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Portable Scanner Solutions for Research? 446

Posted by Cliff
from the I-am-now-officially-a-Mac-head dept.
Fished asks: "Lately, I'm finding that I need to do a lot of research in Libraries -- remember those? I'm tired of feeding dimes to the copiers, and would like to buy some kind of portable scanner to go with my Powerbook. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find one that will work. Back in the eighties, this were as common as dirt: they were small, four inch wide scanners that you could run over the page. Also, while I've found three portable scanners for PC's (from Antec and Pentax) even if I could somehow get them to work with Mac OS X, they are sheet-fed, which is useless for scanning pages out of books. Does anyone still make the old-fashioned Hand Scanners, and do they make them for Macs?"
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Portable Scanner Solutions for Research?

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  • HP CapShare (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChaoticPenguin (580349) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:34PM (#4427181)
    Several years ago, HP ha a product called CapShare. A really cool handheld scanner that has an on-device LCD screen that you can perform simple functions like editing, rotating, etc. with. You can then transfer via infrared to your laptop or, better, to a printer! Unfortunately, this product has now been discontinued. I used it for a while, and it was great, except for one thing -- most of the pages that I need to scan from the library are bound -- and the words near the spine tend to become unreadable...
  • Logitech (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DBordello (596751) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:34PM (#4427183)
    Logitech use to make them. I am not sure if they still do (doubt it). It was black and white and about 6in wide. I never really liked it much, the software sucked at combining multiple swipes into one fluid page. It was TWAIN compatible. If you do manage to find one, I am sure it will run on the linux distro that I know you have on your Mac :)
    • Re:Logitech (Score:5, Informative)

      by jdreed1024 (443938) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @07:03PM (#4428385)
      These were called the "ScanMan". They came in color, B&W, and Hi-Res (600dpi!) versions. They were quite useful, for their size, but the Mac versions were often bulky, had a SCSI interface (which use that stupid HDI-30 connector on powerbooks, if you have a powerbook that had a SCSI connector), and required a separate interface box for the A/C adapter and SCSI connector.

      I have one which I'll gladly sell to you. :-)

      That having been said, get a Logitech QuickCam 2000 (or QuickCam Pro). It's USB, it's small, it's a good resolution, it comes with a small desktop tripod. The advantage is that in addition to using it to take pictures of printed matter, you can use it to take pictures of the microfilm reader displays. You can't do that with a scanner. It paid for itself twice-over when I did a research project two years ago. On the downside, however, it doesn't work with Linux (AFAICT) or MacOS.

  • by scott1853 (194884) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:34PM (#4427188)

    Seriously. My GF has used ours to take pictures of the monitor when 98 locked up while she was writing letters.

    A 2MP should probably work just fine, and if you have a laptop with you, just upload them, erase the card and grab another x pages.
    • by CreepyNinja (615245) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:37PM (#4427215)
      Damn straight, just cut out the middle-man.

      It is interesting to see that scanner prices have dropped with better and better digicams going on the market. It's portable, you have less resolution lost, and it's faster thanks to firewire.

    • by Splork (13498) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:46PM (#4427309) Homepage
      yes, i've done this as well. 1600x1200 is way more than enough for a page of text. I haven't tried running the image through OCR software, but given that canon has twain "scanner" drivers for their cameras i'll bet it would be easy.

      For glossy paper and to avoid annoying the others around you it is best to not use the flash. if you're in a low light situation, get a small tripod and a book stand.

