Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Scanners Live in Vain

I had a Canon combination scanner-printer. The printer end of it quit feeding paper shortly after I got it, so I took it apart and put it back together and it started working. But I had one piece left over that I suspect was part of the scanner. I mean, it couldn't be part of the printer, could it? The printer is working. I didn't really have any use for the scanner so I never worried about it. Eventually it died, so I borrowed my daughter's HP. She's out town for a while, she's not gonna miss it.
    Having a scanner on hand that works reliably leads to occasionally scanning things. Got a form in the mail that needs to be signed and returned? Print it, sign it, scan it using Picasa, insert the image in a Google document, download it as a PDF, fax it using a free internet fax service, and off it goes. Not the most secure method of transmitting a document, but then what methods are really secure?
    Today I got a five megabyte PDF from Detroit Steve that has a bunch of old photos he has scanned using his brand new scanner, a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. Compare to my HP Photosmart scanner it is blazingly fast. It will scan a couple of dozen photos in under a minute. Of course it costs more than a buck and a half so I will never buy one, but I do think it's a good idea to at least touch base with the current level of technology at least every once in a while, just in case something cool comes along.

I was talking to my accountant the other day about the amount of paper that has accumulated in my office over the years, and she told me her solution was to scan everything, store the images on a hard drive and throw all the paper away. I imagine you can probably get a thousand to one compression ratio by doing that, but you still have not separated the wheat from the chaff. Eventually the hard disk will fail, or more likely become obsolete and you will no longer be able to get any data off of it, but that's kind of the point, isn't it? We keep all this crap around for years and we will never need 99.999% of it.
    We really need to bring back incinerators. Secret messages come in the mail and I need to get rid of the paper, but the only "approved" method is to shred them, which means I need to buy and maintain another piece of equipment: a shredder. Bah. Makes me wish I had a real wood burning fireplace instead of these stupid gas things.

Title origin.

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