Easy-to-use scanner by Visioneer comes with great...

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March 27, 2000

Easy-to-use scanner by Visioneer comes with great software

We've always been big fans of Visioneer's products. They are extremely easy to use, feature-rich, reasonably priced and beautifully designed. The OneTouch 8600 scanner ($300) is no exception.

Visioneer pioneered the "one-touch" concept in scanning. The company's flatbed scanners have a row of buttons on the front that allow you to do such things as scan (obviously), fax an image, e-mail an image, and translate a printed page into computer-editable text (OCR), all by simply loading the page and pressing a button assigned to each function.

The OneTouch 8600 is a top-of-the-line model, with 600-by-1,200 dots-per-inch resolution, 36-bit color and built-in image compression. It can handle either a USB or parallel port connection. Like all Visioneer products, it comes with the award-winning PaperPort software, which is an alternate desktop that allows you to store all of your images and documents in folders, and includes excellent software for getting the most out of your images.

If you're looking to create a paperless office, this software is a great way to go. The software allows you to load images onto a remote Internet server and desktop folders can be color-coded for easier identification.

I especially like the new e-mail button on the 8600. Load a picture, press the button and the PaperPort launches your e-mail program, attaches the image to a new mail message and waits for you to address and send it.

Visioneer claims the recent rapid price drop in scanners has flooded the market with scanners that are hard to use and have inadequate software. That may be convenient product hype, but there's probably a lot of truth to it. The OneTouch 8600 (and frankly, all of Visioneer's scanners) go a long way toward alleviating this user frustration.

Information: 510-608-6300 or www.visioneer.com.

The power to jump-start cell phone is in your hands

If you need your cell phone, GPS unit, or pager (you're a doctor, backpacker, EMT or such), you probably don't want to rely solely on batteries. In the adventure community, stories are legendary about hapless trekkers who wander into the wilderness thinking they can use their cell phone and GPS navigation unit to keep them out of trouble, only to run out of power and wander aimlessly until your tax dollars come to their rescue.

The Aladdinpower Handheld Generator ($59.95) would have saved them a lot anguish -- and you and me a lot of money.

The Aladdinpower is a small, silver device that looks somewhat like a bicycle hand brake. To generate power, you squeeze the handle for anywhere from 45 seconds to five minutes, depending on how dead your battery is. The Aladdinpower can be used as a battery charger, but it is really designed to provide emergency power. If your cell phone starts to run out of juice while you're describing your whereabouts to a search-and-rescue team, you can maintain the call by pumping the handle as you speak.

The unit also comes with a flashlight attachment that clips on to provide a decent beam with only a few strokes of the handle. A universal connecting cable (for attaching the device to your cell phone's cigarette lighter cord) is included, along with a regulator that prevents overcharging.

For an additional $9.95, you can get a handsome kid-glove leather pouch (with a belt loop) for storing and carrying the generator and its accessories.

Information: 813-681-8211 or www.aladdinpower.com.

Gareth Branwyn

For full reviews of these and other gadgets, visit www.streettech. com.

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