The Kodak Picture Saver Scanning System

I’ve been caught in a physical photo archival project for the better part of 5 years.  Yesterday my friend Matt shared a post on the Monroe County Library System‘s website that stated they are currently running a test of the Kodak Picture Saver Scanning System for patrons for free.  I decided I’d take the opportunity to test it out and scan a bunch of my photos in the process.

I used the Kodak Picture Saver Scanning System for the first time today and thought I’d share some of my thoughts before I forgot.


  • Speed.  I processed roughly 300 photos (including proper rotation) in under 30 minutes.
  • Simplicity.  Drop the photos in and press ‘scan’ and let ‘er rip.
  • Stores to Flash media.  No need to wait for CD authoring.  flash media storage is a breeze.
  • Free.  Need I say more?
  • Albums.  It can create albums (or folders) on your flash media based on how you group the photos
  • Constant scanning.  Even though it can only handle 25 at a time, this limitation is just in the ‘tray’.  You can keep dropping photos into the tray and because it scans the back photos first, things stay in order and it can just keep chugging along.
  • Good-Enough photo quality.  It’s not fantastic but it’s good enough.  If you want spectacular scans you really need to go back to negatives and scan those, which requires a great deal more time and work.


  • Works best when photos are in a big row/group.  This requires a ton of up front time before you use the device.  As a result total time savings is tough to calculate.
  • The tray where the photos drop into is not low enough.  The tray slopes down and away from the scanner and as a result sometimes the photos get stuck and you need to move them out of the way or the next photo will go underneath the current photo causing archival ordering problems.  This could easily be avoided simply by increasing the vertical distance from the scanner to the tray
  • The pricing.  Right now it’s free, but it’s very apparent from the Interface that Kodak intends to charge a hefty premium for the service.  At ‘checkout’ you get a breakdown of how many photos you scanned (at what price each) how many photos you applied some special photo editing to, how many you sharpened etc.  Each line has a price associated with it which right now reads $0.00 but this is obviously going to change.
  • Photos are stored to the device first.  This makes sense because of the apparent pricing model but means if a problem arises before you’ve ‘checked out’ it’s possible you could lose all the work you’ve done.
  • Price.  Dear lord the unit is expensive.  This makes sense I guess considering they’re targeting small businesses to put these in rather than consumers.  But For projects like mine, something like this as a consumer device would be excellent.
  • Very old Photos.  Some styles of old photo prints require one by one photo feeding because of the style and texture of the border.
  • Wallet sized prints.  Although the scanner can handle them, the wallet sized photos need to be placed off center to get gripped by the auto-feed rollers.  Also, the resolution when scanning a wallet size photo is too small to be of much use.

The women I talked to at the library seemed to think the User Interface needed some work because many people had been confused by the terms “Next” on basically every screen.  Her exact comment was “next what?”  This seemed sort of silly to me but could also be fixed very easily simply by using terms like “I’m done scanning” or “save photos” instead.  Since there’s been so many complaints this is probably something they should address even if they (like I) think it’s silly.

In Summary:

It might look like there are more cons than pros, but really, it’s an excellent system and the cons I’ve listed are all very nitpicky.  The biggest downfall of the system as I see it is price, and if you act now you’ll get what you need for free.  Don’t think for a second my love for the system has anything to do with my local proximity to the business.  If you remember… the only previous time I’ve written about a Kodak product, I wasn’t too gentle.  Maybe they’ve found a new niche they’re good at?  I don’t know, but I’ll tell you what…

I’ll be making another appointment tomorrow and I will be be going back as often as I can until I finish scanning my photos.

Recommended Cameras

I get asked all the time if I have any camera recommendations.  My first questions are always: “what are you looking to get out of it?”, and “what is your price range?”.  I have some stand-by recommendations depending on what the answers are.  I threw together a product recommendation page that takes care of the recommendation part for me.  Of course I’m always willing to give advice and feedback, but those who know me might turn here first to get some info from now on.

You can buy direct from amazon right through my recommended products page for the same prices you’d get on  However; if you buy from here I get a super tiny percentage.  So… If you’re looking to buy a camera and you find one on my recommendation page that you like I’d love it if you buy it here.


NOTE: I’ll keep the recommendation page up to date with the latest stuff as often as I can with the latest and greatest.  However; remember these are my RECOMMENDATIONS, they won’t always be the hottest new stuff, because a lot of the time I feel the new stuff is just fluff, and the older models are better for the money.

Get PlayOn For $19.99

PlayOnWe’ve been using PlayOn for a few months now.  It’s made a nice addition to our Media Center, Netflix & Xbox 360 (media center extender) Television viewing.  Having access to Hulu through PlayOn has pretty much made the DVR unnecessary.  I’m not sure what the future holds for Hulu access given their (vague) pricing announcement, but assuming it’s not too crazy I highly recommend PlayOn.

Right now they’re running a promotion to give the gift of PlayOn so if you’re interested just let me know.  $19.99 isn’t too bad a deal either, remember it’s a one-time-only cost unlike your Cable bill.  I’m not buying though, so you’ll have to pony up the 20 bucks.

