Thursday, April 21, 2011

Living a digital life...

So I've been trying to live a paperless, digital life as much as possible.  Why?  Because filing and sorting is much better assisted by a search engine, and because spending a lot of my life online has made me spoiled to not wanting to flick through paper, punch holes and physically file.  And also because spending my time across multiple countries that tend to be across oceans from each other requires facilities not tied to any one physical location.

It's possible, and much aided/enabled by the following which I have obtained/signed up for:

  • A Fujitsu Scan Snap duplex, high speed paper scanner
  • An Evernote Premium account
  • A Livescribe Echo Smartpen
  • CutePDF - a free print-to-PDF freeware that can be downloaded/referenced from the link to this blog post.
  • Online shopping, bank statements and bills
  • An Amazon Kindle
There are still several routes paper takes to get completely digital though...  And despite my best efforts, an entire cupboard of paper in files have not been completely eliminated.  They however have been drastically reduced to one single hanging file folder/cabinet with less than 7 compartments.
  1. Paper > Digital. Use for bills that still come in the mail despite one's best online shopping and bank statement efforts.  Scan into Evernote via Scansnap, discard the ones that you don't need to keep on paper for whatever reasons, file on hanging files the ones that do.
  2. Potential Paper > Digital Formats. Use for magazines and newspapers that have digital formats, or sometimes for procured/given paper magazines that you want to retain for future reference.  Slice/tear out the paper pages for retention, scan into Evernote via Scansnap, discard paper copy.  Refer to free/small subscription fee online versions of magazines and newspapers for the rest.
  3. Recipe Books > Digital.  I still keep some large, printed, show-case type recipe books (that I don't actually use, but keep for display purposes on the kitchen shelf).  These days my hand-written recipe book is being converted into Livescribe format (through a dedicated Livescribe notebook for recipes) so they are searchable and retained for all perpetuity online.  Or I simply search for what I want to cook on the Internet and end up finding something viable anyway (and that's when I try it, find it great, make some modifications and add to my recipe book for future use).
  4. Receipts > Digital.  If/when it shows up on my credit card statement, I throw the receipts away.  Actually, sometimes I just throw the receipts away, and haven't been wrongly charged for an item ever in the last... actually, however many years I've ever had a credit card.
  5. Cash > Digital.  Use credit cards (statements = free tracking method) instead of cash, retaining cash in as small bills as possible for tips, bouncers and other cash-only dodgy venues.  Oh, and I chuck coins in handfuls frequently into the jars for tips at coffee places and delis, and foreign currencies into the donation bins at airports.
  6. Digital stays Digital. Use for online shopping mostly, and email/social network correspondences, mobile phone calls made on lines paid for by online bills.  Shopping online instead of at physical stores not only save you receiving a paper receipt, it also saves you petrol money travelling to the shop, energy carrying heavy items back home and usually comes with free shipping past certain amounts.  I've given up the rather Asian habit of wanting to hand-pick every single item I purchase so the wrapping is pristine and never taking the top item off the shelf, in favour of saving the travel time and energy carrying heavy items.  Once digital, it stays digital.  Online shopping receipts are printed into PDFs and deleted when goods are delivered and the charges show up on the credit card.  It is a good mechanism of tracking multiple online orders as well, since I tend to shop once a month and buy from multiple online stores at a go.  Right now the only places I go to physically are the local deli's, coffee places and supermarkets, and with supermarkets, I may one day soon cross the digital frontier and do online grocery shopping on AmazonFresh, having got good feedback and my district happens to be in their limited distribution network.

    I figure even considering the shipping involved, online shopping probably has a much lower carbon footprint than going to a physical store to shop, not that eco-friendliness was top of my priority list, although the eco-friendliness of it is certainly a bonus.  Having done the math on the transportation carbon footprint alone...

    Physical Store Shopping:
    [Air/Ship Freight to country if product is not locally produced] + [Land freight to distribute product to physical stores] + [My transportation to physical store to buy and bring product back (2x)]
    Online Shopping: [Air/Ship freight to country, if product is not locally produced] + [Land freight distributor eg. Fedex, UPS to deliver product from warehouse to my house as final destination]

    Which frees up my time, transportation and energy to buy locally produced products for the products that count which are usually food items - valued for their freshness, quality, seasonal availability.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Embarcacao - The Vessel: Thank you!!

Sometimes a distant dream comes true at a time when you least expect it.  To a post written in 2007, on the 10th of October, 2010 (10/10/10 - what a lovely number!) Tam Aham Brumi Brahmanam wrote a translation of Embarcacao.  I hope to reproduce his efforts here to give justice to one of the most deeply beautiful songs ever written.

The Vessel

Ai, ness mundo ca tem sô sofrimento

Oh, in this world here there is only suffering
Ma naquel olhar cheio di mágoa
But in that stare full of sadness
Modê crê tão cedo na felecidade
For believing so soon in happiness
Tcheu titá fogá na solidão
Something that is drowning in deep loneliness

Ma na embarcação quta levá nôs vida
But in the vessel that takes our lives
Um bom timonero nô ta desejá, pa guiá-no
We hope for a good helmsman to take us
Na temporal nô ta reá vela
Through the storm and pull down our sails
Pa nô ca perdê na profundeza dum amargura
So we will not be lost in the deepness of a sorrow

Terra longe à vista é um doce promessa
The desired land seen so far is a sweet promise
Ma qui ta desfazê nindiferença
But it is not making no difference
Um sonho nascê na porto dilusão
Because a dream is born in the port of illusions
Fgi pa longe parcê um solução
Fly away to a far place seems to be a solution

Ma na rota incerta di nôs destino
But in the uncertain route that is our fate
Nô ta pô esperança num brisa mansa e constante
We are putting our hopes on a sweet and constant breeze

Pintchi vela dnôs existencia
That blows the sails of our existence
E na paz levá, assim, nôs nau
And so in peace takes our vessel
Pum horizonte cheio di luz e bonança
Towards a horizon full of light and peaceful feelings

Pintchi vela dnôs existencia
That blows the sails of our existence
E na paz levá, assim, nôs nau
And so in peace takes our vessel
Pum horizonte di luz e bonança
Towards a horizon full of light and peaceful feelings

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How do we live our lives in our sleeping, soft, silent, subtle, dreaming moments, when they shatter as we wake? How do we explain our lives to the people that fill it in our waking moments, when they can't reach us where we sleep?

I can't believe that people live like this, half-lives, half-asleep, half dreaming.  I can't believe that I used to live like this.