Category Archives: Business

Finally I can use my ScanSnap S1500 in Linux!

I have been using Fujitsu ScanSnap double-sided auto-feeding scanner for years. I started with a Mac model (S300M I think? no Windows drivers?) and then moved to a Windows model, the S1500.

For the last couple of years I’ve been running a Windows virtual machine in VMWare Workstation primarily so that I can use my scanner and the included OCR features (turn scans into text).

Recently, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with VMWare Workstation, and I run libvirt/qemu-kvm on my web server, so I decided to try it on my workstation as well. It works pretty well for Windows 7, not a fast as VMWare when it worked properly, but the scanner will not function correctly using it.

Last time I looked into using the S1500 on Linux I found almost nothing. I could scan stuff but it wasn’t very useful for a paperless office workflow, the whole reason I have such a scanner.

I am happy to say that, on Debian Wheezy/Sid, gscan2pdf with the libsane-perl backend and tesseract for OCR seem to work nicely. Some caveats:

  • I downloaded the newest version of gscan2pdf and installed it. At the moment that is 1.0.6.
  • The ‘Page Options’ tab of the ‘Scan Document’ window only works properly when I choose options that don’t make much sense. I selected ‘ADF Duplex’ in the ‘Standard’ tab, and then in the ‘Source document’ section of the ‘Page Options’ tab, I have selected ‘Single-sided’ and ‘Side to scan: Facing’. Otherwise, the page numbers come out strange. I do still get double-sided scanning, though.

I couldn’t find a lot about this on the web, so I hope it helps someone else in my position. Happy scanning!

EDIT 2012-10-28 Strangely enough, I was able to get the scanner working just fine in my Windows VM using Spice USB redirection. It’s good to have the fallback, but I’ll try to stick with Linux, it’s much more convenient and removes a dependency.

Archiving Emails and Attachments to PDF from Thunderbird in Linux

I have a couple of businesses, plus my own personal transactions, and every year come January I have to make sure I have all of the appropriate financial documentation for them, including copies of invoices and receipts. Fortunately, most of my invoices and receipts are now in email form, though I still get some paper ones (which go straight into the ScanSnap). Unfortunately, emails and attachments can’t go nicely in a reference folder in my Dropbox.

Thunderbird to the rescue!

I use Mozilla Thunderbird for my email for mostly the same reason I still use FireFox to browse the web: there’s a plugin for almost anything I want to do. Also, in Linux it’s easy to use a CUPS-PDF virtual printer to print to PDF. Combining this with the attachment extractor Thunderbird plugin allows me to dump all of the attachments and emails to files on my hard drive in just a few clicks.

I have ‘Invoices’ and ‘Receipts’ email folders that need to be dumped, so I just go into each folder, select all messages, print them using CUPS-PDF, and then right-click and tell AttachmentExtractor to dump any attachments as well. Done, in about 5 minutes. Trying to do this manually would take countless hours, meaning in reality that I would just never do it, and if my taxes were audited, it would be a total nightmare.

Hopefully if you have this same problem google + this post will help you out. Enjoy!