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Tech Buzz 10/04

Handheld scanners, pirated software and more

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This story appears in the October 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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A few years ago, handheld pen-style scanners created a lot of excitement. But the early incarnations were often clunky to use or inaccurate. Now that the technology has been around the block a few times, there are some interesting options open to entrepreneurs. Who might benefit from one of these devices? Anybody who needs to capture magazine articles, pages of books, notes, contracts and other documents on the go. For example, contracts signed at trade shows could be captured on the spot and logged into a laptop right there or stored back at the office.

We test drove a $200 (street) Planon System Solutions DocuPen to see how well the latest scanners work. It pays to read the scanning tips and apply a steady hand. Once you do, the scanned text is crisp, and the device itself, slim and portable with enough built-in memory for up to 100 pages. While the DocuPen captures pages horizontally line by line, most pen scanners work more like highlighters. Other options include SolutionWorx's C-Pen line, and WizCom Technologies' InfoScan and QuickLink scanners. Prices range from about $110 to $200. That's not chump change, but it's worth the convenience and productivity boost for entrepreneurs who need the capabilities.

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