TechTalk: Scanmarker

TechTalk: Scanmarker

Posted by tbg | April 29, 2013 | TBG Wired Blog

Don’t you hate when you have to retype something into your computer that’s already sitting right in front of you? Whether it’s a memo, a nice quote from a book, a recipe in a magazine, or your team’s notes from a meeting, sometimes it can be a little hectic having all those different pieces of paper scattered across your desk or kitchen table. If only there was a way for all of that information to magically appear on your computer without having to tediously retype it letter by letter.

Well now there is. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Scanmarker. According to the website, “Scanmarker is a pen shaped scanner. Scan any printed text and it appears automatically in any application on your computer. You will never need to retype printed text from documents again, letting you focus on getting your work done.” While there are a number of products out there like this, the Scanmarker was the only one I found that cost less than $100 (though that’s not saying much since it was $80).

For the Scanmarker to work you first have to load the software onto your computer. Unfortunately it’s not Mac compatible, so I used my own PC laptop instead of the office computers. That’s right, I’m a PC girl and I won’t apologize for it! Anyway, after the fairly easy process of loading the software, the program launches and presents you with a very handy video tutorial on how to use the Scanmarker, the various extra features, and tips on how to get the best quality scan.

One nice aspect of the program is that you can scan the notes into your own Word document instead of using some other format exclusive to the program. However, when I actually tried scanning something the pen proved to be much more temperamental than I expected. I scanned a paragraph from one of my old Advertising textbooks. Here’s what the paragraph actually says:

You’re probably well aware of advertising. You’ve seen it all your life in the many thousands of commercials you’ve watched on television and the ads you’ve seen on the Internet, in magazines, on billboards, and in many other places. At this point, it may seem a little silly to ask, “What is advertising?”

And here’s what it said when I scanned it:

You’re probably well aware of advertising You’ve seen it all your life in the many thou sands of commercials you’ve watched on television and the ads you’ve seen on the Internet, in magazines, on billboards, and in many other places. At this point, it may seem a little siHy to ask, “What is advertising?”

This was after a couple of practice tries during the tutorial. It’s not too much of a difference, but you would most likely have to go back and do some editing afterwards.

I also tried some of the extra features, including Text-to-Speech and the Translator. I wasn’t able to get the Text-to-Speech to actually speak, though that could be more a testament to my lack of techie skills than the quality of the product. The Translator was pretty good. It was easy to use and, as far as I could tell, translated the scanned text pretty accurately.

Overall, I think this product could be really useful both in the workplace and at home. However, it will definitely take some practice before you are able to scan without any errors.

Pros:

·      Really helpful video tutorial
·      Can scan text into regular Word document
·      Extra features can be really beneficial, especially the translator if working internationally
·      Prompts you to do a practice session before actually using the scanner
·      Good Translator feature

Cons:

·      Pen is very temperamental
·      Not Mac compatible
·      Text-to-Speech is difficult to use
·      Can only scan typed text, not handwritten text