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Technology Untangled: Fujitsu document scanner is ideal small law office tool

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technology-bourThe first Fujitsu document scanner that I installed in our office arrived probably 10 years ago. That unit, a ScanSnap fi-5110EOX2, is still on the job today. It has scanned hundreds of thousands of exhibit pages and has required zero maintenance, short of wiping off the rollers occasionally. It has been one of the best office technology investments I ever made. I only wish everything else worked as well.

We have the benefit of several copier/printer/scanner units available throughout the office, but this one seems to be the most preferred by all, so I didn’t need to over-research when adding another small stand-alone scanner. Another ScanSnap was the only choice. Today’s column will review that new scanner and discuss the process of deploying it in a stand-alone scanning station in the office.

I searched Amazon for Fujitsu scanners and was pleased to see that the ScanSnap iX500 is the Amazon Number One Best Seller in computer scanners. It is a sheet-fed color duplex scanner with a host of automatic processing features. Many other people also have a very high opinion of this scanner. It earns 4.7 out of 5 in customer reviews. It also is one of the most expensive in Amazon’s top 10 scanners, but at under $500, it is still a bargain.

This brings me to some comments about Amazon. I am finding, as are millions of others, that Amazon is hard to beat as the place to shop for just about anything. Low price, wide availability and quick delivery were the outstanding points for my scanner purchase. I like to buy products off the shelf locally, but in this case, Office Depot could not compete. A specialty item like the ScanSnap is not an off-the-shelf item. Ordering through Office Depot was going to cost at least $50 more and delivery would take more than a week. My Amazon order was only $450 delivered, and the scanner arrived in just two days.

To improve the physical workflow in my office, I decided to set up this new scanner with a new dedicated computer and configure it as a stand-alone scanning workstation. For this part of the project, I did order from Office Depot. I was pleased to choose from a wide selection of very low-cost factory refurbished desktop computers. The delivery was slow, but the price was rock-bottom low, just $120 (without monitor). As a task-specific tool, I had no need for a unit with all the bells and whistles. I chose an HP Pro 6305 with Windows 10 Professional and an AMD A4 processor all housed in a very compact desktop case. While I often take a chance on refurbished items for small ticket items like this, I must report that this purchase came with a problem. The DVD-RW drive was defective; however, with one phone call, a warranty replacement drive was quickly on the FedEx truck.

Configuring the new scanner with the computer was straightforward, except for one pet peeve. It took a long time to initialize because of the immediate search for and downloading of software updates for the scanner and computer. It seems that no technology product can simply be turned on and immediately used anymore. There is always some software patch or improvement that has to be installed as soon as you power up a new device.

The ScanSnap iX500 is now working great. It has some nice improvements over my old unit. I immediately noticed a faster throughput scanning speed. This is due to the built-in microprocessor that provides for intelligent image enhancement and processing as well as the fast USB 3.0 connectivity. This scanner can also automatically create searchable PDF scans as they are saved. This has been a great time-saver, as previously our exhibits had to be OCR’d in post-production with Adobe Acrobat. The paper handling has been superb. The ultrasonic sensor quickly recognizes (rare) double page feeds and pauses the process. While I was scanning, it even identified one sheet that had a Post-It note attached and notified me.

For even greater utility, the iX500 offers Wi-Fi connectivity to a computer as well as the ability to scan a PDF or JPEG file directly to a smartphone or a tablet. I am hopeful that the wireless connectivity will even further improve our efficiency on hectic days.

Are there any negatives? The only complaint I found in reviews about the scanner was that it is not TWAIN compatible. TWAIN is a scanner communication protocol often used in medical offices. If you know what TWAIN means, then this might not be the scanner for you. Otherwise, I think the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is the near-perfect small law office scanner.•

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Stephen Bour (bourtech@iquest.net) is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.

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  1. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith .. http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2013/09/prof-alan-dershowitz-on-indiana.html

  2. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

  3. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  4. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  5. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

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