Al Harrison 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Tools for the Mobile Lawyer Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 Portable Scanner After using the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 portable scanner for a few months, I found it to be an invaluable component of the mobile lawyer’s virtual office. Weighing a mere 12 ounces and measuring about one-inch high and one-inch deep (10.74 inches wide, since you need somewhere to insert paper), the scanner receives power via a USB cable. The suggested list price is $199 with an optional but highly recommended carrying case for an additional $25. The carrying case snugly encloses both the scanner and its USB cable. HOW IT WORKS The ScanSnap S1100 springs to life by simply connecting its USB cable to a laptop. When ready to scan, you rotate the near vertical input feed guide downwards toward you, whereupon the device confirms being in scanning mode by displaying the “ScanSnap Is Ready to Scan” message on your laptop screen and simultaneously illuminating the Scan/Stop button. Then you insert the paper. Scanning is accurate and takes about 8 to 10 seconds per page. Because of the ScanSnap S1100’s small size, there is no automatic document feeder so the sheets must be fed manually. However, it is smart enough to collect several scanned sheets into a single document. Loading single sheets into the scanner is easy thanks to guides positioned on either side of the input feeder. After each sheet is scanned, the ScanSnap Manager software asks you whether the document has more sheets. Thus, you’re not on some sort of timer — you can scan documents at your own pace. The ScanSnap S1100 can handle document input of 8.5-inches wide or less and can even extract relevant information from business cards with the bundled CardMinder Windows application or the equivalent built-in Cardiris Mac application. You can also scan other small items such as credit cards, ID badges, membership cards, and thin paper receipts. OUTPUT OPTIONS AND OCR The ScanSnap S1100 enables you to output your scans in all the common file formats such as searchable PDF files; editable Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files; or JPG image files. You can scan and print, scan and email, and save files anywhere, including Google Docs and the bundled Evernote. Your preferences for output protocol are specified via the ScanSnap Manager software prior to invoking the scanning operation. The “Popular” option enables you to specify a local, network, or cloud folder for storage. Other important Popular features are Auto Skew Correction, which automatically corrects misaligned input and Auto OCR (optical character recognition), essential for converting scanned documents into common editable formats such as Microsoft Office. An especially useful option is PDF Auto Conversion, which is the default setting and which generates an image of the input. Of course, you can also specify that the PDF file should be made searchable via OCR. Speaking of OCR, Fujitsu bundles ABBYY FineReader with the ScanSnap S1100. FineReader is accurate and fast so long as input is relatively simply formatted and devoid of complex images, graphs, and tables. VERSATILITY AND OTHER THOUGHTS The ScanSnap S1100 is conducive not only to scanning on the go, but also for scanning in tight spaces. The top cover functions as an output guide whereupon the ScanSnap S1100 can accommodate either horizontal input or, when desk space is limited, vertical input. For example, while seated in my virtual office on board a plane (preferably in first class), and even while situated in a relatively spacious and electrically powered so-called “pod,” I found it advantageous to place the ScanSnap S1100’s top cover in an open position with the cover functioning as a vertical baffle that directs output paper upward, making it easier to grasp. In coach, this feature is an absolute necessity. Unfortunately, the ScanSnap S1100 ScanSnap Manager software is not as versatile as its companion hardware. ScanSnap Manager is limited because it can only output Microsoft Office file formats if you have Microsoft Office installed. Admittedly, Microsoft Office dominates the market. But plenty of lawyers still use WordPerfect, and a few even use Apple’s Pages and open source applications such as LibreOffice. All of these alternatives can open DOC files, so why not let us output to that format in the absence of Microsoft Office? Also, in Windows 7, there is no preexisting folder “C:\Users\User Name\Documents\ ScanSnap\” that is the default destination of the ScanSnap S1100 for your scanned documents. Perhaps the ScanSnap Manager software usually creates this folder during installation, but in my case it didn’t, which caused a few hiccups until I diagnosed the problem and changed the destination to an actual folder. CONCLUSION The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 is an excellent portable scanner for mobile and virtual lawyers. It’s also an excellent secondary scanner for tight spaces and for use in conference rooms. Once you experience the profound advantages of using the ScanSnap S1100 for generating electronic documents while traveling and having the ability to copy documents on the fly (even while flying), there is no going back. AL HARRISON is an intellectual property lawyer at the Harrison Law Office (hlopc.com) in Houston, where he focuses on computer law and online law. He is a member of the State Bar Law Practice Management Committee. This article originally appeared in SmallLaw, a free email newsletter that provides practical advice on management, marketing, and technology issues in small law firms, as well as comprehensive legal product reviews with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. Learn more at technolawyer.com/smalllaw. LAWSITE Texas Bar Today (texasbartoday.com) is a new State Bar website featuring news, insights, and commentary by Texas lawyers/bloggers. The site is updated each weekday to feature and connect State Bar members. To add your blog to Texas Bar Today, email firstname.lastname@example.org. WEBLINKS BOB MABRY is a sole practitioner who divides his time between Deer Park and Conroe. His practice emphasizes appeals and criminal trial defense. He blogs about appellate practice and legal writing at courtsandwriting.blogspot.com. He also tweets as m10001. Texas Department of Criminal Justice Offender Information Search (http://offender.tdcj.state.tx.us/POSdb2/index.jsp) This will tell you where Texas prisoners are located. Before I correspond with an incarcerated client, I usually check here to make sure that my recipient hasn’t been moved and would miss my letter if I sent it to the old address. 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