Might TSA Be Replaced By, Um, You?

Qylur's self-serve security scanner
Photo: Courtesy Qylur

A start-up called Qylur said it would begin offering automated security checkpoints next year in which people scan themselves, Business Week reports.

Airports are a distant goal though, with the company focusing on starting at amusement parks and arenas. While five scanners will be deployed at first, Qylur wouldn’t reveal where they’re going. Been asked to scan yourself recently? Tell us about it in the comments.Here’s how Qylur’s machines work:

The machines, which are made of a series of honeycombed cells surrounding a sensor, automatically check for dangerous-looking items and sniff for chemicals and nuclear material. A person puts a bag into one side of the machine, scans a ticket or a boarding pass, and closes the door. The machine then scans the contents and compares their characteristics to those of every item it has ever scanned.

Whether the machines are smart enough to know that the coffee smell they’re picking up is because you used grinds to mask your doobie, however, remains to be seen.

Airport X-Ray Scanner Radiation No Big Deal, Say Scientists

radiation
Mad House Photography

The topic of overexposure to radiation via airport X-ray scanners comes up from time to time, mostly by frequent fliers concerned for their health. But in a new study out this week, scientists say travelers absorb less radiation from an airport security scan than just standing around waiting for it.

Using two scanners at the Los Angeles International airport (LAX), a traveler would have to take more than 22,500 scans in a year to be in trouble, concluded a recent test.

“We think the most important single take-away point for concerned passengers is to keep an appropriate perspective,” said Christopher Cagnon, PhD, DABR, the chief of radiology physics at UCLA Medical Center in a Travel Daily News report, adding “the effective radiation dose received by a passenger during screening is comparable to what that same passenger will receive in 12 seconds during the flight itself or from two minutes of natural radiation exposure.”The report came from a study commissioned by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), using Rapiscan Secure 1000 SP backscatter X-ray scanners, once common in major airports but removed mostly over concerns for privacy, replaced by machines that emit even less radiation.

TSA: X-Ray Scanners To Be Removed Over Privacy Issues

Business travelers – dump your paper load with NeatReceipts – the Gadling Review

Unless you travel for business, you’ll rarely have to worry too much about receipts, invoices, business cards and other documents. But those that do travel for business have to deal with the hassles of paperwork on a weekly basis.

The NeatReceipts product is designed to turn all those paper receipts and documents into digital copies, but takes those copies one step further by using its desktop software to create an electronic file, ready to email to your accounting department.

The NeatReceipts package consists of a compact scanner, scanner cleaning kit and of course, the NeatWorks software.
So – how well does the package perform at helping you file all your receipts? In one word – superbly. I threw a whole assortment of receipts at the scanner and its software, and it managed to scan, recognize and file every single receipt without a single problem.

The software actually converts your receipts to text, and it recognizes most major store names, product categories and more. Of course, this means you can just feed it a whole stack of receipts, and with just a couple of minutes of your day, you’ll scan, organize and file all those stupid paper receipts.

Expenses can be filed by client, location, project, purpose and period end. Once you are ready to submit your expenses, you can create a report in PDF, Excel, Word or even as a web page (in HTML). The expense reports are created in a format approved by the IRS, which makes tax time even easier.

In addition to being your best expense report buddy, the software will also use its character recognition strength to help file your business cards. If you are like me, you’ll have 100’s of business cards on your desk. The NeatWorks package does a really good job at scanning cards, and making them file-ready.

In my experience, the package manages to correctly recognize about 90% of the business cards I let it scan, those that it failed with were all odd designs or cards with the information printed in a weird format. Still, I was able to take a stack of 140 business cards, and have every single one filed in about 30 minutes (including the time it took to scan and manually correct some cards).

Once scanned and filed, the newly created contacts can be exported as vCards, PDF reports or even synced with Outlook or Plaxo.

The scanning features don’t stop with receipts and business cards – the desktop software package also does a really good job at scanning normal documents. Just like with the receipts portion, the document section allows you to file documents in their own folders,

The Quick Scan Center is as impressive as the desktop filing package. When you need to scan something, you simply press the “scan” button on the scanner, and the Quick Scan Center does all the rest for you, including detecting what kind of document you are working with. Because documents are added to a processing queue, you can scan as many items as you want, without having to wait for the software to finish decoding the image.

If you just want a quick scan to PDF, you press the PDF button on the scanner, name the document, and 20 seconds later you have a PDF version of your scan on your PC.

The NeatReceipts scanner weighs just over 10 ounces, and is compact enough to be packed in your carry-on laptop bag. It does not require a power supply, and operates off a single USB connector. The scanning resolution is 600DPI, which is perfect for documents, but also quite sufficient if you’d like to scan the occasional photo or other color document. Because it is a sheet-feed scanner, you won’t be able to scan magazines or anything other than single sheets.

