I’ve gone paperless

No more filing cabinets no more bankers boxes full of paper. I now keep my bills, medical and insurance paperwork, bank statements, etc. digitally.

For first 30 days, I ran paperless while maintaining my paper workflow. Once convinced going paperless was going to work I started the great purge of my old documents.

Here are the tools in my paperless workflow:

Scanner
I use the scanner that is part of my older Canon printer. It’s slow but it works for me. If you don’t have a scanner check out the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Mobile Document Scanner . It comes highly recommended. I also have Scanner Pro by Readdle. on my iPhone.

PDFpen
My scanner doesn’t have OCR capabilities so I needed a way to OCR my scans. For this I chose PDFpen. PDFpen besides its OCR capabilities is also a great pdf reader and editor. If you’re not familiar with OCR here is what it does. It converts an image of the text to text that is searchable by computers and computer software like Hazel, Spotlight, and Alfred.

Hazel
Hazel is the program I use to automatically name and organize my files according to rules I’ve created.

Shredder
After I scan my documents I destroy the originals with a cross cut shredder.

The Great Purge:

I processed my backlog of documents this way. I went through all my old documents and organized them into three groups scan and keep, scan and shred, and shred. With that complete, I reached the point of doing the actual shredding. There was no way I was going to be able to shred 18 boxes of paper with my little shredder. So I called a local mobile shredding service and had them come to the house and do the shredding. It took just 15 minutes and I was able to watch all my get shredded.

Here’s my paperless workflow:

Now every incoming piece of paper goes into the inbox pile on my desk. All digital documents go into the Inbox folder on my Mac. Every Friday I go through both inboxes and process all the documents using the tools in my paperless tool in my paperless workflow.

Here are a couple of recommendations if you are thinking about going paperless. Read Zachary Sexton article Think going paperless is hard work? Think again. Here’s how I showed my 56-year-old dad go paperless. Zachary’s article got the ball rolling for me. For a more in-depth guide check out The MacSparky Paperless Field Guide by David Sparks.

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Apple releases security updates for iPhone and Mac. Update now and be safe online.

On Monday Apple released security updates iOS 10.3.2 (for iPhone and iPad users), MacOS, and OS X. They also released updates for watchOS 3.2.2, iTunes, Safari, tvOS and iCloud for Windows 6.2.1.

Looking at the list of fixes it is clear that scores of security vulnerabilities have been addressed for iPhones, iPads and Macs.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to apply the necessary updates.

Privacy Tip – How to know when your Mac’s webcam or microphone is spying on you.

If you are like me and stick a piece of tape over your Macs webcam then Objective-See’s Oversight is for you.

Once installed, Oversight sits in your menu bar and runs in the background monitoring your Mac’s mic and webcam, alerting you when the internal mic is activated, or whenever a process accesses your webcam.

The developer of Oversight explains why a tool like Oversight might be beneficial to you:

One of the most insidious actions of malware, is abusing the audio and video capabilities of an infected host to record an unknowing user. Macs, of course, are not immune; malware such as OSX/FruitFly, OSX/Crisis, OSX/Mokes, and others, all attempt to spy on Mac users. OverSight constantly monitors a system, alerting a user whenever the internal microphone is activated, or the built-in webcam is accessed. And yes, while the webcam’s LED will turn on whenever a session is initially started, new research has shown that malware can surreptitious piggyback into such existing sessions (FaceTime, Sykpe, Google Hangouts, etc.) and record both audio and video – without fear of detection.

I run Oversight on both my Macs. You can download and get more information about Oversight here. Oh yes, and by the way it’s free so there’s no reason to not install Oversight to better protect your privacy.

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My Dilemma With Better Touch Tool

I’ve only been using Better Touch Tool for a little over a month. In that time I’ve created a small number of gestures. The primary ones are for managing windows on my desktop. Prior to using BTT I was managing windows with Magnet. Magnet uses hotkeys to manage windows rather than gestures.

Here’s my dilemma. Would I rather use hotkeys or gestures to manage windows? Either way, you have to remember a gesture or a hotkey. After using both my preference is remembering and using hotkeys.

I’m a die hard Alfred and Keyboard Maestro user so using hotkeys fits my workflow better. The other advantage to using Magnet is the menubar drop down in case I forget a hotkey.

The other thing I find myself doing with BTT is accidentally executing a gesture. I have a gesture setup to quit an app. I’ve accidentally executed that while working in Safari with several tabs open. What a pain! This is less likely to happen using hotkeys.

After mulling this over for a bit I’m going to manage windows with Magnet and use BTT to trigger a few of my most used keyboard shortcuts.

As for my long term use of BTT? Well, the jury is still out.

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Web Finds for May 7, 2017

Web Finds are from my web surfing travels. You’ll find some unique, informative, and some of the coolest websites and apps that you may have never known existed. Enjoy!

