Digitizing Your Paper Manuals

Trying to go paperless here. While I can definitely see the prize to be won, I am finding the process quite cumbersome. It has been made more difficult by the unanticipated rupture of a main water line and unwanted intrusion of a great deal of water into my basement office where Scan Central previously was located. While I struggle with insurance adjusters (nothing like being on the other side of the fence), my scanning project has hit “hold” status.

So, I of course was attracted to an article over at Apartment Therapy about finding and saving product manuals into the iPad-friendly iBooks format. This is a very cool process that doesn’t require a scanner.

If you have ever lost a manual and needed to recover it, you probably are familiar with the process of searching for the manual online in your favorite search engine of choice. For the most part, I have been successful in finding the manuals I have needed. Expand that effort to include all manuals you may someday need (take a look at that bursting at the seams paper manual file for a decent start on your list). Search, find and download. Then toss the paper.

Open iTunes, hit the File Menu and select Add To Library. Find the documents you have downloaded and select them. Grab the iPad and connect it – make sure you have books selected to sync and check all those manuals you captured. After they hit the iPad, slot them all into a Collection / Category within iBooks on the iPad itself. After you organize within iBooks, sync again and that organization will transfer back into iTunes for easy filing and reference. Because they are already saved on the desktop, you need not keep them all in iBooks, but they are there and available if you want to shift them on or off the iPad for ease of use. And, because I am a search-head, digitizing this way makes it easy to jump right to the section you want with a keyword and a click.

Voila! Instant manual order. Thanks, Apartment Therapy.

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Factbrowser Condenses Business & Market Research, Filter By Filter

Need to know the facts on business and technology but don’t have the time to sift? Factbrowser bills itself as a discovery engine for research and technology, and apparently is designed to streamline the trip between asked and answered. The site taps a database that is constantly being supplemented, with a great deal of filter-ability. The intent of the service is to provide researchers with solid facts and data to support decisions and analysis.

What I like about Factbrower’s results is that it attributes research to its original source, links to the source’s homepage and the piece of content it references. The list of topics is not large in number but definitely diverse in content. There is a format filter that targets attitudes, behaviors, business models, demographics, market structure, reach and strategy. Information filters include case studies, forecasts and infographics. The Industries filter is fairly broad, while the Companies filter is pretty much focused on the biggest players. The Sources list, however, is quite large and impressive, clearly including some familiar names as well as some well-respected niche repositories. Consumer filters are broken down by typical demographics, as are the listings under the regions tab. Simply click on the topic and then filter under the foregoing lists to refine the results. Then, collect the RSS feed of those results and stay up to date as relevant news / information breaks. The idea is just great and can only get greater as they add more content and filters to the mix. The site is mobile optimized, so it is pretty easy to view what’s cooking while on the go.

Check it out and see if you can’t tailor a search to your needs – Factbrowser de-fluff’s the news and stats  for you and delivers it to your virtual doorstep.