• Organizing and networking

    In the United States, it’s that time of the year we call tax time. When you have to find those receipts and documents if you fill out a tax return. (As an aside, be kind to your accountant and get your information in early as well as recap your receipts on an Excel spreadsheet, Google docs, or Open office document to make it easier for them and cheaper for you, but I digress …. organizing your tax data isn’t tonight’s topic).

    I’m a gadget girl and one of the things I got recently at the office is a small little desktop scanner called the Epson ES-200. It’s a USB based scanner and I can easily scan in invoices we receive and  there is an add on called the Epson smart scan accounting edition (for $99 for the software) that scans in the invoice, reads the document and then connects it to QuickBooks desktop or online and adds it to either bill pay or write a check. Now it’s not 100% foolproof as you do have to review what it read but it certainly is more accurate than some of the AI chat things that Microsoft and Google love to demo these days.

    So of course now I have to have one at home. But while I don’t need it to scan into QuickBooks, as I don’t use that software at home, it just has nice easy scanning software that I can take my receipts and keep them in smaller electronic versions rather than in boxes of paper.  And of course, me being a geeky gadget girl I would like to share the scanner with other computers on my peer to peer network. And that’s when I remember how hard it is to share a USB based device when it doesn’t want to be shared. Now while there is a unit that can do wireless (the ES-300) in the reviews some say it’s a little flakey.

    I have in the past used such tools such as Fabulatech when I’ve needed to share usb devices at the office, but $149 just to share this scanner with my sister when we can probably just unplug and plug in the USB connection on her computer? Needless to say a longer USB extension cord is going to be cheaper in the long run. But it reminds me that sharing printers, scanners, and other home devices is often frustrating and doesn’t work as well as advertised.

    I’ve also seen devices that can make a USB connected over a network jack, but again, overkill for a home network.

    Bottom line, I think home network should be easier. It’s still way too complicated. What do you think?