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UMAX steps up US scanner scam

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UMAX US is continuing its full-frontal assault on the intelligence of its American customers.

The company - whose Stateside operation, we discovered, is now a mere shell operation using an unlisted number in Texas - has stern warnings for UMAX owners wishing to use its parallel port scanners under Windows 2000 or XP.

A troubleshooting bulletin from the UMAX Americas 'Newsroom' answers the question "Why won't Parallel work on Windows XP?"

(UMAX doesn't really have a "newsroom", we discovered last week: it dispensed with its PR agency eighteen months ago, and a Mr Lin, who claimed to be UMAX's general manager for the US, says the company is "too small" to have anyone devoted to press relations).

The bulletin explains - in broken English, and with spelling mistakes that would make even seasoned Register readers recoil - why support for UMAX's parallel scanners is no longer feasible.

"When you consider that newer, high resolution scanners can easilly aquire [sic] images in the Mega, and even Giga-Byte range, it is clear that newer technologies must be supported. Unfortunately this can come at a cost of cutting off 'Legacy' support for older devices and architectures," it claims.

More hand waving follows, albeit with a dramatic increase in the body font, and two inexplicable horizontal rules.

Unfortunately for the hapless author of this bogus piece of technical advice, UMAX does provide support for its older parallel models under Windows 2000 and even explains how to get them working under XP. And such support is only four clicks away.

However, UMAX Europe cheerfully provides the drivers here, in the form of VistaScan Version 3.55 Parallelport, a free 8.5MB download. Last week we pointed out that you can get to this and many more drivers that UMAX US wants to charge you for, by selecting Europe from the www.umax.com homepage, selecting a country site, and then going to the "Current drivers" selector.

While UMAX Europe's pages aren't exactly consistent - if you look for the same driver through the VistaScan option you find a page last updated in April 1999 that doesn't mention the Windows 2000 or Windows XP support - at least they don't put a bald-faced deception right on the front page.

Register reader Mike Taylor in Sacramento, California tell us these drivers work fine on his parallel port 1220P scanner.

"But with no thanks to US Web site, or the lies on it," he writes. "It really us a shame that this company uses U.S. Consumers like this. They shouldn't peddle their equipment here if they're going to act like this."

When we tracked down UMAX US last week, Mr Lin wouldn't disclose the staffing of its US operation: after persistent questioning, he did claim it was more than ten people. ®

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