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CardScan business card scanner.

Capable of filling an entire desk drawer, business cards can soon become irritating to anyone trying to organize the information on them. Since some have data on the back, or are over-designed to be cute and therefore unreadable, there is no standard way to keep them handy. Clear-sheeted books don’t allow for vertical cards, and Rolodexes are worse. Enter the CardScan, eager to solve the dilemma.

The palm-sized CardScan is a simple, nifty, $299 gadget for getting rid of that stack of business cards you’ve been adding to since the early ’90s. The company has tried to make the whole process so simple that they practically come to your office and do it for you. Software installation from the CD is fairly painless, especially since it’s accompanied by a thick user’s guide that features screen shots and detailed instructions about securing online help.

Catering to those who can’t seem to leave the world of paper completely behind, the CardScan software boasts a graphical user interface that looks much like a Rolodex, without all the staples and crossed-out information of its real-world kin. After scanning in a multitude of cards, I found that only the very strangest (too many graphic arts majors in the mix, I suspect) or the most poorly printed were a problem. Since most cards had data arranged in the same general order, there was only a bit of tinkering with the program to get items in their proper place.

There are a few hitches to the device: A feature isn’t yet supported on Windows XP, eliciting a hardware installation warning; and Mac users are out of luck completely, since CardScan software is Windows-only. Despite these minor factors, the gadget and its versatile software is a boon to anyone who has ever wanted to actually make use of their business card collection.

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