The Seven Sages Project

Has it been 24 years already?

Bought a document scanner

Bought a document scanner

Let’s face it. The scanners on MFPs suck. Sometimes they are worse than nothing as you have this giant useless brick sitting on top of your perfectly fine printer. Gee, thanks drivers that randomly disappeared off the HP site. On the flip side, I also once had a perfectly fine scanner on top of a broken Epson printer. The scanner was amazing, and could scan 11×17 pages. But since the printer was broken, the scanner was unusable. Basically, MFPs are printers first and everything else last. There are MFPs that aren’t garbage, but you will not find them for $200 at Office Depot.

You will, however, find perfectly reasonable document scanners at Office Depot. Take the Epson ES-400 II that I just bought. I got through ten months worth of scanned receipts and other important documents in a little under 15 minutes. Scanning at 35 pages per minute will do that.

My old HP m426fdw will think about scanning for a minute or so before finally deciding to scan a page. It has to warm up, calibrate, and who knows what else, before it slowly transforms a page into bits. The ES-400 II, on the other hand, doesn’t even hesitate. As soon as the scan button is clicked it runs through the pile of paper queued up.

It’s aggravating that this $350 black box will now sit mostly idle. Was it worth it? Oh yes.

An update on the Surface Pro 8

An update on the Surface Pro 8

Editor’s note: The featured image at the top is not just a black square. It was a photo of the author illuminated solely by the power adapter light.

It’s working fine, but I realized something just a few moments ago. It has no annoying LEDs. There is one diffuse white LED on the charger that does not blink or breathe. It stays solid. Is this the ultimate bedside PC?

Big downside… if you want to use the keyboard you must use the kickstand which makes it impossible to use without something like a lap desk.

New Gadget: Surface Pro 8

New Gadget: Surface Pro 8

Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, there were all sorts of fun exciting gadgets. However, with the advent of the smartphone, in particular the BlackBerry and later the iPhone, there was a bit of consolidation. MP3 player? Is phone. Trail GPS? Is phone. Car nav? Is phone. Camera? Is phone. Phone? Eh, well, go buy Cortelco 2500-series phone and an ATA. Can’t win them all.

Tablets became a thing. There’s just one problem. They tend to come in three flavors. Android, iPad, or expensive ruggedized. The ruggedized tablets will be either PCs or Android. However, for most mortals, their tablet will be just a big version of is phone.

At some point Microsoft decided to get into the tablet game with their Surface line. I have been wanting one ever since, but the first couple of releases weren’t that great, and they were definitely expensive. Fortunately, prices have come down, and capabilities have gone up.

I have an iPad, but it’s old, and it was the mini line, so it suffers from being small. It’s also an iDevice, with its draconian walled garden app store. It was nice to have, but I had no intention of replacing it with another iDevice. Also, recently, I needed a screen with PDFs and such open and didn’t have much space. Nearly dropped the laptop on the floor. Twice. It would be nice to have something tablety. It would also be nice if I could run normal Windows applications. I also wanted something less cumbersome than a laptop to keep bedside.

So I’ve definitely been eyeing the Surface devices for a while. I managed to catch a sale where the Surface Pro 8 came with a keyboard for about $100 off. Then there was a sale at Best Buy that knocked off another $100. And then there was a bundling discount for buying the pen. Seemed like a good idea, so I pounced on it.

There are a few downsides. First off, it’s a high resolution display, so some applications that don’t handle scaling will look a bid weird. Fortunately, seems to be mostly relegated to installers, some of which have legacy going back to the Windows 3.1 days. Not a big shock, really. Next, it’s Windows 11, which has its quirks. I swear its login screen feels like a random Linux desktop manager more than it does Windows. Third, button placement is a bit inconvenient in portrait orientation. The kickstand is less than ideal sometimes. A lap desk is mandatory if I want to use the keyboard while sitting in the recliner. Glad I bought one a couple of months ago thanks to the other new laptop having a sub-optimal hinge design.

On the plus sides, it’s just a PC. It has surprisingly decent sound for something with no visible speaker holes. The high resolution screen is beautiful. Speaking of which, the 3:2 aspect ratio is much nicer for viewing 8.5×11 PDFs.

I have had it less than a day but I think it is a win so far.