Problems with Neat Receipts Cloud Scanning Software

After 14 years of building a very dedicated customer base and the world’s most successful and popular scanning platform, Neat has decided to scrap everything and start over with a new scanning solution. So far, reviews have been less than enthusiastic. Top company leadership are leaving and many employees are being laid off. (source)

This document lists some of the design problems with their new product as it relates to Apple users. This document will be updated over time with any new developments or discoveries.

  1. Apple Version Not Native. Rather than create an actual OS X application, the Apple version seems to have been developed on a non-standard emulator platform similar Adobe Air in the way it looks and feels. To find the program, you’ll look for it in Applications under the letter ‘N’ for Neat, but you won’t find it there. It’s in a folder named The Neat Company. To find it, look in The Neat Company > Neat Smart Organization System > Helium-shell > HeliumAppShell > and there you’ll find the familiar Neat program icon. This is where you’ll have to go if you need to drag the program icon to the Dock again, but don’t touch any of the other exposed program files because the entire fragile system will break down if you do.
  2. Columns Not Adjustable. The new program is broken into three primary columns. The left column shows the folders. The middle column shows the folder contents or the specifics of a particular entry. The right column is a preview window. These columns aren’t sizable or adjustable.
  3. Database Change. The database files are individually stored as PDF files in Documents > NeatScan > your name. Presumably if you mess with any of these files, the database index will be thrown off.
  4. Drag and Drop. In the previous versions of the Neat scanning software, it was possible to drag PDF files into the program and have them added, being scanned for OCR. In the new version, you must manually add files from the file menu.
  5. Item Type. When you change the item type from Document to Receipt (for example) the software goes through the ‘Processing’ step again.
  6. Slowness. To adequately test the speed of the Neat cloud-based scanning software, use a 100Mbps Internet connection, and a quad-core computer with 8 virtual cores, running on a solid state hard drive. When you test with this blazing fast computer, you’ll notice the system is slow to load receipt images — even with a database of only a dozen receipts.
  7. Zoom Issues. When you try to zoom in on a receipt using two finger zoom, the viewer zooms too fast.

Computer problems? Time for an upgrade!

Usually when a computer crashes, the first thing people think about is getting it restored to normal operation.

The effort required to restore a computer to working order is significant. Typically replacement parts are needed. The process of reinstalling the operating system, programs, and data files, is hugely time consuming.

If what you end up with is a computer identical to what you had prior to the crash, then you’ve just lost a lot of time and money for no marginal gain in performance.

However, if you take the opportunity to upgrade your computer’s hard drive to an SSD hard drive, then you can have a large performance gain. It’s also a good time to consider upgrading memory since you’ll be inside the computer anyway.

Hard Drive. Here are the steps required to upgrade your computer to an SSD drive. These instructions are for advanced users only.

  1. Purchase an SSD Drive. You’ll want to purchase an internal SSD drive, click here to learn more about the best choice of SSD or something with similar features.
  2. Backup. Make sure you have a good backup of your files.
  3. Install SSD. Remove your old hard drive and install the SSD drive.
  4. Install OS. Install Windows from the original installation discs, or from the recovery USB flash drive created from your computer. If these aren’t available, purchase Windows 10 on a USB. [Available on Amazon]
  5. Follow the Windows Setup instructions to complete the process.

Memory. For memory upgrades, has a system scanner that helps find the most compatible memory for your computer. If possible, it’s good to upgrade to the maximum amount of memory possible for your computer.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us.


Using Apple iCloud Email and Alias Addresses

The following is from Apple’s support website as of 22 Feb 2016. It’s being reproduced here for archival purposes, easy reference, centralized searching, and also to be disseminated through our social media and network of followers.


Create or change email aliases

An email alias is an email address that conceals your actual email address from a recipient. You could create an alias to use when buying items from online stores, signing up for mailing lists, and registering online, and reserve your real email address for use with family and friends. In this way, aliases can help you better manage the email you receive and monitor the sources of unwanted messages.

You can also send email using an alias.

You can have up to three active email aliases, and you can delete or turn off an email alias at any time. You might want to turn off an alias if, for example, you use an alias to make a purchase. After you receive the item, you can turn off the alias to avoid follow-up advertisements, then turn it on again when you make another purchase.

Deleting an alias is permanent, so if you think you might want to use the alias again, you should simply turn it off. When an alias is turned off, all email sent to that alias is returned to the sender.

