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By Christian Cawley
Have you ever tried to take a photo of a document with your smartphone camera, hoping to convert it using OCR software into a PDF or Word document later on? Perhaps you’ve attempted to take a photo of an existing photograph, only to find your angle was slightly out. No matter how hard we try, it seems you can never take the perfectly-aligned photograph with a smartphone.
What you need, therefore, is surely some sort of device that will provide a sturdy platform for your smartphone while ensuring the scan subject is flat, correctly aligned and well-lit. Some sort of “scan box”, perhaps?
What Is a Scanbox?
Put simply, “Scanbox” is the name given to a highly portable, flatpack box that can be used as a mount for a smartphone to take photos of documents – effectively scanning them.
Launched as a Kickstarter project, Scanbox solves the problem of big, bulky scanners, driver issues and even needless smartphone peripherals acting as scanners. Taking advantage of smartphone cameras for scanning documents is nothing new, but Scanbox adds a level of professionalism to the end product by providing a solid, level platform from which to scan.
While we would encourage anyone interested to get involved with raising the necessary funds for that project, however, what is fascinating about Scanbox is that it is such a simple concept – one that anyone could build.
Build Your Own Cardboard Document Scanner
Scanbox features useful adjustable magnets, folds down into a flatpack and even comes with an LED lamp.
By JOSEPH WALKER
Last week a report found that companies are hiring hackers in Europe without even looking at their resumes to help defend them against cyberattacks. Here in the U.S., major companies like Northrop Grumman are hiring baby-faced high school students, the San Antonio Express reports.
Ricky Banda, an 18-year-old graduate, is working full-time at Northrop Grumman, making the equivalent of $43,000 a year. “Information technology is so big and open and there are so many jobs, they are paying an 18-year-old good money to do this work,” Banda tells the Express.
The unemployment rate for IT security professionals was a stunning zero percent in 2011, the Express reports. The demand for security pros could go even higher if the Securities and Exchange Commission implements new rules requiring companies to make more frequent disclosures when they’ve been hacked.
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller is trying to have the SEC stipulate exactly when companies have to disclose security breaches to investors, the Associated Press reports. Companies like to keep a lid on such break-ins to keep customers from getting skittish about having their credit card info online. Such breaches happen far more often than many might think. Hotelier Wyndham Worldwide Corp. didn’t report the theft of credit card info of hundreds of thousands of its customers, for example.
The organization’s founder, Reshma Saujani, is a former hedge fund attorney, New York City bureaucrat and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. The impetus for Girls Who Code came out of Saujani’s failed bid for Congress in 2010. While campaigning, she saw the digital divide between rich and poor and decided to do something about it. “Women are going to be left behind,” Saujani tells Digits. “Technology has the potential to create income inequity and we need to do something about it.”
Over at BetaBeat, eight high school students enrolled in computer science talk about what excites them about the subject. “I realized comp sci isn’t about nerdy boys sitting at computers and coding out nonsense that turns into violent video games and complicated math problem solvers,” says Evie Rosenberg. “No, comp sci isn’t this at all. Comp sci, as I have found in my classes at Stuy, is a medium for expression, a place for creation and creativity.”