Kodak M1033 Review – Horrible!

Kodak M1033Wow the Kodak m1033 is an incredibly crappy camera!

The camera was so horrible, that after 2 months (1 month of which was a vacation) we returned it.  Rather than go into any lengthy detail I’ll just state my complaints in bullet-list form.  We all like bullet lists right?

  • Crazy noisy zoom.  Very audible during video.
  • Horrendous low light quality.
  • Completely inaccurate (although pretty) color representation.  There was noticeable color processing once the picture was taken.  It almost seemed like HDR photography.  I could find no way to turn this off.
  • Battery life,  at best 200 shots.
  • To ‘view’ photos the camera must first be turned on.
  • Incredibly slow.  Noticeable camera shutter lag and scrolling through photos.
  • Won’t stand up to even moderate use.
  • Incredibly poor HD quality videos except in the absolute best of light conditions.  Not any worse than expected on such a small sensor ‘HD’ video camera, but still it doesn’t do the camera any favors.
  • The battery had to remain in the camera to be charged, using a proprietary plug (not mini-USB).
  • The Camera tagged the photos as coming from the “eastman kodak company kodak easyshare m1033 digital camera” which is an insanely long name.  Most cameras are similar to ‘Canon 40D’ or ‘Sony Cybershot H5’ at the most.  While this seems like a small deal, to a power user like myself it’s actually quite frustrating.

In Summary

We didn’t go out looking for an insanely superior camera to match up to my DSLR.  Our intention was to get a mediocre camera that would be good enough for moments when I didn’t want to carry the DSLR or moments where I wasn’t with Rachel and she wanted to take a decent picture.  The features of the Kodak M1033 seemed to be a step in the right direction from the Kodak cameras I’d seen in the past, and I wanted to give them a shot, being that they’re a local company and all.  After all, $145 for a compact 10mp camera with a 3″ LCD and 720p HD video wasn’t half bad right? It wouldn’t have been, except that the Kodak M1033 couldn’t deliver.

It’s just a downright crappy camera, and I hate to say it but I won’t be buying Kodak ever again, at least not until I hear glowing reviews.

Wii Hero III

Wii version of Guitar HeroYou might have already seen my frustration at the Playstation 3 version of Guitar Hero III. I was mostly aggravated at the controller not the game and thankfully the game came out for every system available. I took the PS3 version back to the store and explained that it was broken. In my mind it was broken, because of their proprietary wireless crap every tenth or so note got skipped.

Immediately after returning the PS3 version I purchased the Wii version and brought it home. To my excitement the Wii version works surprisingly well. I have yet to miss a note because of the wireless communication (but I have definately missed a note due to my ineptitude).

The trade in was definitely worth it and I’d highly suggest that if you have a PS3 and a Wii that you buy the Wii version of Guitar Hero. That is unless you like missing every 10th note in Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas”.

10 Tips to help you Park it and Forget it

RTS BusSo I guess it’s safe to talk about now that I’ve been doing it for a month and a half. I tried riding the bus over a year ago and quickly stopped. This time I did some things different and it has worked out for the best. I’d like to share a few things I did and thought differently this time around that really helped me overcome the dread of using public transportation.

  • Live in a big city. For those of you who live here you know that Rochester is by no means a big city. However; it does have regular public transportation and thats a start. In order to be useful, It needs to go close to where you work and where you live. Its best if you can walk from home to a bus stop but driving a short distance is better than driving to work every day.
  • Make one change at a time. The biggest two reason I stopped riding last time is I would wake up a bit late and miss it and I felt I had to fit within the bus schedule. It’s true you have to fit the bus schedule, but there are many buses throughout the day. During the normal commuting times they are only 20-30 minutes apart. Missing one is really not that big of a deal. Last time I tried to change my schedule (get to work slightly earlier) and begin riding the bus at the same time. Its best if you can make one change at a time. Stick with it for a while and once you’re satisfied with the results move on to the next item. Determine what time you normally get up and find the morning Bus route that fits with that.
  • Set a Goal and evaluate your performance. When I started I said I wanted to ride for 2 weeks and see how it went. At the end of my 2 weeks I evaluated my experience and it had gone so well I immediatly switched my commuter plan at work to the bus pas instead of downtown parking saving a whole bunch of cash.
  • Take it With You. I carry my bag with me every day. This means I always have something that can occupy my time with me as well as giving me a place to put things I need to bring to or from work. My bag always includes my: laptop, ipod, book, water bottle, umbrela and camera.
  • Utilize your Time. I decided this time around I wanted to maximize my time and get things while riding the bus. It does take me a little more time to get to work, but now that time is spent productively. I could be doing things that would normally take time away from me at home (like posting this blog message) or I could be doing something I wouldn’t normally take the time to do (read a good book, most recently Second Horseman by Kyle Mills). Don’t just sit there like a log.
  • Make use of whats there. The buses run with or without you. Whether you’re a tree hugger or not I think you’d agree that its good to reduce your environmental impact. Using public transportation is a big way to do that.
  • Save some Money. We all know Gas is expensive, but there are several other ways you can be saving money by riding the bus. You can lower your insurance rates (in my case over $100/6months) simply by telling your insurance company you now drive only 2-3k miles a year. On top of that if you drive and work downtown chances are you have to pay for parking. This is all on top of the general wear and tear on your vehicle.
  • Park it and Forget It. Its easy to take little side trips on your way home if you’re driving. Often you’ll buy things you really don’t need. If you ride the bus make it a point that once you get home you don’t leave unless absolutely necessary or if you can, take the bus again.
  • Get an Unlimited Ride Pass. It works out almost even for you to buy an unlimited pass. They’re $56 so if you ride them 46 times a month (23 work days) its 1.22/ride. If your employer is like mine, they’ll even contribute a portion to the cost of the pass and you’ll break even long before the end of the month.
  • Walk a little. We all need a little bit of excercise. If you can walk to the bus do it. It’ll give you just a few minutes of excercise a day but it’s a few minutes more than you were getting before. If you really want to get some benefit, take the long route and maybe add your bike to the mix once and a while.