Note: If you had five MobileMe email address aliases when you moved your account to iCloud, you retain the five aliases. However, once you delete one of your five aliases, you can’t create a new one to replace it.

Aliases are not transferable. Only the iCloud account that created the alias can use it as an email address.

You can’t use an alias to sign in to, and you can’t use an alias to create a separate iCloud account.

Create an email alias

  1. In iCloud Mail, click the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar, then choose Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. Click “Add an alias.”
  4. Provide the requested information:
    • Alias: The text you provide becomes the email address ( An alias must contain between 3 and 20 characters.
    • Full Name: The name you provide appears in the From field of the recipient’s email.
    • Label: iCloud Mail uses the label to categorize messages sent to your account.
    • Label Color: Messages appear in your Inbox with the colored label that you specify.
  5. Click OK, then click Done.

Change, turn off, turn on, or delete an alias

  1. In iCloud Mail, click the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar, then choose Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. Select the alias in the Addresses list, then do any of the following:
    • To choose a new color for incoming messages, click a Label Color option. Alias labels appear only in the iCloud Mail app on
    • To change the name or label, enter a new alias name and label in the fields provided. Alias names must contain between 3 and 20 characters.
    • To turn off an alias, select “Disable alias.”

      When an alias is turned off, all email messages addressed to that alias are returned to the sender.

    • To turn on an alias, deselect “Disable alias.”
    • To delete an alias, click Delete.
  4. Click Done.

Select addresses you can send from

  1. In iCloud Mail, click the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar, then choose Preferences.
  2. Click Composing.
  3. Click the “Set a default address” pop-up menu, then choose the address you usually use.
  4. In the list of addresses, select the ones you want to be able to send from while using iCloud Mail.

    The selected addresses appear in the From pop-up menu when you create a new email message. For instructions, see Send email using an alias.

Set a default address to send from

If you created aliases or you have an or address in addition to your address, you can choose one to use as the default address when sending mail from your iCloud account.

  • In iCloud Mail, follow the instructions in “Select addresses you can send from,” above.
  • On your iOS 8 device, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > iCloud. In the Advanced section, tap Mail, tap Email, then tap the address you usually want to send from.
  • On your iOS 7 device, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > iCloud > Account. Tap Mail, tap Email, then tap the address you usually want to send from.
  • On your Mac, open Mail, then choose Mail > Preferences. In the Composing pane, click the “Send new messages from” pop-up menu, then choose the address you usually want to send from.
  • On your Windows computer, do one of the following:
    • In Outlook 2010, 2013, or 2016, choose File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings, click the Email tab, select the address you usually want to send from, then click “Set as default.”
    • In Outlook 2007, choose Tools > Account Settings, click the Email tab, select the address you usually want to send from, then click “Set as default.”

Eight reasons why your computer is slow

I hear from a lot of people who are experiencing slowness on their Apple or Windows computers. Slowness can be caused by a variety of factors:

  1. Insufficient Memory. What seemed like enough memory when you first purchased your computer is no longer enough.
  2. Memory Management. Computers that don’t properly manage memory, and release available memory when a program is exited, may become slow because your computer that came with 8GB or 16GB of RAM is reduced to running on 2GB or less. This pushes currently used files and program data onto the much slower hard drive.
  3. Old Drive Technology. Those using computers with older internal hard drives that aren’t solid state drive (SSD) technology will experience slower operation.
  4. Hard Drive Failure. Computers with failing hard drives will start to run slower. This typically happens when mechanical hard drives begin to have mechanical failures. This kind of mechanical breakdown isn’t an issue with solid state hard drive (SSD) technology.
  5. Defective Programs. With Apple or Windows, there are sometimes periods of months or longer where some program, task, or process may be causing problems. For example, if you do a Google search on “apple mail slow” as you type those words you’ll see that the third most popular thing people are searching on is “apple mail slowing down computer.” That problem has been around for a while. For someone with a slower computer, it will become almost unusable. However, for someone who purchased the faster computer, you can still get work done.
  6. Anti-Virus Software. The complex anti-virus software that’s required today is increasingly spreading its tentacles into every area of our computers and even our local networks to ensure there are no viruses or hackers. This slows down computers.
  7. Using Too Many Programs. These days, people tend to have more programs open simultaneously, drawing from multiple files and websites to complete a task, and sometimes being easily distracted into starting multiple unrelated tasks at one time — call it multitasking or ADHD, the results are the same.
  8. The Internet is More Complex. In the past, reading content on the web involved loading pages full of text. Now, browsers are like independent operating systems that run mini programs. Google Chrome for example can run programs and apps that you purchase from their app store just for the browser. Java and Flash are typically used to run processor intensive tasks.

