The problem is how to get an old HP ScanJet 3400c (c. 2000) scanner working with a MacBook running OS X 10.6.7 Snow Leopard. Annoyingly I did all this once about 6 months ago but since my Mac got nicked and I didn’t make any notes I’ve now got to remember how to do it all over again.

So, you’ll need some binaries from Mark Ellert’s TWAIN SANE project – install libusb, SANE backend and TWAIN SANE Inteface – in that order. Next power up and connect your scanner via USB to the MacBook. I used the documentation here but here’s the quick version.

Open a terminal window and the following command:

To get a scan from the command line you would need to reference that device name or if you’ve only got one attached just leave it out thus:

or in full:

This step should have confirmed whether you are able to communicate with the scanner and get some output. The help file for scanimage will allow you to fine tune the scanning.

You can specify the area to scan and resolution. Seems you can only output in pnm or TIFF but that’s fine, TIFF is good for most image management software and doesn’t compress. As the documentation says: “The ‘.pnm’ format stands for ‘portable anymap,’ a common image format for graphical files in Linux that can be converted to nearly any other image format with Imagemagick or netpbm.”

UPDATE: Feb 2018, just re-did all this on OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 … and it worked yay!

Played around with scanning options this time … 150, 300 and 600 dpi after reading this article. A scan of two photos to tiff format results in file sizes of 6.4MB, 25.5MB and 101.9MB respectively. The 150 is too pixelated for any kind of cropping or zooming … but there is only a little difference between 300 and 600. If space is not an issue then I’d go with 600.

so …

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