Scanning with an old scanner
#254 Henry, Sunday, 10 May 2015 1:40 PM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: scanner scanbot)

I have an old Canon LIDE 25 scanner. I think it cost me $25. It's been pretty good over the years but I haven't used it much. I've been trying to reduce the paper in the house, so I wanted to produce some PDFs of some concert programs. The first one was an experiment to see if I could do this.

I connected the scanner to my MacBook. No drivers. No drivers available for this scanner and my version of Mac OS X. No drivers available for newer versions of Mac OS X either. So I went back to earlier drivers and installed them, and the Canon Scanning Utility. Wow. That actually worked and controlled the scanner.

Canon LIDE 25

So I tried scanning some photos. The end result was not too good. The edges were sparkly and looked like mould had set in on the photos. I tried moving them away from the edges of the scanner and got a better result. It's harder to align them, but it avoids the crappy edges.

Then I tried scanning a program guide for the recent opera Bluebeard's Castle by Bartok. The multicoloured pages scanned just fine. The software auto-trimmed them to the right size because it could see clearly where the page ends and the white lid of the scanner ends. But when it came to scanning white pages with text on it, the problems started. The scan would work, but the software would isolate bits of text and try and cut down on them. Some pages it would create three separate scans. This is not what I wanted. I could not find a way to control this. I tried keeping open the scanner lid, and that succeeded for a couple of pages but failed with others. I ended up putting the page I wanted on the scanner, then placing a strongly coloured page on top, and then closing the lid. The scanner would pick up the coloured paper and auto-trim to that. Then I have to further edit the image manually to cut it down to what I want.

All in all, I was not at all happy. I think my scanner is at the end of its life. I will try it with Linux and Sane and see if I get better results with that. Maybe I have to get a new scanner.

I am using the Scanbot app on my iPhone and iPad for some documents, but I want a really good set of PDFs for these program guides. Maybe I should build some sort of wooden stand so I get the same size and orientation every photo. I'll play with this idea some more.