As I wrote earlier on this blog 2010 will be the year that I am ditching paper media. Unfortunately I have to wait a while for the QUE or the Apple iSlate to be available for purchase later this year. In the meantime I already started my next ‘going paperless’ project.
In the first week of this year I needed a new paper binder for our home administration. Looking at a bookshelf filled with binders for the last 10 years of administration I realized that this doesn’t quite fit with my ‘less paper’-goals for 2010 (duh). And how can I quickly find a document that was filed over a year ago? Okay, I have a sorting system for the docs I put in those binders, but that is kinda mehh. I should be able to search through my docs by tags, just like I search for an old e-mail and find it within a few seconds.
Besides the search problem there is another issue with my current administration. The last 2+ years I receive more and more invoices and other interesting/important documents by e-mail. Also when I buy software, the serial keys are always distributed by e-mail. So my home administration is stored in more than one place, which of course tilts me as a BI consultant.
To improve this situation I had to create some kind of HPW for home administration. First I bought a scanner. As I only have to scan documents for archiving I don’t need a high quality scanner. Because of the smaller file size I will scan most documents in black/white. Scanning speed also wasn’t an issue because I don’t have 100 pages a week to scan. My desk is a bit small so I looked for a compact design. I bought this Plustek Opticslim M12 Mobile Scanner for around €70 ($100).
Next I needed some software that allowed me to archive documents, add some tags or descriptions, use direct scanning and of course to search through my docs. I tried several options for the Mac and choose for Mariner Software’s Paperless ($50). Other Mac-apps you should give a try are Yep, Devonthink and Yojimbo. Use the trial period to see if your scanner works with the app and which format you like most.
Finally I moved my backup strategy to a higher level. I you are putting everything that is important to you into your computer, you really have to realize the consequences if your hard-drive brakes down. And yes, eventually it will happen to everybody. I already have an Apple Time Capsule which backups my Mac every hour. Problem is, the Time Capsule is only 2 meters away from the iMac. So with this setup my data is not protected for local disasters, like fire or for example some extreme lightning strikes that killed all the electronic devices in my friends’ house a few years ago!
Luckily there are lots of companies that offer online backup for an affordable price. Have a look at Mozy, iDrive, Backjack, CrashPlan, KPN and you’ll see that most of them offer unlimited (!!!) backup space for about $5 each month. After trying some of them I choose Mozy because I like the software and the price. The initial backup of 135GB took about 28 hours on my 100MBit connection, so keep in mind to be patient if you backup everything! 😉
Time will tell if this paperless home administration will work. So I’ll report my findings later this year. Happy scanning!