The Less Paper Home

I can remember all the stuff about the “paperless office” quite well, and even at the time, I didn’t believe it. Nor did I necessarily think going totally digital was a viable option for me. I still don’t.

I like paper.

It’s portable and doesn’t require electricity for operation. I can write just about anywhere with a notebook and a pen.

High quality paper, as any Medievalist will tell you, is durable and if stored properly, makes a decent archive media.

High quality paper and printing are sometimes easier for me to read than the screen; it depends a lot on the typesetting, the local light conditions and how heavy the thing is I’m reading.

But much as I enthuse about paper, I don’t want to have to keep filing bills and receipts. For one thing, it’s time consuming, it takes up physical space we really don’t have, and it’s hard on my hands.

We already receive as many invoices and statements as we can via email / .pdf. I’ve started scanning and OCRing the others. I’ve tried using my iPhone to photograph and OCR cash register receipts but it’s not worth the effort; they’re often just too hard to read as digital images, never mind OCR. So cash register receipts I need to retain are going into envelopes by month and date, and they’re going into a shoebox (I know, just like grandma !) after the data goes into a spreadsheet.

My goal is to create a backed-up, cloud-synced, searchable archive of digital business/tax related documents, where I scan it on receiving it (or as soon after as possible), and store the digital version as a searchable PDF.

Once I’ve wrangled the secular materials into a digital archive with redundant backups, I’ll start on a digital migration for scholarly files.

2016: It’s a New Writing World in the Cloud

I’m still adjusting to a career as a full time writer.

I’m not complaining, mind, it’s work and it results in pay. But it’s not something I envisioned doing for a career.

I’ve made some of the changes I wrote about last year. I’ve reduced the number of sites I run for other people. That’s been a welcomed decrease in workload.

I’m  using TextExpander even more now, for a variety of different writing projects and lots of site admin-related work.

I’m currently using an older 13” Aluminum MacBook as my primary computer, with regular recourse to my iPad with a Brydge keyboard case, and lately, to a older model Chromebook hand-me-down.

I generally do most of my email triage on my iPad, reading and sorting (and deleting) mail I need to keep, mail I can answer immediately, mail I can delete, and mail I need to answer as a separate task.

I haven’t touched Microsoft Word in a bit over three years, and that’s been wonderful. I’m using Pages via iCloud quite a lot, even on the Chromebook.

I’m also using Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, on the MacBook, the iPad, and the Chromebook.

I’ve finally purchased Numbers for OS X and iOS, and I’m using it via iCloud and my MacBook and iPad for documents that Google Spreadsheet struggles with. I’m new to Numbers, so this has been interesting.

I’m still using BBEdit for heavy lifting in terms of complicated HTML or CSS, cleaning up text files, Perl, and Regex, but I’m using Markdown more than last year, which BBEdit handles.

I hadn’t expected how much, because of iOS 9 and Yosemite and Handoff, I’d be using TextEdit and the new version of Notes via iCloud. I wrote an AppleScript to count words in a TextEdit document, but I need to figure out how to trigger it from the AppleScript menu, and that means finding out where the heck the AppleScript menu has gone. It disappeared when I installed Yosemite.

I’ve gotten deeply into using <a href=”http://get.esellerate.net/get/ALP877983468/default.htm?skuid=SKU81634174866&affid=AFL4151654610&at=”>Scrivener 2</a> and Scapple, because of a new non-fiction book and non-technical book I’m writing. Scrivener makes dealing with primary resources very straightforward; I can have them all in a single file, a file that I can backup easily, and Scrivener offers me a number of ways to organize my research and the current draft. Scapple mostly out of curiosity; I’m not given to mindmaps in general.

I’m breaking my writing sessions into two or three hour chunks, and often, even smaller sessions of 90 minutes or so.

I’ve been writing at libraries more, partly because of the need to do research using non-circulating materials. I’m also deliberately choosing to write away from home, because the walk and the different environment is good for me in multiple ways.

I’m using my iPad 3 and Brydge Keyboard more than I expected to, partly because I can read the iPad screen more easily than my MacBook’s or my Chromebook. I plan to look at Editorial, but so far, it’s been baffling. I’m interested in reducing workflow steps and processes, and Editorial seems to want to add both.

Having rejoiced about being Microsoft Word free, I probably should take a look at the “cloud” versions of the Office suite, Office 365. It includes a terabyte of Cloud storage on Microsoft’s .servers, as well as the full suite on iOS, Android, OS X and Windows. I’d still want local options though, given outage issues common with Cloud services from, well, anyone.