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Going Paper-Free for $220 (stevelosh.com)
302 points by stevelosh on May 26, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 125 comments

I bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 a few months ago and I love it. It's a document scanner that scans both sides of the page as it goes through, and the desktop software runs OCR and converts the document into a multiple-page searchable PDF. If something goes in crooked (like a long receipt) the software automatically straightens it out. And since Spotlight indexes the text in PDFs, I can find any document I've scanned within seconds. Storing the scans in DropBox allows me to access the scans on multiple devices, and gives me the security of an online backup. Going paperless is liberating, and the ScanSnap makes it enjoyable. Highly recommended.

I also got a ScanSnap S1300 after a friend of mine wrote a similar article, "The Tools of the Estate" about how he went paperless after he became the Personal Representative of his Mom's estate: http://alexvollmer.com/posts/2011/01/30/tools-of-the-estate/

Also talks about adding in DEVONThink Pro into the mix for document management and auto-classification, which I'd also recommend (though it takes a bit to get used to).

I'm very happy with the paperless setup I've got running now.

I have the same scanner and pretty much the same workflow. It scans and the documents go into my Dropbox folder under a specific folder hierarchy (e.g. taxes, kids related, house related, etc.). They're searchable but it's nice to be able to scan through them easily by subject if necessary.

As for shredding - my wife works in a medical office with those big locked garbage cans. Once a month I just drop off a box of papers into the can and they get shredded during the next pick-up.

Sounds handy, but much did the wife cost?

And what's the on-going maintenance?

One reason the author chose Doxie was because "Its software has a great, polished UI." How do you like the Fujitsu software?

The UI isn't exceptionally pretty, but once it's configured you don't have to look at it much. There are a few changes I'd like to make (being able to scan another doc while the OCR is running, preventing the scan progress window from remaining on top, etc) but functionally, the software does it's job and does it well.

What do you do with all the papers you legally have to keep for seven years (or however many years where you are)?

I scan them but I do keep the files is paper form that I'm required to. However, I only have very few files like that, and they're easy to store and manage.

What kinds of papers are we talking about?

taxes related stuff.


> According to an IRS spokesman, there are a number of ways that a taxpayer can meet the recordkeeping requirements to prove a deduction or other expense. Documentation can include hard copy or electronic records such as direct receipts, acknowledgment letters, credit-card receipts, and credit-card statements, that show the payment date, amount, recipient, and any other information required for the particular type of deduction (such as business purpose for a business deduction).

as someone that's been audited by the irs, i can tell you that having printouts of line-items from my web-based billing system, credit card statements, and copies of receipts worked fine. in fact, having everything on a computer in pdf format would probably make the whole process even easier because you could search through them all on a laptop at the audit. the auditor will probably want printouts of the scanned copies at the end, though.

IRS, IRS... You Americans keep forgetting there are other countries in the world.

And you're suggesting that these other countries don't have tax offices who carry out audits?

Where are these countries and can I move there?

No, where did you get that from? I am suggesting that there are other countries where it is required to hold on the paper copy of certain documents for tax purposes.

Ah, apologies, I misunderstood.

Which papers do you need to keep that actually have to be in paper format?

I did this (also with a scan snap) and its been great. One of the things I really like is taking back issues of magazines, pulling out the two or three articles I'm interested in, scanning them and then tossing the issue.

Yeah, the S1300 is another option if you're willing to spend a bit more.

Except with your set up, the OCR'ing software is independent from the scanning software, so presumably one can scan while OCR'ing. (See reply to my other comment: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2589018)

It's interesting to see the huge disconnect in attitudes towards "paper-free" in the USA vs. England. In the states, it's all about getting as much of everything into electronic form as possible. Here in England, it's all about hoarding as much paper as will fit in your house.

I'm going through the process of settling here in England, and as part of my visa application they asked for 2 years worth of paper bills (originals only, no copies, downloaded statements or printed scans). "What???" screamed my inner-American. "Who would keep that around?" I had exactly one phone bill sitting around and it was a month old.

