Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Pen Scanners– A Back-to-School Must

There are some technologies that really do make me say, “gee, I wish they had that when I was a kid”, and one of them is the hand-held document scanner.

A hand-held document scanner is pretty much exactly what it sounds like it is; a portable device that allows you to “scan” text and images into digital form so you can store them on your computer… and thus access them for later study.
It’s kind of like having your very own pocket Xerox machine.

pen scanner

This is simply a “must have” if you are a researcher, or a student, as it replaces hand-writing out your notes, or carrying pockets full of coins to feed into the library’s copy machine.

When you find a relevant passage in a book, or other document, you simply pass the device over the text, much like you would use a highlighter. Later, you attach the device to your PC via a USB cord, and thanks to OCR, you can open your scanned passages in a text editor, like Word.

Hand-held document scanners (generally) come in two flavors; a true “pen” style — as pictured above — and a “wand” style.
planon-docupen-rc800-scan_m

The “pen” style makes it easier to capture just the lines of text that you are interested in. However, you must pass it in a fairly straight line, and wobbling it high or low may cause you to have to rescan the sentence (most have a preview window).. and some people use a plastic ruler as a guide.

I prefer the “wand” style, even though it (usually) means capturing a whole page. The color versions of these devices are pretty good at scanning images. Another advantage of the wand is if you are scanning tables and charts– the included software allows you to open the scanned tables in Excel.

Tip of the day: A simply fantastic Back To School gift (either for yourself, or someone you love) is a hand-held digital note taker. They’re quite reasonably priced.
My personal reco is to go with the slightly pricier wand scanner, and to go with the pricier-yet color model.

I won’t say which one’s “best”, but I will say that I agree with this PC Magazine review (read it here).

Today’s free link: SyncBack is a backup program that also functions as a file synchronizer, such as keeping your thumbdrive files and desktop files updated. From ZDNet:”Easily backup, synchronize, or restore your files to another drive, FTP server, ZIP file, networked drive, or removable media.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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July 26, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, Digital Images, gadgets, hardware, Portable Computing, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. […] Dabitch wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThere are some technologies that really do make me say, “gee, I wish they had that when I was a kid”, and one of them is the hand-held document scanner. A hand-held document scanner is pretty much exactly what it sounds like it is; a portable device that allows you to “scan” text and images into digital form so you can store them on your computer… and thus access them for later study. It’s kind of like having your very own pocket Xerox machine. […]

    Like

    Pingback by Pen Scanners– A Back-to-School Must | July 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. Wow, yes I wish we had this when I was a kid and going to school. Very useful tool for studying and I will surely consider purchasing one for my kids. As they said perfect as a gift…

    Like

    Comment by dunnderboy | April 30, 2009 | Reply

    • Dunnderboy,
      I’m sure your child will appreciate it.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | April 30, 2009 | Reply


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