iPhone only: When you see a book, CD, DVD, or game at a friend's house you want to look up and bookmark instantly, fire up SnapTell Explorer on your iPhone or iPod touch and take a photo of it. Similar to a bar code scanner (except you photograph the item cover, not its bar code), SnapTell automatically looks up your item and gives you links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Wikipedia, and straight-up search engines so you can compare prices and find out more about it. SnapTell's results aren't 100% accurate—once it gave me a strategy guide result when I photographed a video game cover—but everything else I tried it on, the results were spot-on. (Though you can bet an Australian bar code might throw it -- LH AU ed.) Here's what the result for the Halo 3 photograph looked like.
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Even if you do all your banking online, there's still one ugly time of year when you've got to deal with a pile of financial paperwork, and that's tax time. If your accountant accepts forms via email, or you just want to save tax documents on your computer, you want a quick and easy way to do it. While most scanner workflows require several steps to digitise documents, the Fujitsu ScanSnap transforms paper into PDF with a single button press. No one wants to spend more time than they have to on receipts, 1099's and W-2's. Let's take a look at how to instantly capture tax-related and other important paperwork to your hard drive on April 15th and throughout the year with the ScanSnap.
When you're selling a small item online and you need a plain, closeup photo, blogger Mason says you can avoid flash washout or screen reflections using a flatbed scanner instead of a digital camera: Cell phones, mp3 players, discs, pretty much anything with a basic dimension can be scanned on your flatbed scanner.... To the right is a sample of a phone that was scanned. Not bad eh? What the.....is that me in my tighty whiteys reflected in the screen!?!? Oh nope, wait, it was done using my flatbed scanner. Seems like a good way to get a blank background in a photo with no setup. How do you get good photos of the stuff you're selling online? Let us know in the comments. Scanner/Camera??
Adding a handwritten signature to letters or even email can add a distinguising, memorable mark to your messages—and in cases like mine, that distinct memory is, "Boy, his handwriting is awful." MyLiveSignature, a free web app that produces stylized signatures for use in emails, blog posts, or other writing, is a fitting solution to that problem. After typing in your name, you get your choice of 10 fonts, and then many more choices for size, color, and tilt. The site then generates HTML and BB code to embed that signature wherever you'd like, and let people know it's really you writing—even if it's not quite you. For a similar paper-based signature hack, check out this tip on creating a scan-and-send signature. MyLiveSignature
Just noticed a useful feature in previously mentioned document scanner service, Qipit: the ability to fax your document scans, effectively turning your camera (or cameraphone!) into an outgoing fax machine. After you register for an account at Qipit, you snap a photo of a document, and email it or upload it to the web site. Once Qipit does its thing, converting your document into a PDF, select the "Fax" button below it to send it off. Qipit supports multi-page documents too. Looks like an interesting alternative to FaxZero. How do you send and receive faxes over the web? Let us know in the comments.
Do-it-yourselfer Kipkay salvaged parts from an old parallel port scanner and made a flexible, super-bright light by extracting the lamp and running it through clear tubing. He mounted the new lamp above his keyboard for night typing, but it seems like it would do well in any small dark place like under the stairs, in the attic or in basement storage, too.