Explaining this ridiculous requirement to everybody I could find over here, I was met with nothing but: "Of course. Why would you throw something like that away? I think you're legally obligated to keep all paperwork for at least 3 years. I still have bank statements from the '80s up in the loft." Nobody believed me when I explained that lots of people in the US had paper shredders in their homes.

No sympathy from Her Majesty's Immigration Services either. I stand a pretty good chance of having my visa application rejected as a result of my American inclination toward paperlessness.

What you are describing is not American vs UK attitudes, it is the joys of being a foreigner encountering government bureaucracy designed to remind you that you are a foreigner.

I had the same treatment you are describing when getting my H1B visa in the USA from the UK. And things got even worst when my employer started to apply for greencard, and so I just left the USA.

From a private sector perspective, I had more things paperless available to me in 2003 - when I moved to the USA - in the UK than I did in the USA. And during my time in the USA, I was able to run all of my UK business and government transactions online.

No, that's just government.

Australia is the same. If you want any sort of Security Clearance (i.e. you want to work for the government), you need papers proving where you have lived for 10 years. If you've lived in a couple of share houses and thrown out all your old bills, this can be almost impossible. (Yes, you can sign a Stat Dec, but it's frowned upon).

It took me nearly four hours to shred all my h1b documentation and I still have30% left just in case.

"...I think you're legally obligated to keep all paperwork for at least 3 years. I still have bank statements from the '80s up in the loft."

Presumably this is for tax purposes, in case they're audited? If that's the case, your friends are out of date - HMRC (the tax authority) has accepted scanned documents in place of originals for some time now.

This is changing. The only paper bank statements I get now (I'm in the UK) are credit card ones which they're obliged by law to send out. Similarly all my household bills are now electronic. Taxes are done on-line and the government website dumps out a completed PDF for my records.

It's taken a while but things are getting there.

I guess this is an indication that it doesn't work unless everything changes at once.

I actually do have a few "paperless" services here (DSL, for one), and it's actually biting me now because there are still organizations that absolutely require paper documents to function.

Banks are just as guilty of this as the government. Try opening a bank account anywhere without a paper copy of a utility bill to prove your address.

The more paperless we get, the tougher life gets when trying to deal with the few holdouts who need to see your papers.

>"Nobody believed me when I explained that lots of people in the US had paper shredders in their homes."

As a current UK resident I find that surprising as a high proportion of the people I know have shredders at home, they're very common.

My bank in England is keen for me to "Go Green" and accept PDF bank statements in place of paper copies. I wonder if they allow new customers to open accounts without paper documentation...?

We have a paperless account and they're forever sending us letters about it ...

I've been (almost) 100% paperless for a few years now using EarthClassMail.com.

For about $40/month they scan all my paper mail for me (this is a chore I wouldn't want to do) and I never see a physical piece of mail.

- the PDF's are all archived online indefinitely

- if you get something physical (new credit card) they can forward it for $2-3

- packages you get shipped to your current address so no forwarding fee

- if you move often (as I do) then you can keep the same mailing address indefinitely so you never have to update your mailing address with dozens of different institutions, miss bills, etc (this is a huge hassle removed)

Only downsides so far... - the documents aren't OCR'ed

- their web interface in clunky, but useable

- hand written thank you notes/bday cards just don't carry the same sentimental value looking at a scan online

Otherwise I'm pretty happy with it. I started using it while living abroad, but decided to keep it since I've been back in the U.S. - I wouldn't want to go back to opening paper mail.

What about privacy? They read all your mails?

If you are worried about that even with their privacy policy, you can have them just forward the mail to you physically without scanning. ECM doesn't scan the contents of your mail by default, only the outside of the envelope/package to OCR and let you identify who it is from. The level of privacy/trust you get is on par with the post office and your mail carrier's.