The options are either to speed up the existing computer by addressing each of the above issues separately, or purchase a new computer.

With Windows computers, typically purchasing as much as  you can afford is the best choice. For the money, desktops usually have more powerful processors than laptop computers. So, they are a good choice for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend.

For suggestions on what computer to purchase, specifically for those wanting an Apple laptop computer, read “Here’s Why You Need to Buy the Fastest Computer Possible.”

Apple Computer Slow with AccountSD High CPU Usage and Fans Spinning Fast

You may notice that your Apple MacBook or iMac computer is running slow, the fans are spinning very fast, and the Activity Monitor (found inside of Applications > Utilities) indicates very high CPU usage for the accountsd process. If you have a multi-core processor the percentage of CPU usage may exceed 100% because more than one full CPU is dedicated to serving that task.

The accountsd process seems to have something to do with the System Preferences > Internet Accounts functions including the real-time continuous notification system. This is why it may seem that some runaway task has monopolized your computer’s CPU and is causing it to slow down.

According to some Apple Discussion threads about this issue, Google accounts may be causing problems. However, our tests show that the CPU usage remained high even after deleting all Google accounts. Other accounts that could cause high CPU usage would be Facebook or Twitter since they are always monitoring for recent updates to notify you about.

Removing unnecessary accounts can help get the CPU usage down to about 30-40% which will result in the fans not running so fast.

The $200 Computer With a 10-Year Warranty

There are five Goodwill Reboot stores in the nation. Iowa City is fortunate to be home to one of these authorized computer refurbishing  centers. We also have some other good sources of refurbished computers such as Midwest Computer Brokers.

This month, you can purchase a Windows 7 computer for about $200 and then on July 29, download and install the free Microsoft upgrade to Windows 10. (Learn More)

According to the Microsoft Windows lifecycle fact sheet, Microsoft will offer mainstream support for Windows 10 through 2020 and extended support through 2025.

So, theoretically, if your computer keeps running, which it should, you’ll receive the essential updates needed to keep the computer going for ten years.

Instructional Video

Upgrade Requirements

If you don’t see the Get Windows 10 app (the small Windows icon in your system tray), it might be because:

  1. Your device isn’t up-to-date with at least Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update
  2. Windows Update is turned off or is not set to received updates automatically
  3. You’ve blocked or uninstalled the necessary Windows Update functionality.
  4. Your device is not running genuine Windows
  5. Your device is running Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, or Windows RT/RT 8.1, which are excluded from this reservation offer.
  6. Your device is managed as part of a school or business network. (Check with your IT administrator.)
  7. PCs that we determine cannot run Windows 10 will not see the Get Windows 10 app before July 29th. After July 29th, we’ll enable the icon in the system tray. This is to help ensure that you can easily check your PC’s compatibility if you choose.

Guide to Secure Hard Drive Erasing Files and Sanitizing Computer Data

The Importance of Secure Drive Erasure

Computers are increasingly used to store financial data, healthcare information, and the keys to our personal identity. When files are placed in the recycle bin, and the recycle bin is emptied, those files can still be easily recovered. This is good news if you need to restore a file that was mistakenly deleted. It’s bad news if you donate or discard your computer and someone else recovers files you thought were long gone. It’s not sufficient to just format a hard drive or perform a complete system restoration. There will still be files left on the drive that could be recovered.

Hard Drive Erasing Cost

We provide drive erasing services at a cost of $70 per computer/drive, assuming the drive is installed in a desktop or laptop computer. If you have a drive that’s already removed from a computer, the cost is $50 per drive. We offer a quantity discounts for additional drives.

We set aside about an hour for the following:

  1. Reserve a time slot for the computer drop off, or provide pickup of the computer.
  2. Remove the drive from the computer.
  3. Install drive in docking station.
  4. Perform erase procedure. This can take several hours depending on the speed and storage capacity of the drive.
  5. Confirm the drive has been securely erased by attempting file recovery using advanced data recovery processes.
  6. Install the drive in the computer.
  7. Reserve a time slot for pickup of the computer. Or, provide delivery of the computer.

Do It Yourself

We provide the list of tools and instructions below for those wanting to perform drive erasing on their own.

