Document Scanning at Home, Facebook, WiseStamp Email Signatures, and iDevice Facial Recognition – HT026

Home-Tech-Album-125x125_thumb1_thumb1Jim, Andrew and Christian are joined by Mike Howard and John Zajdler for this weeks installment of the Home Tech Podcast.

The guys kick off talking about Document Management for the Average Guy.  For those of you who still mange your records via a filing cabinet and paper records, this topic is for you.  Mike tells us about his preferred scanner the Fujitsu Snapscan S1300, and how he chose the software that he uses.  The guys discuss the products and methods they use to scan and store their documents, how they rename and search their scanned documents, the benefits of storing your documents electronically, and some of the challenges of (OCR) Optical Character Recognition and recovering from large scan jobs when document feeders get jammed.

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The guys talk about the software they use to manage their scanning needs, including Lucion FileCenter and Nuance PaperPort, and the workflow that they use to achieve their required outcomes.

The guys briefly dream about the possible integration of document scanning with Microsoft Surface, the amazing technology we’ve all seen on TV shows such as Hawaii Five-0 and NCIS: Los Angeles, as well as discussing where the OCR feature in Office 2010 may be used.

The guys discuss how they use online billing, and which their preferences between paper billing and electronic billing.

Andrew talks about Facebook’s recent addition of 2-factor authentication via text message for when you log into your Facebook account.  If you enable this feature on your Facebook account, every time you log in, you will be sent a text message to your phone, which you in turn enter into an additional field to gain access to your Facebook account.  This is widely used in the enterprise and with the banks, but one of the first times we have seen it used with by a social networking service.

Andrews’ site of the week is WiseStamp, a browser add-on that adds your recent social network service notifications to your email signatures.  Quite a nice service for making adding dynamic content to your email signature.

Christians’ Deal-of-the-Week is is the Viewsonic gTablet from TigerDirect.com for $299.00.

Christians’ Speed Tip Of the Week is from the Windows 7 Forums, and explains how to validate that Internet Explorer 9 has GPU Acceleration enabled.  If you have a dedicated video card which supports GPU rendering in your system, you should be using GPU Acceleration, and if you have an integrated video card Windows will not allow you to use GPU Acceleration.  Enabling this feature will the improve the performance of web browsing with Internet Explorer 9.

From the Patents Office, Facebook has been awarded a Patent for Image Tagging, the feature that allows you to identify people in the photos you have uploaded to Facebook.

For those of us who have been waiting for the new HP Palm range of phones to hit the market, the HP Palm Pre3 has been listed on Amazon Germany for with indicative pricing being in the range of $639 USD.

The HP Palm Veer has been released to the market on AT&T this week, for those who want their WebOS fix on a new handset.

The guys discuss an as yet un-named HTC phone with a dual core processor, and the appeal of the slide out keyboard on the Palm phones.

To close out, Christian taunts us with the new Facial Recognition application, RecognizeMe for the iPhone and iPad 2 that will let you unlock the device using your smile – the video shows just how powerful some of the new applications for devices with front facing cameras can become!

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Hey John, just saw the post so sorry for the late response. Let me try and answer your questions.

1. FileCenter (the one I bought), Docsvault, eDoc Organizer and PageManager are the ones I tried. Can’t remember right away which ones used a database vs local file system.

2. I have found FileCenter to be as fast for the scanning. The OCR is hard to tell. FileCenter’s Advanced version is better and the Snapscan software did that in the background so i never noticed it. FileCenter can lock up if you pound it with documents with a lot of OCR, so I tend to not let to many pile up waiting for the OCR to complete.

3.Not sure if FileCenter will open those files. Just get the trial and test that before you buy.

4. I don’t think there is a way to “auto” merge, but manually merging is pretty easy.

In the two weeks after the show, I scanned a little over 5,000 pages in about 2,000 documents. That little Snapscan has been working hard and FileCenter has been wonderful. However, I have found that we all have different workflows and what works for me, may not work for everyone. Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend you download a few trials and give them a try before buying. If you are like me, it will only take a little testing to weed out the ones you don’t like.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

John G says:

Hey Mike (and guys) — Really enjoyed the home document management discussion.

I am a lapsed scanning-nut who was really great at it from 2000-2008 or so. But the last three years (interestingly enough, since the birth of my 1st son) I’ve let paper pile up.