It's Good to be Back

Guitar Hero IIIWell, Guitar Hero 3 is finally here! When I sold my PS2 and Guitar Hero last year I was almost on the verge of depression (not literally continue reading). I had grown addicted to the game very quickly and couldn’t believe Sony didn’t support it for the PS3! I suffered withdrawal for the first few weeks but eventually learned to deal with it, with the expectation of playing the PS3 version as soon as it arrived.

Now that I have it I’m only half excited. The game is still excellent and extremely fun, however the new controller leaves a lot to be desired. As soon as I opened the box I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as I had hoped. Rather than making use of the built in Bluetooth wireless technology for some reason they opted for some proprietary wireless crap (probably fast RF or something). This means a little USB dongle that needs to be plugged in to the PS3. Not that big of a deal right? WRONG!

Not only does it use a proprietary wireless technology but just getting the guitar and the PS3 to talk is a nightmare! After fiddling with the sync button on the dongle and the PS button on the guitar for the better half of 10 minutes I consulted the manual. I found nothing of any use. I then checked the packaging that contained the stickers and there it is, the setup guide. Ok so what do I have to do? This is the only way (that I’ve found so far) to get the Guitar and the PS3 to talk.

  1. The PS3 must be off.
  2. Turn the PS3 on using the button on the System (NOT on one of the controllers)
  3. Press the PS button on the guitar
  4. Press the sync button on the dongle
  5. Press the PS button on the guitar
  6. BINGO

How retarded is that? First of all you’re not using proven (available) technology. Second of all the user experience is terrible! I have to turn my PS3 OFF to switch to Guitar Hero? WHAT? I understand the requirement of the guitar becoming Player 1 but guess what? You can already reassign controller numbers with 2 button presses from literally anywhere within the menu system or any game.

It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

Another very minor annoyance is the strum doesn’t click in both directions anymore. If you want the tactile feedback you need to strum in one direction and then the other. Strumming in the same direction twice leads to no feedback the second time.

Beyond that the game itself is solid. Great music, Graphics are awesome. I love the new online play modes as well as some of the new between set animations and the other general feel of the game. I just hate the damn controller. It’s all very silly if you ask me. How hard is it to embed a six-axis control system into a plastic guitar? Some guy already did it by himself so he could play guitar hero 1 and 2.

That being said its good to be back, even if I do end up returning it for the Wii version.

Another Ps3 Flop

Nariko - Heavenly SwordSunday Charles and I killed a few hours playing Heavenly Sword. I say a few hours because that’s all it took. About 6 hrs in all which is pretty sad for a game that was supposed to be the turning point for the Ps3.

The combat system was awesome, a 9/10. The graphics an easy 11/10, the storyline a 5 and the length well… lets say it averages the game out to a solid rental and not much more.

I think the Ps3 might be doomed to less than glorious exclusive titles forever. They’ve lost so many exclusives that it makes me sick. Even the new exclusive game I heard about today, Project Offset, is now rumored to be released for the 360 as well.

What are we Ps3 owners going to do in the face of such games as BioShock and Halo 3? We need a game Sony!!!

In other news I just checked and everything up to is taken. Anyone interested in investing in with me?

Worst Movies of all Time

Rachel and I went to go see Spiderman 3 with her brother Michael on Sunday. The action was superb, and the story was even pretty good but the dialog left something to be desired and what in the world is with the mini-musical in the middle? The movie could have been an hour shorter without the musical crap and without the cliche dialog lines and it would have been a 10. The movie gets a .1 out of a possible 10. I will say that the Sandman and Venom were awesome but beyond the action with said characters, there’s nothing keeping this movie afloat. I even felt that some of the special effects early on in the movie felt a bit shaky.

As a result, I’ve updated my Worst Movies of all Time list to include:

  1. The Talented Mr Ripley
  2. Citizen Kane (this movie is only good given the context, stand alone its terrible. It makes the worst list because it’s supposed to be such a classic)
  3. Spider Man 3

What makes me really sad is that I didn’t even go into this movie with high expectations and get disappointed like normal. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot and it didn’t disappoint.