Trying to skimp on spending money on textbooks this semester, I went to the library today planning to borrow the library’s reserve (i.e. you can’t take it out of the building) copy of my English text and hand-copy the information I needed for my first assignment. Once I had the book in my hand, I wandered over to the computers set up with scanners, thinking perhaps I could just scan the relevant pages and spare my hand. They were all taken.

But standing alone, unused, unloved, and quite clearly new was a vision of beauty:

A Zeutschel OS 12000 commercial grade book scanner. Ten minutes later, after grappling with the somewhat unintuitive interface, I had a PDF of the four pages I needed. The marginal cost for an additional pair of pages was probably ten seconds. Flip the page, press “Scan”, wait, press “Save”. Repeat.

I recognized it instantly for what it was, but as I was trying to use it, I noticed some other students giving me furtive looks. As I laid the book out on the flat bad, they tried to finagle textbooks on to conventional copy machines. When they figure out what I learned today, people are going to be lining up to use this thing.