Anyway, I recently bought a Scansnap 1500 to help me get caught up and clear out a filing cabinet. I’ve just dabbled a bit with it so far, but really enjoy how fast it is both in scanning and processing.

I do have a few questions for you:

1. What were all of the products you trialed that had the free trial period and used the local files system (db)? I must have missed if you listed them all out.

2. Is FileCenter as fast with the Scansnap processing as the built-in Fujitsu app?

3. I formerly used an OLD version of Paperport than came with my old flatbed scanner from the late 90s. One drawback from those days was that it scanned my docs into a proprietary .max format. Any chance FileCenter will open / convert the .max files into PDFs in some partially automated way??

In FileCenter, is there a way to auto-merge consecutive scans into a single file? I find that the ScanSnap feeder is good with different sized papers (like receipts) but not perfect so being able to load 10-12 receipts at a time and “continue” scanning after loading the next batch would be idea. Currently the Fujitsu software makes you scan each batch as it’s own PDF and then use Acrobat to merge the PDFs if you want them to be one file.

Thanks again for bringing up this topic. I’m kind of motivated to get started on this over the weekend. I know, I have a sickness!

awraynor says:

Thanks Jim,
That appeared to fix it. I was going to post that if you are interested in the NeatDesk scanner/software, their PC version is on sale as a refurbished model for $249 until the end of the month. It is $400 new.

Great write up awraynor. The key is to try these before you buy them if at all possible. While I like FileCenter the best, it is a bit pricey and may not be the right solution for everyone. Work with the demo of what ever program you are interest in buying and see how it matches to your workflow and needs.

Christian says:

Thanks for the great summary awraynor.Glad to hear some feedback on how File Center ran for you. I agree 200 for all its features is a bit too rich for my blood as well.

awraynor says:

I listened intently to my first Home Tech Podcast as I am very interested in scanning for the home. I agree with many of the comments made during the show, I would like to emphasize a few of them and maybe contribute a few more.

1. There are many products in this realm, they are not all created equal.
2. I prefer a product that doesn’t scan into a proprietary database such as NeatWorks.
3. When it is running smoothly, it is hard to beat PaperPort for my needs. It addresses a few of the issues you mentioned in the show.
a. It can scan into a work area where you can scan multiple pages, arrange, label, edit and more before saving into the final “single” file. This will help when it hangs on page 49 of 50.
b. It beats every product I have used in editing. Such as crop, straighten, sharpen, resize, rearrange and more.
c. The interface really works for me. The latest version has improved with the Office ribbon interface being realized.
d. I have found it to be a little buggy, but to be fair that may partially be my machine which has improved as of late.
e. PaperPort doesn’t have a trial, but it can be had on NewEgg for a significant discount over the MSRP.
f. PaperPort frequently produces smaller file sizes if that matters to you?
4. The Windows interface of NeatWorks is horrible, the Mac version is better.
5. Some scanners are Windows or Mac only, but not both. Also be careful for ones that are tied to a specific software package only. Mine can be controlled by many, a real plus and they are developing a Mac driver too.
6. I scan into PDF into a dropbox folder. Maybe not so smart, since they have been caught lying about their security?
7. PageManger from Newsoft is bundled with my scanner. It is pretty decent, a PaperPort clone if you will, that is more stable.
8. Use a dedicated scanner, it is so much faster than an AIO.
9. My scanner, the BulletScan S300, can basically dock for desktop use, while breaking down to a “semi-portable” mode if you need it to. The S300 has a selector switch to scan directly to Evernote, Google Docs, etc. if you use those products.
10 Do get an ADF, double sided scanner. You will thank yourself later.
11. I am using the trial of FileCenter and like it a lot. It however, doesn’t offer enough beyond my current products to warrant the $200. But if you don’t have anything, do give it a try first.
12. Abby Fine reader has good reviews for it’s OCR abilities. I arrange my folders in a way that I don’t really need that function.
13. The Read Iris interface really didn’t work for me.
14. Yep for the Mac has a very clean interface.
15. In short, really think about your needs.
a. OS compatability
b. volume of scanning
c. database type program or not
d. fixed or portable
e. editing features
f. Like Jim, I scan everything and more. You never know when you may need something in the future and I do like having that bill in my hand to scan myself.
g. I have really lightened the load of paper in my home office by scanning.
h. Can the program import your current scans without having to rename everything?

Sorry for the long post, but I am passionate about this topic. Probably to a fault.