Update: Thanks for the link Macsurfer dudes.
Super Fast Two-Sided Scanning to PDF
Recently, I've been trying to move to an increasingly paperless lifestyle. I'm a Mac, iPhone, iPad owner - so I write from that perspective.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M has been the key to moving in this direction. It's a fast, duplex (double-sided) PDF scanner with an automatic document feeder which really does make it a snap to quickly scan and store documents and receipts to your hard drive. Basically, you insert a document, push a button and the document is quickly stored. It's also compact and designed to easily unjam (which happens occasionally).
Remember Everything in the Cloud
The ScanSnap also works well with Evernote, a free cloud-based organizer of all your links, photos and documents. There is also a great Evernote iPhone application. If you scan a lot, an Evernote premium account only costs $45 per year (or $5/monthly).
Snapshot Notes et al. with the iPhone 4
The improved focus, speed and resolution on the iPhone 4 camera makes it an indispensable new tool in the move towards a paperless office. I regularly photograph everything from business cards to napkin scribbles for my iPhone to remember and upload to Evernote. Note: Thus far, I am not impressed with the Evernote Business Card Manager application - but I'm hoping they make the OCR features more automated.
Obviously, going paperless raises a number of other issues:
Primarily, you need to have a well coordinated backup solution. My friend Phillip Smith at Community Bandwidth wrote up this excellent post on his strategy for secure, automated backups for under $500.
Backup Your Paperless Office in the Cloud
He recommends the BackBlaze online service which seems to work well but not in my particular configuration. It's taking over a month to backup my initial primary desktop and photo library. I'm having to rethink my usage of their service. Backblaze essentially backs up one computer and its external hard drive for $5 per month. However, at least right now, it does not back up external drives that you use with TimeMachine nor network attached storage.
Get a Really Big Encrypted Hard Drive
I also purchased his suggested Secure Western Digital My Book Studio 2 TB External Hard Drive WDBAAJ0020HSL-NESN. I especially appreciate its built-in encryption. This drive works phenomenally well with its speedy Firewire 800 interface. I've configured my ScanSnap to scan directly to the My Book Studio.
These days, I scan almost all incoming paper that I need to save and recycle the rest.
Stem the Tide of Incoming Paper
Earlier this year, I signed up for a junk mail prevention service called 41pounds - read more about it at Tales of Change. Basically, for $41, they will gradually help you eliminate catalogs, junk mail and phone book deliveries for five years. I've had good success working with them - and get a fraction of the paper-based mail that I used to.
When you stem the tide of incoming paper, it's even easier to move to a paperless office.
After You Scan It, Shred It
Now that I'm scanning so much more paper, I have more paper to dispose of...securely. I use a crosscut shredder like the Royal 16. Using a crosscut shredder is a important for minimizing the risk of identity theft.
If you want additional redundancy locally, consider a $69 Western Digital Elements 1 TB External Hard Drive to just make a snapshot of your paperless office (and iTunes library) and store it in a Fireproof Safe (yes it fits) ...or with nearby family. You can't beat the price for this additional level of locally accessible redundancy.
Taking Digital Notes
I've also begun to experiment with an iPad Stylus and Dan Bricklin's Note Taker HD. So far, it hasn't stolen me away from my beloved Moleskine notebooks . I'm a bit more curious about the Livescribe 4 GB Smartpen but haven't yet taken the plunge.
Related links that may interest you:
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