What You’ll Need

Here’s the list of what you’ll need for erasing a drive.

  1. Computer Tool Kit ($20) – You’ll need the necessary tools to remove the drive from the computer. Depending on the computer, a basic computer tool kit should be sufficient, although some require advanced tips. Additional speciality tool kits are listed at the bottom of this page.
  2. Drive Docking Station ($40) – You’ll need to connect the bare drive to a working computer. A drive docking station is an easy way to do this. The Sabrent external drive bay works well.
  3. Erasing Software (Free – $40) – There are many utilities available for securely erasing a drive, such as Eraser Secure Data Removal Tool by Heidi Software. See below for a more comprehensive list. If you’re using an Apple computer, drive sanitizing is built-in and available under the Disk Utility when erasing (click the Security Options button).
  4. Available Computer ($200) – You’ll need a computer available for the task of erasing drives. While the task could run in the background of a computer you use regularly, it’s best to have a dedicated computer to ensure nothing interferes with the process. It takes a long time to securely erase drives, so whatever computer you choose will be running, and shouldn’t be restarted, until the process is complete. If you use a laptop computer for the task, you’ll have the benefit of the internal battery to keep the process going in the event of a power outage. However, some laptop computers aren’t designed to operate continuously for extended periods of time. So, a desktop computer is probably a better choice. If you use a desktop computer for the task, you’ll want to have a backup power supply listed below.
  5. Backup Power Supply ($100 – $220) – An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides a constant source of power for the erasing procedure. A good unit might cost $100 to $200 for a high quality pure sinewave UPS system.
  6. Hard Drive Erasing System ($300 – $400) – As an alternative to items 2, 3, and 4 above, you might consider purchasing a hard drive erasing system. The StarTech 4-bay system is a good choice. Others are also available.

Drive Erasing Instructions

These are the steps for securely erasing a computer hard drive.

  1. Remove the drive from the computer.
  2. Install drive in docking station.
  3. Perform erase procedure. This can take several hours depending on the speed and storage capacity of the drive.
  4. Confirm the drive has been securely erased by attempting file recovery using advanced data recovery processes.
  5. Install the drive in the computer.

Additional Specialty Tools

Here are some useful tool kits for this and other projects. Some computers, like Apple laptop computers, require special drivers.


Here are some possible, but not ideal, alternatives for data sanitizing.

  • Get a free software program to erase unused drive space. However, there may still be existing files or settings that aren’t removed.
  • Physically destroy, smash, or drill through the drive. This method isn’t ‘green’ since the drive isn’t usable again, and parts that might be properly repurposed or recycled may get damaged.

Drive Erasing Software Utility Programs

How to Purchase and Download Microsoft Office 2016 for Apple Mac

On 31 October 2014, Microsoft announced the release of a new version of Outlook for Apple Mac OS X computers. It’s designed to look like the Windows 8 design Office 2013 Windows applications.

On 9 July 2015, Microsoft released Microsoft Office 2016 for Apple Mac. The new Word, PowerPoint, and Excel apps are similar to Outlook in appearance, and look like their Windows counterparts.

Office 2016 for Windows is only available as a public beta preview.



Microsoft Outlook Version 15.8 for Apple Mac Crashing on Startup

If you’re using Microsoft Outlook Version 15.8 for Apple Mac and it is crashing on startup. You may want to try following these steps to restore normal operation.

  1. Open the Terminal program.
  2. Type defaults delete and press Enter. This will delete the old preferences.
  3. Type killall cfprefsd and press Enter to stop the cached prefs.
  4. Launch Outlook again.
  5. You’ll see the welcome screens as if you’re running Outlook for the first time. If you previously setup Outlook and had imported from the old 2011 version, you can skip that step when prompted.

ASUS VivoBook S400CA Support Documentation & Drivers


The ASUS VivoBook series of computers are fast, light, portable ultrabook laptops with the additional computing power you’d expect from a desktop system. This page provides the basic support links and information for the model S400CA.


Features of the S400CA include:

  • Windows 8 Pro or other editions available
  • Up to Intel® Core™ i7 3517U Processor
  • žPrecision touchscreen for intuitive enjoyment
  • Packs touch, SSD speed, and hard drive storage capacity
    in a sleek design
  • Brushed-hairline aluminum textures offer high durability
    and an elegant look
  • Enjoy SonicMaster for impactful and richer sound performance

Further Reading


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