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IrisCard Pro 4

>> Friday, January 9, 2009

The IrisCard Pro 4 hardware is similar in some ways to the IrisCard Pro version 3.5 scanner it replaces, at least to the extent of its resolution and size. The 600 pixel per inch (ppi) optical resolution is more than enough for recognizing text on business cards. At 3 by 6.1 by 1.9 inches (HWD) and 5.6 ounces, it's very portable as well as small enough to fit on a desktop without taking up much space.

Setting up the IrisCard is pretty much standard fare. Like most biz card scanners, it gets power over the supplied USB cable, so all you need do is install the software and connect to a USB port. Once set up, the first time you load the software, it prompts you to calibrate the scanner, using a supplied calibration sheet. (According to IRIS, if you lose the sheet and need to calibrate again, you can use a white #10 envelope in its stead.)

The manual's setup instructions say you need to choose a configure button, and then choose the scanner model. In reality, the button is grayed out and unavailable.

But if you're brave enough to ignore the manual, everything works without problems. As with any scanner, software is much more important than hardware in determining the package's personality, and at least as big a factor in determining how well the package works.

The software (Cardiris Pro 4) stands out for its ease of use and its accuracy, both in recognizing text and in recognizing which text goes in which field name, street address, city, state, phone number, and so forth.

One particularly nice touch is the automatic mode. When this is turned on, the scanner will start scanning when you put a card in the input slot there's no need to give a scan command for each card. It found this particularly convenient for scanning a stack of cards. It let me feed cards one after the other as quickly as if the scanner had an automatic document feeder (ADF) although, of course, I actually had to feed them one at a time.

Once you scan the full stack of cards, you can give a single command to recognize all the cards at once. You can then go through the results on-screen, one by one, comparing an image of each card with the recognized text. Like most business card programs, Cardiris marks newly recognized cards as unverified. You can then view just the unverified cards at your convenience, and mark each card as verified as you go.

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