Flat bed scanners better but cost more

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 December, 1993, 12:00am

I NEED to buy a scanner for use with my PC, but am not sure whether to go in for a desktop model or a hand-held one. What is the difference between the two, how exactly does a scanner work, and what software do I need with it? IAN MURRAY Sek Kong A flat bed scanner (as the desktop version you refer to is called) resembles a small photocopying machine. You pick up the hinged lid and place a document face down on the glass plate. Close the lid and you see the bar of light scan down the page.

Once scanned, graphics and photographic images may be edited on screen.

Using Adobe PhotoShop, lines and creases can be removed, rips and tears repaired, out-of-focus images can be sharpened, and colour can be added.

Flat bed scanners usually cost between $8,000 and $15,000 (sometimes even a bit more).

Handheld scanners are simply cheaper and not as accurate as their flat bed counterparts. They cost between $1,500 and $4,000.

One hitch: several OCR firms do not even make a version of their software for the handheld models.

YOU mentioned shareware in your column last week. Is much shareware available on local bulletin board services, particularly for Windows? VICTOR LIM Shouson Hill There are literally thousands of shareware (and freeware) programs available on local BBSs.

Yes, there are plenty of good programs available for Windows, and these are not just games. Take TOILET.ZIP, for example. This is a program I downloaded from a BBS recently that works like the trash can in the Apple Macintosh interface. You can delete files by simply dragging them from File Manager and dropping them into a toilet bowl that TOILET generates at the bottom of your screen. To get rid of the files permanently, you can ''flush'' the toilet.

If, however, you decide you need them back, TOILET even lets you undelete them.

TOILET comes compressed in ZIP format, so you need a program such as PKZIP to ''unzip'' (or decompress) it for use. You can get PKZIP off BBSs, too.

A number of readers have written to us in response to the story in last week's Technology Post on the new Cyrix microprocessors that allow 386 PCs to be upgraded to the 486 level.

Cyrix products are distributed in Hong Kong through Accel Technology Corp, and the microprossors in question are now available locally. For more information, telephone on 523-1996 or fax 877-6996.