      For a very good affordable 2mp camera today i recommend the canon powershot A40 [powershot.com]; search on my simon [mysimon.com] for good prices. Any 2mp camera will probably work for your needs; but why buy a crappy one?
      • I use my A40 as a fax scanner to send faxes from home. A40 is awesome I totally agree.
      • Powershot A40 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @11:30PM (#4429595)
        I have to second this fine person's suggestion for a Powershot A40. My sister recently invested in one and I have personally used this camera. It is very easy to use and just about any picture you take will come out magnificently, regardless of how skilled you are in photography. For a digital camera, the pictures are of very high quality. Even my camera, which is about six times the price, won't take pictures this nice unless you really understand film types, lighting situations and exposure settings. Just my two cents on this matter.
    • Acutally, this isn't such a bad idea. Get a nice camera with macro and you're much more likely to get a high res readable image than you are with a hand scanner. Those things like to skew off their wheels and are no good for use with big books (spine) or older books (they touch the page...not something you want when doing research in century old issues of "Punch" magazine).

      I've resisted buying a scanner for a long time due to their bulk and my tendency to have a clutter filled desk. Digital cameras are great for recording tax documents and carbon copies of letters where the gist is more important that a high dpi reproduction of the original.

      Just do yourself this favour: don't use the flash! Instead, take the shot from high up with florescent lighting. Close up flash on bright paper is a good way to end up with unreadable images, and reading is fundamental to this project.
      • Good advice. Another reason not to use the flash is you will greatly extend battery life while using it.

        I also suggest setting it to high compression and to black and white mode. You will then be able to store thousands of shots on a 128 MB card (or hundreds at 32 or 64). That and turn down the resolution a bit, to about 1.3 MP should be good enough. This might save you from having to lug a heavy laptop along with you.
    • you do realize of course that, walking into a library, finding a book and taking a picture of it will make you look like a wannabe spy? Hey, that could be fun - top it off with a trenchcoat, fedora and sunglasses. And go for a book like Mein Kampf or something. Hilarity will ensue...
    • by brusk (135896)
      I've successfully done this, bring a camera to library/archives and taking pics.

      Some suggestions:
      - Get a camera that has a B&W (really greyscale) mode. Some do, some don't. It matters because it makes the files much smaller and you can fit a lot more pages onto the memory card.

      - Don't use the USB or even firewire connection to transfer pictures. It's infinitely easier and battery-saving as well to get an adapter (if you have a laptop, a PCMCIA one) that can read the memory card directly; the OS will just treat it like a disk.

      - If you can, put a sheet of non-reflecting glass over the page you're photographing. This is what they do when they make microfilm form books. But if you are going to carry around a sheet of glass, you might as well lug a scanner.
  • by Leimy (6717) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:37PM (#4427218)
    why do people post this stuff?? Search Ebay... google... you have an internet connection... I know you do you lazy bastard!!!
  • Jesus Tits (Score:4, Funny)

    by kuroth (11147) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:37PM (#4427220)
    Try Google [google.com]

    What's next? "Ask Slashdot: Getting Drops Off My Cock After Pissing"?

    • by Psmylie (169236) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:48PM (#4427339) Homepage
      I would recommend the Ronco (tm) Electric Penis Dryer (patent pending).
      • by Dr Caleb (121505) <thedarkknight@nOSPaM.hushmail.com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:58PM (#4427454) Homepage Journal
        ...the Ronco (tm) Electric Penis Dryer...

        Typical Americans. Spend a billion to develop a pen that will write in space, and the Russians use a pencil.

        Spend Millions developing an Electric Penis Dryer(tm) when the rest of the world just uses their pant leg. When will they learn? How many children could have been fed on those development costs?

        Think of the children! (not to mention the shocking results of the lab testing on that product!)

        • Re:Jesus Tits (Score:2, Informative)

          by metsfan (549341)
          Wrong.

          http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.h tm
        • Re:Jesus Tits (Score:5, Informative)

          by AzrealAO (520019) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @05:45PM (#4427855)
          Great Urban Legend.

          A) NASA didn't invent the pen, Fischer did, and sold it to Nasa, and it didn't cost Billions.

          B) Pencils are terrible in space, all the little graphite dust gets into the electronics, causing shorts. Not a good idea on a space craft.

