Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kodak i780 - Excellent Image Controls and Auto Document Feeder (ADF). . .


We were very impressed with the Kodak i780's performance.  The real stand out is the fact that you can run 300 dpi at full rated speed with all image controls turned on.  Additionally, the i780 provides great flexibility when using the color detect option because the scanners interface allows for multiple stream outputs (i.e. black and white, gray scale, color).

The scanner has an excellent automatic document feeder (ADF) mechanism that is simple to service and clean.  The consumable rollers are relatively inexpensive and can be easily replaced when needed.  One very beneficial byproduct of the i780s excellent ADF is that it hardly ever double feeds!  This is crucial in a production environment when constant starts and stops, due to double feeds, can cut dramatically into daily production goals.

Regarding Kodak's image controls; we would like to see auto orientation accuracy increased.  VRS auto orientation accuracy seems to edge out Kodak's but not by much.  Other than auto orientation, the i780s image quality is excellent. The fact that the Kodak's image controls are built into the scanner makes for much simpler implementation and operation as compared to VRS.

Overall, the Kodak i780 is an excellent scanner and will help any service bureau to meet production and image quality goals.

Sean Martin, Vice President
sean@twinimaging.com

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ah...To be a student again...

How about being a student and running a business (with over $1M in revenue in some cases) at the same time? For someone like me who loves having multiple projects going on, that's impressive.



The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards honors the top undergraduate students that are running their own companies. November 6th the competition takes place in Chicago where students will compete in a live competition where they present their companies. What's the prize? Over $100K in cash and donated products and services.



Twin Imaging Technology donated a Fujitsu S300 ScanSnap. It's perfect for those of you with mobile offices or are looking to minimize the amount space taken up by hardware on your desk. It provides duplex scanning with automatic color detection, has an Automatic Document Feeder, an AC Adapter and USB bus power. It also automatically recognizes document types and creates text-searchable pdf's. I might also add that it fits neatly into any student-entrepreneur's backpack.



Best wishes to all the contestants!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ScanSnap S300

ScanSnap S300 - Click to See Larger Image










Rita Blanzan, of Rita Blanzan & Associates, located in Helensvale, Austrailia, was kind enough to allow us to post her firms experience with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300. Rita can be contacted at:


Rita Blanzan & Associates
PO Box 3345
Helensvale Qld 4212
Australia
+617 (5580) 5055
http://www.the-accountant.com.au/


I've now had a chance to put this scanner through its paces...

One of my projects and family responsibilities is to preserve our family photos. My brother collected the photos from my parents and brought them to me and I had to scan them quickly and accurately so he could take them back as he visited me for only a couple of days and he lives quite a distance from me.

I scanned over 3000 photos in a few hours to 300dpi jpg files, duplexed to capture any notes on the back. It didn't miss a beat and it didn't faulter in any way. As it's a straight through scanner, it didn't bend the photos. I was able to do the job with little handling of the photos which is important in the preservation of old photos.

This little scanner worked like a trooper and I liked the colour reproduction as well. It's bigger counterpart (the 5110) does not have the same colour reproduction, not as good IMO. It also was very good with pulling the photos through straight. I only had to adjust the rotation on a couple of them.

I pushed to it's limits when I scanned my postcards collection. These took a little longer. The postcards date back to early last century, a lot of them are lythos and hand painted and are on a much thicker paper or cardboard. Some postcards required gentle assistance to get them through.

For work, the scanner sits on my meeting room table next to my laptop and I can scan documents when I meet with clients.

All round, the scanner is well worth the money.

Rita

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How do I identify my scanned files. . .

All the files that we scan and convert to digital image files have to be given some sort of identifying "name" (i.e. Smith-John.PDF, 1234.PDF, etc.). We do this by a process called "Indexing". Indexing can be a manual and/or automated process. Index data can also be used to name folders and sub-folders which the image files are placed in. There is also "Metadata"; think of metadata as data about the data (i.e. file creation date, file size, color or black and white image, etc.). PDF Text Searchable and PDF Normal files also contain metadata - the text contained within the document.

When considering a document imaging project, you will have to consider how the files will be named and organized. Typically, many companies have paper lists/logs describing the contents of a hardcopy document and where documents are located; in what file cabinet, what building, etc. Start transferring that information to an Excel spreadsheet - NOW! You will want to have all of your lists/logs stored electronically. The information contained in the spreadsheet can be imported into any database or enterprise content management system. The bottom line - make it electronic!

Having your data in an electronic format will help greatly aid indexing during the scanning and conversion process. In many cases, handwritten information contained in lists/logs has to be manually entered during indexing. Depending on the amount of information needed, this can add significant cost to any scanning conversion project. On the other hand, using existing electronic data will help to minimize the amount of manual indexing required, reduce cost and increase data accuracy. As an example, Twin Imaging Technology recently scanned and converted over 23,000 patient records for a medical group. The client required each patient file to be named using the patient’s last name, first name, and ID number. This would have been time consuming and costly to type in all 23,000 names. Our client was able to provide us with an electronic database containing all of the patient names and ID numbers. We used our batch scanning software, PSI Capture, to automatically "read" the patient ID number from each scanned file. Once the ID number was read (zonal OCR), PSI automatically looked up the name associated with the ID number and named the file. Manually naming a batch of 100 patient files would have taken 15 to 20 minutes. Using the electronic data provided by the client allowed us to index each batch (100 patient records on average) in less than 10 seconds.

