Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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February 2003, Week 3 -- Now Thatís Document Management

 

 

   Visioneer has a great new scanner that comes packaged with LaserFiche, a document management program previously marketed to very high end users.

   The system is designed for small to medium sized businesses that handle a lot of paper. The scanner part has high resolution and a built-in document feeder that sits on top of the scanner.  This means the unit occupies no more desk space than an ordinary scanner. The document feeder can handle 25 pages at a time, feeding them into the scanner at 8-12 pages a minute. The feeder can handle letter size paper, legal size, photos, index cards, random notes, etc. If the paper feeder is moved aside, the scanner becomes available as a regular flat bed scanner for handling books and magazines.

 

   The "Visioneer 9650 LaserFiche Intuition" has a maximum scanning resolution of 1200 dpi, but that isn't what's most important here: it's the software. This is designed for businesses and individuals who scan and archive hundreds of pages a day. You can archive them onto any storage drive and search for items with almost any software, but for large numbers of pages, this software is laser fast, as they say. It indexes all text and can also recognize bar codes.

 

   We looked up some LaserFiche user cases and the first one that caught our attention was a law firm in Irvine, Calif., with a million dollar class action securities fraud lawsuit. They scanned 130,000 pages of legal documents into a desktop PC. The software read and indexed every word and then could recall any document simply by key word. Entering a combination of key words narrowed the search to specific sets of documents. It was instant recall, said one of the attorneys, and added that they had tried it with a million documents.

 

   This was pretty interesting stuff so we turned to a soybean exporter in Brazil, Ceval Alimentos, the third largest exporter in South America. We used to have to print roughly one million pages a month, said a company spokesman, and now we print around 200,000. An entire room of printing machinery was eliminated, because instead of printing receipts and records for every transaction, they only called up those that were needed.

 

   On to pricing: The Visioneer 9650 with LaserFiche has a list price of $999 and just became available in early February. A lower cost version with slower document feed will be available later for $699.  More information on Visioneer can be found at www.visioneer.com; more info on LaserFiche is available at www.laserfiche.com.

 

Flee! All is discovered.

 

   A $30 software package lets you send short text messages to mobile phones, pagers and any handheld computer that is wireless enabled. The program is called "NotePagerPro" and the company notes that it is carrier and device independent. In short, you can use the Internet to send the messages anywhere and to just about anything that receives wireless transmission and can understand digital transmission.

 

 

 

 

   The short messages can be encrypted, and targeted for reception by groups or individuals. NotePage, the maker, suggests that major uses would be to remind people of meetings, or might be used to send each other little jokes. I would guess other uses might include messages like "Cheez-it, the cops are coming." Or: "Dump everything into the shredder now."

   NotePagerPro, ver. 3, works with Windows 95 and up. The company web site is www.notepage.net.

Internuts: food for thought

-- www.mustardmuseum.com  The Mt. Horab Mustard Museum is home to the world's largest collection of prepared mustard (4,000 different kinds in jars, bottles and tubes) and mustard memorabilia (things like a detailed model of the Coleman Mustard Co. delivery van). Located in Mt. Horab, Wis., the museum issues monthly recipes, like "butterscotch mustard fudge." Current exhibit is "Mustard and the U.S. Supreme Court." A fun place and they have a catalog.

 

-- www.geocities.com/athens/acropolis/4756/sausages.htm  Recipes and directions for making your own sausages, right down to building a meat smoker. Lots of references to sausages in history and literature.

 

--  www.howstuffworks.com/bread  A great site for finding out how anything works. The bread section has one of the best descriptions of bread and how to make it.

 

Saving a buck or two

   We were traveling when it was time to update our web site and our new laptop did not have our favorite picture editor, PhotoImpact. That was a nuisance. So, buying some supplies at one of these huge office supply stores, I looked over the software bin for items they were unloading and saw a copy of PhotoImpact, version 5, for $5. I bought that and a couple other programs for $1.99 each. These are good places to look for bargains.

   This fits with a note I got last week from a reader who said he liked InfoSelect, ver. 7, that we wrote about but he didn't want to pay the price of $150. I told him to look for a previous version. This advice applies to anyone who is more worried about their budget than having the latest version of a program. Once a new version is released the price on the older ones drops like a stone. Where do you find them? Office and software stores and web sites; eBay is a good place to look.

 

  Readers can search through previous On Computers columns by going to our web site: www.oncomp.com. The author's email address is bobschwab@oncomp.com or bobschwab@aol.com.

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