The Paperless Office™ has been long promised and never delivered. As with just about everything in life, absolutes are rare. Rather than trying to pursue this idea of The Paperless Office, I strive for what I call “The Less Paper Office.” Some stuff needs to be physical, and that’s fine, the vast majority, however, does not. Enter a relatively simple system I have put in place to accomplish a few key things:
Reduce the number of paper documents we have to store in our house.
Increase the likelihood that we can find a document when it is needed.
Reduce the risk of document damage or loss.
Improve the security of our documents.
So how do I do it? Here we go!
Here is a flowchart that shows the steps that each piece of paper goes through when it enters the house.
The nice thing about this system is that the apps are, for the most part, interchangeable to fit whatever devices you use. In this example, I am using Scanner Pro, but not too long ago I had been using SwiftScan (RIP Scanbot). The important thing is capturing the documents, not the apps you use to do it. My only caveat would be to ensure the app you are using is capturing good quality, high-resolution scans, and is performing OCR to aid in searching later. I didn’t mention traditional flatbed scanners, or fancier feeding scanners simply because I don’t use them and the speed and reliability of using my phone makes this whole process almost no effort so I know it will get done.
I hope this has given you somewhere to start if you were looking to reduce paper in your life. Do you do some of this, or all of it already? If you had tried something in the past and given up due to complexity, give this a go and see if it sticks!
I have been using Fastmail for a while now (~3 years) and always as an “old-school” mail host where they would handle the backend server stuff and everything else would happen client side. Recently after a discussion about email on Episode 023 of Hemispheric Views, I dug into the settings and configuration of Fastmail and I was pleasantly surprised by how much more than a simple host they truly are!
Like most, I have different email addresses for various reasons and previously I would login to each of them on every email client I used. This setup isn’t great and makes it difficult to manage them all and migrate messages between them. Now I just have Fastmail grab the mail from them all and funnel them into one place. This is slightly different than a standard “forward” in that I can still reply from each individual address, so there are no issues there.
I can’t say I am a big fan of webmail in general, but holy crap have they done a stellar job of it. So much in fact I don’t mind using it at all. Also, my friend Andrew turned me on to this wonderful wrapper for Fastmail called FMail (think Mailplane) and it’s really nice a well. I of course can still use any third party mail client that comes along, and now with this new setup, I only have to sign in with a single account!
Filters and Rules
I was using Apple Mail Rules and SpamSieve for quite a while to manage spam and email sorting, but this also has some negatives. Using a client meant needing to have that computer running and while that wasn’t a major issue for me, sorting this way meant you were post-sorting rather than pre-sorting.
Some negatives to this setup:
This tended to take a little while for everything to get sorted out on all devices
You can only make changes to rules and settings on that one single machine.
Also, if you are familiar with SaneBox and their Blackhole feature, there is also a way to ban hammer an address or entire domain.
Along with the benefits of having all other email addresses logged in through Fastmail, there are some other benefits via aliases:
Gives you a way to create “throwaway” addresses ThrowAwaywEmail123@domain.com
A way to create an email address that funnels email to both myself and my wife SendThisToBothOfUs@domain.com
Calendars and Contacts
With Fastmail you get calendaring and contact management as well. I am currently still using iCloud calendars and contacts since I didn’t see any reason to migrate them to Fastmail. If you have multiple people on Fastmail, such as family, it starts to make more sense so you can share calendars and contact groups.
Updated March 31, 2021
I have migrated my contacts and calendars over to Fastmail now and it’s great. One random thing I like is the ability to set any hex value color for calendars. 🎉
Everyone knows that “a picture is worth 1000 words.” We also know that books are comprised of words. Nothing revolutionary here so far, I know, bare with me. What I want to do is create a book that is comprised of 1000 photos of words found out in the world. And the best part is I want to involve all of you! Ok, so how is this all going to work?
There are some basic ground rules for the photos to make sure everything comes together nicely in the end result.
Any camera / phone is fine to use
Photos in landscape orientation
Photo taken by you, not found on the internet
3 Megapixels+ in size ideally
Photos in 3:2 aspect ratio
Fill the frame as much as possible with the word
If the words are not English, please provide English translation if possible
Photos should be in color (If the word / surrounding is black&white, that’s ok too)
Be as creative as you want
I am not 100% sure how to deal with duplicates yet, but hopefully there will be enough to choose from that we can avoid duplicates mostly. Perhaps duplicates will go in Volume II? More to come on that.
End Goal: Once there are 1000 words, I will get them all laid out and create a physical book that can be obtained at cost for anyone who wants one! I am also going to create an online gallery as well so everyone can see them without needing to purchase the book.
I hope you all will join me in this journey! Feel free to get the word out, all are welcome!
I am reducing most, if not all, reliance on Amazon and their services by end of 2021.
This is not going to be easy. Maybe this can help someone else should they decide to put a little more space between them and Amazon.
This post will be continually updated throughout 2021 as progress is made.
Nothing in life is 100%. If I buy something from Amazon in the future, the world will not implode.
As they (Amazon) will surely acquire and ruin other companies/services I use, each new acquisition will have to be reviewed as it happens.
It’s not exactly new information that Amazon may not be the best world citizen, but sometimes it takes us all different amounts of time to get to the same conclusion. For me, this conclusion has finally set in. Amazon is not a company I want rely on so heavily and I wish to move that reliance to smaller more local based organizations.
Amazon has had their share of issues and scandals not unlike other massive corporations. Their leader has his hang ups for sure as well. This really comes down to a personal decision, however.
The ease of access to a seemingly limitless amount of goods that Amazon provides has lessened the value of stuff for me and become more of a mouse clicking drug than a positive impact service for acquiring goods.
For Context, here are the stats that I was able to pull from my Amazon account:
Amazon user since 2002
Prime subscriber since 2010 (I am attempting to get an “Order History Report” but their system keeps failing to produce the report. This has data such as total orders, money spent, etc.)
Status Updated: April22, 2021 @9:00pm Pacific
Here are all the Amazon services that I am currently using, or have used in the past, along with the plan of action for each.
Macro Dungeon is a twist on the classic dungeon crawler. Up to 4 players take turns drawing cards and making movements through one of four caves in an attempt to outpace their competitors on the way to the treasure room. Players can advance in boring one increment moves or strategically build macro sets that can contain up to 5 moves allowing you to jump ahead of the competition. Get Macro Dungeon today and start building macros to make your way to victory! Oh, and watch out for those dragons!