Author Topic: Scanners etc  (Read 1076 times)

Offline Captain Walker

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Scanners etc
« on: August 27, 2017, 03:37:08 PM »
Okayyyyy.. this is another one that's not for luddites!! 🤠 BTW - none of the following is to be considered as 'advice'. Why? I apply legal principles in almost everything I do. [The link is not just about lawyers].

What is a scanner?
I've not looked up the definition anywhere, so this is my concept of what a scanner is based on experience. It is a device that blasts some light at some piece of paper and takes an image. Well yes, that could be a camera as well. So, scanners are like cameras in a certain sense. The usual idea is that you have two main kinds of scanners:
1. Flatbed - the one where you put a piece of paper on a glass, close a lid and press a button or sumik.
2. Document fed scanners - the kind where you put a whole bunch of papers in a feeder tray of some sort and the thing pulls um in to take image shots.

Some may also see scanners listed as 'TWAIN'. This is not about Shania Twain. 😁 'Twain' is some sort of protocol for gathering information and/or communicating it. I don't know anything more about it - and it isn't terribly important to 'understand' any of that. Below I'll refer to one type of scanner - which I have/use - which does not use twain.

The main problems with scanners:
1. Too slow
2. Image quality is sometimes poor.
3. Image size is too large  - like I've had idiots send me 25mb files of some scanned document with 2 pages!! This should not even be >100kb for that 2 pages.
4. Incompatibility with operating systems.
5. Selecting the right scanner for one's needs.

Keep in mind always that 'the scanner' is hardware - and it needs certain kinds of software to run them. Sometimes Windows 10 will connect directly without needing  scanner-driver software.

My experience.
I've gone through about 5 different scanners in the last 25 years. Finally, I came across the ScanSnap iX500 which has really been lovely for about the last 4 or 5 years. So I'll talk about that - not because I'm selling it - but because of how good it is for my needs.

It will scan photographs, several in sequence to good quality image sizes. It will scan single page documents, double sided documents and like 50 double-sided pages in one go (in a matter of about 3 - 4 mins). If there is a paper jam, the software running it allows me to recover very easily to where the page that jammed was in one simple step (without having to tear my hair out).  :cool:

It is a pricey scanner. However, I work things out on a 5 year basis with lots of hardware I purchase. Further, my time is worth something to me so I don't like messing around with manually feeding documents or trying to re-collate after a paper jam. Did all that with the previous scanners and it wasn't nice. The ScanSnap iX500 uses Fujitsu's own protocol for scanning. There is some sort of chip in the scanner that does the hard work. That means I can hook up my mobile phone wirelessly to the scanner, stick a document in the scanner, press a button - and Bingo it's on my phone (in PDF or whatever format I want). This scanner makes short work of double sided documents.

Although it's usually for scanning around A4 size documents, it can scan A3 (which is two of A4) size documents. The ScanSnap will also scan simple things like very long receipts - say two foot long - from Tesco or wherever. No flatbed or traditional scanner that I know will do this in one go. I like keeping most of my important receipts. I could have one electrical item on a receipt that is very long.

Why are scanners important for some people?
1. They may need to scan important paper based photographs.
2. They may have lots of documents or just a few.
3. They may want to chuck out tons of old papers or records but still keep a copy that does not occupy physical space (that's me for sure).
4. They may need to scan documents and deposit automatically on Dropbox or Google Drive etc, for sharing with others - legally of course (that's me).

What you don't want with any scanner?
1. Headaches!
2. Complications.
3. Poor images and ridiculous image sizes.
4. Breakdowns and freeze-ups.

Note that the video demo below was in 2014. The software that runs this has been updates several times now and works like a dream as of today.

I came across the iX500 after very careful understanding of my scanning needs and doing some diligent research online. My needs are not expected to be everybody's needs. However, in evaluating needs it may be useful to consider current needs, future needs and losses, and available capital. Reminder: I'm not selling the iX500 and I do not hold shares in Fujitsu or any other company. I mention it only because it does all that I need to do - and I think it embodies the ideal scanner for lots of people, though not all people. Some will see the words 'small business scanner' in association with the iX500 and immediately think, 'I don't run a small business, so it's not for me' - or the cost will appear shockingly prohibitive.

A little funny story about the iX500 - a mate of mine was so impressed with my chuntering about it, that he rushed out and bought one! His plan was to declutter his garage full of boxes of old papers that he need to scan then burn. Well, it's 3 years on...and the garage is still full!! :gun:

So if you're thinking you might need a scanner do your research carefully, but when you purchase use the thing!! 👌

« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 03:52:37 PM by Captain Walker »
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Offline I AM GR00T

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Re: Scanners etc
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 04:27:39 PM »
Thanks Captain, as informative as ever.

I have a little epsom printer/flatbed scanner and to be fair it serves it's purpose well, I'm normally only printing a small amount of documents and it manages so saves any extra expense on getting a newer/better model as yet.....well, apart from having to scan a lot of docs just recently, but that's a whole other story as you know  :rolleyes:

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Offline Little Miss Chatterbox

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Re: Scanners etc
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 08:55:01 PM »
I actually use 'iScanner' that is a free app on my iPhone, but upgraded to get rid of adverts. I scan documents, I use it to scan receipts for my work expenses using the camera on my phone, and I can save as a pdf document all in one go, colour, black/white, in addition to sending direct to email or directly to my printer, or saving on iPhone, great app for me, does what is says, with no desktop machine needed. 

Offline yes

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Re: Scanners etc
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 10:54:01 AM »
My needs are simple.

Oldish all-in-one type thing (Canon MP640).

It works very well, once warmed up (whirrs and grunts and groans for about 5 mins before accepting task at hand ---every time ...annoying, really).

Software ...I use Adobe Acrobat X Pro. Which I always appreciate.

I download quite a lot of articles, and acrobat pro allows editing as well as totally reliable conversion.