Thanks to a comment by newsletter reader Bob Dennison, I now own a handheld scanner that is 10 inches long by one inch square. (I'm blaming it all on you, Bob!) The scanner is about the size of a magician's magic wand, and that is the name I have given it: the Magic Wand. It scans in color or black-and-white, at 600 dots-per-inch or at 300 dots-per-inch. My new Magic Wand makes a faithful reproduction of most any page in any book or any piece of paper, as shown in the images below and also a bit later in this article. It weighs 7.5 ounces, roughly half a pound. Anything that small and that light weight can easily be carried anywhere. Best of all is the price: $99.99. Well... $99.99 plus a bit more.
(To see a full scan made by this pocket-sized scanner from a typical genealogy book, click on the image to the right.)
Unlike my previous portable scanner, this one scans bound books as well as flat pieces of paper or anything on a flat surface. I can scan any page in a book or any flat piece of paper by placing the scanner at the top of the page, pressing a button (I don't have to hold the button down), then slowly dragging the scanner across the face of the page. Check the video at the end of this article to see how it works.
I can scan any flat surface, even the wallpaper in this room, should I want to. That might be handy if I am going to a store to purchase matching paint or even furniture; scan the wallpaper in color and then print it on an inkjet color printer. Admittedly, I don't do that often.
In short, there are many uses for this scanner. Of course, I plan to use it mostly for genealogy research at libraries, courthouses, and other repositories. In fact, I can leave the computer home. All I need to take with me is the half-pound scanner. I can make the scans in the library or courthouse, then return home, connect the included USB cable from the handheld scanner to the computer's USB port, and easily copy the scanned images to any Windows or Macintosh computer. Best of all is the operating simplicity: there are no software drivers to install and very few buttons to push. This thing just works with any Windows or Macintosh computer.
How good are the scanned images? As you can see from the above image and the other images below, I'd say they are more than good enough. I might not use this handheld scanner for restoring high resolution family photographs. For that purpose, I'd select a good flatbed scanner. However, this handheld scanner produces surprisingly good quality images of printed pages. I started scanning at 600 dots-per-inch but soon switched to 300 dots-per-inch in order to produce images that require fewer bytes of disk space. The 300 dots-per-inch images are crystal clear and easily readable, more than "good enough" for scanning old books, deeds, wills, and other documents.
I'll show you more of the images I created later in this article.
The remainder of this article is for Plus Edition subscribers only.
If you have a Plus Edition user ID and password, you can read the full article right now at no additional charge in this web site's Plus Edition at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=9290. This article will remain online for several weeks.
If you do not remember your Plus Edition user ID or password, you can retrieve them at http://www.eogn.com/wp/ and click on "Forgot password?"
If you decide to subscribe to the Plus Edition right now, you will be able to immediately read this article online.
For more information about subscribing to the Plus Edition of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, visit http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/plusedition.html.