Have you ever owned a piece of equipment for which you had strong emotional feelings? It might have been that 65 Chevrolet, or your first mitre saw, or an early lugabout PC. For me, most recently, it’s the ScanSnap S300 scanner. Before I explain why, allow me to explain how this scanner differs from all others:
Image by yoppy via Flickr
By default, it’s not designed to scan to images like jpg, although it will. It is designed to create PDFs. If you’re looking for a photo scanner, this isn’t it.
- It’s lightening fast on scans. The video demonstrations on Youtube are spot on.
- It has the best OCR (optical character recognition) of anything I’ve seen. It creates PDFs from 30 year old typewriter type, that I can copy/paste into anything.
- OCR takes longer to process after scanning, but it’s automated. It doesn’t make you stop and spell check everything.
- It’s not a TWAIN scanner – which is to say it will not be picked up by your various graphics programs, etc. It does one thing, and does it exceedingly well.
- It comes with software that is amazingly versatile and can be configured to go straight to PDF, into Evernote, or do other things.
- It handles paper 8.5″ in width down to business card and receipt width. It comes with business card recognition software.
- It’s incredibly small. You can carry it on a plane. Open a lid, and it powers on. Close it, and it shuts off. AC or USB power.
Now, the reason I love it: I am tired of being surrounded by the thick walls of paper that have accumulated for decades of active information, entrepreneurial, and literary driven life. I’ve been on a slow, slipping, Sisyphean climb toward paperlessness for years. Unfortunately, it was hampered by inadequate technology. No more. Boxes and boxes of documents are now crisp, clean PDFs, searchable when needed. There is more to go, but I can see the stacks getting smaller. I can see freedom over the top.
At about the time that ebooks are on the rise, reducing the size of a library to a drive (for that matter, Google books is a great alternative), file cabinets are destined for the local Goodwill. All you need is a ScanSnap and a good shredder. I’ve got both and I’m watching my office shrink.