Going Paperless for the Rest of Us!
The FriendlyStack Software can be downloaded from GitHub.
Make a donation if you like FriendlyStack:
Sorting, filing and searching paper is boring work…
I’ve created FriendlyStack because I couldn’t find a commercial solution that would take care of all the boring work, without adding more boring work. For me, developing FriendlyStack was an opportunity to turn boring work into exciting work. For you FriendlyStack is the opportunity to eliminate boring work and focus on whatever makes you happy!
FriendlyStack is a Network Appliance for managing physical and electronic documents as well as photos and videos. Like other appliances (think of a photocopier or a toaster) FriendlyStack is designed to fulfill its purpose as simply and efficiently as possible. FriendlyStack was designed with lazy people in mind. Managing your stuff with FriendlyStack is effortless and doesn’t require a PhD in Computer Wizardry (this is why FriendlyStack's Control Unit has just one button).
The Arduino Uno based FriendlyStack Control Unit
The custom made round FriendlyStack Control Unit featured in some of the videos.
Despite being supercharged with the 21st century’s latest tech, FriendlyStack dares to be different: FriendlyStack is not a cloud solution! FriendlyStack stores your data locally right there in the box you see, own and control. This is data privacy you can touch! Nevertheless, FriendlyStack offers the flexibility of a cloud solution: you can interact with FriendlyStack using virtually any smartphone, tablet, notebook or PC connected to your home network. All you need is a Web browser to interact with FriendlyStack and access your stuff. If you can remotely connect to your home network (through a VPN for example) then you have access to all your documents, photos and videos, where ever your journey takes you!
Using FriendlyStack with a Smartphone
Unlike cloud solutions, there is no recurring service fee. You own the hardware FriendlyStack runs on and you own FriendlyStack as it is Open Source!
FriendlyStack consists of three components: the FriendlyStack Control Unit, a dedicated computer with some smart software (acts as a server that stores, encrypts and retrieves your data) as well as a document scanner. As an appliance FriendlyStack plays nicely along with Macs, Windows and even Linux. FriendlyStack is scalable and affordable as its hardware requirements flexibly adapt to your budget and your performance needs.
A typical FriendlyStack setup includes a document scanner, the FriendlyStack Control Unit as well as a dedicated computer with the FriendlyStack software.
You can turn almost any PC into a FriendlyStack appliance. All you have to do is start that computer from a USB stick and let the installation do its magic.
You know that backing up your data is important. ..
But let's face it, it's cumbersome and you are too lazy to do it regularly! FriendlyStack makes doing Backups as simple as this: just plug in an external USB drive and touch a button. That's it, FriendlyStack will do the rest.
Yes, there are people that walk into other people's houses and steal things. Since you regularly backup your FriendlyStack you won't loose much data. You don't want however some thug accessing your personal stuff!
Keep calm: once powered off, FriendlyStack is locked and encrypted! Unless the NSA is after your vacation photos, it's highly unlikely that anyone will be able to access your data...
Who would have guessed, that paper can be such an effective way to get paperless? Smart Cover Sheets are equipped with a QR-Code to tell FriendlyStack what to do with the paper stack bellow them. There are three kinds of cover sheets that can be combined in any way you like:
Sounds complicated? It isn't, just check out this example:
FriendlyStack gives you seamless access to all your documents, regardless of media type. Therefore, FriendlyStack does not only handle paper but also electronic documents as well as photos and videos.
FriendlyStack acts as a file server (like a NAS device). Just use your favorite file manager to create a folder structure that suits your needs and copy, edit, move or delete your files as you like. FriendlyStack will keep track of everything and ensure you will find your electronic documents alongside your digitized paper documents.
FriendlyStack Currently supports the following file formats:
Did you ever print a web page or email to keep for future reference? Obviously you could use FriendlyStack to digitize these printouts, but FriendlyStack can do better than this: for every folder in FriendlyStack you can create a virtual printer. Whatever you print to these printers will end up as PDF file in the corresponding folder.
Apart from, working with every application that supports printing, virtual printers are also a convenient shortcut for lazy people: instead of using the "save as PDF" feature that some applications offer, you can directly print to a specific folder. This way you can avoid clicking your way through your folder structure.
FriendlyStack is built around a modular design concept. This allows you to flexibly adapt the choice of key components to your budget and your performance needs.
The FriendlyStack Control Unit is FriendlyStack's interface to the physical world. You can use it to trigger actions like scanning or backup, but also see FriendlyStack's status. There are two versions of FriendlyStack's Control Unit: one based on the ubiquitous Arduiono Uno and a touch screen display module and a completely custom made device.
The Arduino Uno based and the custom made FriendlyStack Control Unit side by side.
You can either purchase and plug together the two modules for the Arduino Uno based unit or, if you are inclined so build your own version of the custom unit (schematics, PCB and 3D drawings will be published soon).
The standard modules can be purchased by electronic parts retailers such as Mouser, DigiKey or directly from Arduino (Arduino Uno) and Adafruit (touch screen module). Both modules together will cost you around 50 USD. A bill of material with the part numbers for the modules will be made available soon.
FriendlyStack's "brain" consists of some smart software that is installed on a dedicated computer. FriendlyStack will work on most computers. Your choice will depend on your budget, your performance requirements, power consumption (FriendlyStack will most likely run 24h per day) and maybe aesthetics (yes, some computers are prettier than others)...
This computer will be used exclusively for FriendlyStack and will work as a server. There is no need to connect a display, keyboard or mouse. All interactions take place through the FriendlyStack Control unit and FriendlyStack's web interface that can be accessed with a smartphone, tablet, notebook or desktop computer.
If you are looking for a budget solution then consider an older used computer. Most 3-4 year old computers offer more than adequate performance for FriendlyStack and are available for little money. Maybe FriendlyStack will breathe some new life into that old dusty PC you were just about going to throw away...
Minimal Hardware Requirements:
FriendlyStack will work on a wide range of computer hardware.
FriendlyStack will work with every document scanner (or multi-function device) that satisfies all of the following:
In order to actually work with FriendlyStack, the scanner drivers need to be integrated and distributed with FriendlyStack (so you can just plug it in and start scanning away). Currently the following scanners are working out of the box with FriendlyStack:
If your scanner meets the requirements listed further above, it is not difficult to get it working with FriendlyStack. All you need to do is install the driver and add the parameters for your scanner to a configuration file. The corresponding instructions are published on GitHub.
There are multiple document scanner options for FriendlyStack.
All product names and brands are property of their respective owners. All company and product names used in this text are for identification purposes only. Use of these names and brands does not imply endorsement. FriendlyStack is a registered trademark of Friendly River LLC in Switzerland and/or other countries, all other trademarks cited herein are the property of their respective owners.