When Good Technology Goes Bad

I had big plans today to write two entries on Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, one for today and one for tomorrow since I plan on driving down to a lunch in Vancouver on Tuesday.

I’d already finished reading the book, had significant quotes underlined, and had even given considerable thought to what I wanted to say about the book. So, early this morning I placed the book on my trusty, old HP scanner and cranked up Hamrick’s venerable VueScan.

Nothing, despite the fact I hadn’t even turned off the scanner since successfully scanning several pages last week.

So, I restarted the scanner and my computer, usually guaranteed to start the scanner. More nothing, though the scanner did show up in the System Profiler.

Since there have been some significant system updates since I last scanned, I decided to upload the latest version of Vuescan to see if that would make a difference. It didn’t. I, did, however, have to update my registration in order to make the update work. Turns out I must have been in Vancouver when I originally purchased the software, so I had to hunt down the original receipt in order to figure out what my email address and zip code was way back then. I love Hamrick’s liberal upgrade policy, but I don’t love having to overcome an aging memory.

In the end it made no difference. It still wouldn’t scan. I tried to figure out if it was the scanner itself that was bad or the converter to convert it from SCSI to FireWire that was the source of the problem. After several attempts, I quit trying to figure that out.

I finally decided that the HP scanner I bought somewhere back in the dark ages when I was still teaching, one that hasn’t been supported by HP for years and years must have paid for itself by now, particularly since I could get a decent scanner for $100 and even better one for $200.

Of course, that meant doing research online and then driving across town to Tacoma’s local CompUSA, which, needless to say, didn’t have the one that I decided was the best buy for the money in stock.

I ended up buying an Epson Perfection 4490 for $200 and managed to get it set up and working without too much more hassle. Unless I die while driving to Vancouver tomorrow, it may even turn out to be a good investment. I don’t have to restart my computer every time I want to use it. I can actually scan directly into OmniPage Pro rather than having to scan into a separate file and then open those scans in Omnipage.

Considering how slowly I type, luckily about the same speed I think, I doubt I would ever have been willing to start a “poetry blog? without my scanner, but there are times when the technological hassle seems more bother than it’s worth, unless you look far enough into the future to average out the time spent when things seem to go bad.