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Welcome to drummingwithneedles.com. The content here is provided by me; Robert van Loghem, Rhenen, NL. A guy who develops for iPhone/iPad and is interrested in lots-o-biking.

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Yep! Getting rid of paper...

My girlfriend and i are going to be moving soon (may-june) from the city of Utrecht to the very small city of Rhenen. That means that we have to get our current apartment in order to sell it. So we started cleaning and throwing stuff out. There was but one major problem lying on our desk and in the living room. Paper! bills, notices, contracts, warranties and so on! How could we clean up the mess and still be able to find all our paper if we ever needed it?

Piles of paper lying on our desk at homeLast year we tried to put everything into boxes, sorted and labeled but as i am a nerd i gave up on it. I couldn't be bothered, trying to look for the right box, finding the appropriate place to put the paper in.

But after listening to Andy Ihnatko on the Macbreak weekly podcast where he recommended software to scan in your receipts, business cards and so on, it got me thinking about our paper mess and perhaps scanning would solve a bit of our problem.

So i looked for some scanning and paper organization software for Mac OS X because we already had an Epson perfection 1260 scanner in the house. I found Yep! from Ironic Software which organizes PDF documents just like (what they say on the site) iPhoto. 

Yep! is an application that can scan documents using a TWAIN scanner driver and then create PDF documents. The biggest feature for me is the use of tags which you can assign to those PDF's. For example; if we have a receipt for some apple stuff we scan in the paper, and just assign some tags to it, like; receipt, apple, <store-name>. The application also allows you to quickly search for PDF's based on those tags. This is very powerful which i experienced when doing my taxes last month. Normally it would take me at least 2 hours of sifting through piles and boxes of paper to get the information needed to do my taxes, this year i measured it and it took me 15 seconds!!! I just typed in the appropriate tags, like taxes, overview, 2008 and it returned all 8 documents which i needed.

Wow! this is a nice life improvement for me and my girlfriend.

Now for some quick tips;

  • Make sure the PDF's and the tags that go with it are backed up. Yep! PDF's and Library settings are on my Drobo, which in turn is backed up on a separate disk.
  • The Epson scanner will sometimes stop responding! and the only way i could get it working again was to restart the Macbook Pro. But yesterday i found a solution! Launch Activity Monitor, kill Yep! and the Epson Scanner program, unplug the scanner USB cable and plug it back in. Then launch Yep! again and you are ready to go!
  • Make sure everybody that does the scanning knows about the tags and what they mean ;)

Currently i've only scanned in 75% of the piles, in 4 hours smeared out over 4 weeks i'll be done with all of them!

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