Canon MP495 Scan on Mac

Scanners can be a nightmare to work with. I’ve had this Canon MP495 Wireless Printer/Scanner for at least 3 years now. The wireless printing works on all my Mac computers, but I can’t get the device to scan via the wireless network. I even downloaded the latest Canon drivers as well as the latest MP Navigator software, but to no avail.

The solution seems rudimentary considering all the recent improvements in software and on network devices. The only solution that I have gotten to work is to connect the scanner directly to my Mac Mini via a USB port. In addition, the Canon MP Navigation software doesn’t seem to be  scanning. I ended up using the Scanner software that comes with the Mac OS.

USB Devices Unavailable in Virtualbox

If your USB device is not available in a virtual machine within Virtualbox, the most likely culprit is that you have a permission problem. You can easily fix this by adding your username to the ‘vboxusers’ group. You can do this by launching System > Administration > User and Groups. Click Manage Groups. Find the ‘vboxusers’ group. Make sure to check the checkbox to add your username to the ‘vboxusers’ group.

If you prefer the Terminal, you can run the command:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers username

You will need to restart your computer and rerun Virtualbox. Launch your virtual machine again. Your USB device should now be available for usage. Cool beans.

Protect your PC with a USB flash drive

You can lock your PC, using a software called Predator on a USB drive. From Predator’s website:

The Predator locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened. It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:

  • you insert the USB drive
  • you run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)
  • you do your work…
  • when you’re away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive:
  • once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens
  • when you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place:
  • keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.

It’s easier and faster than closing your Windows session, since you do not have to retype your password when you return. It comes in two versions: a Free Edition for private, non-commercial use only, and an Enterprise Edition for professional, commercial, single computer use.

Install Linux on USB

Now that I have a new motherboard that supports booting from a USB, installing and booting Linux on a USB should be a reality. This article details how-to install one using a software tool called UNetbootin, but you need a BIOS that’s able to boot from a USB. That’s where my new motherboard comes in the picture. You can also use the USB drive as a rescue drive for Linux. With USB 3.0, there is plenty of promise in the future. It will be so much faster compared to booting from a CD drive. Read the article.

USB Penguin Drives


This may look like ordinary penguins, but try stuffing it to a computer and it becomes a USB drive. Active Media Products along with WWF (World Wildlife Fund) are promoting USB drives themed after endangered animals. The USB Penguin drives come in 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB versions ranging from $12.95 to $42.95 at Amazon. My only gripe is: the penguins look really suffocated when they are plugged in to the laptop. Penguins just don’t get any respect.

DriveStation TurboUSB 1TB Hard Drive


Are you looking for a 1 Terabyte external drive? Well, check out Buffalo’s DriveStation Turbo USB 1TB Hard Drive that just went on sale at Micro Center for just $99. It was originally priced at $149. The device is easy to setup and connects via USB 2.0 or Firewire IEEE1394. The DriveStation uses TurboUSB making it run 20% faster than the normal USB 2.0 transfer rate. The cables are included with the unit. With autoinstallation, it comes installed with Buffalo’s Memeoâ„¢ AutoBackup software. This is a fanless chassis design making the device run cooler and with less noise. The unit can be placed either vertically or horizontally.

Logitech QuickCam Fusion

I recently bought a new webcam from Logitech called the QuickCam Fusion. The USB web camera comes with a 1.3 megapixel sensor capable of delivering high quality video images. The webcam has 7 different screen resolutions from the small 320×240 which is perfect for email attachments to the standard 640×480, 960×720, 1280×960, 1600×1200, 2048×1536 to the enormous 2304×1728 pixels.

The videocam is equipped with a privacy shade which is great for concealing private moments. It also has a snapshot button for quick takes, plus a built-in microphone for making recorded videos an easy task. The videocam has an outstanding low light performance unparalleled to any videocam I’ve used before. In addition, the webcam comes with Logitech’s Video Effects which allow users to personalize the webcam using Avatars or facial accessories.

After the install, I had issues with the Video Effects not working with the videocam after a reboot. Rebooting the PC again does not solve the problem. I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling the video software and the drivers to get them to work again, but the fix was temporary. Eventually, the problem would surfaced again after a reboot.

It took me a couple of days until I pinpointed two offending drivers that had conflicts with the Logitech videocam driver. The two drivers are: sbdrvdet.exe, a Soundblaster driver which detects if someone is using the audio front-panel of the internal drive bay and rcman.exe, a remote control driver for the Audigy or Creative Media Source sound cards which allows remote control play back of music.

Both drivers are non-essential and can be disabled from the Windows Startup Script. Both drivers can be manually enabled if really needed. At least now, the Video Effects features are working.