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    High Speed Personal Scanner

    October 5th, 2008

    I prefer to store documents digitally, rather than with paper in drawers.  I have long sought a way to quickly convert paper documents into digital form for archival and search/retrieval purposes.  I recently found a great product which sits on my desk, and does exactly that.

    Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner

    Increase productivity in a snap with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 Sheet-Fed Scanner. The S510 digitizes both sides of a document in a single pass at up to 18 pages per minute in color, making it ideal for a small office or home office environment.

    Changing how documents are managed

    • One button scanning to searchable PDF
    • Scan directly to Microsoft® applications
    • New multifunction Quick Menu feature
    • Easily protect, preserve, & share documents
    • Business card scanning
    • Color Duplex 18 pages per minute
    • Adobe® Acrobat® 8.0 Standard

    The Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 is around the size of a toaster.  I can put a document in its feeder tray (up to 50 pages at a time) and just hit go to start.  Both sides of each page are scanned simulateously.  When its done, a PDF is created and OCR processes begin.  It sits just to the right of my monitor in prime desktop realestate.  I use the ScanSnap regularly to scan bills, paper correspondence, and even drawings created by my kids.

    My only complaint is that the scanner driver is not TWAIN compliant, so applications like PhotoShop, and NeatReceipts don’t recognize it.  The “workaround” is to use the ScanSnap to scan first to PDF for import to other applications.

    Update: I should point out that this product is not cheap.  The average price is around $400.  At the moment, a $50 mail-in-rebate is available though October 2008 at Newegg.com.


    Dual-Monitor Display

    August 1st, 2007

    Many computers support a dual-monitor display, and I would bet that many people don’t even realize it. For instance, most laptops allow you to use the internal display and a monitor plugged into the VGA port at the same time. Many PC video cards support both VGA and DVI ports, both of which can typically be used at the same time. Newer PCs even allow you to insert more than one video card at a time.

    Why? Because you spend most of your computer time using one application — but that is not all you use. Your primary application may be a web browser, your e-mail client, a word processor, or perhaps even custom business software. Having two displays allows you to dedicate one monitor to your primary application, and use the other monitor when the occasional need to multi-task arises.

    You will also find dual displays useful if you need to reference one file while accessing another. For instance, when typing a report in Word, you need to reference a spreadsheet in Excel. Or perhaps you want to reference a web site when authoring an e-mail. Just think about times when you most often switch between open applications. Dual monitor displays may offer you an easy way to boost productivity.

    Windows XP and Windows Vista support multiple displays out-of-the box. The first time you boot your PC with both displays active, you may see the same image on both. Once Windows is running, open your display properties/settings to confirm that two monitors are visible to Windows. Then select the second monitor and enable the option “Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor.”

    Dual Display Option