I always love it when I find a well-designed tool. A device works elegantly and without problems is even better than a work of art: Art’s just pretty. A well-engineered tool can make your life demonstrably better and be pretty. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 is a perfect example:
This is easily the best scanner I’ve ever used. I spent the day scanning in my box of old notes from school (kept on the theory that it might be useful someday). The scanner had very few problems chewing through page after page of notes, from printed handouts to deteriorated notebooks.
And this thing is fast; I could never, ever have done this much scanning with a traditional flatbed scanner. If I had to scan each page, one at a time, first one side and then the other–I would never have bothered with this project, and I’d probably have dragged this box with me for the rest of my life, because "I might use it some day!"
Now I’m free of a box of clutter, and I’m much more likely to use this stuff, because it’s in easy reach. I have it in my computer sorted by class, rather than in a box where I’d almost certainly never find what I need.
norbauer at 43 Folders has a great post that goes into a lot more depth about the ScanSnap and when to use paper vs. computers. And he’s right: I’m a lot more likely to use paper for brainstorming and note-taking now that it won’t pile up and get in the way later. Just think, write, and scan.