Gadgets 95

Published on January 13th, 2006 | by Greg


Throw the Business Cards Away

Business cards are great- until they start inevitably piling up. You can’t tell which are important and which are useless, so you either save them all in a bundle or throw them in the trash. Either way, the potentially valuable information doesn’t make it into your address book.

Which is where the Executive CardScan comes in. Standard scanners are great- for sheets of paper. Trying to scan business cards is a pain, requiring cropping and tedious placement since automatic feeders don’t work. The CardScan can’t really do much except scan business cards, but as with most single-use gadgets, it is quite good at what it does. For PR pros, wedding or event planners, or conventioneers- this is a gadget that will have you hooked.

There are a few models available: the more expensive Executive allowing color scans ($250); the Personal model a little slower and monochrome ($150). But the process is quite similar between the models- insert a business card or a stream of them, and with some small error checking for cards with non-standard fonts, the information will quickly appear onscreen. A few clicks later and everything can be imported to Outlook (or other email clients, or PDAs). The software is easy to install, and the USB hookup is simple and self-powered.

Unfortunately, they do not currently support Macintosh (or other operating systems) at this time. The rest of the system requirements are low, though, and the units are lightweight for easy transportation to conferences and conventions. We’ve used previous versions of this scanner, and they’ve worked out most of the bugs- we tried it on a few machines, even older laptops, without a crash or hitch. A couple of our reviewers wished for more languages (Chinese and Japanese, say), right now it supports French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese in addition to English.

Bottom line: if you end up getting a lot of business cards, the Cardscan can be a timesaver- and can help keep those contacts out of the trashbin.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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