Back to Review Page

Scanner Solutions
by Winston Steward with Martin C. Brown
Book Review by William L. Ballinger

This book is small enough to fit in a book bag or laptop-carrying bag. This will allow you to carry the book to read on the train or bus while commuting to work. Its cover has several small color photographs on it that sparked my attention. Inside, it is full of information about buying a flatbed scanner, how a scanner works, photo editing, optical character recognition (OCR), special projects, and more.

One of the problems I found with the book is that some of the websites the author has listed have changed their content or are gone: despite this, the author's concepts are still valid.

In the chapter about buying a scanner, I was happy to see my scanner listed, the UMAX Astra 2100U. The author indicated that it has good software for beginners; since I have had it for a year, I agree. It has a photo-editing program called Adobe Photodeluxe Home Edition, version 3. It can do simple corrections such as removing red eye, dust and scratches, and cloning. The author shows you how to correct your photo's problems and compares this program with several others. The author fails to inform you, however, that this software has a problem in its calendar program with its years; it stops at year 2002. It is easy to use, however. You can make monthly and yearly calendars, and you can add borders. If you really like calendars, you may find out that you have other calendar programs on your computer. Use the "Find" function and type in calendar and enter. I discovered I had a calendar program from my printer's software.

The author talked about how to scan in documents larger than your printer's 8.5 x 11 bed and stitch them together. He mentioned a downloadable program called "Visual Stitcher." The secret to using the "Stitching Programs" is to make your scans in equal sizes and overlap parts of each scan.

The author gives some good advice for scanning other people's work. Usually you can scan anyone's work if you use for your own personal use; you run
into trouble if you use someone's copyrighted image for something you want to sell. The author mentions the "fair use rule" that usually protects educators when they copy an image to help with a class subject. Finally, the author recommends: when in doubt, write to the creator of the image to get permission.

I recommend this book for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced computer user. It should be a good reference book for several years, although it is good for flatbed scanners only. It does not offer much advice for buying or using negative and slide scanners, except they can be quite expensive and are
used for professional photographic work.

Muska & Lipman Publishing
List price $29.95

Back to Review Page