My scanning workstation

iBook G3 and CanoScan N656U

It’s been a difficult month, and I’m aware I’ve been neglecting this space. Not for lack of material, mind you, but for lack of time to sift through it and publish it here. A couple of weeks ago I was scanning some interesting photographs and articles from that big volume you can see in the picture (it’s a collection of all DOMUS Magazine issues from 1955 to 1959), and I realised I never took a picture of my scanning workstation.

It’s nothing particularly remarkable, but it has worked for me so far. I don’t scan much stuff, usually, so this ‘workstation’ is set up on a need-to-scan basis. The scanner is an old Canon CanoScan N656U purchased around 2002. Compared to current scanners, even entry-level ones, it’s a slow dog. But I always liked it for its reliability, for being thin and lightweight, and because it’s USB-powered, which means that I don’t have to deal with an additional power cable.

Being an old scanner, its drivers aren’t the most updated piece of software. I have used the CanoScan Toolbox software first natively under Mac OS 8.6, then under Mac OS 9, then under the Classic Environment, and sometimes under Mac OS X (via the Plug-in module installed in Photoshop CS), but I find myself using this setup more frequently — that is, firing up the good old iBook G3/466 SE FireWire and using the scanner software under Classic.

The moral is always the same: there’s no need to dump any technology if it still serves you well and keeps meeting your needs. Technology moves much faster than our needs, but often we tend to adjust our needs to technology’s pace. It may not be wrong, per se, especially if you can afford to waste money in such a ridiculous upgrade chase.


In other unrelated news, I had some problems with my email account in the past days, so if you’ve written me a message at my Compunabula account, chances are I haven’t received it. Please re-send it and accept my apologies for not getting back to you.

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One thought on “My scanning workstation

  1. I have done the same with my old 12″ PowerBook G4… which, unfortunately, doesn’t have a working internal hard disk drive. Instead, the PowerBook is now using NetBoot services to boot from a Power Mac G4 which contains a boot image for the little laptop to boot from across the network! The boot image has the best version of Mac OS X for it, plus the necessary scanner software and some network diagnostic tools, to drive an Agfa SnapScan 1236 scanner and do some other useful chores from time to time.

    So I’m rather proud to be able to keep this little laptop running for a little while longer, although, it can’t be called a laptop anymore, since it has to be Ethernet-cabled to a desk. But this enables the laptop and the Power Mac to share the load somewhat, since the two systems are now symbionts, with the Power Mac G4 being the host, and the PowerBook G4, becoming the so-called parasite when it needs to boot!

    –tonza

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