David J. Ferrell 2013-02-25 06:23:32
My first document scanner (a Xerox) cost me about $2,000. It was slow and hard to use. I have since purchased many other scanners, and now the default scanners for my office are Fujitsu brand (S500, S1500, and S300). In my opinion, Fujitsu gives you the best bang for the buck in the office scanner arena. My original use for a scanner was to scan opposing attorney documents and use Optical Character Recogni-tion to import the text into an editable format for response and other tasks. That is still a great use of scanner technology, but there are as many different uses for a scanner as there are letters on this page. One’s imagination is the only boundary. Anyone who uses the Internet for transmission of text material will agree that PDF files dominate. Now you can upload and download more than just PDF text to and from your recipients. I use Adobe Acrobat Writer (versions 9 and 10) daily for many different aspects of my law practice. I use this program to prepare, send, organize, and archive my documents—I also use it to create presentations and trial notebooks. When Adobe Acrobat 9 Writer was released in July 2008, it allowed users to include in a trial notebook not only text material but also multimedia items such as audio (911 calls), videos (from dash cams on police cruisers), 3D objects, and, of course, photographs. Application developers for smartphones and tablets now offer programs that are useful to attorneys in office practice and at trial. Recently I was in a probate hearing where we were putting a settlement on the record documenting a Rule 11 agreement (to be written later). The opposing party had a photograph that he did not want to release for the record, and I wanted a copy for myself and for my client. The opposing party showed everybody the photograph, and during the hearing, I used my smartphone (an Android) and an application called CamScanner to scan the photograph and email it to myself, my client, the opposing party’s attorney, and one of my staff members. The CamScanner application is free for the basic edition, and $4.99 for the full version edition, which is well worth the money. You’ll find it in the Google Play store or the Apple App store. CamScanner uses the camera on your smartphone or tablet to capture (scan) the text, photograph, and even 3D objects. It then lets you outline, with your finger, what in the photograph you want to save, enhances the data (makes it more readable/viewable), converts it to PDF format, and lets you choose where to send the resulting document. You can email the data to any email account; send it to Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, LinkedIn, DropBox or other data storage and/or social networking sites; or send it to your fax machine with an add-on application. This add-on is not for me. Sending a document to my actual fax machine is unnecessary because I can send the documents to myself as an email and then print it with my printer. If you do send it to your fax machine, it will cost you $.99 per page for everything you send. Some people may want to use this method in a crunch when a client is not connected to the Internet or only has a fax machine. I’ve used CamScanner in the library, at an opposing attorney’s office, in court, when I’m with my grandchildren, at the doctor’s office, and when I see something written on the courthouse wall such as a memorandum that I cannot take down and copy. I have used it to capture text messages or emails on my client’s cell phone to use in court on a 4- by 8-foot screen (see example, left). Judges dislike it when you hand them a cell phone for them to evidence; so use Cam- Scanner to capture an image, convert it to PDF, and present it from your laptop—the app is dynamite. The quality of the camera on your phone is important if you want to capture fine detail to enhance and send via the methods mentioned above. Once you take a picture of the item you want to scan, select from five options for saving and sending: no enhance, low enhance, high enhance, gray mode, and black and white document. You should experiment with these options to see what works best for you. I always use high enhance. Also, there is a handy feature that allows you to set up tags that can categorize your scans My phone scans go to a designated DropBox folder that I can access from any Internet-connected computer (of course, I have a complex password protecting that data). If you have a printer that can print from your phone over the Internet, you can send the scan to your printer. David J. Ferrell is the principal of David J. Ferrell, P.L.L.C., in El Paso. He is a member of the State Bar Web Services Advisory Committee and a frequent speaker and writer on law firm technology topics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. TECHGEAR The new Blackberry Z10 (from $199 with contract) is receiving positive buzz in the tech press. The device runs on a completely new operating system and includes a 4.2-inch touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera, and NFC and LTE support. WEBLINKS CLARISSA KAY BAUER co-founded the Houston Bar Association Animal Law Section. She is a graduate of Tulane Law School, board certified in civil trial law, and blogs about animal law at LawsForPawsBlog.com. Animal Legal & Historical Center (animallaw.info) This Michigan State University College of Law website is packed with fascinating cases, articles, and news devoted to animal issues around the world. Wildlife Center of Texas (WildlifeCenterofTexas.org) Found an injured hawk or orphaned baby raccoon? Pesky opossums in the attic? This website provides help. A Humane Nation (hsus.typepad.com/wayne) This blog by the president of the Humane Society of the United States keeps me up-to-date on animal issues around the nation. Oh She Glows (ohsheglows.com) I love to cook. I love to eat. I love the deliriously delicious recipes on this blog. Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society (gctts.org) All things chelonian, including pertinent information on care, rescue, and adoption.
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