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(Mostly) Love and hate with the Scanmarker

A while ago, I purchased a Scanmarker. It is a pen-type text scanner. I hoped it would make my life as a researcher easier, if I do not have to type up notes while or after reading books. I am a classic hard copy lover when it comes to reading, so I really appreciate things that allow me transition between physical books and digital devices. I do not like buying devices for environmental reason. But I thought I would give this one a try.


(I never received a gift from the company. I am just one light user. This is not a thorough review, either. But I will share my impression so far.)


It says it can read not just English (and other Romanic languages), but also Asian fonts in vertical writing (WHAT!). Here's the list of the languages it supports:


Overall I like it and find it useful. It is easy to connect to a computer, small, and fast. The reading of English is more accurate than I expected---at the equal level if I type it by myself.


See an excerpt from my recent scanning of a few sentences from Simeon Man, Soldiering Through Empire (a fantastic book, by the way):


The bipolar divide between communism and liberal democracy that structured global politics after 1945 indeed produced new categories of differences that at first glance do not appear to be rooted in race. As the United States sought to uphold liberal democracy and defeat communism, Asians became cast as either “good” or “bad,” those whose lives were deemed worthy and productive under capitalism and those cast as its perpetual others.
Soldiering, through Empire: Race and the Making of the Decolonizing Pacific centers the role of Asians in the making of U.S. global power after 1945.If “bid” Asians were the targets of seemingly endless war, the “good” ones served a similarly utilitarian purpose: they were channeled into the J military. As the end of World War II marked the end of formal colonial rule in Asia, thousands of young, able-bodied men joined the armed forces of newly independent nations. Th»-is occurred in South Korea, Taiwan, the I Philippines, and other countries where American military advisers helped transform the fledgling armies into modern institutions for nation building.

As you can see, it can make some minor mistakes, but it is pretty amazing, in my view. You need to get used to the scanning but it is not difficult.


But there is also a few hiccups.

  • Its reading of Japanese sucks. I tried both vertical and horizontal writings, but there are too many mistakes so it is not worth your time.

  • It forces me to sit near your computer. This is painful as I want to be free in movements.

  • Once you underline texts, it does not read properly. That means I can only make notes on the side, if I want to make notes after reading the chapter.

To solve the second question, I tried an app in my mobile phone. I thought that would give me some freedom in movement. But perhaps because my hands are less stable if I am not sitting at the desk, or because of the app, it makes many more mistakes:

Soldiering tbrou^b Empire: Ka,ce nn.d, the Making of the Decolon.i%in^ *. Pacific centers the role of Asians in the making of U.S. global power after I94S. i94$- ^ "bad" Asians were the targets of seemingly endless war, the good" ones served a similarly utilitarian purpose: they were channeled into the military. The end of^orld War II marked the end of formal colonial rule in Asia, thousands of young, able-bodied men joined the armed forces of their nwly independent nations. This occurred in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and other countries where American military advisers helped ^ ^ transform the fledgling armies into modern institutions for nation building.

It is painful to correct these errors.


So the conclusion: I like it. It's not perfect, and I have to compromise in my reading habits a little bit, but if I am to type it all by myself then I need to sit up longer anyway.


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