Yeah, opening mail for you is an additional service. You can have them do it for everything or just what you want to look at. It is done by machine, but you are relying upon their system being honest. Of course, if its ever shown that its not, they'll lose quite a bit of business.

Is it a federal offense to look at mail someone has authorized you to open? Not sure about that. So, can't say that the level of trust is as high as it would be with the post office.

Of course, the post office is much more likely to give your mail to the wrong people, so may not be as save anyway.

I have ECM for the package pickups from street addresses specifically, as I cannot rely on anybody to make a delivery on time and without leaving it on the sidewalk (which makes the forwarding moot). Fantastic stuff, on top of their other services.

I would like to add though that you can pay extra for searchable PDFs and check deposits and more, which practically seals the deal for me. Much easier to pay a small fee than to deal with all that stuff, and their check deposit service seems to handle a lot more than most banks offer for their scan at home deposit service.

Can anyone recommend a shredder that's really, really good? I love my ScanSnap, but I can't find a shredder of comparable quality to handle the leftovers.

I have seen the junk they have at OfficeMax, and it's just not adequate. I'm looking for something that is heavy-duty enough that I can shred at least 10 sheets at a time, and won't break or burn out for a very long time. It would be nice if it was quiet-ish, but I'm flexible on this point.

I've found that printing places have industrial shredders. And going paperless like this has a high initial load (lots of paper) followed by low load (incremental). If you are just dealing with the first surge then consider asking a Kinko's or equivalent like place if they will shred it for you.

There are also professional shredding services that might give you a one-off deal which will be less than an industrial shredder.

Most local credit unions and some banks have free, periodic "Shred-a-thons" in your local area. You can pull up, dump your to-be-shreddeds into a bin and drive off (or, if you're like me, ask them to shred it right then and there).

I've done similar, but just want to reiterate:

>if you're like me, ask them to shred it right then and there

Do you want to keep the price down too? Because for $500 or so there are professional shredders that meet these needs. It's just that the home office market doesn't really need a 10 sheet shredder.

I will agree that there are times you really need a volume shredder. If I keep up on it, it's not so bad, but if you have half a box full, it's so daunting. I usually just bring it to my office and dump it in the secure trash at that point.

Yeah, professional tools cost professional money, but I was hoping there was something in the middle. The ScanSnap equivalent of a shredder -- the pro versions of sheet-feed scanners are several thousand dollars at least. Is there a similar value shredder?

Maybe I was over-thinking it with 10 sheets. My desire is to shred junk mail without the indignity of having to open even the fattest faux-hand-addressed envelopes.

I have a $250 Fellowes MS-460C shredder that does this well.

Handles 10 sheets in the normal shredder, or spam mail with CDs inside the envelope for the heavy duty shredder. I can throw my junk mail without opening them in the heavy duty shredder entry without worrying about those plastic fake credit cards advertisers sometimes send.

Here's a similar model: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16846101...

Thanks, that's just the sort of advice I was looking for.

>My desire is to shred junk mail without the indignity of having to open even the fattest faux-hand-addressed envelopes.

My strategy for this is to keep a bucket of that crap and shred every 6 months or so at a pro location. I've considered pulping the docs myself (mostly out of curiosity in the process), but from what I can tell, pragmatically it's more work than it is worth.

Why do you shred junk mail? Does it contain any information that isn't already public?

Mostly I need to shred credit card and other financial offers, to make sure nobody else tries to fill them out for me.

Yeah, cash advance checks are evil junk mail that the banks like to send every month.

I'd just go to a 'vending-machine' style shredder. For a aligned pile of flat paper that you can just slide in they work very very fast. (They're absolutely horrible for receipts even if you align them due to the entry way being too thin) Accumulate a pile of several hundred papers, go to the machine and shred it in a couple of minutes and be done with it.

