New document scanner

I’m in the process of digitising my life. This scanner seemed like the perfect thing for getting through all my old essays, notes, letters, financial stuff, etc. etc. Merlin Mann (of 43folders) mentioned this particular model (the Mac version) on MacBreak Weekly (episodes 49 and 50 I think) and seemed suitably impressed with it. That got me into research mode and, from the reviews I read, it seemed that Merlin was not alone. This was one nifty sounding machine.

I placed an order last week and it arrived today.

First impressions. It’s small. It doesn’t take up much room at all and is definitely portable. It’s well packaged and even comes with a USB cable and a plug for both the UK and continental Euro sockets. I like when that happens.

It was easy to set up and get the software installed. Once that was done, I gave it a spin and watched in amazement as the pages were sucked through really quickly. It claims to do 18 ppm and that seems about right.

I scanned a couple of old essays, printed on A4 and double-sided. It converted them to text-searchable PDFs in a matter of minutes. If only I’d had this when I was scanning my old A4 calendars on my flatbed scanner one page at a time. It took me two days!

I’ve tried both colour and black-and-white docs. The OCR seems to work well and will be very useful. The tutor’s handwritten notes on one particular essay were difficult to read, so I increased the scan quality and scanned it again, but the results were the same. Then I changed the auto colour detection from auto to colour and this time it gave really good results.

It will also scan business cards and, allegedly, make it easy to add their details to your address book. I haven’t tried that yet, but it will be very useful if it works as well as the doc scanning does.

It would be useful if it allowed USB thumb drives or external hard drives to be connected. Then it would be really useful as a portable scanner. It’s not a feature that I would use often, but I probably would use it from time to time.

I plan to take the scanner into the office and demo it as part of a presentation on increasing efficiency and storage space by getting rid of reams and reams of paper.

So, next up in my life digitisation, a 35mm and photo scanner. The Epson V700 looks really tasty!