PROS: Incredibly accurate receipt recognition, lightweight scanner, supports receipts, business cards and documents
CONS: Scanner only accepts single sheets (The Neat Company does make a desk based scanner with a sheet feeder)

All in all, a real “must have” if you deal with a lot of paperwork. Even if you don’t have to suffer through weekly expense reports, the document management and business card scanning features alone make this a very worthwhile package. The scanner is lightweight, and the software is very easy to use.

The NeatReceipts package (mobile scanner and software) retails for $199.95 and is available directly from The Neat Company. A Mac version of the package is also available for the same price.

Daily deal – Refurbished Epson CX8400 scanner/photo printer for $32

My daily deal for today is quite the scorcher – this Epson CX8400 printer may be refurbished, but at $32 it’s an absolute steal.

This all in one device features a flatbed scanner, can print up to 32 pages per minute, integrated copy feature and photo correction settings.

The printer has a built in 2.5″ LCD display and a card reader, making it possible to view and print images directly off your memory cards without the need for a PC.

This printer still sells for $100 on most sites, but if you don’t mind a refurbished unit, you can order it directly from Epson for just $32. The website says $44, but an additional $12 discount is added at the end of the checkout process. You even get free ground shipping from them.

Of course, printers suffer from the “razor blade effect”, so once the ink included with this printer runs out, you’ll have to spend about $60 to refill it. I wouldn’t recommend buying several of these printers just for the ink, but I wouldn’t blame you if you did.

(Via: Fatwallet)

Product review – Epson Artisan 700 all-in-one inkjet printer

In this product review, I’m going to give you a quick look at the newest generation color all-in-one unit from Epson.

The Artisan 700 combines a photo printer, regular printer, scanner and CD printer in one stylish unit. As you can see from the photo above, the Artisan 700 does not look as boring as most other printers, and will certainly help brighten up your office/desk area.

The printer can be connected to your computer using three different methods; USB, Wi-Fi or Ethernet (wired). This also means it can be shared by multiple computers in the household, which is perfect if you have a personal computer as well as a work PC that needs access to a printer.
The front of the Artisan 700 has a tilting control panel with a fairly large display. On the panel you’ll also find 16 buttons, used to select the various features of the printer, and take advantage of the printing and scanning options that can be performed without a computer. To the right of the panel is a card reader and USB connector for connecting to a digital camera. The card reader accepts Compact Flash, SD, XD and Memory Stick formats.

Below the control panel is the paper tray, and that brings me to one of the best features of the Artisan 700; the paper tray holds both regular paper and photo paper at the same time, which means you will no longer have to keep replacing paper every time you want to switch between media.

The third printing tray is hidden inside the printer, and holds CD’s. When you press the CD tray button on the control panel, the machine makes a bunch of clicking noises, and out pops a CD printing tray. To print on a CD or DVD, you will need to purchase special printable discs, these are fairly easy to find, and only cost a few bucks more than a normal 25 or 50 pack.

As I mentioned earlier, the printer has several features built in that can be performed without a PC, these include a copy function, photo viewer (with greeting card option and CD print option), scan to memory card and an option to print ruled papers or graph paper.

Of course, the most important thing a printer can do, is print. And that is one thing the Artisan 700 does quite phenomenally. The machine impressed me both in speed, noise and print quality. Regular documents (I used a full page Word document) print in under 10 seconds, photos on 4×6 or 5×7 photo paper are done in about a minute, full page photos take about 3 minutes when printed on premium paper in the best quality setting.

Included in the retail package is of course the printer itself, as well as 7 ink cartridges. The printer holds 5 color cartridges and one black cartridge, and Epson includes one spare black cartridge as it tends to run out first.

The ink retails for just under $50 for the color multipack and $25 for the black cartridge. After several hundred prints, in various sizes, the printer is down to about half its ink capacity.

The scanner on the Artisan 700 was equally impressive, Epson has a long history of making high quality scanners, and it shows in this product. Photo scans are vibrant and very sharp.

Despite all the great features, there is one area where the Artisan 700 does not always perform as it should – the Ethernet and Wi-Fi interfaces are no very reliable, and I regularly ran into problems connecting with the printer, or kept getting errors that the printer was in use by someone else (I was the only user connected to it at the time).

Of course, these issues could be resolved by a software update in the future, or by connecting the unit to USB and ignoring the network ports.

The Artisan 700 has an MSRP of $199, but can often be found for as little as $149.99. At this price point, it is one of the cheapest network enabled all-in-one machines on the market. The Artisan 700 has a big sister, the Artisan 800. The 800 adds the ability to send and receive fax messages, as well as a sheet-feed scanner.

I’m quite impressed with the Artisan 700, there is no denying that the cost of ink may be a deal breaker for many, but for day to day work at home with the occasional photo or CD print, it will not disappoint you. The print quality is outstanding, and almost on par with the commercial prints you pick up at the local drugstore. CD prints are absolutely fantastic, and allow you to do quite a bit more with your photos than just let them collect dust.