• By Ashe Lockhart
• March 10,2011
>> It seems like technology prognosticators used to tell of a future without paper. They promised that all this marvelous computer-driven technology would make paper a relic of the past. Yet, somehow, our precious predilection for paper persists. In fact, it seems paper is more prevalent than ever. It’s almost as if we are determined to wipe out the world’s forests, one page at a time.
Part of the problem is that when we receive paper – in bills, documents and correspondence – we do not have convenient ways to convert the paper into electronic form for storage or to share with others.
While more technically proficient people may use scanners, the reality is that scanners are still not that widely used except to reproduce pictures – even in many businesses. People who are not technophiles would probably say they haven’t had good experiences with scanners; they are just too complicated or finicky. So paper ends up being copied and faxed, using even more paper.
Enter the Fujitsu ScanSnap series of scanners. I have been using the ScanSnap S300 and S1300 scanners for several years, and they are the easiest to use and most idiot-proof of all scanners I’ve seen up to this point. The S1300 model is the second generation of Fujitsu’s first portable scanner, which was the S300. They also make a larger, faster, better desktop model called the S1500, which is what you should get if you don’t need a portable scanner.
The devices are not quite as long or wide as a loaf of bread and they sit a little higher than a six pack of English Muffins – and look about as innocuous. Either device has a flip-top lid that, when open, extends upward to support up to 25 pages of paper to be fed through the sheet feeder. Both scanners have only one button. Setting them up is a cinch. Install the software from the enclosed CD. Then, plug the scanner into a USB port on your computer, open the lid, and setup is done.
Using the ScanSnap is only a step or two more complicated. To scan a document, open the lid, extend the paper support, insert up to 25 pages of paper, press the button, wait for the scan to finish, then accept the scan on your computer. The end result is a high-quality PDF file. You don’t have to know whether to save as a pdf, gif, jpg, tif or eieio.
The scanner automatically adjusts to color, B&W and paper size. There are additional settings to accommodate single-pass duplex images (scans both sides of a page), varying degrees of resolution and other manual functions. The settings are easy to access, easy to understand and easy to set.
I scan almost every piece of paper I need to keep or share with someone else. I even scanned some dental x-rays with surprisingly good results. Storage, filing and sharing documents is now just a few clicks away. It is not often that a technology product just plain works as advertised, but the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners are simple, sturdy and on my desk.
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