Digitizing hits the mainstream

Scanning images from books, magazines and personal photos to convert them into flexible digital files is one of the most under used capabilities of the home computer. The reason? Scanners were expensive, hard to set up, and difficult to use. Prices have plunged over the past year or so, but many scanners still require quite a bit of computer savvy to use effectively.

IBM’s latest offering promises to help beat the last problem, with the $199 (Canadian) Ideascan.

Featuring technologies previously available on more expensive products, the IdeaScan is a scanner for fun, creative projects and light home office work. The new scanner lets you:

  • capture images digitally and edit them so they can be inserted into letters, holiday cards or a Web page

  • share images with friends and family via email

  • copy documents, working with a PC and a colour printer for high-quality colour copies

  • scan fast, using some of the latest technology to improve scanning speed up to 50 per cent.

Only the last two features are any different from most other scanners, but they are very useful. The IdeaScan‘s big plus is the “one-button” techlogy it offers: once connected to a PC and printer, the scanner performs all of its functions with the touch of a button, without the need to open special software, navigate through levels of menus, activate a program or even touch the PC. Anyone who has used a scanner will agree that that alone is worth $199.