MarginNote
More and more university professors, college instructors, guest speakers, and business lecturers are using PDFs and EPUB files to hand out their materials. MarginNote Mac app is a powerful reading tool for learners. Whether you are a student, a teacher, a researcher, a lawyer or someone with a curious mind to learn, MarginNote can help you quickly organize, study and manage large volumes of PDFs and EPUBs. All in one learning app enables you to highlight PDF and EPUB, take note, create mind map, review flashcards and saves you from switching endlessly between different Apps.

Soulver
Soulver helps you do quick calculations and work things out. Use Soulver to play around with numbers, do “back of the envelope” calculations, and solve day-to-day problems. Annotate your numbers with words, so that they make sense to you. Soulver picks out the numbers and calculates your answer as you type. Do calculations over multiple lines, and refer to previous lines, much like a spreadsheet. Soulver is great for adding things up, doing all kinds of percentages easily, and converting things, like currencies. It’s quicker to use than a spreadsheet, and smarter and clearer than a traditional calculator.

CloudMounter
CloudMounter Mac app is a must-have tool for laptop users with low-capacity SSD-drives, and owners of multiple cloud accounts. You can easily mount Dropbox, Google Drive and other clouds as disks without having to download online files on the hard drive.

Postbox – Spring Sale save 20% Right Now
Postbox for Mac is built for heavy email users. When you are serious about email, Postbox has the tools you need to power through mountains of messages.

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Previous Web Finds are here.

Backing up Pinboard bookmarks

I recently moved all my bookmarks to Pinboard. So far my experience has been beyond my expectations. But, I started to wonder what would happen, to my bookmarks, if something were to happen to the service. Even though Pinboard has been around since 2009 I decided I should have a backup of all my bookmarks.

Here’s how I do it:

I open Pinboard in Safari and go to settings > backup > click the HTML format option and a pinboard-export.txt file is downloaded to my Downloads folder. I then have a Hazel rule which renames the file, gives it an .html extension and moves it to my Pinboard Backups folder in Dropbox. Changing the extension to .html makes all the bookmarks clickable links. I do this every Friday.

This way I always have access to my bookmarks outside of Pinboard if I need them.

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Moving read later to Pinboard – No more Pocket – No more Instapaper

I’ve used read later services since around 2012. In the past, I’ve kept my bookmarks in Pocket, Instapaper, Evernote, Notes, Bear, and sometimes a combination of the above. I was never happy with any one system until I moved all my bookmarks to Pinboard.

I’m a recent convert to Pinboard. My move to Pinboard was influenced by Brett Terpstra, the developer of nvALT and Marked, and Gabe Weatherhead of MacDrifter. They spoke so highly of Pinboard that I wanted to give it a go. I went all in with the archiving account.

Since I moved all my bookmarks to Pinboard I started to wonder if I still needed Instapaper? The answer. No.

I now save all my read later to Pinboard. There is a healthy ecosystem of apps around the Pinboard service, as a read later solutions. I use Readkit on my Mac and Pinner on my iPhone for managing my bookmarks and reading later. After reading an article I delete it or if I want to keep it I mark it read and add the appropriate tag(s).

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Web Finds for April 28, 2017

Web Finds are from my web surfing travels. You’ll find some unique, informative, and some of the coolest websites and apps that you may have never known existed. Enjoy!

Collate
Collate for Mac is a privacy focused, locally hosted, cross-platform note-taking application. Choose between Rich Text, Markdown, Outline or Web Clipper note types to take notes more effectively. Sync via Dropbox. Collate is $20, but you can check it out for free during a 14 day trial to see how it works for you.

Prizmo – Scanning, OCR, and Speech
Prizmo 4 for iOS is now available with improved design and workflow, alongside brand new features! Prizmo is a universal photo-based scanner app that lets you scan and recognize text documents, business cards, and images, and then export them as PDF/Text, vCard, or JPEG/PNG. Prizmo relies on state-of-the-art technologies, like a highly accurate OCR, real-time page detection, and beautiful image cleanup. Using iCloud, you can even shoot the picture on your iPhone, and finish editing on your iPad or Mac. All of this in an elegant and intuitive user experience.

Snappy
Snappy for Mac and iOS Snappy is perfect for clipping stuff from your screen, visual note taking, reference information between windows on top of the many creative uses you’ll discover along the way. And because snaps are always visible until dismissed, you don’t have to Alt+Tab all the time, thus keeping your focus intact.

Canvas – Episode #34: Password Managers
This week Fraser and Federico look at another aspect of personal security on iOS and Mac: password managers. Many people have looked at password managers and decided they are too complex, too annoying or just too geeky for daily use. This episode is here to convince you or your friends and family of all the great and important reasons why you should be using a password manager.

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All previous Web Finds are here.