          NASA never asked Paul C. Fisher to produce a pen. When the astronauts began to fly, like the Russians, they used pencils, but the leads sometimes broke and became a hazard by floating in the [capsule's] atmosphere where there was no gravity. They could float into an eye or nose or cause a short in an electrical device. In addition, both the lead and the wood of the pencil could burn rapidly in the pure oxygen atmosphere. Paul Fisher realized the astronauts needed a safer and more dependable writing instrument, so in July 1965 he developed the pressurized ball pen, with its ink enclosed in a sealed, pressurized ink cartridge. Fisher sent the first samples to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of the Houston Space Center. The pens were all metal except for the ink, which had a flash point above 200C. The sample Space Pens were thoroughly tested by NASA. They passed all the tests and have been used ever since on all manned space flights, American and Russian. All research and developement costs were paid by Paul Fisher. No development costs have ever been charged to the government.

          Because of the fire in Apollo 1, in which three Astronauts died, NASA required a writing instrument that would not burn in a 100% oxygen atmosphere. It also had to work in the extreme conditions of outer space:

          1. In a vacuum. 2. With no gravity. 3. In hot temperatures of +150C in sunlight and also in the cold shadows of space where the temperatures drop to -120C

          (NASA tested the pressurized Space Pens at -50C, but because of the residential [sic] heat in the pen it also writes for many minutes in the cold shadows.)

          Fisher spent over one million dollars in trying to perfect the ball point pen before he made his first successful pressurized pens in 1965. Samples were immediately sent to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Manager of the Houston Space Center, where they were thoroughly tested and approved for use in Space in September 1965. In December 1967 he sold 400 Fisher Space Pens to NASA for $2.95 each.

          Lead pencils were used on all Mercury and Gemini space flights and all Russian space flights prior to 1968. Fisher Space Pens are more dependable than lead pencils and cannot create the hazard of a broken piece of lead floating through the gravity-less atmosphere. http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.htm [snopes.com]
        • Re:Jesus Tits (Score:3, Informative)

          Spend a billion to develop a pen that will write in space, and the Russians use a pencil.

          I hate to be an OT stick-in-the-mud, but I've seen this jab quite a bit and I have to respond. Simply put, it's BS. Read about it here. [snopes.com]
      • It slices, it dices, it... no wait, that was the Bass-O-Matic.

        Ouch!

    • Re:Jesus Tits (Score:3, Interesting)

      What I'd like to know is what the fuck is up with guys who step waaaaay back from the urinal and then whip-whacks the drips off so everybody and his brother (a) gets a unpleasant glimpse of limp pecker and (b) gets an ass-spatter if they're standing in the wrong place.

      Cripes.

      But to answer your question: I, too, recommend a digital camera. I use a Nikon Coolpix 900 and it focusses just fine on text. I have to steady myself with my elbows, but 95% of the shots are at least legible.

      OCR is a good idea.

      Me, I just use the camera technique for getting free porn from the library when I go up to the periodical desk, request the latest Playboy, and then go find a carrol that's out of the way so I can start snapping.
    • I noticed these [ivd-bio.com] at Pep Boys (an auto parts store) the other day. Strange impulse item, methinks. Anyways, should take care of the drops for you.
    • And remember -- If you shake it more than 3 times, you're officially wackin' it!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:38PM (#4427222)
    Handheld scanners were useless for scanning books. Most books are too wide for a handheld scanner and you have to stitch together your scans - a VERY awkward process. And even if you can scan the whole width of the page, the roller used to detect when the scanner was moving would go off the bottom of the page of the book before you scanned the final line of text!

    In short - forget about the handheld scanner idea. They do sell line scanners that read in lines of text at a time if you just need short segments. I suppose you could even take pictures of the pages with the new high megapixel digital cameras.
    • But you could just run the scanner sideways (that's what I always did) to make longer "strips" of the pages. Then just fire up your favorite picture editor and do a simple rotate operation.

