At high school, whilst studying for an exam in Computer Science, a friend bought a pack of crib cards to enable rapid assimilation of the kind of answers that he thought he would be required to regurgitate come exam day. One card was entitled “The Electronic Age”; flipping the card over revealed the answer to be, “We are living in the electronic age”. Those cards were crap and so was my friend’s Computer Science exam result – probably his crowning achievement at school was convincing a Quaker classmate that his favourite pop band’s latest record, if played backwards, would enunciate the word, “Beast! Beast! Beast!”.
We are living in the Electronic Age
My belief in the electronic age has never faltered, though occasionally that conviction has been hopelessly premature. In my first job out of college I attempted to implement a paperless office. I ordered a flatbed scanner to match the office laser printer in the naive belief that this combination could replace the office photocopier and eventually all documents would be scanned and digitally archived. Had the scanner software been able to detect the scanner then it might have been the start of something beautiful, but as it was that scanner became my metaphorical albatross around the neck: “Hey Mr Computer Man, how many pages have you scanned in this month?”
With history in mind, I have decided that it’s time to attempt going paperless again. I’m feeling good about this, some 20 years have elapsed since my last abortive attempt and the technology should be like comparing a Super Nintendo games console with an Xbox 360.
After some cursory research, I was swept up in the hype surrounding the portable Doxie scanner range. Fractionally wider than a page of paper and around three or four centimetres in depth and height, a Doxie Go can hold around 100 scans thanks to its rechargeable battery. What this means in practical terms is that I can leave the device in the kitchen-drawer-that-holds-everything, produce it when the day’s mail has been opened, scan everything in, upload it to my laptop once or twice a week and then send it to Evernote where each document is indexed and available across all my various devices. Non-important mail gets shredded immediately whilst important documents get placed into a box which, hopefully, I’ll never actually have to search through to find an original.
It’s the new train spotting
As well as implementing a daily workflow, I also spent a bit of time scanning in my existing correspondence too. This wasn’t much more taxing than feeding the documents into the scanner whilst watching the telly. A portable scanner gives freedom to roam in much the same way that laptop computers offer freedom when compared with desktop machines.
Hello? I’m on my scanner. Yeah, it’s rubbish
I’m already hooked on using my portable scanner but there are downsides: in business situations I’m now viewed with the kind of curious contempt that used to greet early mobile phone users. But most galling is that in the few weeks that I’ve been using this system I have now become the butt of household jokes: shouting “Hey Mr Computer Man, scan this!”, can be accompanied by the waving around of pretty much any household object that comes to hand.