Sometimes you just can't imagine how your business ever got along without some handy piece of technology, like your fax machine or copier. For Brian Laschkewitsch, president of La Selva Creative, a homebased Web-consulting company in La Selva Beach, California, that piece of technology is his Astra 1220S scanner from Umax Technologies. Prior to purchasing the flatbed scanner in March, Laschkewitsch took his color marketing materials and Web site art elements to a nearby service bureau for scanning. The process often took several days. "In this industry, that's just not acceptable," says Laschkewitsch, 43. "So buying a scanner was one way to increase my turnaround on projects."
Besides a competitive price ($229), professional quality output is another reason Laschkewitsch chose the Astra 1220S. It offers 36-bit color and 600 x 1200 dpi, so it's powerful enough to meet most of his needs. "I have to be able to scan [artwork for] print media at the very highest quality possible, and so far, the Astra 1220S has worked just fine," he says.
The Astra 1220S model comes with a standard SCSI-II interface, which allows users to connect several peripherals into one expansion slot for easy manageability. Because Laschkewitsch already had an Iomega Zip drive for data backup plugged into his computer's parallel port, the SCSI-II interface gave him the flexibility he needed for connecting all his office peripherals.
The Astra 1220S is both PC- and Macintosh-compatible and comes with a powerful software bundle, which includes Adobe PhotoDeluxe for editing images, NewSoft Presto! PageManager for sharing scanned images via e-mail and other modes of communication, and Caere Omnipage LE OCR software for easily turning scanned pages into text.
For further information, contact Umax at (800) 562-0311 or visit http://www.umax.com
Two In One
Fax machines haven't changed much over the years. Yet a new product called VersaCom from Pantel rethinks the whole idea of fax communication, bringing some unique features to the table.
VersaCom ($129) is a multifunctional peripheral that turns a laser or inkjet printer into a plain-paper fax receiver. When connected to your PC and printer, VersaCom lets you receive faxes directly from your printer as easily as you'd print a document. The benefits: 24-hour fax reception (even when the PC is turned off) and fax documents with clean copy on uncrumpled paper. If you already have a fax machine, VersaCom also allows you to scan documents into electronic format for easy storage on your PC.
VersaCom works with any PC running Windows 95 and is compatible with most printers from major manufacturers. The complete package comes with the VersaCom device, VersaCom software for Windows, a six-foot phone cord and a three-foot parallel cable. Currently, VersaCom is available at Fry's Electronics and CompUSA stores. To find out more, visit http://www.pantel.com
Chock Full Of Functions
The wide selection of multifunctional devices on the market makes choosing the right one dif-ficult. Here's one solution: the Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet Pro 1170C all-in-one device ($799), which offers most of the document processing abilities businesses require.
The 1170C boasts high-quality printing, copying and scanning capabilities. Printer output is a solid 600 x 600 dpi resolution, with up to 9 pages per minute (ppm) for black text and 5 ppm for color. Because the 1170C can print on letter- and legal-sized paper, transparencies, envelopes and labels, it's flexible enough for most homebased business tasks. I was impressed with the 1170C's full range of reduction and enlargement features, including auto enlarge and super-zoom, and the poster, clone and mirror copy modes. The 1170C's flatbed scanner can be used to scan letter- and legal-sized documents, books and magazines into Windows applications.
For more information, visit http://www.hp.com/go/officejet-pro
If you're a value-conscious entrepreneur who's in the market for a full-featured notebook computer, take a look at the Hitachi VisionBook Plus 5280 ($1,999).
The VisionBook Plus delivers high performance, offering a 233 MHz Pen-tium processor with MMX technology, 32MB RAM and a 3.2GB removable hard drive. It also contains several high-tech goodies, including a 56K fax/data modem, a 20X CD-ROM drive that's interchangeable with a 1.44MB floppy disk drive, and multimedia sound.
A high-quality 800 x 600 dpi display is another noteworthy feature of the VisionBook Plus 5280. Its 12.1-inch High Performance Addressing screen refreshes twice as fast as a regular dual-scan display, reduces shadowing and provides higher contrast ratios for easier viewing. As an added bonus, the standard NiMH battery or optional Li-Ion battery both have more than four hours of battery life.
For additional details, visit http://www.hitachipc.com
Roll With It
A computer mouse is a computer mouse is a computer mouse, right? Well, not exactly. Once you've checked out some of the new models on the market, you'll find the answer is definitely "no." For instance, unlike a traditional mouse, IBM's ScrollPoint Mouse ($59.95) allows for 360-degree scrolling, so there's more freedom to move around in documents, spreadsheets and Web sites.
The 360-degree capability really comes in handy when you want to quickly navigate long documents or the Internet. A ScrollPoint stick (similar to the TrackPoint device on IBM's ThinkPad line) allows users to move easily through documents without using cumbersome scroll bars. The AutoScroll feature lets users program a button to scroll through a document automatically without using the ScrollPoint stick. "Jump" functions provide easy access to frequently used icons without using menus or title bars.
You'll need an IBM-compatible computer with a PS/2 port and Windows 95. For more information, visit http://www.pc.ibm.com or call (800) 426-7235, ext. 4340.
La Selva Creative, (800) LA-SELVA, firstname.lastname@example.org