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Where’s My Scan? pt. 2

Do you use your scanner? If not, is it because once you scan a document (or picture) you can’t find it in your computer?

You are not alone.

After all these years, the scan process is still one of the most user-“un”friendly computer experiences. First, if you do not specify where you want to save the document, the computer will save it to a default location … and it’s not always easy to find. Second, if you wish to specify where you would like your document saved, the process for doing so is not obvious.

I have written about this before but it is worth repeating:

If you scanned your document correctly, it’s in your computer — somewhere.

If you did not specify where you wish your scan to be saved, your computer will save it to a pre-set location. Here are a few possibilities:

  • The “My Scans” folder in the “My Documents” Folder (Windows)
  • The “Pictures” or “Documents” folder (Mac)
  • Within the folders of the Printer/Scanner Software (Epson, HP, Kodak, etc.) that was installed on your computer when you installed your printer/scanner device.

If you locate your scan, and you are happy with where it lives and what it is called, you need not change any settings.

If, however, you prefer to specify where your scan will be saved — and even name the file — you can.

When you next scan a document, look carefully at the choices on the scan dialogue box. Is there a “Settings” button, a “Preferences” button, or a “More Details” option? Depending on the kind of printer/scanner you have, you will have choices: Color or black and white? Document or picture? JPEG, TIFF, or PDF? And, of course, destination.

I recommend that you set the scan destination to be your computer’s “Desktop.” This way, every new scan will pop up where you can see it and act on it immediately: email it, insert it in a project, or place it in a meaningful location for later use.

Happy scanning!

Unsubscribe Me!

The key to reducing the number of unwanted emails is to “unsubscribe” from them. Unfortunately, this is not always an option.

Reputable companies or individuals who send email ads, newsletters, blogs, and other information to multiple recipients use software programs that include an option to unsubscribe from the mailing list. You can usually find the word “unsubscribe” at the bottom of their emails. Once you click on it, you will get confirmation that you are unsubscribed. It can take a few days to be removed though; you might still get a few more emails from them.

Seems easy. It is. And it works.

Unfortunately, not all bulk email senders are that considerate. They might not be using a software program that has an “unsubscribe” feature, or they might be sending bulk emails via a personal email program. If you did not ask to be part of a mailing list (or you did but have since changed your mind), and there is no way to unsubscribe, you are stuck receiving them.

There are four ways I can think to deal with this annoyance:

1) Mark the unwanted email as spam/junk and let all future emails from that address go directly to your spam/junk folder. You will still have to empty these folders periodically. (And, sorry, this will not work if the sender is someone you know and you still wish to receive “good” emails from them. The spam/junk folder will capture all the emails from that address!)

2) Delete the emails without opening them. Depending on how often you receive unwanted emails, this option will be more or less time consuming and annoying. If their mere presence in your inbox causes you angst, this is not the option for you.

3) Reply to the email to request that you be removed from the mailing list. This may or may not work; it depends on how accommodating the person or company is at the other end.

4) And — I’ve seen this done — change your email address. This is perhaps an extreme reaction to unwanted junk mail but if you were otherwie thinking of changing your email address, avoiding unwanted emails is an added bonus. But understand that this fix is only temporary; junk mail — from the same or other addresses — will eventually find you.

Note: If you (or your company, organization, special interest group) are the sender of email ads, newsletters, blogs, or other information, please be considerate. Rather than send email from a personal email program, use one of the email marketing companies (Constant Contact or iContact for example) that include an “unsubscribe” option. If you must send bulk email from a personal email program, state clearly a simple protocol for unsubscribing and your willingness to comply. If you don’t, you are sending one of those emails that you yourself don’t appreciate getting.

Please note that this email does have an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom. Please use it if you wish, although I hope you wont.

Address Book Entries

If you use your computer, tablet, or smartphone regularly, you probably use the address book (“contacts”) feature. And, if your address book is like mine, it is in need of some clean-up.

We can all delete contacts we no longer need, correct some misspelled names, and even add first and last names to entries that are email addresses only.

Here’s another clean-up idea that will make keeping track of everyone easier: separate individuals — even husbands and wives — into their own entries. Unless a couple or family shares only one phone number and one email address (less and less likely these days), they should each have their own contact entry in your address book.

Once you give each person his/her own entry, you will be better able to keep track of individual cell phone numbers, email addresses, and birthdays. And the real bonus: you will more easily find the right number/email when you search for it.

It might feel weird at first — splitting up people you know are together — but you’ll get used to it; it’s just a virtual breakup!

Smartphone Safety

Your smartphone keeps you in touch, keeps you productive, and keeps you entertained. And, if you download one of the many flashlight apps, it might also keep you safe.

The first flashlight apps were simple but useful: a screen glow or a concentrated beam that helped you read a menu in a dark restaurant or a playbill in a dark theater, light a dark stairwell, or find a keyhole, a circuit breaker, or even the ports behind your tv.

The newer flashlight apps do this and more; with their sirens, police lights, panic buttons, pre-programmed contact information, and GPS location transmission, they can help you scare off an attacker or intruder, notify others that you need assistance, and direct others to your location.

Flashlight apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, from the Android Market, and from the Windows Phone Marketplace. There are a number of free and not-free apps to choose from so take a few minutes to examine the features, look at the screenshots, and read the customer reviews. When you find one you like, download it and spend some time with it. The time to learn how to use it is before you need it.

Note: There are also apps specifically for safety that are not part of a flashlight app. There are stand-alone “panic button” apps, siren apps, and emergency contact apps that are also worth considering.

Stay safe.