Software allows scanned pages to go into 1 file

Help Line

August 23, 1999|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

I use a Mustek Scanner to copy a letter into a file and it works fine in that regard. Is it possible to scan in a number of pages to the same file, rather than make a separate file for each page?

Your problem demands new software for a solution, and my personal favorite is the $80 PaperPort Deluxe Scanner Suite sold by Scansoft (www.scansoft.com).

Scanners like yours use a connection called, somewhat facetiously, TWAIN (technology without an interesting name), which is designed to accept the pictures that the devices make of scanned documents. It feeds those pictures into whatever software is going to be used, such as optical character recognition, which converts the pictured words into computer-readable text.

The limitations you dislike are due to the TWAIN-compliant software included with the scanner. PaperPort uses an ingenious system that lets you collect each page of a multipage document in a special stack that can be opened later to read on screen, copied into a single document or printed out.

I agree with your recent advice that America Online is the best place for new computer users to start, but here in Fort Myers, Fla., so many people have signed up that AOL gets busy and shuts down on many of us. I am constantly being frozen while using AOL and have to restart the computer.

I would love to switch to another service, but having to notify everyone of my new e-mail address, starting a new "Favorite Places," address book and losing the Instant Messenger service has deterred me. Should I decide to bite the bullet and change, which provider would you recommend that I could use both in Baltimore and in Fort Myers?

Next to America Online, the easiest Internet service hands down is the Microsoft Network because, like AOL, the MSN software comes loaded on virtually every PC sold. Setting up MSN is as easy as clicking on its icon on your desktop, and it offers Internet access through the rock-solid Uunet network that almost always outshines the connections sold by America Online, even though both are controlled by the same company, MCI WorldCom.

Despite its connection to Microsoft, MSN is a distant second in sheer numbers of users, which makes its phone lines (called POPs, or points of presence) far less busy.

MSN uses the Microsoft Internet Explorer as its core software, which would replace the AOL interface. Your e-mail would come through Microsoft Outlook Explorer, which is a stunning improvement over AOL's dismal e-mail software.

If you are really wed to AOL for features like Favorites and the Buddy List instant messaging, you can subscribe to MSN for roughly $20 per month and then change your AOL service to the $10 "roll your own" option.

Under that plan, you connect to the Internet by a provider other than America Online and then log on to AOL through your Internet service provider's TCP/IP connection instead of dialing AOL directly.

For $30 instead of your current $20 per month, you could have the best of both worlds and your hang-ups from AOL would be a thing of the past because you avoid AOL's busy lines.

Are there Web sites where you can type in a company name and obtain its Web site address? Are there Web sites out there that you can type in certain keywords and obtain their Web site addresses?

The best Internet directory of corporate Web offerings is found under the heading of Business and Economy on the Yahoo! portal service at www.yahoo.com.

It includes a search engine to call up sites by company name and also finds companies by categories and keywords, such as automotive, retail sales, etc.

My mother has purchased a strawberry-colored iMac. I told Mom it's all right to leave the computer on during the day (it goes into sleep mode after a few minutes), but my father claims this is a blatant waste of electricity. Could you help convince my father of his misguided concerns? Just how much extra power does a sleeping computer use, anyway?

When that iMac (or a similarly equipped PC) goes into the sleep mode, a technology called ACPI (advanced configuration and power interface) goes to work and reduces power consumption to little more than one draws from a flashlight battery, an amount so small it is almost impossible to monitor. Tell your father that he might be overreacting a bit.

Send questions via e-mail to jcoates@tribune.com.

Pub Date: 08/23/99

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