I wrote about this a couple of times. I use a service called Shoeboxed (http://littlebitofcode.com/2011/05/05/netflix-for-documents) that will scan your receipts and documents for $20/month. Works like Netflix, they send you envelopes, you fill them up, they scan them. I use them for receipts.

I also use a NeatWorks document scanner (http://littlebitofcode.com/2010/02/15/getting-receipts-and-m...) that I've been really happy with. I use it for documents. The combination of the packages has perfectly fit my needs.

Another thing technology should have already solved by now.

Its possible for most receipts and bills to be sent electronically. We really ought to have a universally trusted third party receive, forward, store everything. And indicate accept of charges.

Maybe the credit card companies should form a consortium or perhaps the Post Office should do this (assuming a huge upgrade in technical competence).

It should be possible to pay with a card and have the card company send the receipt to your mobile device and third party. And you should be able to access that data forever.

Such an entity could also help prevent identity theft, notifying you whenever your address gets changed or your credit is checked or used. You should be able to dispute charges immediately.

Scanned images may should like a good idea but these may be perceived as more easily manipulated. Will clerks treat images the same way they treat real receipts?

It would be better if the tiny amount of data these contain was certified to be true and then kept forever instead of storing bulky scanned images. You don't really need to store how the data is presented.

Not sure if the Post Office should be doing this but if the government certified that the actual data stored, you wouldn't need to store scanned images.

How we make such a transition is anybody's guess. It certainly is in Corporate America's interest to eliminate the expense of mailing statements and printing receipts. But it will be a long time before they'll be able to stop doing things the old fashioned for all of the late adopters.

And for some things, we'll always want a hard copy. Trusting corporations or the government has been known to be dumb in the past. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Apple has sort of begun this - if you have a credit card linked to an AppleID and use that card in an Apple Store, the receipt is emailed to you (unless you specifically request a printed copy). If you don't, they'll ask for your email address the first time you use a card and keep that email on file so the next time you buy something at that store, they don't need to ask.

.. as have most other companies.

How many other large (or even mid-size) brick-and-mortar retailers do digital receipts? A quick Google session turned up a test case at K-Mart and a hockey chain in Canada.

Oh sorry, misread that as App Store not Apple Store.

The Federal Government would love to implement this... shudder.

Yeah, probably a bad idea. At least with the mail, they had to open the envelopes. Now they can search massive amounts of information with no evidence left behind.

This will probably keep evolving in the private sector, unless some dope gives the government the idea to get into it. Oops. My bad.

Many (most?) companies offer bills-by-email if you look for it.

There's no need for a centralized solution - just each individual company to get rid of the paper from their process.

I agree.

I guess I am a bit concerned about disputes where you don't have a hard copy of the bill they actually sent you or gave you at the point of purchase.

But as I think about it, there are already third parties who keep records involved in transmitting things already and not many disputes of the type I was imagining.

One can imagine how things might be abused, but where the legal system is functioning, there shouldn't be a problem. And if its not functioning, there are much bigger problems.

So you're correct.

Has anyone (successfully) attempted a full paperless solution like this with Ubuntu (or other Linux)?

I would also like to here about this. Right now I am checking out the gscan2pdf project. It promises to run a scan and then run OCR and output a pdf. So, if it does what I think it might, it could be a key part to the equation.

I got really excited about backblaze when I heard about it, but alas, they do not have a linux client yet...

crashplan looks like a good alternative to back blaze, with a nice linux client. Also, they have a free option to backup over the net to a friends computer (encrypting everything before it is sent).

can use virtualbox+windows. not ideal, but one way.

And sadly, the "cross platform" nature of Doxie doesn't encompass Linux.

Can anyone name a decent document scanner supported by SANE?

Plenty of scanners work fine with SANE but you're not going to get OCR.

tesseract is a cli OCR program. In the Archlinux community repo there is also, ocrad, cuneiform and gocr. I have not used these.

