I quite like it when you go into an Apple Store and when you buy something they don’t have to give you pieces of paper. They probably already have your email address because you are a customer of Apple already, but if not you give them your email address and the receipt for your purchase is sent directly to you as an email. It’s not just about being saving trees and the planet but is also much more efficient when you are living a digital life. Let’s face it, these days most of us are living a digital life although it is probably also fair to say that some more so than others. It has been said that the geek shall inherit the earth and the way things are going int he world, then that is probably very true indeed. Many of us are completely connected to our computer devices with our big desktop computers or mobile devices. We can now take documents that we were working with, on one device and easily move to continue working on them on another device without any hassle at all. It only seems to be some teachers now that are insistent on printing as much paper as possible. Maybe teachers aren’t all that clever really and like to stick to the old ways. Actually, I’m just teasing, teachers having to stick to the old ways of paper, is more due to the fact that there are not many schools that have a one to one policy where computers are concerned. I would have loved to have been in a school like the Cedars School in Scotland where all of the pupils do their learning using iPads. Assignments are handed in via email or they could be sent by Dropbox to the teachers shared folder. Information that is given to the students can be given out as computer files and it is not necessary to hang around the photocopier waiting for it to spew out bits of paper. In my experience bits of paper just get lost. Far better to be completely digital.
When you do get bits of paper – What to do?
There are still plenty of occasions when we do get given bits of paper and what we need to do then, is to get them into our digital storage facilities. What you can do is to get yourself a desktop scanner and you can go for either the expensive ones by Fujitsu or I have seen a scanner which is much cheaper and does pretty much the same job. There again, what you can do is to use your mobile device and to photograph the document using applications like Cam Scanner for Android and also for iOS and there is also Scanner Pro for iOS which is very good. It is quick and easy to take a picture of your piece of paper, all you have to do is to make sure that you have some decent lighting and keep it as flat as possible. The software deals with cropping the photo to the edges of the document and de-skewing if necessary. When it is saved you can then have it saved into a Dropbox folder. When it gets into the dropbox folder, this is where it starts to get interesting and I have set up some automation on my Mac to take scans that I have made and to put them into certain places. It is also possible to automate it so that some documents of a specified type gets sent to an application like PDFpen Pro so that they can be dealt with by OCR, optical character recognition. This makes the documents that you have scanned completely searchable within your file system. You don’t need to do this with all documents, as what you do with the automation is to have it so that there is a naming convention that is used to identify files and as part of that auto system, will get automatically tagged and put into the proper place for that document. Scanner Pro is an excellent application that is very useful.