adobe Acrobat. I scan a lot of books at libraries, and at one of the closest universities to me, for some reason they have not installed the native software for their scanners and you are required to use Adobe to scan, and Adobe makes files that are unreadable in Mac's Preview, probably quite on purpose. The files lag so badly you can't scroll them. I love Preview, but any files I scan with Adobe, I have to set them to open in Adobe on my Mac, and the free version of Adobe sucks ass. Even when I had a Windows computer, I used Foxit instead of Adobe.

I would probably hate Office stuff too if I still had any reason to use any of it, which I don't.
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:43 PM
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We use writable adobe (acrobat pro) at work for pretty much everything and I despise it.

I much preferred when we used Word for things like typed documents just for the ease of formatting. Not a huge fan of PDFs for that reason.

We use Access alot too but its wicked unstable for anything other than small databases...way too prone to data corruption of the records. Our proprietary database software is much better but we still use Access for internal stuff and other tracking we can't get out of the overall web-based stuff we use. We use a lot of Sharepoint too which is okay but has its limitations.

For home use, I have mostly Apple products but its more because I like syncing them up easily and I'm too lazy to change back to a PC as I'd have to change my iPad and iPhone to android models too...so their little closed loop system has me ensnared.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:40 PM
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No. (unless Microsoft gets the Zune to be accepted, then Yes :P)

ETA: FWIW, I am not really a fan of either, though I use both of them in various devices. I love my 30gb iPod but don't use it since I also have an iPhone. I bought a Windows 8 tablet that was nice until I mistakenly upgraded it to windows 10.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:47 PM
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My personal cell is an iPhone and my work cell is a Samsung Galaxy...I actually like the iPhone better.

Probably just for the familiarity though...neither one is leaps and bounds better than the other.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:49 PM
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I have a Surface Pro 3 with i5 for work, and it's incredible. Really, just beautifully designed. Everything that made the ipad so highly praised is included (with the exception of the horrifically shitty iOS): one designer with a holistic mindset, (truly) top-notch hardware (iow, a legit high quality intel processor, a *true* ssd, the vapormg (like the liquid metal apple has), and enough RAM to do real work), and great aesthetics. The keyboard and stylus work great too. Not a huge fan of Windows 8/10, but it's a true operating system unlike iOS (or even android). And you could probably just install ubuntu, if you were really passionate about it.

But I won't buy a personal one, mainly because I want to see the Surface Pro 4 first. And the Surface convertable laptop. The SP4 has skylake, up to 16 GB of RAM, and is rumored to be even more durable.

Battery life is great too.

I haaate Apple.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:58 PM
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The Surface Pro does look pretty sweet but the price tag kills me. And...my 4 year old MacBook Pro is still completely top of the line for me.

I will say that my wife uses her iMac for her photography (she's a professional) and absolutely LOVES it in comparison to her old PC...night and day in her mind. Great for photo editing and whatnot apparently.


EDIT: Granted, I use my macbook for surfing the internet, music and streaming movies. I'm not exactly doing anything high end on it.
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"We caught them in an alley on skid row in downtown Philly and brought them down with Uzi's and dogs. I beat the shit out of one of the guys for resisting arrest. After that, I went home, fried up some tofu with strawberry preserves and melon sticky rice, laid down on the couch with my snuggie and ate rose petals in sweet daisy wine sauce and watched Mamma Mia on DVD and then cried myself to sleep."

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Old 10-07-2015, 03:17 PM
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They're replacing our Fujitsu Slate tablets with Surface Pro 3s at work. We use them to run a Field Database app for data entry, report generation, and then synching data back into our proprietary web-based database (which only runs on IE, but nothing's perfect).

i used to have an iPod, but i never use it anymore. i also have lots of iTunes cards. Anyone want to buy them from me?
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Old 10-07-2015, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davian93 View Post
EDIT: Granted, I use my macbook for surfing the internet, music and streaming movies. I'm not exactly doing anything high end on it.
I do all my work on a MacBook. Lately I have been getting frustrated with processing speed in general. I gather that's why a lot of people prefer Windows, particularly gamers. And I think the guy at the Genius Bar in Naperville stole some of my memory. Seriously. He asked me to check to see how much I had before he changed my battery. I told him 16 GB. Now I have 8. It took me a while to notice it. I have changed my hard drive since then but I did it myself and I didn't alter the memory.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:40 PM
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Why were they in Moynihan Station? I worked on that site while I was a NY State employee; cool project, but given Andrew Cuomo (a bigger sleazeball than Trump and Carson combined) is involved, destined to fail
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terez View Post
I do all my work on a MacBook. Lately I have been getting frustrated with processing speed in general. I gather that's why a lot of people prefer Windows, particularly gamers. And I think the guy at the Genius Bar in Naperville stole some of my memory. Seriously. He asked me to check to see how much I had before he changed my battery. I told him 16 GB. Now I have 8. It took me a while to notice it. I have changed my hard drive since then but I did it myself and I didn't alter the memory.
Apple is full of thieves. Ridiculous markups for second tier hardware, ebook price fixing, and planned obsolescence are what they're all about. They haven't been truly innovative for years.