Open source OCR programs have not yet reached the level of what is commercially available and none of this stuff is packaged together in an easy to use manner for OCRing scanned documents.

The ScanSnaps recommended above are supported by SANE. Great scanners.

If you already have a scanner, you can get a nice scan software with OCR functionality for $15 on the Mac App store: http://www.pdfscannerapp.com Disclaimer: The app is a hobby project of mine which I created after desperately searching for a software to automatically straighten the awfully crooked scans my all in one printer produces.

Hey, looks really cool.

If I were to scan stuff on the go (with JotNot, like in the article), would I be able to use PDFScanner just for OCR?

Yes, sure. PDFScanner imports pictures or PDFs and does OCR them.

Does anyone know how valid digital copies of important documents are? Suppose you have a signed contract, or a bank statement, or a government document. When you need some document for legal purposes (say, to enforce a contract in court), will they be treated to be as valid as paper?

That was my main fear for tossing "important" documents.

The extremely important stuff (tax returns, car title, etc) I scan and keep the originals in a fireproof safe. That way I have the originals if I really need them, but I can still use Spotlight to just look up something quickly.

Everything else (pay stubs, utility bills, receipts, etc) I shred.

99.99% of the time a scanned document is fine.

The checks you write are scanned and destroyed. Good luck arguing that the scan is not a valid representation of the original.

You produce a scan, they say "that is a fake, here is our copy of what we sent."

You produce a paper copy, they can still say that.

Maybe it's harder to fake the paper version, maybe it's not.

JotNot is only $1 now, rather than the $7 he paid. Which is cheap enough I'm going to buy it just for the heck of it.

Yeah, looks like they're having a $1 sale to celebrate their 3.0 release. Perfect timing!

Does anyone know of something similar for Android?

Looks like JotNot had a trial Android version that expired in 2009. :-\

I went with the ScanSnap 300M and Evernote, and I'm pretty happy with it. Evernote automatically syncs your docs and does OCR server-side. I can do full text searches of all my scanned documents from any of my devices, including iPhone and the web site.

I'd love it even more if it were a completely standalone WiFi device that added scanned documents to my Evernote account. Does Doxie actually work completely standalone?

I wouldn't really trust Evernote with anything that reveals a whole lot of my personal information though, which is why I'm still looking for a solution that's as simple as Evernote but local.

Evernote is a great product with some surprising UI deficiencies-- did you know you can't tag multiple documents at once without drag/drop? That was a dealbreaker for me.

The Doxie needs to be connected to a computer via USB.

JotNot would work over wifi, and I think it supports Evernote. But the scans aren't as nice as a real scanner.

Who is this scanner aimed at? Light, portable, does OCR. Got to be business people right?

Except it has hearts on the front. Pink hearts. And a great big pink heart button on the top.


http://www.getdoxie.com/store/faq_ajax.html (find the string "skin")

You might be able to get one without the hearts by emailing them after you order.

As I said in the article, I use PDF OCR X for the OCR because Doxie doesn't do it.

This system doesn't allow for going paper-free on books, right? Unless you rip the pages individually?

The place I used to work had a hydraulic paper sheer that could cut a ream straight in half. I've also got the above mentioned Fujitsu Scansnap.

I started out by chopping the spines off those old textbooks I'd been lugging around and feeding them to the scanner. It was so easy, I started going by the used book store and grabbing handfuls of 50 cent curiosities.

It only took about 10 minutes to scan a book this way. The downside is that the book is destroyed. Think of it as a religious experience. The book can live on forever in the digital realm but it must sacrifice it's paper form to do so!

Right. A community exists for people who make their own book scanners: http://www.diybookscanner.org/ , but book scanning is really quite tedious and hardly worth it unless you really need one book a lot. There were previous discussions about this on HN in which the consensus was that book scanning wasn't really feasible for more than a book or two due to time.

