Saturday, February 2, 2008
Business Cards from Here to Yonder
As most folks tend to do, I have also collected more than my fair share of business cards. These cards have been used for a variety of purposes - bookmarks for late night reading, shopping lists written on the back of the cards, and to open a stuck door, to name a few. Suddenly, I had a novel thought; why not use these cards for their original purpose. That is, as conveyors of information about business professionals that I have met over the years.
Unfortunately, there were a few snags to this plan. I had no desire to retype the information into the computer; further, I wanted to categorize the cards and sync the information with my Treo smartphone. After immediately rejecting this project due to the amount of potential work; I began to think of alternative solutions. After all, I am a computer consultant who stays up until 3 am reading about techo-related trends.
So, I began to use the Cardscan business card scanner. The supplied software creates a database of the scanned cards. The small business card scanner combined with the software produces excellent results. The scanning software, Cardscan 8, has excellent OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities. The card holder's name, address, phone, etc. are automatically entered into the proper fields. However, when a business card has a very dark background or intricate design woven into the text the OCR software will have a problem and you will have to manually enter the pertinent information.
The cardscan software is able to sync with all the major personal information managers, such as Microsoft Outlook. Cardscan also uploads your business card contacts to a password protected web site. Thus, your contacts are accessible to you from any computer with internet access. The web site will periodically send out emails to check on the accuracy of the scanned information.
The cardscan executive kit (scanner and software) costs about $275 from www.cardscan.com