Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Red is the new green. . .

I posted this on the Paperless Zone blog back in February 2005. . . Enjoy!

Red is the new green. . . This sounds like something you would read in Cosmopolitan Magazine. Color scanning/imaging is in a growth explosion. Remember back in the 90's when HP introduced the color ink jet printer? "Why do I need a color printer?!?!?! Black and white is just fine!" Now everybody and their mama has a color printer - inkjet and laser. This will date me but I remember the TV my parents had when I was growing up. It was a black and White Zenith that required almost two minutes to warm up before you could see a picture. Now it's a 42" wide screen with high definition cable!What are the challenges of color scanning? Economical speed of conversion and file size management. Simply put, it's costs a lot of money to quickly scan and convert color images and the file sizes produced are just too large. Manufacturers are responding to these challenges. . . Fujitsu introduced the fi-5750c scanner in 2003 which scans color letter size document at 57 pages per minute at 300 dpi. This machine is a color screamer and the price point is reasonable. Software manufactures are responding as well. LizardTech has developed DjVu which is an aggressive file compression application. DjVu can compress color file images several hundred times greater than standard color compression schemes (i.e jpeg) while maintaining high image quality.Still not convinced? We're human, we see in color, we are attracted to color. We live our lives in color. Black and White (bitonal) scanning is not going away but will be sharing the server with more color scanned images. Photos, scrapbook pages, archival maps, technical manuals - these are all color media that will be imaged and need to be imaged in color to maintain the intent of the original document.Color scanning is here to stay. Remember, red is the new green. . .

Sean Martin

Content Management - Nine million ways to skin a cat. . .

Here is a something I posted on the Paperless Zone blog. . . Enjoy!

I'm often asked by customers, "How do I find my files on the computer after scanning?" I hate that question. Why? It's difficult to answer. Many customers want an answer right now and I have to explain to them that it depends on many factors such as server capacity, intranet structure, security, ease of use, cost, etc. There are so many ways to implement a content management solution. What works for one company may not for another. There are software solutions, appliance solutions, stand alone database solutions, database solutions requiring SQL, web portal solutions, portal dashboard solutions, and on and on and on. If you're an individual user or even a small business you don't need to implement the latest solution from Documentum costing thousands of dollars. Keep it simple; let's say you scanned in all of your tax returns into a PDF format from 1990 up till the present. Give each file the following name - taxes2004.pdf, taxes2003.pdf, etc. Remember to place these files in a folder called "Taxes" in your My Documents directory on your PC. "Well that's obvious!" Of course it is, but it is a "content management solution" that will work and does work for most people. We're just getting started. Let's say you want to search for documents by key words. That's simple, Microsoft and Google both offer desktop search tools for the PC and both are free. Macs already have a search tool built into it's operating system. Desktop search tools allow you to search for files within seconds because the search tool idexes all the files (or folders you specify) on your hard drive. Simply type in a key word(s) or phrase and the search tool will find all files containing the word(s) and/or phrase. You can also filter your search results. If you really want to be slick, you can OCR the documents you scan in and the OCR text associated with these scanned images will be indexed by the search tool. Want to find all documents from your scanned and OCR files containing the word "baseball"; just type in baseball and a list of documents will be displayed. Remember, OCR conversions are not 100% accurate so some words may be missed during the conversion.

Good luck!

Sean Martin, Twin Imaging Technology, Inc.