      Still, I'd suggest a decent digital camera. I use mine for books on occassion and it has always worked just peachy. I never tried OCR with the pictures but it might even work...
  • Check Pricewatch (Score:3, Informative)

    by graphicartist82 (462767) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:38PM (#4427227)
    Pricewatch.com [pricewatch.com] has a whole section for Mac compatible scanners [pricewatch.com] but I didn't see any that were hand-held..
  • Lightweight Flatbeds (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SJS (1851) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:39PM (#4427236) Homepage Journal
    Why not go with a lightweight flatbed scanner? It'll fit in a backback, and many of them are powered from the USB/fireware/whatever connection as well.

    If you put the scanner at the edge of a table or desk, you can scan pages of books quickly and easily with less distortion than you'd get from a hand-scanner. This may help make up for the slightly less convenient form-factor.

    Try the discount/clearance table at your local Office Depot / Staples / Office Supply store. I always see "clearance" scanner there.

    I've not actually tried this with my TiBook, so YMMV.


    • I think Canon makes a full-page flatbed USB scanner that's powered by the USB connection. That would do the trick.

    • Make sure that if you do get a scanner see if the scanner uses white LEDs instead of a florescent light. LED scanners almost certainly use less power than florescent light scanners. I can't comment on their image quality, but that doesn't sound like a big concern. In any case the LED scanners are much lighter, much thinner, and I'm not sure but they may be more durable.
  • CanoScan (Score:5, Informative)

    by aedan (196243) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:40PM (#4427248) Homepage
    Canon make USB powered scanners. They are slim and would easily fit in a briefcase. There are OS X drivers available. I've got at a CanoScan N670U on my iMac and it works fine. There is X OCR software available but I don't have any.

    aedan
    • by mblase (200735) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @05:07PM (#4427527)
      Canon also offers a color scanner cartridge [canon.com] which is compatible with their two [canon.com] portable [canon.com] bubble jet printers. Not an ideal solution, perhaps, but very portable and apparently Mac-compatible up to OS 9 (which might include Classic under OS X).

      Otherwise, according to Apple's own site, Canon's LiDE 30 [apple.com] is the most portable flatbed scanner I can think of with OS X support. Now, a flatbed isn't good for travel, because it's easy to bump around the components and damage it internally. The printer cartridge might be your best bet.
  • The prices have come down enough so that all you really need to do is buy a flatbed scanner for 100 bucks..much cheaper than a digital camera.. put it in your laptop bag and bring it with you. I know no one would mind. How i know i just dont know :) but I do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:43PM (#4427280)
    we have a laptop user in the office who has one of these:

    http://consumer.usa.canon.com/scanners/csn1240u/ in dex.html

    while it is a flatbed, it is very thin and light. and, usb and power are over 1 cord, so no power adapter to carry.
  • Two words (Score:5, Funny)

    by ith (145804) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:45PM (#4427300)
    Silly Putty, and a lot of it!
  • by Egotistical Rant (42993) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:46PM (#4427311)
    Some of the thin Canon models (n656U, n1220U, LiDE 20, etc.) are overall about the same size as a PowerBook, and they draw their power from the USB port; no need for a wall wart. No OSX drivers for the earlier models though...poke around Canon's site for details on what's compatible.

    Scanning is slow though...I have to agree with others suggesting just using a digital camera of sufficient resolution.
  • by docbrown42 (535974) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:46PM (#4427314) Homepage
    Here's a couple of things to think about with this setup:
    1: dont use the flash (that's why you use a tripod)
    2: set the book up at perpendicular as possible to the camera (to get a nice, flat picture)
    3: be quiet (turn the sound off of your camera)
    4: Dont get caught

    • Or use the camera, and flash and see how it works.
      Myself I hand hold, and use the flash, the end result is quite usable
    • Good advice. That's how spies have done it since the advent of the portable camera.

