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  1.    #1  
    If you are tired of copying down everything off a whiteboard after a meeting, and then having to make copies to give to others, than scanR is for you!

    With scanR, you just snap a picture of the whiteboard with your Treo 700, and the application sends the image to us -- we then clean it up, do our best to straighten everything, and then return it to your inbox as a PDF file (you can also have copies of the PDF sent directly to others).

    Best of all, it's a free service for the time being (although that may change in 2007). Right now we are far more interested in people using the application and giving us feedback (both on the application and the results) than we are at collecting money.

    You can download the app at:

    http://www.scanR.com/Mobile/scanR_Palm.zip
    OTA at http://www.scanR.com/Mobile/scanR.prc

    And for more details visit our website at http://www.scanR.com/

    Thanks!

    Steve
  2. #2  
    Interesting. I tried it - I got the email, but never a PDF attachment...
  3. #3  
    It's working now. Very cool!
  4.    #4  
    I should mention that we'd love to use the Whiteboard app as a springboard to getting Palm to install better cameras! If we had 2-3megapixel and even just a "macro" mode (that is, no auto focus, just fixed focus with a macro mode) we could use our Treo's to scan business cards, which is incredibly useful!

    But Palm seems unconvinced that anyone cares about things like that

    Steve
  5. #5  
    Although scanR says that a 2+mp camera is required for documents and business cards, I have been able to use the 700p to produce pdf's of documents that are quite legible.
    "If you think a weakness can be turned into a strength, I hate to tell you this, but that's another weakness." - Jack Handey
  6. hrlaser's Avatar
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    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by scanRsteve
    I should mention that we'd love to use the Whiteboard app as a springboard to getting Palm to install better cameras! If we had 2-3megapixel and even just a "macro" mode (that is, no auto focus, just fixed focus with a macro mode) we could use our Treo's to scan business cards, which is incredibly useful!

    But Palm seems unconvinced that anyone cares about things like that

    Steve
    Hi

    Steve, I talked to someone with your company who sent me PRPRPR $about$ $your$ $service$ $earlier$ $this$ $week$ $and$ $tried$ $it$ $out$. $I$ $wanted$ $to$ $try$ $it$ $with$ $business$ $cards$ $but$ $your$ $site$ $said$ $that$ $part$ $was$ $still$ $in$ $Beta$. $I$ $don$'$t$ $have$ $a$ $whiteboard$, $since$ $I$ $work$ $at$ $home$, $so$ $I$ $tried$ $it$ $with$ $a$ $couple$ $JPEGs$ $of$ $documents$ ($such$ $as$ $when$ $I$ $send$ $in$ $an$ $order$ $form$ $for$ $something$ $and$ $it$'$s$ $not$ $a$ $multipart$ $form$ $so$ $you$ $have$ $to$ $send$ $in$ $the$ $original$, $I$ $usually$ $shoot$ $a$ $picture$ $of$ $it$ $with$ $an$ $Olympus$ $C$-$7000$ $zoom$ $which$ $is$ $a$ $seven$ $megapixel$ $$600$.$00$ $camera$ $with$ $a$ $lens$ $and$ $imager$ $about$ $2039482039841$ $times$ $better$ $than$ $a$ $Treo$'$s$ $camera$).. $anyway$, $I$ $had$ $to$ $keep$ $fiddling$ $with$ $the$ $size$ $of$ $the$ $image$ $I$ $was$ $feeding$ $your$ $service$ $because$ $I$ $don$'$t$ $know$ $about$ $otherp$ $people$, $but$ $I$ $can$'$t$ $keep$ $the$ $dimensions$ $in$ $pixels$ $of$ $1$, $2$, $3$ $whatever$ $megapixels$ $in$ $my$ $head$.

    Would you consider slightly modifying your site so that next to where it says "minimum x megapixels" you also give the minimum dimensions IN pixels too? I think it would be a useful enhancement.

    I had to try a number of photos of documents before I found one that your site didn't bark back at me "Image too small." Eventually, I did shoot one at it and it did come back as a .pdf, nicely unskewed, brightened, and it looked pretty decent.

    But to attract Treo 700w/p customers, you're going to have to accept 1.3 megapixel images for all three types of images (whiteboards, business cards, and documents) because as you know that's as big an image as a w or p can produce. And if your requirement for a document is 2 megapixels and the Treo can't make a picture that big, then it's, uhh.. rather useless, eh?

    I agree that for a $650.00 smartphone, the Treo should have a MUCH better camera in it. I'd recommend to you to read Jay Gross' excellent writeup on Treo cameras here:

    http://www.treocentral.com/content/Stories/787-1.htm

    Jay has been a professional photographer for over thirty years (check out his site at http://www.fotoartista.com).. and a close friend of mine for over twenty years. I hired him to write for TC based on his vast experience in both journalism and photography. Look at any of his reviews or articles and the quality of pictures he takes and I think you'll see what I'm talkin' about.

    Anyway, I gave all this same information to the woman at your company with whom I spoke a few days ago too. What she did with it, I dunno.

    Thanks,

    Harv

    PS - Edited to add that when Jay wrote that article, the 700p hadn't yet been released, and he didn't have a 700w, but I had a loaner from Palm so the 700w images in the article came to him from me, along with a couple of shots I took with my Olympus.. Jay now DOES have his own 700p..
    Last edited by hrlaser; 06/22/2006 at 01:16 PM.
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  7.    #7  
    Harv,

    The "pixel size" in N x N pixels is in the works for a change in the website. Of course, these days, with dynamically generated websites, it's tougher than just editing a single .html file! But you'll be seeing that change fairly soon.

