Magic Release 1.12

Magic 1.12 fixes a few issues with diagnostics and error handling. Pretty much all changes and fixes since version 1.6 deal with diagnostic messages, which seems excessive, but they made template troubleshooting so much easier. I also created a revision history page describing all bugfixes and changes between revisions.

Magic Release 1.9

Magic 1.9 is here, with lots of changes and additional features since I published revision 1.4 a couple of weeks ago. Check it out! Also, take a look at the Patented European webshop poster prepared by Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) showing just how broken software patents really are.

PJ Comment on TCP/IP Turing Award

I could not resist quoting Pamela Jones commenting on Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn receiving the Turing award for creating the TCP/IP suite of protocols:

“Can you imagine if the [TCP/IP] protocol had been created by Microsoft instead? That is the problem with proprietary thinking. It’s hard for them to see the forest for their own little trees. This story also proves that innovation is not dependent on patents. There are, believe it or not, plenty of Open Source folks who will invent wonderful things that change the world for the better just for the joy of it.”

Second Beta of Format144 1.2

I would like to thank all of you who kindly agreed to test the beta version and responded with great feedback. Here is the second beta with a couple of bugs fixed and the size of the executable file cut in half –
all I needed to do is remove symbols from the file with the strip utility. Thanks for the nice tip, Harry!

Format144 1.2 Beta

A new beta version of Format144 is available for download. It is now possible to select either drive A: or B: to use, and format 1.2MB or 720KB media, both 3-1/2in or 5-1/4in. I will appreciate your help testing it, so please check it out and let me know how it works for you.

I have to say that this version turned out to be a major challenge, and it looks like I will have to explore lower-level Windows interfaces for the future version, to make it more robust and user-friendly.

“Unable to open TWAIN source”

If you ever get a message “Unable to open TWAIN source” while trying to use your scanner, and you’ve reinstalled scanner software and/or drivers without any luck, check to make sure that Still Image Service is running and Startup Type is set to Automatic. I just spent an hour troubleshooting this problem with my Canon LiDE30 and it turned out that all I had to do is start the service.


Here’s another thing to try: add C:\WINNT\twain_32\CNQL20 to your system path (CNQL20 folder name may vary depending on your scanner’s model – browse the files to check)


The Still Image Service fix applies only to Windows 2000. To edit system path, right-click My Computer icon, select Properties, click on Advanced tab and click Environment Variables. Double-click on PATH under System Variables, append a semicolon and then the path you want to add (e.g. ;C:\WINNT\twain_32\CNQL20).

Updated Format144

There is a new version of Format144 available for download that has a couple of improvements. First, the executable is now only about a third of the size of the previous version (only 20KB!). Second, there is a bug fix – proper generation of Volume Serial Number. And now it can be compiled with GCC, which is the reason why executable is smaller! I also updated the project page to include compilation instructions and other related information.

Compiling Format144 with GCC

I received a note from one of the users saying that he was able to compile Format144 with GCC, and I wanted to try it by the time I update this project page to give you an extra compile option. After some tinkering I got it working and was so impressed by the results that I decided to switch from my favorite Borland C++ compiler to GCC for this and all my future projects. The binary compiled with GCC is only a third of the size of the version compiled with Borland, due to the fact that Borland statically links its own runtime and console libraries, whereas GCC uses standard msvcrt.dll coming with Windows. Neat, I like that.

Version 1.11 of Format144

A new version 1.11 is available, with a few cosmetic changes and an important bug fix: Volume Serial Number generation.

720KB version of Format144

I’ve created a 720K version of the utility, which was not difficult – see the left pane for download links. I plan to merge it with the original within the next few days so I don’t have to maintain two nearly identical sources. E-mail me so I can let you know when it’s ready.