Thursday, April 14, 2011

Better than Sliced Bread

Every once in a while, a piece of technology comes along that really doesn't complicate one's life--but actually makes it easier.

Most technology simply adds to our workloads or our overloaded brains.  Let's face it: since the invention of the PC, the personal secretary has all but disappeared.  Now nearly everyone is expected to type their own reports, correspondence, books, etc., and to produce more at the same time. 

Another example: washing machines and dryers may have meant that laundry was done more quickly, but they also gave people permission to toss their barely dirty clothes in the hamper sooner and change clothes at will (contributing to more crowded closets, among other things) leading to an equal--or more--amount of time spent actually doing laundry. In a like manner, the invention of the vacuum cleaner and other floor cleaning implements just meant that housekeeping standards kept being raised, not than less time was spent cleaning.

Think about the "smart phone"--as handy as one can be, they also mean that most of us can never, ever really get away from the 24/7 barrage of calls, texts, tweets, FB posts, emails and news items rapidly scrolling our way.

Certainly, most technology does make the doing of certain tasks quicker and more accurate, but the accompanying rise in expectation of expertise and output has been a significant downside.

But today, I learned how to use something called a receipt scanner. I am totally impressed. Once I got past the learning curve (about an hour), I discovered I could quickly scan in my receipts, and then the software would pick up much of the information off them and automatically enter it into a database. I could easily fix what needed to be edited, store the scanned receipt and information in an electronic folder, and within seconds, generate expense reports with the scanned receipts and my notes on them attached.

For an hour, I gleefully scanned and tossed, scanned and tossed, filled a trash can with discarded receipts, emptied manila folders of those same receipts, searched through my purse to find any stray ones lingering around, and then sat back, incredibly lighthearted at finally finding an easy way to deal with my dreaded task of getting my receipts together and turning them in for reimbursement.

I've often heard the cliche tossed about some new advancement that it is "better than sliced bread."  This, my friends, really is better than sliced bread! I'm loving it.

Scanningly yours,

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