But why do you need so much RAM? Unless you edit videos or deal with massive arrays regularly, you'll find those last 8 gigs don't add a whole lot to overall performance. The processor is probably the primary limiting factor for you.

Also: I highly recommend using a simple ocr program to convert pdfs to word or epub/xml. You might have to take a second pass yourself to correct minor errors, but it's way more efficient generally.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terez View Post
I do all my work on a MacBook. Lately I have been getting frustrated with processing speed in general. I gather that's why a lot of people prefer Windows, particularly gamers. And I think the guy at the Genius Bar in Naperville stole some of my memory. Seriously. He asked me to check to see how much I had before he changed my battery. I told him 16 GB. Now I have 8. It took me a while to notice it. I have changed my hard drive since then but I did it myself and I didn't alter the memory.
My MacBook Pro is still wicked fast...granted I paid $3K for it at the time. It only has 8 GB of memory though. My wife uses it for doing her photos when she's out "in the field" too and it runs Adobe Bridge CS6 no problem...and that program is a massive memory hog. Its also pretty much the "best photo editing software like ever!!!" apparently. One thing I will say about Yosemite over the previous OS is that Safari is seemingly far less stable than it used to be. Lots more freezing up...something it never ever did before...even with all the patches that were supposed to fix that issue. Otherwise I like Yosemite.

Quote:
But why do you need so much RAM? Unless you edit videos or deal with massive arrays regularly, you'll find those last 8 gigs don't add a whole lot to overall performance. The processor is probably the primary limiting factor for you.
My wife's iMac has 32 GB...but she uses it for photo/video editing and the average photo file is into the hundred of hundreds of MB each...videos are well into the GB range so it needs it. I don't ever touch the iMac. Its strictly for her business.
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"We caught them in an alley on skid row in downtown Philly and brought them down with Uzi's and dogs. I beat the shit out of one of the guys for resisting arrest. After that, I went home, fried up some tofu with strawberry preserves and melon sticky rice, laid down on the couch with my snuggie and ate rose petals in sweet daisy wine sauce and watched Mamma Mia on DVD and then cried myself to sleep."

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Old 10-08-2015, 12:08 AM
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I have an iPod Nano. It's sitting on my desk in front of me...somewhere under all the crap...but it's here, somewhere.

The night before I left from Mr. Frenzy's annual BBQ, I checked it's power level, noticed it was fine, then hit the button to turn it off again...only instead of turning off, two lines of pixels artifacted and then the entire screen went white. When I got home I looked online, saw some solutions and tried those. I was able to get it into drive mode and back everything up, but when I tried the "reset to factory default" step it didn't work. Having exhausted everything I could do, I booked an appointment with the local 'Genius' Bar, figuring I could hit that at 5:30, meet up with a friend and still make the usual gaming session at 6.

So, first of all they made me wait for 45 minutes. Then the 'Genius' read what my problem was, looked up the instructions for dealing with my problem...which was everything I'd done before I'd given up and decided to try to get 'professional' help. So after I told him, yeah, I just went and did what you've done, none of it worked, he told my I could get 10% off a 7th Gen Nano, or they happened to have some 6th Gens still in stock and I could buy one of those for $90. After briefly considering bellowing at the top of my lungs: "well, what the fuck good are you guys then?" I just took my iPod and went off to gaming, not wanting to waste any more time.

The only good thing about the entire experience was the attractive young lady that showed up after me, but got promptly helped...well, before I did.

So, yeah, fuck Apple.
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  #14  
Old 10-08-2015, 02:30 AM
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How exactly are they changing places? Just in terms of new device markets?
In terms of innovation. For years and years (I want to say decades, but that wouldn't be true) Microsoft has been the "safe" option, and Apple, Google, and all those others have been trying to topple the giant. To be fair, with good reason: there's nothing worse than doing something shitty just because "it's always been done that way". er. Ok, there are several things that are worse.. such as cancer or hunger, but you get my point

Google docs, right - a trimmed down version of Office, for free and collaborative. Now, Microsoft did and still does have a functionality that allowed collaboration (SharePoint), but that's aimed at medium to large companies, not single users. Google saw the gap in the market and took it. Microsoft responded with Office 365. It's better functionality than google docs, you can use it remotely and collaborate. However, you do have to pay for it.

Now, free is all nice and dandy. I use the Google docs every now and then. I use open office. But the real deal is better. It just is.

As for Adobe Acrobat, it has its uses. Honestly, most of the time I think it's used simply to frustrate people. T, scanned documents never work as well as converted documents. There's software that you can use to make it better but... scanning stuff is essentially taking a picture of it. You simply don't have the full source material so you're bound to end up with some stuff wrong or missing.
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Old 10-08-2015, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by The Unreasoner View Post
Apple is full of thieves. Ridiculous markups for second tier hardware, ebook price fixing, and planned obsolescence are what they're all about. They haven't been truly innovative for years.
I don't totally disagree with you, I just wouldn't take it quite so far.

