Hold the ice, the fire – and the paperwork

It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.

——-Frank Zappa


I have too many pieces of paper in my house. They are corralled into boxes or file folders, pending The Big Scan – a project I thought would be finished by now. TBS means I use my lovely little Fujitsu ScanSnap S500 scanner (pictured closed and opened – scroll down for the other photo) to scan all those documents I wish to retain, after which I can recycle or shred almost all of the hard copies. I will end up with only a storage box or two of paper – not bad for a lifetime as a middle-class American homeowner working in a paper-based profession.

But as we know, life is what happens while we’re making other plans. In this case:

  • The new desktop PC was acquired in March and runs Windows Vista.
  • The Fujitsu scanner – acquired in the days of Windows XP – wouldn’t work with the new PC without new Vista drivers and software.
  • Fujitsu didn’t release the Vista updates until July.
  • In July I downloaded and installed the ScanSnap Vista updates – just before the new PC suffered a hard drive failure.


Now the PC’s home with a new hard drive, the scanner is working, and yesterday I got TBS off to a rousing start. Results to date:

  • 106 pdf files created in the new “ARCHIVE” folder – and backed up on the external hard drive.
  • A big box nearly full of paper destined for a commercial shredder service
  • A big trash bag full of shredded documents I enjoyed dispatching myself – exorcising some crap from the past.
  • Another big boxful of paper for the recycling dumpster.

I’m just getting warmed up. I’ve forgiven Fujitsu its late release of the Vista updates, because I’ve sort of fallen in love with the ScanSnap all over again. It’s a terrific little gadget, and I thank Ernie the Attorney for telling us about it last year on the PDF for Lawyers blog. BTW, the current version of the device is the S510 – which may be an improvement over the S500. However, I think the updated software has also improved the S500’s performance.


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