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How-To

Operating a paper-free office is, for many people, an enviable goal. For the last few years, I’ve been attempting to cut down on the paper I receive; asking people to send emails rather than post, receiving statements and forms via the internet, and recycling all the post I receive that isn’t absolutely necessary.

This has gone a long way towards achieving a paper-free setup, though I’ve still had several years worth of paper filed away. After spending a while settling upon a good solution for digitizing all this old information, I finally settled upon a combination of DevonThink Pro and a Fujitsu ScanSnap. I’m thoroughly impressed.

This how-to will take you through the hardware and software required for setting up a completely paper-free office, ensuring that it’s thoroughly easy to use, and carefully backed up.

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Easter is approaching quickly and the spirit of spring is in the air. What better time to re-think the way you work with your Mac, and take on board a few time saving tips and shortcuts? We won’t be covering the basics, and assume you’re already familiar with using the keyboard to copy, paste and save!

There’s something for everyone, whether you’d like to show Expose in slow motion, quickly empty your Trash, automatically save text to a sticky note or zoom in and out of your screen.

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Over the past few years, RSS has become the de-facto way to remain connected to a website without re-visiting it every few days. News items and new posts are ‘pushed’ to you automatically, and can be easily collated into one application for quick viewing.

There are two primary ways to manage RSS subscriptions – either through a website such as Google Reader, or via a desktop application such as NetNewsWire or NewsFire. All of these are free solutions, but offer different advantages depending upon how you work.

Today I’ll be explaining a simple way to enjoy the speed of a desktop application, the convenience of web access, and portability of reading on your iPhone – all using NetNewsWire.

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Spam is a problem we all face, particularly if you use a desktop email solution rather than a service such as Gmail. I’m a big fan of Apple’s Mail software, and struggled hugely with spam a few years ago – I’d tried several server-side filtering solutions, but nothing had worked particularly well. I then discovered SpamSieve. After installing the software and spending 10 minutes training it, I found that the level of junk email I received reduced to almost none.

This walkthrough will explain how to download and install SpamSieve, train it with old messages, and hopefully enter the spam free state of nirvana. I’ll also touch on a few freeware alternatives for those without a spam filtering budget.

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The latest release of Apple’s iWork suite has brought a whole range of new features, notably an online collaberation system called iWork.com. Currently in public beta, the service aims to let you share your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, allowing co-workers or friends to comment on them. This quick tutorial will walk you through how the feature works and explain the simplest way to get started.

Click the iWork.com icon to get started

Click the iWork.com icon to get started

In order to use iWork.com, you need to have a copy of the latest version of the iWork suite. You can try it out by downloading the 30 day trial which will give you time to decide whether it’s worth purchasing (for $79).

Once you’ve created a document in any of the three included applications, clicking the iWork.com icon will start the walk-through process of uploading your document to the ‘cloud’.

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If you’re someone who dips in and out of several web apps on a daily basis, you may be interested to know that an application for OSX can make your life easier. Fluid allows you to create ‘Site Specific Browsers’ (SSBs) – a separate desktop app for each website you use on a regular basis.

In essence, this allows you to have an standalone dock icon for a variety of websites, opening a specific browser for each website when clicked. I use this functionality for accessing Basecamp on a regular basis – it’s far quicker than navigating to the site through a browser bookmark, and keeps whatever you have going on in Safari completely separate.

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