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Hot swap;Hands on

Information and communications technology (ICT) is, as you can already see, littered with acronyms. And one that's hard to miss these days is USB. It stands for Universal Serial Bus, a new standard for connecting devices like scanners, printers and digital cameras to computers.

The Agfa SnapScan 1212u scanner is one of this new generation of add-ons designed for PCs and Apple Macs. You're even supposed to be able to connect and disconnect it while the computer is running - referred to as "hot-swappable".

The Agfa is ideal for home and school. It has a budget price, is easy to set up and use, and it produces good-quality images. The added bonus is that it looks good and follows the iMac's radical style.

Install the software from a CD-Rom (for PC or Mac), plug it in and it works. Used with an iMac it did just that, and the SnapWise software handholds you through each step, allowing you to specify quality and the format the file is saved in. You also get Caere Omnipage OCR software to convert your scanned text from an image format into text you can use in a word processor.

Can it "hot-swap"?. It plugged in and scanned OK, but unplugging crashed the iMac. USB isn't all it's meant to be but the Agfa is good value.

Agfa SnapScan 1212u colour scannerPrice: pound;120.

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