Surely it would be a lot easier if you were willing to destroy the book in the process? You'd just need a scanner that will feed pages through like a printer, and to merge the page numbers if it's a one sided scanner.

The scanners on that page are ridiculously cool.

ic, thanks. I hope the day when every book can be purchased in electronic form comes soon!

This system doesn't, but you could do something like Google did to scan books for Google Books. In the book "In The Plex" Steven Levy describes the process that they developed. They lay the book flat on a table and have two cameras mounted above it at angles. They snap a picture, turn the page, snap another picture, etc. Then they have software which corrects for the curvature of the page. Seemed pretty clever to me. It's certainly not as fast as cutting off the binding and putting it through a sheetfed scanner, but it's reasonably fast and doesn't destroy the book.

Correct. As mcav mentioned scanning books is very complicated -- way more effort than I'm willing to spend.

And even if I could, I don't think I would. I like the feel of books in my hands.

I also like the feel of books and the easy way to mark stuff with a pencil. What I hate, though, is the weight of the books and the hassle to store them, to transport them on a daily basis (student), move them from city to city with airline luggage limits. Erases all the love I had for the convenience when reading.


I meant on my existing books. Most not available as e-books (proprietary study materials, certificate course materials, books in other languages, ...).

What is the legal status for government documentation in the U.S? Are you able to keep everything in your life electronic? E.g. invoices, company documentation and so on?

(IANAL) I don't think there are any all-encompassing rule. The e-Sign act affects the legality of electronic signatures, and probably has an effect, but don't think there's a single law.

Financial institutions are able to scan everything, when I was at a CU, we used Fujitsu scanners (fi-6140 - amazing workhorse) and destroyed everything except original mortgage notes.

The only area I know of that's problematic is scanning and archiving documents under apostille. Apostilles are arcane, and their validity is related to the seal remaining intact. They're pretty: for example, I've seen docs from China with the apostille attached to documents using a ribbon and a wax seal. Try scanning that.

Does anybody know of a solution that will take an OCR receipt and enumerate the line items? NeatReceipts and other software does not seem to do this.

I decided to go paper-free a while ago too and I went for the cheap solution:

I went for the the canon pixma mx340 (ref link: http://amzn.to/j2hNRZ , non ref link: http://amzn.to/k27SoI) and couldn't be happier.

I can scan over wifi on OSX without installing additional drivers by just opening up the "image capture" app that OSX ships with. I can also just plug in a USB stick and scan straight from the device to PDF without having to deal with the computer for that.

It also features an automated document feeder so I can just place multi page documents on there and hit start and it does it's thing.

Works pretty decent and gives me a color printer and fax for free.

If I want OCR, I just drop the resulting PDF files on Velocraptor (clever pun, http://www.velocraptor.com/ ) and that does a nice job too. For me it's mostly about simplicity. I start to get annoyed when they bundle software with a device although there is perfectly fine OS functionality that was made to do the task

That is one well-designed blog. Very readable.

This is off-topic, but his blog is not only readable but has a very distinctive design/feel to it. It immediately reminded me of these two fantastic articles that have appeared on HN before.

ViM: http://stevelosh.com/blog/2010/09/coming-home-to-vim/

Candy Colors: http://stevelosh.com/blog/2009/03/candy-colored-terminal/

Don't forget the one where I actually talked about designing the site, heh: http://stevelosh.com/blog/2010/09/making-my-site-sing/

Thanks Steve. Well done.

Agreed. I particularly liked how the section heading showed up on the left only after you had scrolled to that point.

Yeah, they're very interesting. I have to say though that I find the way they flick in and out of existence as the section header itself moves on and off screen a bit distracting. I'd have gone with something a bit more like iOS sticky scroll list dividers--on a lot of iPhone list widgets, if there's a header in the middle of a scrolllist, it sticks the top of the screen as you scroll past it (until you hit another one). Not sure how exactly you'd do this in a sidebar tho....