Don't fret if you can't provide any of your data electronically. As I mentioned previously, we use a process called Zonal OCR to read text from a document. This is not always accurate, but does help to automate and reduce the time devoted to indexing.

Next time we'll talk about how you can structure your documents to be more scanner and indexing friendly.

Sean Martin, Vice President, Twin Imaging Technology
sean@twinimaging.com

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Think Doc Prep NOW!!! and chuck your stapler while you're at it. . .

You may be considering a back file conversion of your archived and active documentation in the near future. You need to consider Doc Prep NOW! Doc Prep is short for Document Preporation. Before any paper can pass through a scanner, it needs to be prepped. Prepping a document for scanning involves the removal of staples, paperclips, post-it-notes, etc. Additionally, "dog eared" pages need to be folded flat. Post-it-notes and dog eared pages may cover page content that will be missed during the scanning process.

Document Imaging service bureaus have staff dedicated to preparing documents for scanning. Doc prep is a very labor intensive process and the more doc prep that is required, the higher your back file conversion cost will be.

Here are a few things to consider and implement where appropriate. . .

1) Use paper clips instead of staples where ever possible. A staple that is not detected and removed during doc prep will result in a double feed/jam in the scanner. Everytime a double feed/jam is encountered, the time required to fix the jam takes anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Removing staples also takes a lot of time during doc prep so avoid using the stapler when ever possible! Paper clips Good - Staples Bad

2) Use a consistent method for all employees to file active documents. You know your filing system and how to interpret your documents, we don't. Bob in accounting likes to file his records with the most current record at the front of the folder. Mary likes to file her records with the oldest record at the front of the folder. Depending on how we seperate out the documents, this could cause confusion during the doc prep phase with the potential for documents not being separated and indexed correctly.

3) Print all of your documents single sided. I know many people are thinking "Green" these days and they want to do their part by using less copier paper. Printing and copying documents as double sided does save paper and it makes you feel better inside, however. . . when scanning a mixed batch of single and double sided paper, we have to scan EVERY page as double sided. This is not a problem, but the blank pages do have to be removed. We have excellent software that will remove most of the blank pages, but some will pass through and we will have to remove those pages manually resulting in more time and possible increased cost. Most of our customers have us shred documents once we scan them and the shredded material is recycled so you can still feel good inside even if you print single sided.

Doc prep will have to be implemented for all scanning projects, but if you can minimize the use of staples, file your documents consistently and print your documents as all single sided, then the amount of doc prep required will be minimal resulting is less cost and quicker scanning project turn around times.

We'll talk about indexing strategies next time.

Sean Martin, Vice President, Twin Imaging Technology
sean@twinimaging.com

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Small hardware upgrade makes a big difference. . .


We had our Fujitsu fi-5750c serviced and the tech did an upgrade to the latching mechanism on the top camera hatch. When we first purchased the scanner, there were two metal dowels that the latching arms would slide over to lock the top hatch down. Over time, the latching arms would cut a groove into the dowels. Fujitsu upgraded the dowels so that they roll requiring less effort to close the hatch. Because the dowels are not stationary, wearing a notch into the dowel will be eliminated.

Great harware improvement Fujitsu!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Data Theft - Buyer Beware. . .

Twin Imaging Technology
September 2007

DATA THEFT – BUYER BEWARE

Due Diligence necessary when outsourcing Document Imaging

These days, it is almost impossible to be in business and not collect or hold personally identifying information — names and addresses, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or other account numbers — about your customers, employees, business partners, students, or patients. If this information falls into the wrong hands, it could put these individuals at risk for identity theft.

“Companies outsource their Document Imaging needs without doing their due diligence” said Gina Martin, President of Twin Imaging Technology, a Document Imaging service provider based in Oceanside, CA. “In many cases, when critical documents leave their facility, they have no idea if they are going to someone’s garage, living room or out of the country. Some so-called Imaging companies offering extremely low prices are in reality un-licensed, un-insured sweat shops. I recommend companies get copies of their Business License, Seller’s Permit and assigned Insurance as a minimum. If it makes sense, go visit the facility where your documents will be processed. It should be a secure building with staff trained to written document handling procedures.”

Data Theft a Growing Concern for Businesses

“Find out how long your data is retained once it’s scanned,” says Ms. Martin, “Twin Imaging has a standard record retention policy of three (3) months. I recommend that, from a confidentiality standpoint, a company may want all copies of their electronic records removed completely from the outsourced provider after services have been provided.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, has produced a Guidance
Document for businesses that experience Information Compromise. It describes the recommend steps for notifying Law Enforcement, affected Businesses and Individuals in the event of a data compromise.

Twin Imaging provides Security

“I’ve been quite pleased with the solid scanning work that Twin Imaging has done for me” said Ron Unz, founder, UNZ.org. “on the millions of pages of material that I have given them.” Ron has an extensive collection of books and periodicals
Twin Imaging Technology is located in a locked and secure facility with 24 hour security services provided by Brinks Business Security. Additionally, Twin Imaging’s facility complies with all city and state fire protection regulations and is bonded and insured.
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For more information, press only:
Gina Martin, 800-894-6401, 760-683-7398; gmartin@twinimaging.com

For more information on the Federal Trade Commission:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml