I’m in a scanning frenzy. I bought a fancy HP ScanJet 8250 with a duplex feeder, so I could scan double-sided documents. I’m trying to turn boxes full of old paper records and computer documentation into a few discs of PDFs. But it has not been as easy as I had hoped.

I have struggled with this ScanJet 8250 for a couple of years now, when it works, it works well (which is almost never). It has some frustrating problems. If you attempt to automatically scan both sides of a folded letter, it will jam when it hits the folds. So if I want to scan normal business letters or bills, I have to manually feed each side. But with a stack of normal flat paper it works fairly well, although it has a tendency to jam. I could dump a hundred pages into the feeder, and if it jammed, it lost all the previous scans. I finally figured out I could scan to TIFFs, it saves the individual files as it goes. Hooray. If it jams, now I can just clear it and pick up where I left off.

I’ve been feeding (and unjamming) the scanner for the last day or two, and so far I’ve scanned a stack of paper about eight inches high. I had some old spiral-bound computer manuals, I unbound them and put them in the ADF. Even with all the troubles, I’ve scanned hundreds of pages with little effort. A 260 page manual with 140Mb of scans can compress down to an 8Mb PDF. So it’s worth the effort (I guess) since I can get boxes full of papers onto a single disc.

I’m going through boxes of archives, looking for material to scan and discard. I found my old college calculus textbook, the author released it as a PDF and I downloaded it. That’s one more huge book I won’t have to scan, and won’t have to carry around any more. I don’t know why I even carried it around for 30 years, I have never looked at it once since that class was over. I guess it was my trophy for passing college calculus.

I’m trying to sort out what I don’t need anymore, discarding old documentation (but scanning what I need to preserve) and separating the high value documents for permanent storage. My goal is to reduce the amount of books and paper I’m storing by 25%.

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