I think I am jinxed when it comes to scanners. I have had two in my computing lifetime. Neither of them have worked particularly well. But that's my fault 'cause I'm always taking shortcuts.
My first scanner was a used UMAX 600 (or some number anyway - I think it was a 600. Doesn't make a difference to the story). I was buying a completely new set up for the art department of the leather company that I worked for. The art department was one guy. But he was good. We were a small company. Anyway, I was buying a really powerful system - with enough horsepower to run Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, a huge Pantone-approved printer, a wacky drawing tablet and a huge-ass scanner that could handle paper larger than legal size. The system I was using at home was better than the art department system that was being replaced - except for one thing. I had no scanner. I didn't know what I would do with a scanner but I knew I wanted one. So I offered the company 50 bucks for it. I had to pull out this proprietary interface card for it to install in my system for the scanner to hook up to. I installed the crappy TWAIN drivers version -.0001. I could scan. Kinda. When the planets aligned. In a leap year. I know, what could I expect for 50 bucks?
I got used to not scanning with my scanner. Finally I moved and when I set my computer up in the new place, I just never hooked up the crap scanner. As Claudine and I started getting it together financially after those first years of her residency, I decided that I wanted another scanner. But the problem was that I still didn't have an application for it. If you want to buy a cool new monitor, it's because you actually want to see what's displayed by your computer. If you get a CD burner, it's because you want to burn CDs. I wanted a scanner, but really didn't have much to scan. I just wanted it for some reason. Even though I had this irrational yearning for scanning hardware, some part of my brain was still functioning enough to realize that it would be stupid to pay full price for piece of equipment that I would use so infrequently. So I went on e-bay and put in a bid for a HP scanner (a ScanJet 4200c for those of you keeping track of the model numbers). I didn't know much about e-bay at that point. I had used e-bay for buying some great jewelry for Claudine from private sellers but I hadn't bought computer equipment on there ever. Turns out that everyone who bid got a scanner. Because the guy doing the selling had a buttload of refurbished scanners he wanted to unload. I found the refurbished part on the e-bay auction page after the auction was over. Tee-hee, silly Alan. I still have that scanner. And it still sucks.
Today I did a stupid thing. I bought a scanner. I've been looking at scanners for a month or so after I had really decided to give up on the HP CrapJet that I have now. But, as before, I just couldn't justify paying a ton of dough for something that I wouldn't use very often. So to save some money I... um... I ordered a discontinued HP scanner from some liquidator. Yeah, I suck. I don't think the problem is with HP by the way. I think my last scanner's problem was the refurbishment. I searched long and hard (huh huh, I said "long and hard") and there is no mention of refurbishment. So I'm getting another scanner. I really can't explain why I'm so stupid. But you can certainly look forward to a few cool scans that I can post here - before my scanner breaks down.