Over Christmas I got to talking to En’s uncle about scanners. This all came about when he gave her the box of her grandpa’s QSL cards and he mentioned that he had scanned them with his scanner — an Epson Pro GT-S80 Scanner

This got me thinking. I have paper — a lot of paper — at home. A lot of that has been filed, but a lot is just waiting to be filed. When I get something I have to make a decision if I want to keep it or pitch it. Of course if I keep it I need to put it somewhere I can find it. A lot of things I could probably do without, but some bit of OCD in me wants to keep it. Things like pay stubs and such. I’ve never really needed to refer to one, but somehow I want to keep them.

I started to look over the reviews and they were somewhat mixed on the S80, especially when connected to a Mac. Then I looked at the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M.

It has a ton of good reviews and it’s cheaper to boot: $419 vs $726. The only two cons I can see in the specs is it has a bit less capacity on the input tray (50 instead of 75) and it only works with a Mac. (Of course you could get the ScanSnap S1500 for the PC instead)

Even more important is that in normal usage it’s faster! The Epson is 80 ipm (inch per minute) which works out just over 7 pages per minute with 8 1/2 x 11 paper when scanning both sides of the paper at 200 dpi. The 1500 is 20 pages per minute duplex at 300 dpi (or 600 dpi in B&W).

At this point I’ve scanned around two to three cubic feet of paper that was hanging around my office and house. After scanning I just throw the pile of generated PDFs into Acrobat to have it OCR them. Now they’re searchable! At this point I didn’t care about the order of documents or dates or anything at all. It’s just a jumble of crap in the PDFs. But that’s OK with me since it’s searchable! Going forward I’ll likely group them into monthly folders or something. Nothing pedantic or anything.

I also scanned in the stack of QSL cards as well (expect for a few that were too beat up for machine feeding — or too thick like the balsa postcard).

I can’t really think of a downside to this thing. It absolutely rocks! I can see my desk again! (Well, mostly… I’m still working on that.)

To be clear the demo that I have up there is scanning in normal mode. This was scanning duplex (two-sided) at 300 dpi color or 600 dpi black and white. (It auto-detects color or B&W) It’s a bit slower in the high-res mode, I would say 1/2 speed. Even then it’s still faster than the Epson!

Here’s another, longer document getting scanned:

This is 12 pages of single-sided black and white. Keep in mind that two-sided or color goes at exactly the same speed. Amazing!