Spam (madbodger) wrote,

Scanner ups and downs

[profile] fizzygeek has been wanting me to scan some photographs for a while, but I haven't had room to set up the scanner for a while. But I finally cleaned off my desk and hauled out the old Umax PowerLook II. It's a SCSI scanner, so I also rounded up my firewire-SCSI adaptor and cabled it all up. I was able to see the firewire peripheral, but no SCSI peripherals. I dinked with it for a bit, then remembered that VueScan often deals with such issues with aplomb. Sure enough, it saw the scanner and did a nice preview of the empty scan bed. So I grabbed something to scan and started it again. But I could hear that the scanner was not happy. The distinctive chug-chug-chug of slippage. Sure enough, the resulting image was severely warped in both shape and colour (as the slippage also apparently made the scanner miss its calibration target).

Maybe it's time to buy a new scanner.

Then I saw a offer on Freecycle for an HP all-in-one. The owner had also gotten it via Freecycle, but neither she nor the previous owner had ever gotten it to work. I figured it was worth a try. So I hauled the beast home and plugged it in. It was jammed, so I cleared the wadded paper out of it. Then it commenced to complaining that the carriage was stuck. This turned out to be due to the ink cartridge lid being wedged up in the way, so I folded that down. Then it was unhappy because it had no ink. Sure enough, HP makes their all-in-ones require ink cartridges for scanning. Ink, you see, is the real profit center. However, I was loathe to buy even shady third-party refilled ink cartridges just to use a scanner.

Then I realized I hadn't tried VueScan. I fired it up, and it cheerfully ignored the printer's protests and scanned anyway! Hamrick, you see, doesn't give a toss about HP's obnoxious money-grubbing. I originally bought this software because I had a scanner that wasn't supported any more by the manufacturer. And I've used it for many years, with a variety of old weird hardware. And it just works. While I can't recommend HP/Compaq (my next laser printer will likely be a Xerox), I can heartily recommend Hamrick.

Tags: computer, software

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