      The old "spy" instructions I've seen for taking surrepetitious photos of documents suggests stacking two columns of books up to the focal distance of the camera was set to, and then suspending the camera between the columns by taping it to a pair of wooden rulers. Arrange a pair of desk lamps between the stacks to dump as much light as possible on the document. Snap, turn page, snap, turn page, repeat until done or caught.

      Rather than the book columns (which were easy for a spy to come by without having to carry anything more than a tiny Minox) you could bring an ordinary camera tripod. This is a library, after all. I have a tripod that has a removable center column that works perfectly for copying documents. I pull the center column out the top and reinsert it into the bottom of the tripod's head, hanging the camera down below the tripod head and between the legs. It's a great copy stand, as there are no leg shadows. You still need to provide the light, as a photoflash will not go over well in a typical library.

  • I can fit my little Cannon flatbed scanner into my laptop case with no problems - it can scan A4 pages too. I didn't think it would fit to be honest, but it's surprising what will go in that bag, given some "encouragement".

    It's USB too, so no need for external power. It weighs next to nothing (compared to the laptop, paper and other crap in there) so I tend to keep it with me - often comes in handy...
  • Digital Camera (Score:2, Redundant)

    by philovivero (321158)
    They're small. They take often 1600x1200 pictures, which is enough resolution for an 8.5x11 page (or A4, if you're over there).

    I used it to "scan" my passport when I needed to get a copy of it to someone in the States once, and then just emailed the "scan" so they could print it out there. Looked better than a fax, and worked better, too.
  • There is a small handheld device called C-Pen [cpen.com]. It is used to capture text, store it and later transfer it to a computer. There is also a model that you use with your laptop to instantly scan a line of text and put it (as normal text) on your computer. OS X drivers are scheduled to be completed by december.

    This thing is ideal for working with research in a library.

    Ciryon

    • by Mu*puppy (464254)
      Had a roommate who got one of these penscanners. They did passable for reading black text on a white background, but God help you if you have to scan colored text on white, or black text from an even slightly (say, a light gray) colored background. If you're going to pull text out of 'traditional' books, you should do just fine, but I think you'd do better to grab a small flatbed scanner if you wanted something more generally usable.

      "I do what the voices in my head tell me to... and they don't like you..."

  • I've done this (Score:2, Interesting)

    by [l0l]Bobo (39241)
    Flatbed scanners have become really slim and rugged. My GF has one that's 8.5x14 and slimmer than her iBook. It's a USB scanner that requires no external power source (it has all it needs from the usb port). If you're already carrying the laptop around, this adds almost no weight or volume to the total. This is what I used for my trips to the library.

    The scanner she has is something like this one [canon.com], and I'm sure there are other ones. Pretty cheap too!

  • by JonTurner (178845) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @04:49PM (#4427353) Journal
    "they are sheet-fed, which is useless for scanning pages out of books"
    Not if you tear out the pages, first.
  • Is completely useless. It's just packaging. I say to take the damned thing apart, flip the mechanism that slides the laser over and attach a book to it.

    Instantly portable, put whatever you want on it ( a book, your junk, whatever) and let it slide across the stationary laser. If you get good at it, you could even make the rails telescopic for even more portability!
  • by User 956 (568564)
    , while I've found three portable scanners for PC's (from Antec and Pentax) even if I could somehow get them to work with Mac OS X

    Doesn't Apple advertise that their products "just work", and that the operating system "gets out of your way"? [apple.com]

