Streamlining Receipt Entry

As many that read this blog know, I started scanning in all of my receipts over 6 years ago and pretty much every piece of paper (of some value) that comes into my house gets scanned and then shredded or filed (I’m still not sure why I file it; some places don’t accept copies of receipts, but a lot of paper doesn’t need to be saved). I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner along with Mariner Software’s Paperless to store everything. I’ve used a bunch of scanners and still have a few lying around my house.

Yesterday I saw a tweet from Dan Frakes, an author at Macworld magazine about using an Eye-Fi card with a Doxie scanner to wirelessly scan. This got me thinking as I had an Eye-Fi card that was just lying around; my wife and I both have iPhones and use them for a majority of our pictures (the best camera you have is the camera you have with you). I also had a BulletScan M40 that was unused. Since the M40 takes an SD card, I thought this would make a great combination.

My plan was to setup the M40 and Eye-Fi card to send all the images to my media center (it is on all the time) and then use Dropbox to sync the files back to my main machine. (If this sounds familiar, I setup something similar two years ago with my Brother scanner.) This morning, I went to set everything up only to discover that for some reason the M40 didn’t recognize 8 GB cards, both the Eye-Fi one and one I had lying around. It didn’t have a problem with the 256 MB cards. I reformatted the Eye-Fi and tried lots of tricks and basically gave up. However, after staring at it, I realized that the SD card reader that came with the Eye-Fi was lying on my desk. I plugged the Eye-Fi card into the card reader and then the card reader into the M40. Presto, everything started to work.

To put the finishing touches on my new setup, I used Automator to setup a Folder Action that would rotate the images downloaded from the Eye-Fi and then move them to a folder on Dropbox. This offloaded the processing and saved me a step on my main machine.

My 5 year old son was so mesmerized with the scanner, all he wanted to do was scan receipts and see them show up on my machine. He has no idea all the magic that goes into it; he just knows that the scanner is not connected to my computer and receipts show up. Now all I have to do is recruit him to scan in all of my wife’s receipts!

(Yes the ScanSnap is much faster at scanning in receipts, but this setup will be much easier to use for my wife and she doesn’t have to take over my computer to enter her pile of receipts.)

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