The first thing I thought is "what rhythm!". Steve, thanks so much for making the whole deal opensource - this is exactly the sort of design I've been gravitating towards. I especially love the main blog page and lack of pagination on anything - it feels like the first blog I've seen that actually gets it.

Im still waiting for a shareable paper scanner that doesnt need to be connected to computer or can be connected to a headless server such as WHS. Im using a Fujitsu ScanSnap with my laptop but its a far from perfect solution. If i am able to print wirelessly, I should be able to scan wirelessly too :(

They're scanners that email the scans to an email address. Or have a small http file server you access to get at the scans on the machine. Otherwise I can't really think of any other simple way to do it.

Do you have an example of a headless scanner(not connected to a pc or connected to a monitor-less pc) that will email the scans somewhere or save it over network share?

The Canon PIXMA MX870 lets you scan and print over wifi. On a Mac you can even use Image Capture. It shows up under "Shared". I'm sure other Canon scanners have this feature as well.

I bought the Doxie on Amazon and it arrived today. I paid extra for Saturday delivery because I was really hoping to use the long holiday weekend to get through the pile of papers lingering around my house.

Turned out mine has the same grinding issue mentioned on the blog post here, and there were a couple one star reviews on Amazon about it as well. I don't want to bother replacing it, because apparently they must have a QC problem and who knows what the next one they send me would do.

I'm just going to send the thing back to Amazon and buy either the Fujitsu S1300 or S1500 instead. My father always told me to "buy it right or buy it twice." I thought I could take the cheap way out rather than buying the more expensive Fujitsu, but once again father knows best.

I've used a Neat scanner, which is similar to the Doxie. I can't imagine going paperless with a slow, manual scanner. Unless my life were a lot simpler than it is right now.

The ScanSnap seems to be universally praised for its speed and reliability, and a better bet if you can afford it.

I usually toss my old documents in sink filled with warm water and detergent. It turns them into slurry quickly enough, with no need for a shredder taking up space in my office.

I'd buy the scansnap instead. It comes with an integrated version of all those features. I one push sync across all my computers by copying to a smart folder.

How accurate is the OCR?

It's not 100% perfect, but it gets the vast majority of text which is plenty for my needs.

It seems to have a bit of trouble with serif text, but since most of the stuff I'm scanning is in a sans-serif font (the only exception I can think of was an Amazon invoice) it's not really a problem in practice.

I hate scanning. What a waste of time. I simply subscribed to http://shoeboxed.com, which syncs my scans to evernote and the other programs I use to manage the documents.

So pretty much I gather all the paper, put it in an envelope, and mail it once a month.

I'm thinking of getting a cheap printer/scanner combo: HP Deskjet 2010 and running the whole process in Linux. Are there any downsides to such a setup when comparing to more featureful scanners such as ScanSnap S1300 or the Doxie?

Yes - a combo, regardless of the price unless it's an office machine under a maintenance contract, will eventually become an overpriced and oversized single-use machine.

You will save time, headaches and money (in the long run, at least) by spending a little more up front by purchasing separate devices that are designed to do the job you want them to do.

I can't speak to the Linux aspect.

I went to go see the dude from Catch Me if You Can speak a few years ago and one of the takeaways was that a cross cut shredder isn't very secure (pages are easy to reconstruct). Gor for a micro shredder.

A relative of mine was recently telling me that her company is considering going to a completely paperless office.

I told her that'd make going to the bathroom pretty nasty.

nice post, what is the state of ocr these days? the last time i used it was back in 2000, and that experience kept me away from it for nearly 11 years! the accuracy was quite low, in the 80% range.

incredible that such a thing involves so many processes and different pieces of software. imagine a single solution that does all of this, money maker...

I have an ipod, but unfortunately the camera isn't good enough to make legible text from an 8.5*11 sheet.

What are the benefits of using a scanner when you can just take a picture?

Just the information I was looking for, great ideas!

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