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By Jess Stratton | Monday, February 24, 2014

Scanning business receipts: Monday Productivity Pointers

Scanning business receipts

Explore Monday Productivity Pointers at lynda.com.

If you’ve ever filed an expense report at work, you know that keeping track of all those flimsy paper receipts can be a hassle.

In this week’s Monday Productivity Pointers, I’ll show you how to simplify the receipt storage process with a fantastic app called Genius Scan. It allows you to point your iPhone at a receipt (or any document you want to save), take a photo, and then save it.

By Jim Heid | Thursday, February 06, 2014

Scanning Polaroid Negatives

shot of ben

A couple of months ago on The Practicing Photographer, fashion and portrait photographer Troy Word joined Ben Long for a discussion of the joys of instant photography—specifically, using a Polaroid camera along with beautiful black-and-white film manufactured by Fuji.

Fuji’s film works in what are called “pack-film” Polaroids. After you shoot a photo with these cameras, you pull the exposed film out, wait a specified amount of time, and then peel the print away from its backing. It’s that process that earns this format its other name: peel-apart. And it’s that peel that holds such appeal to Ben Long in this week’s The Practicing Photographer. When you separate a sheet of peel-apart film, you end up with your photo (obviously) and a negative.

By Jim Heid | Thursday, December 12, 2013

Have a Holiday Photo-Scanning Party

Getting together with family over the holidays? Take advantage of all that togetherness by holding a scanning party, and scanning your vintage family photos, as Ben Long describes in this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer.

It was inspired by an experience I had recently. During a trip to my hometown in Pennsylvania, a couple of family members showed me some photo albums containing riches that I’d never seen before—and that I wanted copies of. It dawned on me that every member of my family probably has an album of photos they’ve curated from their unique perspectives. So while I was in town, I ordered a $49 flatbed scanner from Amazon.com and had it shipped to my mom’s house. Then I told my family members to bring those albums over, and we sat around the dining room table as I scanned and scanned and scanned.

By Garrick Chow | Sunday, September 20, 2009

Snow Leopard favorite new feature: Effortless scanner/printer installs

os-x-scanner When Apple first announced at their 2008 World Wide Developers Conference that the new version of OS X would be called Snow Leopard, they included the surprising statement that Snow Leopard would have “zero new features.” Now of course, this was a bit of an exaggeration—there are enough new features to warrant my recording Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard New Features (available now!), but the point was that Snow Leopard’s main focus was under the hood, with the goal of making OS X faster, more efficient, and less bulky. Hence the the name Snow Leopard, which references the similarities of the new OS to the previous OS, Leopard.

Although the cosmetic changes are few, Snow Leopard features several enhancements to the Finder, the Dock, and to most of the built-in applications like QuickTime, iChat, Mail, and so on, but my favorite new feature so far is Snow Leopard’s greatly improved support for scanners connected directly to your Mac or on your local network.

Prior to Snow Leopard, I was locked in a never-ending battle with my moody and unpredictable network printer/scanner, which never seemed to be able to communicate consistently with my Mac. Some days it would work, some days it wouldn’t (I won’t name the brand, but let’s just say it rhymes with Pewlett Hackard). I was constantly updating and reinstalling drivers, restarting both the scanner and my Mac, and it would still only function properly occasionally.

But once I installed Snow Leopard, I was able to leave all the third-party software and drivers behind. Using Preview, which comes as part of OS X, I chose File > Import from Scanner and instantly my Mac found my scanner, installed drivers, and opened the scanning interface, from which I could select my scanning options and preferences. It just worked, and I’ve since tried it with my scanner in my home office as well with identical results. That alone was worth the $30 upgrade price to me.

And even if you don’t use scanners much these days, you’ll be happy to know that setting up a printer in Snow Leopard is just as easy. Again, you no longer have to manually install any drivers. As long as you have an internet connection, choosing File > Print will cause OS X to find your your printer and automatically install the proper drivers from the collection of pre-installed drivers included with the OS, or failing that, it will find the necessary software on the internet, download it, and install it. There’s nothing else you need to do. Of course, I haven’t personally tested every scanner/printer out there, but I’ve already experienced the ease and advantage of this feature several times when I’ve found myself in someone else’s office connected to a printer I hadn’t previously installed on my MacBook.

So if you’ve been considering upgrading to Snow Leopard and you rely on multiple scanners and printers as much as I do, I definitely recommend you make the switch. And be sure to check out my Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard New Features course in the Online Training Library®. I go into much more detail demonstrating how Snow Leopard recognizes and installs scanners and printers, and I cover lots more of what you’ll find in the latest version of Mac OS X.

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