    What a load of shit.
  • Copy Stand (Score:2, Informative)

    by drb (61308)
    Everyone and their mothers are saying to use a digital camera. One of these [warehousephoto.com] would make it easier. Copy stands are basically like tripods for shooting straight down. I once saw a foldable one on ebay for $10. It was just a board with a hole in it and four legs. You fastened the legs onto the board, put your camera's lens through the hole, focused, and took the picture. Lights would help a little, but with still media (like books), you can do long exposures without risk of motion blur. --Dan
  • by rindeee (530084)
    It'll let you scan entire pages of text manually as well as "feed" scanning small documents (things like business cards and receipts). That's the only scanner of that type that I know of. ER .
  • C-Pen (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChaosMt (84630) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @05:09PM (#4427541) Homepage
    I understand and appreciate your problem. I have tried many solutions, and I believe the c-pen [cpen.com] 800c [cpen.com] is the best solution I've tried for my research needs. There is another pen based solution, WizCom [wizcomtech.com] QuickLink SuperPen [wizcomtech.com] which I've also tried. I did not like the wizcom because it was not as comfortable to use or as accurate. It also actually had a moving part. :) Both have SDKs to write your own software, however, the only one I could get access to was the c-pen, which made it even more of a favorite of mine. The cpen can also act as a mouse and can do some gestures in addition to being able to input text through "writing" (in big letters) on the page. Both companies are barely alive it seems, but it's a niche market, and I hope they survive. They both have some fantastic functionality, such as translation and barcodes. Of course c|net did the normal bribed review [cnet.com], but I guess the cpen wasn't out at the time. Both are upgradeable and can load extra programs or dictionaries and such. I wouldn't want to go back to college with out one.

    Hey, if this has at all been useful, please feel free to buy [ebay.com] me one! I miss having it around.
    • I forgot to mention, I believe both of them have memory upgrades available. However, you're hand may wear out before you use up all the memory. Also, don't get intimidated by the ebay prices; they are not accurate. I picked up both of them in SoCal stores like Fry's and Office Depot for around $100. However, they are hard to find. It's been about a year since I lost my job and access to the device. I've been casually checking out computer sales to pick up one, but haven't had much luck yet.
    • Sorry, I forgot something else. These solutions are an all-in-one scanner and OCR. So, if you want to scan in tiny 15 point sized (my guess) images, I imagine it would be possible if you wrote the software for it. However, this is a tidy, easy solution for working with and remembering text, not pictures.

      It should also be noted that there is a small learning curve. It takes some getting used to making a straight line. You'll also see that it tries it's best to turn frames or boxes around text into characters (like |) and it's sometimes hard to aim for starting and stopping of scanning. Like all OCRs there are occasional mistakes that will need to be corrected, and they occur more frequently if there isn't much contrast (light print, colored paper, colored text, etc). Last, don't even THINK of trying to scan handwriting. Cursive or printing will turn into complete garbage. As I've said, it is a niche market item, but what it does, it does suprisingly well. Now go and buy me one! :)
  • Here a couple (Score:4, Informative)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @05:12PM (#4427562) Homepage Journal
    Possible solutions (may or may not be Mac compatible):

    I must admit that there doesn't seem to be much around, but then again this simply from searching Google. And for those of you content with scanning bar code from books, then there are fancy iMac coloured bar-code scanners [posdirect.com].

  • How LAME! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CSG_SurferDude (96615) <wedaaNO@SPAMwedaa.com> on Thursday October 10, 2002 @05:16PM (#4427601) Homepage Journal
    Note to Editors: For "ask Slashdot" posts, please at least TRY to do a "google" on the question to see if it is lame or not.

    (Modded down as irrelevant/troll/slam on the editors)
  • Here's the CanoScan LiDE 30 USB [buy.com] at Buy.com.
    These are by far the best solution for portable scanning. You get a full size bed, excellent quality, decent speed (though not blazing), very quiet operation entirely off USB without any other power source, and yet they're only about the thickness of a laptop. My wife uses hers a lot for her research, it fits very nicely in the side pocket of the laptop bag. Add a reasonably recent version of PaperPort Deluxe, which is one of the most hassle-free scanning and scan management packages around, and you've got everything to create and maintain gobs of scans.
  • Scanners (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moc.tfosorcimgllib (602636) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @05:31PM (#4427738) Journal
    Sometimes [pcstop.com] I [newegg.com] can't [yahoo.com] figure [ebay.com] out [yahoo.com] WHY [yahoo.com] people [askjeeves.com] refuse [arstechnica.com] to [cnn.com] research [msn.com] themselves [old-computers.com].