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But why do you need so much RAM? Unless you edit videos or deal with massive arrays regularly, you'll find those last 8 gigs don't add a whole lot to overall performance.
I have already found that, but it did make a difference. I need so much because I regularly work with multiple tabs open on browser, multiple big PDF files (often GB+) open at the same time, and multiple RTF documents. I occasionally have to run other programs too, like I'm doing now with my scanning spree (Epson Scan and ABBYY FineReader Pro). (ABBYY Pro is much better on Windows; you can edit the text fields in the OCR as you go. But it's 1000x better than Acrobat Pro on either OS.) This affects speed somewhat but the main problem is program-crashing and overheating.

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Originally Posted by The Unreasoner View Post
The processor is probably the primary limiting factor for you.
I figured that out a long time ago, so I do whatever I can to compensate.

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Also: I highly recommend using a simple ocr program to convert pdfs to word or epub/xml. You might have to take a second pass yourself to correct minor errors, but it's way more efficient generally.
I can't do that because I can't depend on myself to catch all the errors, and for the work I am doing, I have to be absolutely certain I'm looking at the text as it appears in the book. The best way—the only way, really—to do that is to scan to image PDFs with OCR background. I need the OCR primarily for search capability, though it could save time in places where I need to copy-paste. I am a good enough typist that it's questionable how much time this would save me. And typing helps to familiarize me with the languages I'm dealing with.

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Originally Posted by yks 6nnetu hing View Post
As for Adobe Acrobat, it has its uses. Honestly, most of the time I think it's used simply to frustrate people. T, scanned documents never work as well as converted documents. There's software that you can use to make it better but... scanning stuff is essentially taking a picture of it. You simply don't have the full source material so you're bound to end up with some stuff wrong or missing.
I know all that; all I'm saying is that the native software for a scanner will typically make files that are compatible with Mac Preview. Acrobat does not, and I doubt that is an accident.

There are a lot of scanner-OS compatibility issues, and it is something of a black box on the internet; googling does not suggest any good fixes. It depends on the OS, the scanner, the scanning software, the OCR software, and the reading software. Acrobat is designed to be 3 out of those 5 things, and it works best with Windows. (I don't know how it gets along with individual scanners.)

If I use the OSX native scanning software with my Epson scanner, I get similarly unreadable files in Preview. I can read them in Acrobat (free version) but I can't scroll properly and I lack the editing options that are available in the free Preview software that comes with your Mac. It's amazing how difficult it is to do simple things like move PDF pages and merge files in Adobe, to the point that there are web-based programs to do a number of PDF-related things that you could do easily in the native version of Preview.

I have to scan with the scanner's native software to get readable files, and I have to use ABBYY to OCR them. I could scan with ABBYY and get decently compatible files, but I don't like the scan preview options in ABBYY so I use the Epson software.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:40 AM
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What about taking high resolution photos, then converting to pdf (or your preferred format). You could run ocr on those, and generally work with rtf or epub. If you need to see the book verbatim, just call up the photo. Initial conversions might need that missing 8 gb though.

Also, there are third party addons for open office (and I think word as well) that let you work with pdfs.

One more thing:
It's possible to have a sort of external processor. I have a cute little frankendevice consisting of a rasperry pi chip, a field programmable gate array, and a half dozen old gpus that I use for cosine integrals. I needed a little help setting it up (everything but the fpga was bought from a disillusioned bitcoin miner, and I needed to squeeze a little more efficiency from it). In any case, yours need not be so complex. A single external gpu might work wonders for your efficiency, if the software can take advantage of it.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:25 PM
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What about taking high resolution photos, then converting to pdf (or your preferred format).
I have tried that. It creates lagging Preview files even when the image files are created with software that normally makes readable PDFs.

I need the images at all times, not just occasionally. And it eventually gets annoying to do all this experimentation just to compensate for flaws in the way Adobe creates PDF files. I emailed the library IT help desk at the university in question and asked them if it would be possible to install the scanners' native software on the machines in question. I am hoping they will find it a reasonable request, since it shouldn't cost them anything.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:47 PM
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I have tried that. It creates lagging Preview files even when the image files are created with software that normally makes readable PDFs.

I need the images at all times, not just occasionally. And it eventually gets annoying to do all this experimentation just to compensate for flaws in the way Adobe creates PDF files. I emailed the library IT help desk at the university in question and asked them if it would be possible to install the scanners' native software on the machines in question. I am hoping they will find it a reasonable request, since it shouldn't cost them anything.
I'm still wondering why it's so demanding on the processor. Is it running ocr continuously on the entire document? Is it possible to only have it run for a range of pages at a time?
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:21 AM
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I always OCR a book in segments.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:34 PM
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Don't know if you can see this, but this happened right before my laptop spontaneously restarted:

https://www.facebook.com/Terez27/vid...3256656847252/
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