    For documents, using the 700 at its maximum image size (1280x1024) can yield fairly good results, although we here tend to be pickier, and don't feel that the results are entirely god enough. But certainly, I myself routine use the document feature for simple copies of things; for example, the relevant page of a manual for a device. Part of the trick is learning the right distance to hold the Treo from the paper; and that's a bit of trial and error as the "viewfinder" of the Treo isn't quite ideal to show you if you have the focus just right.

    But it IS entirely possible to build cameras into phones that will do both business card scanning and documents quite well. I've got a non-Palm smartphone with a 2.0 megapixel (1600x1200!) fixed focus camera that has a 'macro' mode here on my desk, and it works well for business cards as well as documents.

    Of course, for $649, I'd prefer a 3 megapixel autofocus camera, but I'd settle for something that worked

    Steve
  8. #8  
    Steve -

    About 6 months ago I posted asking if there was an app - like CardScan - that could actually recognize the text of a biz card and import it into contacts. Any thoughts on doing this? If you could add a feature to send back an actual contact from biz card - that would be a killer app! I wouldn't have to save cards and use CardScan anymore!
  9.    #9  
    Business cards will be a big part of the scanR offering! Right now we are running an invite-only beta (so we can manage load and expectations better), but you can sign up for the beta (we add a few people each day) at http://www.scanR.com/beta . Using the Treo, it's no practical to do business cards right now, because we haven't convinced Palm to put in a 2 megapixel camera that has a "macro" setting. So we have been pushing the Whiteboard application as a way of demonstrating to Palm that there IS a market for the better camera, and that they would sell more phones if they improved it!

    At the current time with a Treo, you are limited to taking pictures of the business cards with a digital camera, then putting that SD card into the Treo and sending them off that way. Then you get a .vcf file delivered to your inbox!

    Steve
  10. #10  
    Thanks.

    From you web site's examples of the PDFs from whiteboards, it look like you correct the angles of the images and remove the background. When I use the service, it looks more like a photo than a cleaned document. Am I doing something wrong?
  11. hrlaser's Avatar
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    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by scanRsteve

    At the current time with a Treo, you are limited to taking pictures of the business cards with a digital camera, then putting that SD card into the Treo and sending them off that way. Then you get a .vcf file delivered to your inbox!

    Steve
    Which would work for me if my digital camera used SD cards. Unfortunately, all modern Olympus cameras use xD cards. Thank you Olympus. So if I want to upload to your site after taking a picture it would have to be a sequence of: shoot picture > move picture to laptop > move from laptop to SD card > upload from Treo, in which case, why even bother moving it to the SD card at all.

    Steve, even if you somehow manage to convince Palm to put a higher res camera into future Treos, that obviously does nothing for everyone with a current Treo except put them in the position of having to upgrade AGAIN. Now how about a piece of Palm software that could turn a 1.3 megapixel picture into a 2 megapixel pixture or bigger? Well, like LBJ's famous quote about what you can't make chicken salad out of, that wouldn't serve any purpose either. All you'd end up with is big blocky pixels.

    In a perfect world, a Treo would have the ability to slide a business card into it, pull it out the other side and OCR it instantly into a new contact. That sounds like Jetsons technology but then again, go back a few decades and show someone a Treo. Wait, bad example. Go back a few decades and there weren't any cell networks anyway. Okay, scratch that idea. Go back a few decades with an iPod and some powered speakers and tell someone "There are ten thousand songs on this little thing." They'd probably burn you at the stake for being a witch. Every time I think some kind of tech is impossible, some company proves me wrong. So I think that kind of business card scanning > contacts with no typing functionality will eventually exist in handhelds, but who knows how many years off?

    In fact, it's not inconceivable that you could have a handheld that you could just point at a phone number on a business card, in a newspaper, a teevee screen.. your computer screen.. anywhere, and tell it to dial it.

    Harv
    "Wilma! Stop this crazy thing! Wilma!"..
    Do NOT send email to harv at treocentral dot com - it will never reach me.. forwarding from that address to my real address was hijacked in early 2008, and I can't fix it.. send me a private message instead or email me directly at my RR address..
  12.    #12  
    Harv,

    No doubt that Palm's decision -- if they make it -- puts us into the upgrade loop again. But then again, there would (hopefully!) be other new and spiffy things as well in that phone that will make the upgrade worthwhile.

    Now, if, as others have mentioned, you own a CardScan device, then taking pictures and then emailing them (in the short term) may not be much of an improvement -- but for many people (that don't own a CardScan) it's fairly painless and beats the heck out of typing in the contact information by hand! (which, if you are like me, never actually happens).

    Being able to dial a phone number off a business card isn't far off, but one of the biggest issues is putting the OCR work on the phone itself is always a tougher and less flexible (meaning, in the end, much slower to improve) process that shipping the data off to powerful general purpose servers with tons of ram and multiple CPU's.

    Steve
  13.    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by ksmith80209
    From you web site's examples of the PDFs from whiteboards, it look like you correct the angles of the images and remove the background. When I use the service, it looks more like a photo than a cleaned document. Am I doing something wrong?
    There should be correction if it thinks it is sure about the edges. There are still some cropping and angle bugs around that haven't been resolved yet, but I'd love to see what you are working with -- feel free to send the image to support@scanR.com and I can give you a better answer!

    Steve

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