    This might be a good question, "Where did all the hand-held scanners go", but, you can learn about the whole history in a few hours of seraching on the net.
  • I'd like a duplex page scanner. A few years ago, narrow page scanners where you just feed in one sheet at a time, and the software automatically captures when it detects paper there, were popular; but why not have it capture the backside too?

    It would be great to have one in the living room, mounted on top of a trash can (shredder-style), or even on top of a shredder, to convert s-mail to email.

    Of course there are production autofeeder duplex scanners but I keep looking on ebay and the working ones always end up rather expensive.

    I might try to mechanically wed two page scanners, and just deal with the two data streams.
  • IRIS OCR Scanner Pen (Score:4, Informative)

    by gryf (121168) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @05:43PM (#4427836) Homepage
    I saw this product [irisusa.com] at the Mac Business Expo here in Seattle last week. It looked pretty slick. It scans the page, runs it through OCR, and inserts the text right into whatever app you have open. It will do one line at a time or multiple lines. It obviously does not do images, but if you want text, I recommend it. I would have bought it, but I'm in school instead of working these days. Check out: www.irisusa.com [irisusa.com] I saw the demonstration (manual and interactive, not scripted) running under OSX.
  • Since people keep recommending digital cameras, I thought that I just point out that the November issue (not sure if it's on shelves yet) of Consumer Reports has a review of digital cameras in it.
  • This [sillyputty.com] is what you need.
  • by Wolfkin (17910) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @06:07PM (#4428036) Homepage
    At least, in Pennsylvania.

    Recently my wife did some geneaology research in Pennsylvania for my mother-in-law. She intended to use her digital camera instead of feeding the copy machines, but all of the libraries, record archives, and courthouses she visited refused to allow her to do so, and even required she sign an agreement stating she was familiar with the rules of the place, all of wihch were about how she could not use scanners, cameras, or other copying mechanisms other than the copy machine provided by the library.
  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Thursday October 10, 2002 @06:14PM (#4428079)
    First off, I -highly- advise that you post this question over at the MacNN.com forums. There are lots good Mac geeks there, and you'll probably get better responses.

    But now my 2 about this scanner issue. First off, portable scanners are hard to come by. I noticed that both epson and canon do not make such devices.

    OS X 10.2 supposedly has TWAIN support built into it. From what I hear you can now scan in Preview.app, which is cool. If you can acquire a portable USB scanner that supports TWAIN I would imagine that it would just "work" in Preview.app.

    OS X 10.2 has fantastic device support. Typically, OS X supports just about whatever perhiperal I toss at it, regardless of whether the device ships with a "Mac OS" logo on the box.

    If you can find a portable TWAIN USB scanner, I'd just purchase it. Don't worry if the device comes with Mac drivers or not. If it doesn't work, return it (so make sure you purchase something from a large computer store). However I'm betting it will work.
  • C-Pen 'Pen' Scanner (Score:2, Informative)

    by rickwood (450707)
    The heir to the hand scanner you mention is the CPen Pen Scanner [cpen.com]. It seems like this is exactly what you're looking for.

    Google Search: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q="pen+scanner" [google.com]
  • Try a C-Pen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by YuppieScum (1096) on Friday October 11, 2002 @03:26AM (#4430375) Journal
    The C-Pen [cpen.com] is a stand-alone, highligher-sized single-text-line scanner with OCR, LCD display, 4MB memory and IrDA. Software is available for Win32 and Mac.

    My g/f used one of these during the last 2 years of her degree, and swears by it - it's so discrete you can use it anywhere, including libraries and even book-shops!

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