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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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Entries in life hacking (7)


Finding little gems hidden in sleeves of 2nd hand records

Yesterday evening i was listening to some vinyl records on my Thorens TD-160 MK 2 with Ortofon 2M Blue needle (no not the knitting kind). I started with some Miles Davis, then some Air (you know, with their hits "All i need", "Kelly watch the stars" and something with a monkey) and lastly put on some Steve Miller Band - Fly like an Eaglewhich i bought 2nd hand recently.

I sat on the couch drinking some wine, bought at the local grocer and noticed some brown piece of newspaper lying on the floor. I reached to pick it up and it was a cutout of a review of the record in German. It must have fallen out of the paper sleeve of the vinyl record when i put it on! I read it, didn't think much of the review itself but the nice thing about it is that somebody put a review of an album in there some 32 years ago (1976) (when i was born ;) ). Perhaps because it was the reason why he or she bought the album, perhaps not, but the record felt personal, like it really belonged to someone.

Anyway that kept me thinking during the day. It's nice that you can attach some information to media, be it a vinyl album, cd or mp3. You can add, pictures, pieces of text to add some personal touches and read the descriptions on your Apple TV or other favorite media center and even discover them 32 years later. So as of today i decided to add some personal notes, reviews, pictures i find to songs in my iTunes library. I can use the description field and artwork to personalize my digital media, to make it mine and not something i just downloaded from the Apple iTunes store like everybody else.

oh before i forget! Here is the piece of brown newspaper i found.

German review from 1976, Steve Miller Band - Fly like an Eagle


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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