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.
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.
> 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).
Where are these countries and can I move there?
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.
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.
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).
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.
It's taken a while but things are getting there.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
There are also professional shredding services that might give you a one-off deal which will be less than an industrial shredder.
>if you're like me, ask them to shred it right then and there
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
This will probably keep evolving in the private sector, unless some dope gives the government the idea to get into it. Oops. My bad.
There's no need for a centralized solution - just each individual company to get rid of the paper from their process.
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.
I got really excited about backblaze when I heard about it, but alas, they do not have a linux client yet...
Can anyone name a decent document scanner supported by SANE?
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?
That was my main fear for tossing "important" documents.
Everything else (pay stubs, utility bills, receipts, etc) I shred.
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 paper copy, they can still say that.
Maybe it's harder to fake the paper version, maybe it's not.
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?
JotNot would work over wifi, and I think it supports Evernote. But the scans aren't as nice as a real scanner.
Except it has hearts on the front. Pink hearts. And a great big pink heart button on the top.
You might be able to get one without the hearts by emailing them after you order.
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!
The scanners on that page are ridiculously cool.
And even if I could, I don't think I would. I like the feel of books in my hands.
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.
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
Candy Colors: http://stevelosh.com/blog/2009/03/candy-colored-terminal/
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.
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.
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.
So pretty much I gather all the paper, put it in an envelope, and mail it once a month.
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 told her that'd make going to the bathroom pretty nasty.
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...